Thursday, October 3, 2013

Embrace the Chaos: How India taught me to stop overthinking and start living

by Bob Miglani
 Barrett-Kuehner   2013
130 pages     Spiritual
The Shortlist

Bob Miglani was born in India but raised in the United States. In Embrace the Chaos, he describes the contrast between life in the United States and life in India--life in a place where all is controlled chaos and life in a place where there is no attempt to control the chaos. The introduction tells it all: "You have less control than you think. Get over it." Miglani is a businessman, and the book is his philosophical look at India and is his attempt to relate what he has learned from Indian life to over-programmed Americans.

The book is divided into two parts: Accept and Don't Overthink.  Each section is filled with short vignettes that tell the truths of life from an Indian perspective. Miglani intersperses each story with pithy sayings and observations. The stories are charming. There is a delightful story about a disrupted plane ride, another about a simple, but joyful birthday party, and another about a crazy Indian wedding. In each story, Miglani relates the truth that he found from that experience, a truth that will work to calm and enlighten driven Americans. He says, for example: "Worrying about what's coming next will make you miss the best times of your life." The message of another story is: "I realized that although parts of India's landscape may appear changed on the surface, its citizens' deep reservoir of acceptance for the imperfections of life hadn't changed."

This is a charming little book that I would not have known about if the publicist hadn't sent it to me. We have all heard the messages of Embrace the Chaos at other times and in other formats. It was a pleasure to read the messages once again connected to such delightful stories. It made me want to go to India and try out some of that chaos. 

I'm about to read another  bit of Indian philosophy in the new book The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri . It is one of this year's most anticipated books. 

Bob Miglani's blog and website:

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