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Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments:…

Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy…

by Kent M. Keith

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I have quite a few of what I call "self-help" or "inspirational" type books. Most tend to be short reads and usually a lot of the same themes. I found this book to be much better than most. All the premises of the Paradoxical commandments are that by doing good and doing whats right you may not get any recognition or rewards but just do it anyway. I found this to be a better point of view. People that are genuine don't need applause and reward but rather the act of giving are doing are reward enough in itself. The book is short and a quick read but I think it's very worthwhile and will probably be a book you may want to read more than once. ( )
  realbigcat | Oct 24, 2008 |
Ever wondered why you’re here? Or thought it’s not worth trying anymore, the Earth’s a hole anyway? I have. That’s why I picked up this book. I’ve never really been into self-help books, but this one is very short, so I chose it - I read it in three hours. Short and simple it may be, but it’s a great book and everyone should read it. If everyone did, there would be no greed, spite, jealousy, revenge or any desire for personal glory that generally leads to all these fucked up things.

Kent M. Keith claims that if you live by these Commandments, you will not need recognition of the good you achieve; it’s the personal meaning and satisfaction that we get from this good that is worth more than all the applause in the world. He explains the infinite benefits of unconditional love, of being good, honest and frank, of listening to your heart, of helping grumpy, smelly old men that spew up their food as soon as they’ve eaten it and of giving life everything you’ve got, despite your chances of getting kicked in the teeth for all these efforts. In short, this book is inspiration to be the best person you can, despite the fact that it might be to no avail. That’s the paradox. Despite what we all think, abandoning our search for success and recognition in our respective fields and beginning our journey to simply be honest, good-natured people, will give us the meaning in our lives that we all secretly yearn for.

This is not the first time the Paradoxical Commandments have been seen in this world. In fact, they were written over 30 years ago, by the same author and about twenty five years later, were found in a book about Mother Teresa. They had been stuck on the wall in one of Mother Teresa’s homes in Calcutta, to be read and remembered by all her children. These Commandments establish principles that the followers of this saintly woman thought worthy of sticking on their wall! If that doesn’t tell you that this book will help you, then you must think you’re perfect.

The Paradoxical Commandments can be found on the net but without this book, which explains the philosophy and experiences behind the creation of them, the benefits are only half reaped. This book is an eye opener, and if you like a book that makes you think, it’s perfect for you.

PS. You will notice I have said nothing bad about this book. That’s because there is nothing bad to say. It is the most brilliant book I have read in years.

This review was originally published in On Dit, the student newspaper of Adelaide University. ( )
  RyanPaine | Sep 7, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0399149457, Hardcover)

As the story goes, author Kent M. Keith was a sophomore at Harvard University in the 1960s when he first wrote "The Paradoxical Commandments," a manifesto about doing good in a crazy, ungrateful world. These commandments are the basis of his repackaged and expanded book Anyway. Since his Harvard days, Keith's commandments have taken on a life of their own. They have been quoted by the Boy Scouts of America and written on inspirational office memos, classroom handouts, and Internet sites around the world. They have even been discovered in Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta. Now Keith has stepped forward to explain his commandments and speak to his credo for doing "the right thing." Readers will probably recognize the commandments:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

No doubt about it--these are provocative and encouraging statements, reminding us that there are no guarantees or tangible rewards for doing good in the world. Each commandment gets its own chapter, where Keith elaborates on the theme with personal anecdotes, famous stories, and advice. Though Keith is obviously a gifted and wise leader, the words and explanations surrounding each commandment often feel like overkill. As in Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, these guidelines ultimately make a better poster than a book. Even so, fans of the original "Paradoxical Commandments" will certainly enjoy meeting the voice and integrity of the man behind the words. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:51 -0400)

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