Finding Jesus in Israel by Buck Storm

The dialogues form an important part of the narrative and are short but well framed. It shows an ease with which he brings out the several themes and facts without getting sidelined from the original idea of presenting the magnificent sights that the Holy Land has to offer.

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Title: Finding Jesus in Israel

Author: Buck Storm

Publisher: Worthy Publishing

Date of Publication: 1 May 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

israel

Told in a suave and easy to read style, Finding Jesus in Israel is an unconventional travel book by Storm. Though not a travel guide proper, this book takes interesting to a whole new level.  Taking the genre of travel guides by storm, Buck Storm relates his multifarious adventures in Israel as he travels along the length and breadth of the country where Jesus once strode.

As a first hand account, the book mentions Storm’s experiences in a novel like manner with the introduction of several characters that he meets along the way that go on too make the story more engaging. Israel is a rising global tourist destination that has been hosting millions of international visitors each year. It is also a country that has a strong historical and political background. Perhaps, it is its history and political affiliations or present day position that makes Israel a land of much interest to people from various professional backgrounds. However, Storm does not deal directly with any of the difficult themes but rather mentions them through the talks that he has had with the locals there. After all, the best way to know a country and its culture is through its people.

The dialogues form an important part of the narrative and are short but well framed. It shows an ease with which he brings out the several themes and facts without getting sidelined from the original idea of presenting the magnificent sights that the Holy Land has to offer. Sadly, the book is too lengthy and cannot be read on the go. It requires quite some attention and for those who do not enjoy reading detailed travelogues with be put off immediately. Not exactly a travel writing as he doesn’t mention anything about the facts like costs and hotels. Dialogues and interaction between people is interesting. Unbiased take on events. Storm mentions all the things American-Israeli ties, Middle Eastern politics and historical significance of Israel. Though its almost like an ode to Israel, yet he doesn’t over venerate Israel as a land of riches. He mentions its importance and significance which is unparalleled to that of any other country in the world. What is important to understand is that the book is descriptive of his travel that was more of a pilgrimage.

Christianity lies at the background of the book and Storm’s intention is to understand its significance and the role that Jesus played while his days in the Holy Land. Some interesting chapters include Confession is Good for the Soul, Horse Trading, Paper Prayers, Same Old Sun and The Beginning is Near. Another chapter Bombs deserves special mention that deals with the growing turmoil in the region. Finding Jesus in Israel is very different from the usual factual travel books and it doesn’t provide a lot of information about the hotels available, the prices or any difficulties during the stay as a foreigner. But it is a valuable read for those who may be planning a trip or pilgrimage to Israel and it will leave readers feeling that the road less traveled is worth the effort that it takes to journey across the mixed terrain.

The Average Joe’s Super Sports Almanac: All-Star Stats, Amazing Facts, and Inspiring Stories by Steve Riach

Perhaps, for the average reader what will be of most interest are the chapters on the origin of the games that traces the history of games that might have been started by a group of friends on their college campus.

Title: The Average Joe’s Guide to Sports Almanac: All-Star Stats, Amazing Facts, and Inspiring Stories

Author: Steve Riach

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Date of Publication: 3 April 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

sports

Spanning over eleven chapters is this short guide which is a result of Riach’s many years of fascination with unique sports stories and people from the world of sports. Much of the content comes from his work earlier with athletes for films, television, radio or books. The chapters are of moderate length and the information is presented in a rather systematic manner. The individual chapters include inspiring performances by athletes, information about legendary sports figures, strange and true facts as well as miscellaneous ideas about memorable moments in sports that have caught Riach’s eye and are cherished by him.

The book is highly informative so much so that at times it feels over loaded with technical knowledge. Be it the trivial or the glamorous, every bit has been recorded with accuracy and consistency. The content of chapters do not evade individual chapter titles and fills up the reader with valuable information to the brim. Though aimed at the average person who has little or no knowledge about sports, the title of the book is elusive. The data provided is a lot for any average person to remember or understand. It is herein that the book loses its entertainment quotient. Midway through the guide, the bullet points provide short paragraphs of data next to dates of tournaments, names of players or other statistical information making it too factual. The lack of illustrations for a sports guide is also another negative. Moreover, the guide only focuses on hockey, baseball, basketball and football and leagues based in the States or games that are staple mostly to Western audiences. Surprisingly, cricket (once considered a gentleman’s game provides ample stories of rackets, scams, match fixing scandals and an entirely gravely commercialized enterprise) is now played globally and more recently in leagues, has been given a total miss.

Certain chapters, however, are interesting as they cover in brief the debates around all time best teams like NFL, NBA, MLB and a list of the greatest players with their jersey numbers alongside. Key sports dates, important years of remarkable sporting events and other numerical data make up a significant portion of the book that mentions the number games that go on behind these games. Leagues are not merely about crowds cheering their favorite teams at state of the art sporting arenas but also the excellent business that they all make, from the trading of players to the art and science behind the drafts. Undoubtedly, the research and planning that goes behind putting together an organised guide is commendable. Written in an almanac style, the guide is useful but audience specific. Perhaps, for the average reader what will be of most interest are the chapters on the origin of the games that traces the history of games that might have been started by a group of friends on their college campus. The chapter on inspirational quotes by world class players is exemplary of all that they did and not just said. On the whole, the book is a good pick for big time sports buffs.

A Better Ten Commandments by James Miller

The ten chapters cover ten different topics beginning with ways to be the best version of oneself. All chapters begin with some quotations by famous people of history such as Mahatma Gandhi, Henry Ford, Goethe, Epictetus, Swami Vivekananda, Jesus Christ, Charles Dickens to name a few.

Title: A Better Ten Commandments

Author: James Miller

Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 4 September 2017

Rating: 4/5

ten

Contemplating of ways to kill himself with his father’s pistol at the tender age of nineteen, Miller felt like a social outcast with no life goals or hope in the future. A Better Ten Commandments does not wish to insult any believer or follower of any faith or religion. Miller only wishes to keep all the timeless lessons of humanity including those of faith. The guide is meaningful and lives up to being a useful book to illuminate humanity’s path to success.

Intended as a guide to living life with and on purpose, the book is instructive and enlightening. It provides some uncanny advice on several life events and issues that we all have to endure. Beginning with the talk of indoctrination, the book draws several anecdotes from Christian religious events specially the ten commandments and the difficulty of being right. Miller argues about the importance of objective truths and the need to evolve a science of morality. The origin of ethics is an interesting read.

The ten chapters cover ten different topics beginning with ways to be the best version of oneself. All chapters begin with some quotations by famous people of history such as Mahatma Gandhi, Henry Ford, Goethe, Epictetus, Swami Vivekananda, Jesus Christ, Charles Dickens to name a few. Loving selflessly begins with Charity as miller mentions ‘Zakat’ from Islamic principles. The other chapters include tips on practicing positivity, finding perspective, being grateful, cultivating a rational compassion, choosing growth, balance and living in the present. The advice is drawn from various religions, philosophies and ways of thinking. The writing style is easy to follow and the book is organised well. There is an attempt to unite all of humanity and their various modes of looking at life regardless of differences.

Miller perpetuates the idea of listening to everyone and every viewpoint and then to choose the best possible for oneself.

Polished Steel: Lessons from the Dojo by Shaz Davis

Each chapter is beautifully illustrated with appropriate hand drawn color sketches. The illustrations add to the already vibrant anecdotes that provide meaningful lessons to anybody looking for answers in the struggle of life. Also, each chapter concludes with a haiku on the lower left corner of the page that provides enlightening metaphoric meanings and thoughtful contemplation.

Title: Polished Steel: Lessons from the Dojo

Author: Shaz Davis

Publisher: FirstLine Limited

Date of Publication: 8 June 2017

Genre: Self-Help

Rating: 5/5

This historical non-fiction written by Shaz Davis is a one of a kind book about real stories recalled and recollected by her and other students of Sensei. Teaching over more than 5000 students, Sensei or Lao Tse or Bob Davis is a trainer in various styles of traditional and sport karate, aikido, jujutsu, and kobudo.

In 1985 Bob felt that the worldwide trend of commercialisation and modification of training for sport and competition was not conducive to effective self defence application, health and personal growth. He immersed himself in Chinese civilian defensive art systems with particular emphasis on wing chung kung fu, tang shou dao, t’ai chi ch’uan, chin na and hsing i-ch’uan. He also studied Phillipine fighting systems and Japanese martial art forms. The afterword in the book reveals the massive stroke that Sensei suffered in 2015 damaging the back right quarter of his brain and affecting the functioning of the left side of his body. To see a teacher who has touched so many lives through his hardwork and sincerity become completely dependent to perform basic everyday acts is heart breaking. This book is dedicated towards taking forward his vision and work by his student and wife Shaz.

The book is well detailed and written in a simple language that is easily digestible. “Training in a traditional dojo is only 50 percent technique. Students sign up to learn self-defence or a particular art, but stay because of the holistic body, mind, and spirit lessons that blend with the teachings in almost every class” are lines from the foreword that sum up briefly the endless gains from the dojo that is a place of life long learning and one needs to maintain practicing until one reaches near perfection and then re-learn all over again.

Each chapter is beautifully illustrated with appropriate hand drawn color sketches. The illustrations add to the already vibrant anecdotes that provide meaningful lessons to anybody looking for answers in the struggle of life. Also, each chapter concludes with a haiku on the lower left corner of the page that provides enlightening metaphoric meanings and thoughtful contemplation. The illustrations are very simplistic but the book largely functions on the binary of orange and white. Chapter names begin with the overall moral of each incident such as “leave your ego with your shoes, if you don’t know: ask, what’s in a shout” and so on. Spanning over thirty nine chapters, this book is meticulously done in terms of content, illustrations and layout.

While Shaz spends much of her time caring for Bob and playing Frisbee with their dog Shanti, she is already an award winning writer. This is a very indulging read for trainers and trainees as well as those outside of the dojo who may be contemplating on taking up a martial art form or enrolling their kids into one.

Click the book cover to grab your copy. Happy reading!

The Teacher & The Salesman: A Communication Reference Guide for Delivering Engaging and Informative Discussions Using the POETIC Framework by Mohibul Nahar

The book is very candid and conversational. Nahar confesses that he’s not selling any secret formula or profoundly insightful ideas.

Title: The Teacher & The Salesman: A Communication Reference Guide for Delivering Engaging and Informative Discussions Using the POETIC Framework

Author: Mohibul Nahar

Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 23 July 2017

Genre: Self-Help

Rating: 5/5

“A good talk is like a primer for your brain.”

The classroom is a dynamic space of constant interactions and all those facing a class of beaming students know the importance of maintaining that dynamism in order to uphold the energy of the class. But some Professors are way too boring and do not realise that their real influence upon the students is far beyond the subject lectures. It is in the way they present their ideas, how they talk, how socially relevant they keep their speeches and how far they are able to pull their students out from deep slumber yanking at their eyelids. Their real impact is outside the class in how approachable and open minded they can be. But no matter how much we all understand these, do we know the ways to achieve them?

Pleasantly, Nahar jumps to the help of all such communicators in need to help them realise and prioritise their goals. Using the anecdote of a conversation between a teacher and a salesman, Nahar drives his point home about the importance of salesmanship on behalf of the teacher. Teaching and selling then become twin concepts. While teachers help the youth grow, salesmen drive the economy. He cleverly argues that we are always selling our best to the ones in whose hearts we want to create a special place for ourselves and in return be adored. Explaining how to sell one’s skills then becomes imperative while also teaching them how to be better versions of themselves. The book is very candid and conversational. Nahar confesses that he’s not selling any secret formula or profoundly insightful ideas. It is all a bunch of his own personal observations taken during his engineering and business degrees as well as a lot of field experience. But with a tinge of humour he goes on to mention that his most important experience is with his spouse of ten years that has provided him with ample experience of lecturing, being lectured to and lots of selling.

Nahar goes on to introduce the POETIC framework that should form the basis of logical discussions and fruitful arguments. Bullet points and simple examples make it easier to understand his advice. He stresses on peer to peer teaching for better bonding and clarity of concepts amongst students who may fear their peers as competitors or see them as a threat to their personal development. The knowledge level of students is important and the awareness or misunderstandings they bring with them will shape the way they receive information.

He also adds a word of caution regarding advanced students who are always a challenge (as much as a delight) to their teachers though they usually appreciate the pre-lecture refresher; triggering ideas they may have missed or hasn’t yet occurred to them. They may come across as arrogant, detached and uninterested because they’re mostly self-taught and depend very little upon their teachers. Hence, it may be difficult to pin them down as they’re always on the move but that shouldn’t deter the teacher from selectively engaging in higher order thinking and dialogue. In the most highly engaging classes the teacher should not require participation at all. The students should know the course of events. On the whole, the book is very engaging with quite some practical advice. Though it is targeted towards those in teaching or speaking based professions, consultants, salespersons, trainers, marketers and presenters but it is a useful read for all.

Click the book cover to grab your copy. Happy Reading!

 

Rejection: 2 in 1 Book: Proven steps To Overcome the Fear of Rejection and Breakup Bible: How to Tell Your Partner This Isn’t Working (The Relationship Guide Series) by Niel Schreiber

Acknowledging the apocalypse is of utmost importance. One cannot begin to resolve issues without pin pointing the cause and reason behind them. It calls for putting down unrealistic expectations or over dependency on the trigger.

Title: Rejection: 2 in 1 Book: Proven Steps to Overcome the Fear of Rejection and Breakup Bible: How to Tell Your Partner This Isn’t Working (The Relationship Guide Series)

Author: Niel Schreiber

Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 9 November 2017

Genre: Self-Help

Rating: 5/5

“you’ve touched me

without even

touching me”

-Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey (2014)

Rejection is a brutal emotion and tends to overpower all the positivity in a person. That does not in any way mean that rejection cannot be overcome. The book begins by helping the reader navigate the murky and dark waters of rejection and its tendency to parasitically take over one’s life. Rejection can mean a lot of things to a lot of people from being turned down by the one’s they admire, to not making it to a certain position in life or not getting a certain grade and job. In any case it has far reaching effects in the lives of people. It can take on a life of its own and begin to manipulate decisions. However, it is self -inflicted rejection that is the worst. The book provides ample advice on how to deal with and rise above rejection. While it is not exhaustive, it has some positive approaches towards situational downturns and feelings of dejection. The step by step advice helps to focus on the issues at hand and work at eliminating them one at a time in order to ensure steady self-development.

As its title suggests, the second book is truly the Breakup Bible for the modern generation that seems to be struggling to keep its heart in place. With a conversational style and brief approach, the guide is bound to teach readers how to begin at self-love and self-acceptance. Acknowledging the apocalypse is of utmost importance. One cannot begin to resolve issues without pin pointing the cause and reason behind them. It calls for putting down unrealistic expectations or over dependency on the trigger. ‘Whirlwind Relationships’ are addressed as one of the riskiest of all, since the couple identity overtakes the individuality of the duo. This has serious long term effects leading to the ‘fairy tale fallout’. Dishonesty is at the top of the list. The book stresses over and over again on certain issues that should not be tolerated under any circumstance. No means no. Openness and accountability must not be compromised with as is the case in most toxic relationships. After the erosion of self -worth is over begins the real period of recovery and renewal. The book focuses on self actualisation and identity reconstruction through some simple yet profound tips. The advice is very organised, subtle and mature. It’s just the kind of words that a person needs to hear at a time of emotional meltdown. Following these does not come across as too difficult and the book does not ask for much from the reader except to listen in a whole hearted manner to the counsel with an open mind. It strikes a beautiful balance between finding inner ease and yet being able to remain big hearted and emotionally stable.

Click the book cover to grab your copy. Happy Reading!

New Age: 2 Books In 1 – Enhance Your Life With “Astral Projection” & “Lucid Dreaming” (New Age Series) by Tabitha Zalot

These hypnotic like states and mental representations also find prevalence in Literature and Art famously seen in Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia. Scientific experiments to induce out of body experiences have not done enough to clarify the nature of these experiences. It is assumed that a fifth dimension is usually chosen that can be occupied by various entities or can be un-populated.

Title: New Age: 2 Books in 1- Enhance Your Life With “Astral Projection” & Lucid Dreaming (New Age Series)

Author: Tabitha Zalot

Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 2 November 2017

Genre: Self-Help

Rating: 5/5

A near death or out of body experience is so intensely vivid that it cannot be physiologically explained. It is a mystery to the one who has and hasn’t experienced it. The existence of a spirit has long been debated but there exist numerous hypotheses and verdicts that sustain and confirm it. Astral projection consists of detaching the spiritual form from the bodily one. Is there anything more awe inspiring than the idea of implicit eternity?

The book begins by elaborating on the historical references of astral projection as seen in religious doctrines and cultures including those of ancient Egypt, Taoist practices and Hinduism. From Plato to Socrates, Pliny and Plutarch, dreams and experiences that correspond to astral travel have been extensively recorded. The astral plane is perceived as a middle light between Heaven and Earth, populated by angelic and demonic entities in philosophical systems such as Theosophy and Hermeticism. These hypnotic like states and mental representations also find prevalence in Literature and Art famously seen in Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia. Scientific experiments to induce out of body experiences have not done enough to clarify the nature of these experiences. It is assumed that a fifth dimension is usually chosen that can be occupied by various entities or can be un-populated. Astral projection, however, has been an important instrument in understanding the process of dying. Midway through the book comes the chapter on the sensorial signs and psychosomatic signs of a person experiencing the astral projection which is starkly different from a dream or a vision.

This forms the turning point of the book that moves into a step by step guide towards actually travelling the astral plane. The physical and mental preparations needed to be taken are mentioned concisely. The segment about Top 10 easiest and Most Effective Astral Travel Techniques is very interesting. The book states the many benefits of astral projection such as metaphysical awakening, enhanced imagination and extrasensory abilities, personal growth, time travel, liberation from the fear of death which the author claims provides complete self coordination. But can the astral projection also be dangerous? Zalot provides ample information about the pros and cons and the book is vividly illuminating about an aspect that is little understood despite several supplicants and claimants.

Have you ever had a dream that you wanted to re-dream? Coined as ‘lucid dreaming’ in 1913 by Frederick van Eeden, it refers to the action of immersing oneself in a dream while being aware of dreaming. A lucid dream presents itself like an alternate reality. It is much sharper than a normal dream which may feel pretty much a daze.

Zalot begins by making some controversial statements that lucid dreaming is completely voluntary and lucid dreamers employ reality checks. Lucidity requires practicing a clarity of mind. However, lucid dreaming and dream control are not the same things. Lucid dreaming can be a preparation for out of body experiences in which one can get away from the body and watch it from above. No matter how fantastical it sounds, the bigger question is why would anybody want to involve in it?

Zalot argues that creativity is let loose during the dreaming process through which one can transcend the barriers of consciousness and maybe even to visualise and fulfil unexplored pleasures. The book further highlights common means to induce lucid dreams with and without technology, drugs and supplements. Emotional and cognitive experiences comprise the apex of meaningful dreams. The book also provides some dream control methods that help in maintaining lucidity.

Now whether you are metaphysically inclined or just curious about the world of dreams this is a great book to indulge in some thought provoking escapism.

Click the book cover to grab your copy. Happy Reading!