The 10 Golden Rules

I had pretty high hopes for The Ten Golden Rules. I enjoy reading about different cultures and review a number of life-better styles of books. I'm always interested in new takes on a peaceful, happy life.

In essence this book lays out 10 principles to guide your life by, all based on ancient Greek texts. I am fine with that. The items were very Zen-like, Buddhist-like, of a "live simply, respect others" style. I also like that.

However, I also respect that some people enjoy religion in their lives. This book is very much against religion, calling it "dysfunctional and ineffective". It states flat out many times that religion is bad, rationality is good, and the Greeks were solely rational creatures without any God or Gods. Anyone who has studied the Greek culture knows that they DID have Gods, and that the supernatural was a powerful part of their culture.

The rules are:

1) Examine life. All the examples are about retirees. Maybe they expect only retired people are going to read this? Only they can examine their life? Examining your life is common to pretty much every way of life, religious or non-religious.

2) Worry ONLY about things you control. This is also a common mantra. The example says that a 'bad' woman needs a therapist, a 'good' woman does not. I found this quite troubling. Some people really do need help dealing with their past, and this shouldn't be looked down on. I do like that the book talks about how we have limited energy and should expend it on worthwhile issues.

3) Treasure friendship. Yet again a good person - "she has never seen a therapist". This bugs me a lot. Also, "criminals of every stripe are incapable of friendships". What?? Someone who steals bread to feed their family can't have friends?

4) Experience True Pleasure. A good lesson here - is a high stress job really worth it? You might be much happier in life with less stress, less money, and more time with family and friends. Heck, you might not even need a therapist any more ;)

5) Master Yourself. Don't blame others for your problems. Don't rationalize why you "must" be nasty. Take responsibility for your situation and work to improve.

6) Avoid Excess. Hmmm. Another anti-therapy jab. Also, someone is being unreasonable because she "refuses to buy essentials like coffee." I'm sorry, but for most of the world essentials are milk, bread and other basic food items. Coffee is NOT an essential.

7) Be a Responsible Human Being. This is pretty much #5 again. Take responsibility for yourself. Self-deceiving lies are crippling. Be honest, be truthful especially with yourself.

8) Don't Be a Prosperous Fool. They really hammer the "wealth is evil" mantra here. They pick on Carnegie and Rockefeller as being completely evil - but they did create some lasting good! In fact Wikipedia says "Carnegie gave away most of his money to fund the establishment of many libraries, schools, and universities". That doesn't sound pure evil to me.

9) Don't Do Evil to Other People. For authors who despise religion, this seems awful close to many religious tenets. They do say "getting even" is wrong - a fault many "moral" people commit.

10) Kindness to Others is Rewarded. The idea of karma, of helping others being a boon to your own self esteem and joy. I agree that we should all be helpful to others but cringe a bit at the idea that we should do it to benefit ourselves, to build up a karmic "good" balance.

So yes I in general agree with all of these items and like the peaceful, helpful way of life. I found their examples very iffy, though, and their stance against therapy and religion to be quite unnecessary.

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