Book review Productivity Recommended Read

Book Review | Zen: The Art of Simple Living

Rating: 3 out of 4.
Publisher: Penguin Random House (Hardcover)
Year: 2019
Pages: 223
Author:
 Shunmyo Masuno

I will keep this review uncomplicated and straightforward in the spirit of simplicity and Zen, just like the book, “Zen: The Art of Simple Living” by Shunmyo Masuno.

Posing with Shunmyo Masuno’s book Zen The Art of Simple Living

It’s a book that serves you a hearty feast of wisdom but in bite-sized morsels.

Each lesson is concise, making it easy to consume and reflect upon.

No chapter goes past two pages and within each chapter is an easy-to-follow practice related to everyday life.

Masuno is a Zen Buddhist priest and an art professor who presides over a centuries-old temple in Japan. His book presents a clear premise: even the smallest shifts in perspective and routine can lead to a more fulfilling existence.

Shunmyo Masuno, author of Zen The Art of Simple Living
Shunmyo Masuno (Image source: https://uk.rsng.com/)

Zen: The Art of Simple Living is neatly organized into four sections, each dealing with different facets of life. It encompasses everything from awakening confidence to easing worries and transforming an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.

Now, it might not be a page-turner in the conventional sense. I mean there are no nail-biting cliffhangers or interconnected narratives. But that’s the point. This book is like an amble through a quiet zen garden, rather than a frenetic sprint.

Those hungry for denser texts may find this book underwhelming. However, this is not a negative reflection on the book itself. It merely showcases the elegance of Zen philosophy – to articulate profound wisdom in simple terms.

The lessons range from tactical advice, such as waking up 15 minutes earlier and aligning your shoes, to deeper insights on mindfulness and gratitude.

Zen The Art of Simple Living - Book Review

What’s particularly striking is the stress on the importance of ‘living in the moment‘ – whether it’s savoring morning air or focusing on the act of eating.

Yet, it’s important to mention that this is not just a book of aphorisms or pearls of wisdom. It’s a guidebook for life. The lessons are practical, applicable, and profoundly meaningful. They remind us of the beauty in simplicity and the power of mindfulness, encapsulating the very essence of Zen.

Despite its occasionally slow pace, the book captivates the reader’s interest through its grounded and relatable lessons. It makes you ponder and possibly implement the Zen teachings in your life. This is not just a book you read but one you experience and grow with.


So, to wrap this up, is Zen: The Art of Simple Living a good read?

Well, as with most things in life, it depends on your perspective. If you seek explosive narratives and radical transformations, this might not be your cup of tea.

But if you yearn for a more mindful existence, if you wish to find joy and satisfaction in the simplest things in life, then this book might just be the peaceful oasis you need in this noisy world of ours.

In its simplicity, this book embodies a kind of beauty that invites you to embrace a more peaceful and fulfilling life. So why not give it a try? After all, who couldn’t use a little more simplicity and Zen in their lives?


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