November Book Reviews

Reviews by Len Oppenheim

Given its title, Enlightenment for Idiots, the novel by Anne Cushman was obviously written for people like me. Ms Cushman has not only chosen a clever title for her first novel, she has done the title more than justice in the writing of the novel. This book was very entertaining, so much fun to read, and at the same time was quite wise in its approach to life, yoga, seeking, and the Indian Guru scene.

The premise of the book is that Amanda, a thirty year old yoga teacher/nanny/aspiring writer, gets an assignment to go to India to seek enlightenment and write a book about the seeking and the finding for a publisher who wants to add another title to the “Idiot” category.

Ann Cushman co-authored a book (which I used on a trip to India) From Here to Nirvana: The Yoga Journal Guide to Spiritual India. It was an excellent guidebook, so Ann Cushman certainly has been around and knows of what she writes.

In this novel, Amanda’s not so great love life and her passion for Yoga are combined to make a very fascinating read. The various Guru’s she visits are clearly parodies of well known teachers such as Sai Baba, Sri Sri Ravishankar, and Gangaji, to name just a few. Whether or not a reader knows them and are “insiders” into the parodies or not, I think any reader will find this book a great fun romp to experience and benefit from the humor and wisdom so artfully intertwined.

The book is, at times, hilarious. The character she meets in India and travels with, Devi Das is totally charming and would make a great character in a movie. I would like to quote a brief review which I think really sums up the essence and attractiveness of this novel: Equal parts Sex and the City and Eat, Pray, Love, Cushman’s novel sparkles with both sass and insights.” –Debra Galant

This is a truly wonderful book to be read for sheer enjoyment while at the same has surprisingly deep insights. I give this one very high grades and hope the author has another book as good for the future.

Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff, by Erin Arvedlund is a book I highly recommend, but with certain reservations. The reason I recommend it is that those whom I consider to be reliable sources tell me that is the best book out there about Madoff and his Ponzi Scheme. I think most people would find the whole thing quite fascinating. I certainly did.

My reservations are simply that the book is not extremely well-written. It is repetitive in places and has the feel of something written to meet a deadline or to be rushed to publication because the story was hot and competition was out there.

Nevertheless I was fascinated by the story and there are wonder tidbits about Madoff and other famous people that I would guess everyone would be interested in. Moreover there are some brilliant points made about human nature and about the SEC and government regulation that I consider “must be understood by all”.

The Author wrote a column in Barron’s in 2001 exposing Madoff as a potential fraud, and therefore she gets high grades for having been there on the story early. Moreover, she has done an excellent job of research and since this is clearly the biggest theft of all time I think it has more than passing interest to almost all of us..

As we move into the fall, my favorite season, I wish everyone all the best,

Reviews by Tony Kainauskus

A good friend who is a local successful business leader as well as someone whom I respect highly recommended I get Lucky You for our store.

The book can help anyone overcome the helplessness of negative experiences and tune in to luck, in everything from gambling to career breaks.

The author studied the principles used by lucky people. He lists true accounts of people who created their own lucky breaks. He explains “how to decipher your hunches, read the pattern of coincidences in your life, understand the predictions in your dreams and form your own psychic connection to luck”.

This is what Dean Radin, Ph.D (author or Entangled Minds and senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences) says about Lucky You:

Lucky You! provides a fascinating look at lessons from exceptionally lucky people and from experiments on luck conducted in the laboratory. Read this book to learn how to attract “smart luck” into your life.”

The lessons learned in this book will help with

Health and safety

Business and Investing

Relationships and Love


China is a very complex country: a socialistic government with capitalistic envy.

Reading American Shaolin by Matthew Polly, I was introduced to this fascinating country in a way that educates, combining both humor and spirit.

The book is composed in the similar vein as Bill Bryson’s books. You receive an education in a culture and people that is alien to most of us, written with a lot of self effacing humor.

Three of the author’s goals in life were:

To become a real man

To become attractive to the opposite sex

To become less spiritually ignorant

So to achieve all 3 objectives in one full sweep he travels to China to the ancient Shaolin temple where he studies Kung Fu under the direction of the young Buddhist Monks.

Shaolin temple is the founding seat of Zen Buddhism, founded by the enlightened master Damo.

Damo taught that enlightenment can only be achieved by constant meditation (having reached awakening himself by nine years of meditation in a cave in total solitude) Because of the inertia caused by hours of meditating, the monks soon found their muscles becoming weak. To combat this a form of exercise was developed to keep the body strong. The exercise also incorporated self defense. The monastery was in a very remote area and was often invaded by robbers. This exercise became known as Kung Fu.

Today Kung Fu has hundreds of variations from Eagle Claw to the exotic Iron Crotch.

The town of Shaolin itself has grown to become a major Chinese tourist destination and the monks of the temple have become more enamored with their physical skills then their inward meditative ones– each trying to out do the other with their brick smashing and triple flips through the air.

I feel you will definitely find this book a fascinating journey into the Chinese culture done with much humor and personal insight by the author. From the stern Chinese party officials, the back biting between the monks, and the wayward romance so well described by the author, I promise this book will be one that brings much joyful reading.

American Shaolin was a 2007national best seller.

If you are a fan of Robert Cox (Former member of Purusha)

Author of …

Pillar of Celestial Fire

The Final Event

Then you will be happy to hear his 4th book has recently been published:

The Elixir of Immortality: A Modern-Day Alchemists Discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone

From the Back Cover

In 1989, while attempting to extract precious minerals from his property, a wealthy Arizonan obtained a mysterious white material that initially defied scientific attempts to identify it. After several years of testing, this substance was revealed to consist of gold and platinum–but in a form unknown to modern science. Further research showed that this powder, which had also been discovered to possess marvelous healing powers, contained monatomic forms of precious metals whose electron units had been altered to no longer display the physical, chemical, or electrical properties of the original elements. This substance, Robert Cox shows, bears eerie resemblance to the ultimate quest of the alchemists: the elixir of immortality.

The mysterious material-spiritual science of alchemy was once pervasive throughout the ancient world, spanning the globe from China and India to Egypt and medieval Europe. In The Elixir of Immortality, Robert Cox reviews the alchemical lore of these traditions and the procedures each used to produce this fabulous elixir. Using his own alchemical research, then reveals secrets that have been kept hidden for millennia uncovered in his own modern-day quest to rediscover this long-sought elixir of life.

ROBERT E. COX holds a master’s degree in Vedic Studies from the Institute of Creative Intelligence in Switzerland. He is the author of Creating the Soul Body and The Pillar of Celestial Fire and has spent more than 15 years engaged in alchemical-metallurgical research.

Experiencing the present moment.

Living in the now.

I do not take these statements to mean we should be focusing on the action we are taking in the present… writing this letter (me) or reading this essay (you)…

The present moment would be that eternal unchanging silence behind each and every activity (me and you being one)

Living in the now means…

Living in the power and energy of that silence…

Before purity is blemished and desire is spread.

Before the one path diverged into the many.

It is the silence before the chant is sung or the bell is rung.

It is true holiness; it is Christos and St John’s Logos.

God the Father… Holy Mother.

Through our own Passion play

This silence becomes stronger than our cells and atoms.

We die and are reborn to eternal life.

Resurrected to Godliness.