Originally posted on 23 Dec 2022

1 minute read

The title on this book caught my eye while I was browsing the collection at my local public library. “Hmm,” I thought, “I’m not much of a skeptic on this topic but I am fidgety. OK, let’s add this one to the stack. Whatever. Checking out books is free.”

If you’ve been considering trying meditation—to help you focus, or sleep, or alleviate stress, or whatever—but are turned off by the new age/religious/etc reputation of the practice, this is the book for you. It goes into the science of meditation and shares a number of real world case studies. It also has a number of guided meditations that are anything but new age, woo-woo stuff.

The writing style is casual and entertaining, and the information is presented in very practical ways. It’s also helpful in that it doesn’t only go into what meditation is, but what it is not (a competition). By the time I finished the book, I was motivated to re-start my own attempts at developing a meditation practice. In that way, I think the book is successful and helpful for me.

However, when I picked up the book I didn’t realise that it’s actually a sequel. Dan Harris, the primary author, first wrote a book called 10% Happier, then spun it off into company that operates a mobile app. Not only that, but apparently Harris is a national television news reporter, so he was famous even before he became a meditation sensation. I don’t begrudge folks the opportunity to make money, but I admit that learning about the commercial aspect of this whole thing was a bit of a turn-off.

Despite that, after reading the book I had a look at the app to see whether it might help me build my own meditation practice. Unfortunately, it seems that not only are all the guided meditations in video form (seriously, wtaf), but the app only includes guided meditations and some general information (again, in video form). It doesn’t have anything obvious like, say, a meditation timer. I’m sure the app is helpful for others, but it’s not a good fit for me.