The title: Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan seemed a bit over the top, but after reading it I can see why he chose that name. It is interesting, thought provoking and very funny even though he is very serious about the subject. Chade-Meng Tan wrote this fantastic book about meditation, based on a course he has created for the employees at Google. When I read that Meng (as he likes to be called) is an engineer at Google, I thought that the book would be dull, scientific, dry and outright boring, but boy was I wrong!
Why in the world did Google do this?
The employees at Google are encouraged to use 20% of their working hours on projects other than those within their main remit. Meng and some of his colleagues used their 20%-time to create the course that became Search Inside Yourself. They created a syllabus for a course in mindfulness-based emotional intelligence with the help of some highly gifted people, such as a Zen Master, a CEO and a Stanford University scientist.
The reasoning behind the creation of this course is to enable people to use meditation and mindfulness to reach higher success at work and home. A win-win situation if I ever heard one.
Mindfulness and engineering
It sounds a bit strange that a computer engineer would write a book about mindfulness and meditation but I really like the way he writes. Meng treats the subject with great respect, he explains his ideas in a manner that is very easy to understand, even when he talks about matters that can be a bit complicated. Meng presents scientific studies and the outcomes of course participants in a playful manner, also using a format that isn’t commonly used for describing these subjects. For example using the word ‘optimization’ when describing the purpose of developing emotional intelligence is not very common but it fits perfectly.
What is in the book?
The book contains several very well described and good ideas on how to expand your emotional intelligence, how to meditate, become more calm, find it easier to work with others, feel more satisfied and a lot more. The meditation for mindfulness is especially useful, it can be utilized for many different purposes or as a start of many spiritual practices. Many of the things Meng talks about are intended to set our minds at ease on such matters that I have thought about a lot, for example; the difficulty of staying focused while meditating. According to Meng, it is just like exercising; the more you exercise the stronger your muscles get, the more you meditate, the better you get at staying focused. Thus you can see your less successful meditations as practice and think that your “meditation muscels” are getting stronger.
About the author
Chade-Meng Tan has been employed at Google for a very long time and is the only engineer who has gone from working in the technical field to working in the Personnel Department. He has the job title; Google’s Jolly Good Fellow (it started as a joke, but has since become real). His current job description is, “Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace”.
During the course of his work, he has become friends with political and spiritual leaders such as President Carter, the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra.
I really like this book and I will use it many times to find ideas on how to develop my emotional intelligence and mindfulness. The way the book describes different things one can do to become more at peace, find focus and a positive attitude in everyday life is absolutely lovely. This is a book that I can recommend to anyone who wants to find happiness and feel good about themselves, that I would say is all of us.
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