Monday, May 3, 2010

The Road Less Traveled by M Scott Peck, M.D.~★★1/2

Author: M. Scott Peck, M.D.
The Road Less Traveled
Release Date:
Original release date 1978; this edition, 2002
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Non-fiction

Book Jacket: "Perhaps no book in this generation has had a more profound impact on our intellectual and spiritual lives than The Road Less Traveled. With sales of more than 7 million copies in the United States and Canada, and translation into more than 23 languages, it has made publishing history, with more than 10 years on The New York Times bestseller list. Now, with a new introduction by the author, written especially for this 25th anniversary deluxe hardcover edition of the all-time national bestseller in its field, M. Scott Peck explains the ideas that shaped this book and that continue to influence an ever-growing audience of readers. Written in a voice that is timeless in its message of understanding, The Road Less Traveled continues to enable us to explore the nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life. It helps us determine how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one's own true self. Recognizing that---in the famous opening lines of his book---'Life is difficult' and that the journey to spiritual growth is a long one, Dr. Peck never bullies his readers, but rather gently guides them through the hard and often painful process of change toward a higher level of self-understanding. Combining profound psychological insight and deep spirituality, this one-of-a-kind hardcover anniversary edition is a book to treasure and turn to again and again for inspiration and understanding. As Phyllis Theroux wrote in The Washington Post when the original edition of The Road Less Traveled was first published, 'It is not just a book but a spontaneous act of generosity.'"

Taryn's Review: This book was recommend to me by an older acquaintance and she really seemed to love it. I dove into the book with really high hopes, but quickly found myself disappointed.

I don't think Dr. Peck is a poor writer at all. I simply think that his mindset in the 1970s when the book was written is not a mindset that current audiences would agree with. This book was published 32 years ago and when reading it, I kept getting the sense it was something my mother could have benefited from. I realized when it was written and for what audience and it all clicked that the book wasn't written for my generation.

The first section of the book was about discipline. I think most people will tell you that I am one of the most disciplined people they know. I am a prioritizer to the max. I'm a planner. Yes, I'm that lame girl who did extra notes for class! With discipline being a natural trait to me, I didn't gain new information from the book throughout the first section.

I am not trying to start some generational war, but I think my generation doesn't necessarily think in the same way the targeted audience did when the book came out, especially in the next section on love. In fact, something that irritated me to no end was Dr. Peck's suggestions of how to help your spouse during trying times. He suggested that men watch the kids for the afternoon, make dinner one night, or do something similar to show thanks toward his wife. One idea he suggested for the wife was that she could get a part-time job to ease the financial burden to thank her husband for his help. Because the husband watching the kids for an afternoon is equal to a part-time job? Okay.

I picked up a few interesting ideas in the final section on religion, but again, nothing earth-shattering. Again, I think one of the major differences is that my generation is much more likely to explore other faiths than the people of the 1970s. I know my parents were given no option in their religion and were expected to practice and believe as their parents had. They did not do that to me, nor can I say that personally I have seen any of my friends pressured by their own parents in that way. It's just different now.

Again, I don't think it's a bad book, but I think the target audience has been met and it's doubtful that people my age are going to take much from this book or pass it along. I'm glad it met success and helped so many, but for me, it really didn't do much and I wouldn't recommend it.

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