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33 of 40 found the following review helpful:
The Dalai Lama and the Workplace Nov 06, 2003
By Robin Friedman
In 1998, H.H. the Dalai Lama joined Dr. Howard C. Cutler, an American psychiatrist, in writing a book "The Art of Happiness" which became a best-seller. This book taught the importance of "looking within" and of controlling destructive emotions in living a good life and finding happiness.
Dr. Cutler and the Dalai Lama have again collaborated in this follow-up book which applies the insights of the initial volume to life situations which are, typically, the sources of great conflict. Several additional books, in addition to this book exploring the world of work, are underway. The book is based upon a series of conversations held between the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler over the course of several years. Dr. Cutler is responsible for the format and editing of the book. The final product was read and approved by the Dalai Lama's interpreter.
Early in the volume, the Dalai Lama reminds Dr. Cutler that the focus of the inquiry is "secular ethics" (p.7) One of the most valuable features of the book is that it shows how the Dalai Lama can use his spiritual tradition to articulate values that can be shared by many people, whether or not they are religious believers. Another feature of the book is the significance of the subject matter. Many people trust and listen to the Dalai Lama where they will be reluctant to accept possibly similar advice from experts, such as psychiatrists, or from teachers in Western religous traditions. The book is deceptively simple in tone and teaching, but hard to realize.
In a series of discussions Dr. Cutler explores with the Dalai Lama the reasons why many people tend to be bored or dissatisfied with their jobs. Dr. Cutler brings to bear many anecdotes from his work as a psychiatrist as well has his familiarity with much contemporary literature on job satisfaction. The Dalai Lama brings to bear his wisdom and insight. Time and again during the conversations, the Dalai Lama takes issue with Dr. Cutler, forcing him to redirect and rephrase his questions and assumptions, and to change the tenor of his approach to questions of happiness in the workplace. The Dalai Lama's approach is marked by its circumspectness. He reiterates that the situation of every individual differs and that questions about work admit of no easy solution. In other words,it is not a case of "one size fits all."
With that said the issues and insights are valuable. Chief among these for me are the Dalai Lama's comments on self-understanding. Much difficulty at work is caused by having an overly inflated or an overly deflated view of ourselves and our abilities. This causes discontent because it gives a picture of our abilities and our expectations of ourselves that are out of touch with reality.
Similarly, the Dalai's teachings in this book about patience, humility, self-control, and compassion for one's co-workers provide a great deal to think about in approaching the workplace. The Dalai Lama, in common with others who have thought about these matters, distinguishes between views of work as a "job", simply to support oneself, a "career", with the goal of advancement and growth, and a "calling" in which a person does what he or she finds important to be of service to others. People necessarily occupy different spaces on this continuum. For some people, the goal properly should be to learn the value of one's work and to move towards viewing it as a calling.
The book also teaches that work and money-making are not the sole source of happiness and urges the reader to develop other interests, particularly a sense of connectedness to others through family or through interests and activities outside the workplace.
Many of the criticisms of this book and its predecessor that I have seen turn on the respective roles of the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler. Dr. Cutler serves, I think, as a foil to the Dalai Lama. In the book, the voices of the two principal are distinct, allowing the reader to capture a good deal of the spirit of the Dalai Lama.
There is also a tendency to criticize the book for its simplicity. I agree the teachings of the book are simple, but in practice they are difficult of realization. A virtue of the book is its very accessiblity which makes it possible for the reader to try to use it for benefit in his or her own case.
Finally, it should be pointed out again that this book does not purport to be an introduction to Buddhism. It is a work of secular (or applied) ethics. There are ample books available, including many works of the Dalai Lama, for those who would like a specifically Buddhist study. One can learn from this book regardless of commitment or lack of commitment to any religion.
I thought this book helped me with questions that have bothered me for years. I also found that the book would probably be useful to many of my coworkers and, perhaps, useful as well, to management where I work.
This book will not solve any person's workplace issues, but it will encourage the reader to reconsider and to sharpen his or her focus to address these issues.
18 of 21 found the following review helpful:
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME... Feb 05, 2004
THE ART OF HAPPINESS AT WORK by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler falls considerably short of THE ART OF HAPPINESS, the original work by the same authors. In the original book The Dalai Lama provides very interesting views that can be applied to a variety scenarios in life, including the workplace.
Hence, ...HAPPINESS AT WORK is very repetitive of the original and runs the risk of placing someone as illustrious as The Dalai Lama in the position of appearing too much like other marketing-driven authors of the genre who pump out repeats of their original works under other titles like ...FOR THE WORKING SOUL, ...FOR THE GOLFING SOUL, OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL FAMILIES, ...OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL TEENAGERS, etc.
After all, if you read the first book by The Dalai Lama you can easily see how his philosophies concerning happiness apply to all walks of life. Stick with THE ART OF HAPPINESS and discover for yourself how it may apply to a variety of your questions regarding your personal happiness...including in the workplace.
11 of 13 found the following review helpful:
Too much Howard Cutler... Jul 21, 2004
This book is rather different from other books by H.H. Dalai Lama where he communicates directly to the readers. Mr. Cutler has the tendency to rephrase, re-interpret, and wrapped around comments made by H.H. Dalai Lama with his personal views and citations of statistics about studies and surveys. Overall, there is too much Mr. Cutler, not enough coming directly from His Holiness. It is difficult try to listen to His Holiness while trying to filter out the "noise" from Mr. Cutler's narration. The book puts too much emphasis on how the intervew went, what he thought, what he believed in, etc. This book would be much better if Mr. Cutler can simply record and present H.H. Dalai Lama's advise and let the readers come to their own conclusions.
There is one other thing to note about the audio version of the book. Mr. Cutler reads with a very academic voice, his presentation is little bit artificial. On the other hand, Mr. B.D. Wong, who reads the part of H.H. Dalai Lama with such an exaggerated Indian accent that the resulting contrast is both annoying and amusing. I find it difficult to finish the whole book (6 CDs) not only due to the way the material were presented, but also its sheer unpleasantness to the ear.
15 of 19 found the following review helpful:
A remarkable, powerful and life-changing book! Oct 07, 2003
By Thomas, an avid reader
The Dalai Lama is an incredibly active and hard-working individual, and despite the fact that he has never held a conventional 9-5 job, he nevertheless has tremendous understanding and insight into the underlying psychological processes that are the source of much of our dissatisfaction at work. Besides offering guidelines on how to transform one's mental and emotional responses to become happier at work, the Dalai Lama also offers readers an effective, practical and commonsense approach to dealing with the difficult conditions and problems that all of us are bound to run into at the workplace. As in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, the first book by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D., Dr. Cutler does a truly outstanding job in helping frame the Dalai Lama's ideas within a contemporary Western context. One advantage to the format, is that Dr. Cutler draws upon the latest scientific findings in support of the Dalai Lama's views, adds personal observations about the Dalai Lama and includes other poignant or entertaining stories that illustrate how to apply the principles - - showing the reader how to apply the Dalai Lama's ideas to become happier in one's daily life, at work or at home. There has been a lot of research showing that happy workers are more productive and more successful. I plan on giving a copy of this book as a gift, during the holiday season, to my employees, hoping that they too will find some effective strategies to become happier in their own lives. I am grateful that the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler have teamed up again. The topic of work, which takes up so much of our lives, is clearly something they needed to address to offer a comprehensive discussion of human happiness.
14 of 18 found the following review helpful:
Howard Cutler a.k.a. His Hokiness Oct 07, 2003
Dr. Cutler's writing may be sound modern analysis of living and working and the psychological and emotional mechanisms we employ in doing both, but the book does NOT successfully present HH Dalai Lama's foundational views. Like Cutler's first book, this one smacks of self-help and, irritatingly, the Dr.'s self-service as well. My impression is that Cutler's name should be on this book and it should be sold as a popular analysis of the words of HH Dalai Lama. It is CLEARLY not a joint project as suggested by the author credits. I won't go so far as to say I am offended at how this book (and the series) has been marketed, but I do feel it has been misrepresented. Surely, readers of HH Dalai Lama's works will realize this at page one and take from this presentation whatever value they can with that awareness. Better wisdom from HH can be found in numerous other titles sold here at Amazon, or even online for free at places like buddhanet.net or snowlionpubs.com.
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