Boy, was I mistaken! I started THE POWER OF NO expecting ESEENTIALISM-lite. You know, nice message, but without the collective power of heavy corporate sponsorship. When I started reading it, I thought it was weird..a bit odd. It didn’t jive with everything else I’ve been reading. And then I thought of that quote by Haruki Murakami, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
The more I read this, the more I loved it. This may be one of the best books I’ve read this year (I’ve read over 120 so far). Leading up to this review, I’ve been quoting some of my favorite lines on Twitter. It’s a shame about the limited space, otherwise I’d be quoting huge chunks out of the book. Here are some quotes I’ve shared:
“The brain is scared of reinvention because it might not be safe.”
“Don’t waste your free thoughts on the other slaves with their Rolex shackles.”
“If we have crappy people around, we have a crappy life.”
These quotes out of context may sound odd; you may get more meaning out of the authors’ slideshow on their site: http://www.slideshare.net/JamesAltucher/the-power-of-no-36962678
One of the more profound quotes that touched me personally came through a story about CATCH-22 author Joseph Heller, who was at a New York gathering of rich hedge-fund managers (even more poignant for me after reading THE BUY SIDE and RICH KIDS OF ISTAGRAM). Someone told Heller to look around and see the people that would make more money doing what they do versus Heller. In response, Heller said he has something they do not. When asked, his answer was, “I have enough.”
Another powerful moment came from Claudia sharing her meditative experiences throughout the world; one such was an event with Thich Nhat Hanh, where a sign displayed, “no mud, no lotus”. Sometimes the biggest hurt will produce the most beautiful results.
As alluded to before, this is more than other books that dive into “doing less to achieve more”. As the authors say, “It’s one thing to say no. It’s another thing to have the Power of No.” A lot of this is touchy-feely without any references or footnotes; much of it is about the authors’ personal lives, including dating, loss of self, and loss of loved ones. It threw me off. The authors would theorize something like, “Okay, maybe eat some vegetables. Or, better yet, drink your vegetables.” Or, “Never watch the news, on TV or on the Internet.” Some of it is a bit off from what we read in the other popular books, but again I reference that Murakami quote. If you stick it out, you’ll find inspiration which you’ve not been exposed to before.
One of the key things mentioned throughout this book is to reinvent yourself every day. Like the co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone mentioned in his book THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME, “Creativity is a renewable resource. Challenge yourself every day. Be as creative as you like, as often as you want, because you can never run out. Experience and curiosity drive us to make unexpected, offbeat connections. It is these nonlinear steps that often lead to the greatest work.”
The authors really hit their stride at the end of the book with a mock Q&A section. They asked, “What if I can’t sit in silence for an hour a day?” They answered, “Sit for two hours a day.” They asked, “I can’t read 500 books. What one book should I read for inspiration?” They answered, “Give up.” They asked, “What if I’m going to jail?” They answered, “Perfect…you’ll read a lot of books in jail.”
Thanks to Hay House for providing this book electronically for me to review. I’m adding it to my Goodreads’s favorite list.
Right now, this book has two other 5-star reviews on Amazon. You can see those reviews and see the book’s preview here: The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness
Or, you can rock the independent thing at Powell’s: