Categories
About the Book

Book Review from London – The Most Interesting Self Help Book I Came Across

This Is Your Quest is a self-help book, I despise the phrase because it describes pop-psych, hippy nonsense, espousing spiritual mantras and upper colonic irrigation. If those are your tools for leading a kinder, simpler life, then so be it. However, if you want to read a book, you need something a bit more cerebral. This Is Your Quest is nothing like any other self-help book you will come across. It is an enlightening delight that defies the genre, well-written, insightful and ever so sincere. The approach is individual, the words have depth and the message is uplifting and thoughtful”.

“The book itself is a journey, and Reed excels at holding the hand of her guest readers. There is a gentle voice to the message. In between each chapter, she includes letters to the readers, recapping what’s has been learned and continually encouraging growth”.

“There is a surprising amount of depth in the presentation. I learnt a lot while reading it. I am not a major history nerd, but history was what hooked me. I think it is a really interesting way to break down happiness and comment on the idea of our worth and potential quests”.


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Learn to Love

Unconditional Love – Part 2

The amazing and true story of Professor Ueno and his dog Hachi is described in This Is Your Quest – Chapter 14 – Page 184:

This story takes place in Japan in the 1920s. The main characters are Eizaburo Ueno, Professor of Agricultural Science at Tokyo University and his Dog Hachiko (nicknamed Hachi). 

Professor Ueno lived a normal and quiet life.  He used to take the train to Tokyo every day to teach.  One day, one of his students offered him a pure breed Akita puppy to adopt. Akita dogs are well known in Japan. They were originally bred to fight and hunt bears and to guard Japanese royalty. They are excellent guard dogs and are used today by the Japanese police and military for security, and thanks to Hachi, they are also known for their loyalty.

Louis, my own little ‘Hachi’

Professor Ueno and Hachi developed a very strong bond and became inseparable. Hachi got into the habit of seeing his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya train station, in Central Tokyo and then going to meet him at the station in the afternoon when he returned from work. Hachi did this every day without fail.  

Statue of Hachi & Professor Ueno at University of Tokyo, Japan

On 21 May 1925, Hachi was sitting by the exit at Shibuya train station, as usual, waiting for his dear Eizaburo to return.  But his owner never showed up.  It turned out that Eizaburo had suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage and died suddenly and unexpectedly while at work. 

Hachi moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family, but for the rest of his ten-year life, he continued to go to Shibuya train station every morning and afternoon, waiting in vain for the return of his beloved owner, who sadly never came back. 

A major newspaper reporter picked up on the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan.  In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachi himself present as the main guest.  Hachi became an international sensation in 2009 when Hachi’s story was turned into a Hollywood movie with Richard Gere as the lead actor. 

Hachi, A Dog’s Tale, 2009 starring Richard Gere

On 19 May 2012, a bronze statue of Hachiko was placed at the train station in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where the movie “Hachi” was filmed.  The Rhode Island statue’s dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom festival. Dignitaries including the Mayor of Woonsocket and the Consul of Japan attended the ceremony. Decades after his death, the love and loyalty that Hachi showed for his master is still celebrated on the other side of the world and has drawn crowds and dignitaries from both the US and Japan.

And this my dear reader is the power of Storge.


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Categories
Learn to Love

Unconditional Love – Part 1

Extract from This Is Your Quest – Chapter 14 – Page 183:

According to the Ancient Greeks, there are 8 types of Love

Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and their children; but it can also be found in the unconditional love that dog owners get from their dog.

Dogs are the only species who, like a child, run to their owner when they are frightened, anxious or just pleased to see their owner whenever they walk through the door.

Dogs have a very special capacity to demonstrate unconditional love that is quite refreshing. Their enthusiasm for their owner never falters. Dogs are the only animal to actively seek out eye contact with people, and truly want to be with us. Studies have shown that being in contact with animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits and horses can lead to lower blood pressure and can combat stress and ease anxiety disorder and depression. Pets can provide friendship to those who are lonely, sick or depressed.

Meet my sweet dog Louis

 


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About the Book

Book Review – Jan Haringa from Holland

“Interesting reading from beginning until the end, now and then I felt like being at school again. I am familiar with the name Beguine women but never realized their background. I lived in Netherlands in a city called Haarlem about 20km West of Amsterdam. Haarlem is an old city with a long history and still has a Beguinage (Beguine courtyard) which is a national monument. I always took it at face value without knowing the history.

Beguine Courtyard Amsterdam

The book is well organized which is also important. Thanks for this book. I wish many people read it.”

Originally there were 37 beguine (Dutch” begijn”), courtyards (dutch “hofjes”), but most of them were destroyed by the Calvinists during the religious conflicts. Only two very beautiful beguinages remain today: Amsterdam and Breda, which have been protected by the Orange-Nassau family.

Beguine Woman, by
Margaretha de Goede-Taal

Extract from “This Is Your Quest” – Chapter 20 – Page 222:

“The tale of the Beguine Women who lived independently in the Middle Ages, who became very influential through their trades as healers & educators and their gifts as oracles, is a story worth telling. The Beguines Women were usually unmarried women, skilled in the art of herbal medicine and healing. They looked like nuns but never swore allegiance to any formal church organization.They organized themselves into self-sufficient villages where they catered for most of their needs themselves. They built schools for young girls. They built hospitals, cemeteries and pharmacies. They also became safe oasis for women who were left destitute. Slowly but surely the Beguine Women started to become very influential. This tremendous success drew a lot of jealousy from the clergy who saw them as direct competition to their authority and power…”

To find out how this story ends you have to read it in Chapter 20 of my book.


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Categories
Self-Help

Walk The Talk

Walk The Talk

Aristotle’s followers are said to have discussed philosophy while walking about with him. They literally walked the talk!

Every person, great or small has important work to do. There is for each and every one of us a goal that we must follow. A path that bears our name. A hand that we must hold. A word that we must say. A smile that we must give. A song that we must sing. For seldom do we realize the importance of small deeds. For great things can happen if everyone of us would brighten up the spot on which they are standing.

You Too can Walk The Talk

I made it my Quest for 2019 to help as many people as I can (through the words I have written in my book ) to find the path which bears their name.


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Categories
About the Book

Breaking News! Joanne Reed’s Interview with Ariana Diaries

My gratitude goes to Ariana Diaries for giving me the opportunity to talk to her about How to discover your Life’s Quest.

When asked why her self-help book is different from others Joanne Reed said:

People who read self-help books are interested in personal development and self-actualization. Most self-help books are written from the perspective of the author and through their own expertise, knowledge & personal experience in a particular area, and it usually takes the form of a list of rules which the reader should follow in order to achieve whichever objectives they set. My approach was different, I used a multi-dimensional angle to the story. I did not tell people what to do and how they should lead their lives; I did not set rules, that they should abide by. Rather lead readers on their own Quest, that will lead them to the right path for them. I shared wisdom and life-lessons that I found through sources in history and myriad philosophies. As a reader, you must be ready to work your own path, while shadowing in the footsteps of explorers, philosophers, authors & influencers who succeeded in their own Quest.”

For the full article please check Ariana Diaries blog

And keep tuned-in here for regular updates:


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About the Book

Chinese Wisdom

To celebrate Lunar New Year, I would like to share with you some Chinese wisdom provided by Lao Tzu who was an ancient Chinese philosopher, writer and founder of Taoism. His name means “Old Master”.

The Year of the Pig promises to be a year filled with prosperity, good fortune & abundance. I explained in Chapter 11 of my book that the word prosperity comes from the latin root prosperitas which means to go forward hopefully, in other words, it is an attitude towards life. Being prosperous therefore is not a destination, it is a journey. 

Lao Tzu teaches us that Truly, the greatest gift you have to give, is that of your own self-transformation and that A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.

Stop trying to leave, and you will arrive. Stop seeking, and you will see. Stop running away, and you will be found. By letting go it all gets done.

Photos taken at the Korean National Folk Museum, Seoul


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Categories
About the Book

Media Exposure – Conquer the Long & Winding Road to Happiness

Thank you  to the Indian Magazine Inidna for writing 8 articles on This Is Your Quest and for recommending my book to their readers! 

According to the journalist Dipsikha Samantaray This Is Your Quest is one of the best and most inspirational books of all time. In fact it is one of the best self-help book published in the past decades!

According to journalist Soudami Mohapatra:

This Is Your Quest will take you on a roller coaster ride through in-depth discussions on philosophy, socio-economic discourse and truth-seeking subjects. This book will entice, surprise, challenge your point of view but will also inspire and guide you to find fulfillment and find answers from within self.

Links to all the articles are below, thank you Indidna!

Boost up your self-confidence and develop the skills of learning from the failures

This Is Your Quest: Directing You Towards Success, Happiness & Prosperity

Give Yourself An Inspiration Boost With Book ‘This Is Your Quest”

This Is Your Quest – Your Guide To Happiness, Prosperity & Success

What Advantages We will Get from the Book “This is Your Quest”?

“This is your Quest”- A Book about Prosperity, Self-help, Happiness, Philosophy & Success

Gracing with ease and strengthening life using self-help

Conquer the long and winding road to happiness

What Advantages We will Get from the Book “This is Your Quest”?


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Categories
Self-Help

“To Be or Not To Be “- Finding Meaning in your life

To be or not to be is one of the most famous line of Shakespeare’s [1] play Hamlet.  The main character, Hamlet, lives through a full-blown tragedy with no happy ending in sight; the play deals with questions about life and existence, sanity, love, death and betrayal.   Tragedies are part of our everyday life. The philosopher Henry David Thoreau [2] managed to encapsulate this concept in one sentence when he said: The mass of men leads lives of quiet desperation.  This feeling comes from the fact that for a lot of people they feel that they are stuck in the rat race  unable to make their own choices but forced instead to go through the motion of waking up every day, go to work to get a pay check which is necessary in order to afford all the necessities of life, pay all the bills, put some money aside (if possible) for a well-deserved vacation somewhere (to get away for just a little while) from the mundanity of everyday life and repeat the process year after year after year; but people are not born to just go to work, pay their bills and then die.  Surely, there is more to it than that.

Living a life of quiet desperation can affect everyone, young, old, poor and also the rich & famous.   For the majority of people, the ultimate measure of success is to become rich and if you can achieve fame at the same time – all the better; but sometimes notoriety and money alone is not enough to save people from a life of quiet desperation.

The most fundamental question that each one of us should ask ourselves is What is the meaning of life?  It is in essence a very philosophical question and as such we should seek the assistance of some of the most prestigious philosophers in order to help us gain some clarity on this subject; because philosophers are the ones who spend the majority of their time thinking about the most fundamental question i.e. how to live.  The art of living is at the center of what preoccupies most philosophers.

 Aristotle[3]spent a fair amount of time thinking about the concept of human well-being and what virtues are necessary to achieve a life well-lived; he wrote his findings and conclusions in Ethics. Aristotle reached the conclusion that what we need in order to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor and wealth fit together as a whole.  The principle idea with which Aristotle begins is that there are differences of opinion about what is best for human beings.  Most people would agree that it is good to have friends, to experience pleasure, to be honored, and to have such virtues as courage, at least to some degree. The difficult and controversial question arise when we ask whether some of these are more desirable than others.

To answer this question Aristotle came up with two key principles to help us live a full and happy life, the first one is the use of reason and the second one is the use of virtue.  What separates humans from other species is our capacity to use reason.  In order to live well, we have to use reason well.  This means that when we face a choice between several options we have to choose the option that is most rational according to the current circumstance and the most virtuous

But not everyone has the capability or the willingness to travel through life exercising virtuous acts, now, then and always. So, if one is unable or unwilling to be virtuous, what does it make him or her? According to Aristotle, someone who is unable to resist pressure to go the opposite way of being virtuous can be describes as “incontinent.”  Someone who refuses to try to do what an ethically virtuous person would do, because he/she has been convinced that justice, temperance, generosity and the like are of little value, can be described as “evil.” Evil people are driven by the desire for domination and luxury.

And this is where the American Philosopher Richard Taylor [4] enters into the frame to add an additional layer to Aristotle’s concept by proposing to add another quality that is necessary in order to pursue virtuous acts; and that quality is creativity.  For him human excellence can be achieved through the fulfillment of our capacity for creativity.

Richard Taylor urges people:

Do something – Create something. To do otherwise is simply to waste your precious life, because if the only thing you do is eat, sleep, reproduce then die, for a person to do no better than that is in effect to lapse into a mere animal nature.

 What if I have no passion?  This time round we will ask the renown philosopher Carl Jung [5] to help us answer this question. According to Carl Jung: “If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself. To give style to one’s character is a great and rare art”.

Furthermore, Richard Taylor tells us that:

Don’t suppose that a work of art must be something that all can behold – a poem, a painting, a book, a great building. Consider making of your own life a work of art.  You have yourself to begin with and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be what you are, and even though you may be quite content with who and what you are, it will not be hard for you to think of something greater that you might become. It need not be something spectacular, or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can then take a look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of.

The answer to the most fundamental question of all time (i.e. what is the meaning of life and by extension how to be happy) can be found in the following words: The Use of Reason, Virtuous Acts, and Creativity. That is all there is to it. To be or not to be that is the question?!… Over to you.


[1] William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616): English poet, playwright and actor. Best known for his plays; Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing to only name a few.

[2] Henri David Thoreau (12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862): American essayist, Poet, Philosopher, Abolitionist, Historian. Best known for his book Walden – a reflection upon simple living and his essay “Civil Disobedience.”

[3] Aristotle (384-322 BC): Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Student of Plato. Best known for his contribution to the field of science, psychology, politics, history and arts.

[4] Richard Taylor (5 November 1919 – 30 October 2003): American Philosophe. Best known for his work and papers on the meaning of life.

[5] Carl Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961): Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and prolific writer. Best known for creating some of the best known psychological concepts such as synchronicity, extraversion and introversion, the collective unconscious.


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.