[Once again, I'm posting this just shy of my Monday morning schedule, because odds of me getting it posted by the Monday 8 AM deadline are slim to none. Hope nobody minds my early jump on the review!]
Book Review of Caught in the Headlights: 10 Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Barry K. Phillips
From the back cover blurb:
Have you ever gotten what you wished for, only to discover that it's not really what you wanted after all? We've all had those deer in the headlights moments when we realize we've been chasing after the wrong things. Caught in the Headlights is a frank, insightful look at 10 key goals most of us think we want - only to discover our eyes are on the wrong prize. Barry Phillips not only entertains but also examines common values and enlightens us to the goals we should seek, and what to do differently now that we know better. From goals such as happiness, self-esteem, protecting our pride, or the perfect physique, Phillips takes a closer look at those aims prized by society and explores how we can pursue higher goals. A thoughtful, funny, and at times profound look into the real reasons we all have for the things we do, this book will entertain, enlighten, and inspire.
Caught in the Headlights takes us through a tour of ten currently vaunted and often sought after “virtues”, only to turn them on their heads with a spin that leaves us weighing the questions: (1) are they actually the “virtues” we thought they were, and (2) if not, what “virtues” should we be seeking in their place?
Warning: Caught in the Headlights is not a “politically correct” book. If you are easily offended by opinions that differ from your own (or the PC police), read this book at your own risk. The most hot-button chapter of this book will be the one on Tolerance, not because Phillips’ argument isn’t valid, but because of some of the examples he uses. Reading this chapter might actually be a test of just how “tolerant” you really are! Is Phillips allowed to have an opinion that might differ from yours? Only you, the reader, will be able to answer that.
Whether you can see past the “hot button” to Phillips’ real point in the Tolerance chapter or not, don’t put this book down in a huff. If you do, you will miss the very valuable lesson he is weaving throughout the course of the book. Do you want happiness in life? Or would you rather have inner peace? Personally, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I think what Phillips is talking about when he talks about “happiness”, is seeking after an “outward” kind of happiness, the kind that is endlessly elusive, as opposed to that sweet inner happiness and peace that I believe go hand in hand. Caught in the Headlights will not only explain the difference between the two, it will tell you what you can actually do to achieve the latter. And it will do so with humor (his writing won more than a few chuckles out of me) and poetry—yes, poetry!—which, regardless of how good it may or may not be, often drives home his point with even greater clarity than the narration that precedes it. (Not that his narration isn’t good—it is! The poetry just carries an extra punch.)
My favorite line in the entire book is also the one that sums the book’s theme up most completely: “…selfishness is the anti-peace”.
Who can argue with that? Who would even want to? Read Caught in the Headlights and give its “So what do I do about it?” suggestions a try. You’ll be glad you did.
Caught in the Headlights can be purchased from Amazon.
You can learn more about Barry K. Phillips on his website or visit his blog.
Would you like to win a copy of Caught in the Headlights of your very own? (Unsigned. Sorry!) If so, type “Me-me-me-meee!!! while singing those words to the first 4 notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (you're on your honor here), along with your name and email address in the comments section of this post. A winner will be drawn and announced on Monday, August 18th, so be sure to check back then!
And the winner of last week’s Virtual Book Tour Room for Two drawing is…Valerie Ipson! Congratulations, Valerie. A copy of Room for Two will be on its way to you, as soon as I confirm your mailing address. Thank you to all who entered!