Nina Yau writes in an inquisitive manner about deep philosophical topics. Her blog, Castles in the Air, is full of posts that give you pause to think and consider. Her latest book, Truth, continues this style to share what she views as the core truths in life.
Nina draws on both eastern and western philosophy, and I suspect also draws from many of her own observations. Truth covers a very specific range of topics that are in essence the parts of life that are often on autopilot. It’s the things we don’t think about every day, but really should. It’s the things that would improve our life greatly if we took the time to consider them.
I’m not sure I’m painting a clear picture of what Truth is about. Let’s just say that if you were given a handbook when you popped into existence on this planet, and that this handbook covered everything you would ever need to know about life, Truth would be Appendix A: Understand and Live by These Truths Always.
I want to share a couple of snippets from the book to shed some light on Nina’s style and depth.
In the chapter titled “The Violence that Busyness Perpetuates,” Nina writes,
But jam-packing your day-to-day life is futile. It is, in fact, violence upon your soul. Thrashing your fragile body around and around, until it’s run down to the ground, completely exhausted and trampled upon. This is not productivity, this is a slow and painful pre-mature death.
The focus on constant productivity and staying busy pervades our society today, and the other side of productivity is rarely considered. Nina brings some much needed attention to the fact quiet time can be more important than the constant busyness.
Another example comes from the chapter titled “Our Own Flaws.”
We are all reflections of one another. When someone reflects back to you your own flaws, the strong man accepts this truth and does not recoil from it, whereas the weak man asserts blame upon others.
Truth is full of the wisdom shown in these two examples.
Table of Contents
- What is your Truth level?
- Running Away / Towards Yourself
- Self-Honesty and Being in the Present
- Evolution <–> Progression
- Evolve by Reduction
- Empty your head. I am ready to pour
- The Art of Zazen
- The Violence that Busyness Perpetuates
- Our Own Flaws
- The Highest Responsibility You Shall Ever Have
- Give Me Truth
- No Permanence, Only Fluidity
- Trust in Truth
- Truth’s Opposite
- Minimalism Transcended
- Essence Extracted
- Truth in Work
- On Bullsh*t
- Are you a Truth-seeker
- Truth Questions
56 page book
$8.00 for the Kindle Version
$10.00 for the Paperback Version
It’s short. You should know this going into it so that you aren’t disappointed with its brevity. The length also has some positive features which I’ll mention below.
Truth is jam packed with wisdom. Nina has a knack for cutting to the core of the topic. Each chapter is only a couple pages long, and in those few short pages, Nina delivers an idea and supports it in a way that makes it sound like it should be common sense.
This is a book that requires you to pay attention. I found myself re-reading paragraphs to get their full impact. There is no fluff here; it’s all hard hitting content. I really appreciate a book like this that gets to the point without adding unnecessary banter, and a book like Truth would not be as powerful otherwise.
I really enjoyed reading Truth. It took me about an hour to read the entire book, and this is one of the few books I’ll likely re-read to allow some of the information to sink in more deeply. She shares some truths that are very similar to truths I’ve shared on my own blog.
I think there are many people that won’t “get it.” Some of the topics covered are difficult to understand and require you to take a detached viewpoint, like stepping outside of yourself and looking at the big picture. Much of the book would make for good discussions in a group setting. Discussions could be had for hours on how the topics in each chapter could be applied and what-if scenarios could be used to practice and better understand the concepts.
Truth is worth the read, but you must go into it with an open mind. Also, as with any book, but especially with this one, don’t let the review, good or bad, taint your expectations. Go into it expecting nothing, and you’ll come out rewarded with ideas that you can apply to your own life.