Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

A 10% Happier How-to Book

Book - 2017
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Presents a practical guide to meditation that debunks the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that make many people reluctant to try it, and suggests a range of meditation practices.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Spiegel & Grau,, [2017]
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780399588945
Characteristics: x, 286 pages : illustrations, portraits, charts ; 22 cm


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Jan 25, 2020

Whoa! Skeptical about meditation? Then this one's for you. The book follows a week plus road trip where the author Dan Harris sets out with his friends ( colleagues? ) to evangelize for meditation. They have a gigantic orange bus and Moby and everything. Dan is a funny writer and fun to read. He's pretty irreverent too. And as much as he loves meditation he's painfully aware of the cosmic stigmas surrounding it. He does a great job addressing this. He brings along Jeff Warren his meditation McGuyver. These two play well off each other sort of like a buddy cop movie. They each have their own moments in the book. And this is where my inner Cal Newport starts screaming about context switching. Sometimes Dan ( mostly Dan ) is writing but then it will switch to Jeff. Jeff has his own font. And then it will switch to a very specific meditation suggestion. The meditation is in an outlined box with a little humanoid up top sitting in thoughtful pose. And then after the meditation it will have a cheat sheet for the aforementioned meditation. I grew to dread the meditation box. Not because I didn't like the meditation. I resisted because I was not entirely ready for a new meditation at that point and also I was just trying to get into the flow of the book. Anyway, the book is sort of four parts. The four parts were not my jam. I really feel like these kinds of books need to ship in a box set with one part being the reader and then a second booklet for the prescribed action you're supposed to take. And all of this is not lost on Dan Harris. He fully acknowledges this right at the beginning. He suggests reading the whole thing through first and then, if you dig it go back and try out some of the meditations. For me, as a first time meditator I just wanted the first one, the 101 meditation. There was a bit of irony in a book about meditation and focus. It is a little scattered in this regard. Still it's awesome stuff. Really awesome. The entire notion of meditation for skeptics is wonderful. They address all the reasons people don't want to meditate, probably mostly because they don't have enough time. There is a funny quote from an Ivy League doctor that says everyone should meditate once a day and if they don't have time then they should meditate twice a day. Loved that! They even seek out some cops to get their take on meditation and go to a military academy. The tough guys see the need too and that really made a heck of a lot of sense to address this specific point. Dan slightly channeled his inner Troy McClure in the sense that he does sell his podcast and app pretty hard, especially at the end. But fair enough, it's business and it's for a higher purpose. It's a great book. Skeptics who are meditation-curious need to read this one. I will be revisiting it for a second read if I don't buy the damn thing for the shelf. Totally stellar!

LPL_MollyW Nov 11, 2019

Finally a meditation book I can get behind! This book really addressed a lot of topics I haven't found in many other books on the subject; losing your edge, finding the time, feeling awkward, and a lot more realistic issues that have kept me from sticking with practicing mindfulness.

Jun 01, 2019

I have been an on and off meditator for many years. I actually enjoy it when I do it and notice moments of clarity and insight aftwords. This book did answer many questions and turns out I have been too hard on myself and that just noticing the "monkey mind" is success. He gives many suggestions on how to fine a moment or two to meditate, get into the habit and notes all the benefits. Definitely recommend this book. He is funny too.

DPLSaraQT Feb 27, 2019

I loved this audiobook! It's funny, down-to-earth, and listening to the two authors play off of each other was wonderful. It's a great balance of practical meditations and road-trip storytelling.

Sep 25, 2018

Helpful book! Really enjoyed it.

Sep 07, 2018

I really enjoyed the book on CD. Many good meditation tips and Jeff Warren has a wonderful voice!

May 28, 2018

This book pulls you into the ugly head space of the main author, Dan Harris. I can't get it back to the library fast enough.

LPL_KateG Mar 21, 2018

I am a fidgety skeptic, so this book popped out while I was shelving. Like Dan, I often roll my eyes at a lot of New Age things (like Westerners saying "Namaste" without irony), but like Dan I also wrestle with mental health issues. His book has been immensely helpful so far -- it's teaching me mindfulness while being HILARIOUS at the same time. If you find yourself intrigued by meditation but unable to sit still or take it too seriously, do yourself a favor and read this.

Jan 04, 2018

If you're like me, you've been hesitant to jump aboard the "mindfulness bandwagon" of our modern era. It's not that I don't believe it could be helpful. I've done some preliminary research and it all points to exceptional physical and mental health benefits. Where I get lost in the weeds is where to start. That's why I'm SO glad I picked this book up.

"Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics" by Dan Harris is the follow-up book to his 2014 best seller "10% Happier". I read his first book a few months ago and it left me ultimately unsatisfied. I came to the book looking for realistic and practical advice on meditation. Instead, the book was more of a memoir about Harris learning how to meditate.

"Fidgety Skeptics" corrects this in some very monumental ways. The book follows the journey of Harris and meditation expert Jeff Warren on a 2 week road tour peddling meditation to the masses. Sprinkled throughout the book are specific guided meditations and practical advice.

The biggest thing I picked up in this book is to not take the practice of meditation and turn it into a mountain. The reputation of "1 minute counts" and emphasis on getting distracted and noticing it is the practice itself disillusioned the mystical aspects for me. The "Ten Good Breaths" meditation has already been a huge help to me personally. As a father of 3 littles under 3 years old, I don't always have a ton of time. It also means my wife and I are often overwhelmed and stressed out. Having a 3 minute mental shift has been so helpful.

"Fidgety Skeptics" is everything I was hoping "10% Happier" to be, and more. It's humorous, approachable, realistic, and creates an easy entry point to meditation.


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