A few months ago, I plugged David Korten's latest book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, which deals with one of my favorite topics, namely extricating oneself from the great "rat race" as much as possible. This resulted in a good conversation about the book. But while the book serves as a fine overview of how we came to be in the present mess, the final three chapters on what to do about it were on the weak side. They didn't leave the reader with a clear set of ideas on what to do after they had finished reading it.
Now a new book is out which performs this task admirably although there is no connection between the two. It's called The Flip: Turn Your World Around and is co-written by Jared Rosen and David Rippe. I would say that the book title refers to a mental or gestalt flip we can all do instantly to change how we view situations and circumstances. Let me quote from the back jacket:
Imagine two worlds.
One is an upside down world where people feel frenzied and fearful, their thoughts fragmented, their lives in disarray.
The other is a world that is right side up. People know that in this ever-more connected global landscape their individual choices affect the lives of everyone.
Neither of these worlds is difficult to imagine because both of them exist today. Humanity stands on a bridge in between these worlds and we must make a choice to go in one or the other direction. Which side do you choose?
The Flip reveals that tens of millions of people have already made the choice to embrace the right-side up world. As a result, a stunning change is underway: a major transformational shift from a broken, outmoded paradigm where the natural world has been sacrificed for convenience to an interconnected world where millions of people value a holistic lifestyle of natural products, sustainable living and spiritual transcendence.
I am about half-way through this book and like very much the way it's organized. The eleven chapters focus on the key areas of life such as our values, health, finances, media exposure, diets, religion, and work life, etc. The first half of every chapter explains how to look at these areas differently--in a healthier and more balanced manner-- and then the second half provides short interviews with people who did "the Flip" and serve as living proof that it can be done. Each chapter is short and easy to digest but offers a fresh perspective.
I find that often all that's required to make a change in one's life is to first simply realize that there are other ways of being and doing. This book is a good starting point for doing the flip.
Let me share a personal example with you. Back in 1982 one of my philosophy profs was talking about the detrimental effect watching television has on your life. He summed his position up with the immortal words, "If you watch television, Madison Avenue has your mind colonized." I thought about it for a few days and then cancelled my cable subscription and left the set connected only to the VCR (now replaced by a DVD player which is used to watch two movies per week from Netflix.) I have never regretted the decision to rid myself of the lobotomy box.
These two books go well together. However, if you are not interested in the historical explanation of how we came to live in a world dominated by big business where the value of everything is left to be determined by the marketplace, read The Flip. It's well worth the price of admission. As before, we'll start up a conversation thread at the Karavans forum shortly.