Cover image for A man's journey to simple abundance
A man's journey to simple abundance
Ban Breathnach, Sarah.
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Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2000]

Physical Description:
448 pages ; 22 cm
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BJ1601 .B36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Authentic Journey Continues -- for Women to Understand Men, and for Men to Understand Themselves.

Author Notes

Sarah Ban Breathnach is publisher of Simple Abundance Press & president & CEO of Simple Abundance, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in publishing & multimedia projects that give creative expression to the timeless Simple Abundance principles & the concept of personal authenticity. Her #1 bestselling books include "Simple Abundance: A Daybook for Comfort & Joy", "Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self", "The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude", & "A Man's Journey to Simple Abundance". She lives in Washington, D.C.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Breathnach has established something of a franchise with her best-selling Simple Abundance daybooks and journals. Here, she inaugurates her new Scribner imprint with a collection of 50-plus pieces on men's experiences, edited by Michael Segell, a former Esquire editor and columnist. The book's sections cover family, emotional and moral concerns, men's roles and obligations, success and failure, amusements and obsessions, and the deepest values in life. Most entries open with a Segell introduction and are followed by a brief reaction from Breathnach; each section closes with "Thoughts for the Road," a list of suggestions. Contributors include respected novelists (Rick Bass, Jim Harrison, Reynolds Price), journalists (Roy Blount, Harold Evans), pop-culture figures (Sting, director Garry Marshall), and representatives of religious and spiritual movements (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Roshi Jakusho Kwong, Thomas Moore). They also include a hermit, a surfing champion, a high-tech entrepreneur, aviators, scientists, and academics. As the sample authors suggest, while the dominant forms here are memoir and meditation, the volume's essays (most not previously published) also include humor and exhortation. Likely to circulate where Breathnach's previous works have been popular. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

The creator of the mega-selling series aims to expand the simplicity movement's magic to the male market. With no less an ideal than bringing men and women closer together, Breathnach and collaborator Segell, an MSNBC and New York Daily News columnist, have assembled 52 original essays that succeed remarkably well in depicting men's feelings and complexity. The stellar contributors include novelists Rick Bass, Jim Harrison, Larry Brown, Richard Bausch and musician/activist Sting as well as a champion surfer, an army general, a rabbi (bestselling author Shmuley Boteach) and a hermit who writes amusingly on solitude. Distinguished across the board by their honesty, a number of the pieces are moving, such as Christopher Dickey's account of finally coming to terms with his father, poet James Dickey, or a businessman's empathetic account of his wife's battle with breast cancer. Others are funny (such as Roy Blount Jr.'s suggestion that weddings be centered around the groom in "The Great Groomal Expo"), enlightening (Benjamin Cheever on what he thinks makes a woman beautiful) and shocking (a photographer tells of brutal killings he witnessed in Soweto, South Africa). At times, however, the commentary linking the essays to Simple Abundance precepts of gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty and joy feels imposed and unnecessary given the caliber of the writing and contributors' depth of feeling. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Books mapping men's feelings are hard to come by. This title, the first under Scribner's Simple Abundance Press imprint, blends the voices of 52 men from all walks of life into a beautiful picture of stories and relationships. Divided into three sections that examine men's departures, crossroads, and endings in life, the book is appealing for the great variety of its biographical vignettes. The most interesting contributors are Gen. James Jones, Roy Blount Jr., Rick Bass, and Reynolds Price. Ending each of the six subsections are Greg Bestick and Jake Morrissey's "thoughts for the road," whimsical top ten lists like "What every man worth his salt should know how to do." According to that list, he should be able to ask for directions, change a tire, make a child laugh, and tell a ghost story. Breathnach's previous books (e.g., Simple Abundance) zoomed to the top of the best sellers lists, and her latest effort is destined to do the same. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/00.]DLisa Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



UPON READING THIS BOOK Man and woman He created them. Book of Genesis From ancient times we have been told that human beings were created in Spirit's image. However, as the acclaimed television journalist Bill Moyers reminds us, "being made in the likeness of God does not mean we were made to think alike." Especially women and men. One of my favorite parts of the Bible is the story of Adam and Eve. I find it fascinating that there are two startling accounts of creation in the Book of Genesis, and they completely contradict each other. One could be called Eve's recollection, which has God creating both masculine and feminine energy in a single breath. In Adam's version, of course, he comes first. This original "He Says/She Says" also amused Mark Twain, who wrote The Diary of Adam and Eve, tracing the battle of the sexes back to the observation, "The new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don't like this; I am not used to company." To tell the truth, since I'm an incurable romantic, I actually prefer Adam's version because it's the original love story. After Adam is created, he wanders through Eden and then asks the inevitable question of his Maker: "Why are there two of every living creature but me?" God realizes that it's not good for man to be alone. I have always wondered if Spirit created a companion for Adam as an afterthought, or was He just waiting patiently for Adam to have an epiphany? Something or someone was missing. So Adam is told to take a nap and when he does he has a wild dream. In it, God uses one of his ribs to craft the first soul mate. I think this imagery is exquisite. God removes a bone from the barrier that protects a man's heart to create the woman meant to fill it. The poet e.e. cummings describes this miracle best: "One's not half of two, it's two that are halves of one." I think A Man's Journey to Simple Abundance deepens and broadens the eternal romance between Adam and Eve. Certainly, it was written in the spirit of bringing men and women closer together by revealing our similarities, not just our differences. Part owner's manual, part guidebook, A Man's Journey to Simple Abundance examines the private pilgrimages that occur in every man's life and the compass that steers him toward life's true north. One of the most unexpected and meaningful compliments I've received about Simple Abundance is that it has enabled men to understand what's really important to the women they love -- whether it's their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, or friends. As one man put it, "You've given men the Rosetta stone." We've tried to accomplish the same thing here. I say "we" because this book has been a collaborative effort of the first magnitude. There's a reason it's taken so long for there to be a men's Simple Abundance. The heart of my philosophy celebrates living authentically. Being a woman, I know how a woman thinks, feels, frets, and loves. But as much as I adore men, I understand as much about them as Eve did on her first day in Eden. Realizing and honoring the differences between the sexes, I knew that if there was to be a men's version of Simple Abundance, I'd need the right collaborator to help me explore the last great spiritual adventure, the quest for understanding male emotions. I found him in Michael Segell, the former "Male Mind" columnist for Esquire and the author of Standup Guy: Masculinity That Works, a personal and provocative dispatch from behind the front lines of the gender wars. Think of us as agents provocateurs dedicated to getting men and women together again on the page. All of the introductions before each essay were written by Michael Segell except for one, which I wrote. Frequently, though, the essays triggered such a personal reaction in me that I felt compelled to flash a feminine response afterward. For my women readers, I believe this book will surprise you as much as it did me. To begin with, the format is completely different from the original Simple Abundance, which was written as one side of an intimate conversation between two women over the course of a year. In A Man's Journey there are more than fifty male voices illuminating what it means to be a man today with a courage and candor that is at times unsettling but always life-affirming. The topics the men explore celebrate how and where the sacred manifests in their daily lives, and often it's not where a woman might think. Some of the essays are philosophical, some heart-wrenching, some humorous, some ruminative, some just plain quirky, but all are compelling. Authenticity pushes us past our comfort zone, so please be open. The territory may seem unfamiliar at times. At the very least, after reading these essays, you and your partner can look forward to a year's worth of stimulating conversations (besides discussing the kids, money, chores, and how exhausted you both are). For me, working on this book felt like living on a fault line of the soul; I never knew when my own tectonic plates were going to start shifting, and the aftershocks were equally profound. I believe you'll be as moved as I was by the deep emotional honesty of the writing, whether it makes you laugh or cry. Like the best books, A Man's Journey to Simple Abundance does both. Toward the end of Adam and Eve's diary (as channeled by Mark Twain), the woman confides: "The Garden is lost, but I have found him, and am content." As for the man, he admits, "Wheresoever she was, there was Eden." Man or woman, may this book bless you with equally surprising truths and extraordinary perceptions. Perhaps we will have another shot at experiencing Heaven on earth together. At least it's worth a read. -- Sarah Ban Breathnach, July 2000 Copyright © 2000 by Simple Abundance, Inc. Excerpted from A Man's Journey to Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Friends All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Sarah Ban BreathnachMichael SegellMark WinegardnerChristopher DickeyRoger EvansGeoffrey NormanMichael SegellRichard BauschGreg BestickCharles SiebertRoshi Jakusho KwongDaniel MenakerGallagher PolynTim CahillRichard Liebmann-SmithRobert A. JohnsonGreg MarinovichJim HarrisonJake JacobsenJake MorrisseyLarry BrownCharles SimonyiGeneral James JonesStingWilliam KlaberBurt VisotzkyMel WhitePeter D. KramerEddie StatonKeith JohnsonGreg BestickNelson W. Aldrich, Jr.Huston SmithRobert H. BellElwood ReidBruce MainMillard FullerStephens MillardReynolds PriceBruce RodgerJake MorrisseyGarry MarshallBenjamin CheeverRoy Blount, Jr.Rick BassBill MorrisJim ShepardAnthony DyerHarold EvansCorky CarrollGreg BestickTerrence DeaconRabbi Shmuley BoteachJohn TierneyAdin SteinsaltzThomas MooreJake Morrissey
Upon Reading This Bookp. 13
Introductionp. 17
Part 1 Latitude and Longitude
Mothers: Like Mother, Like Sonp. 23
Fathers: The Family Albump. 33
Gratitude: Love in All the Right Placesp. 40
Daughters: Like Father, Like Daughterp. 47
Sons: Separate and Shared Agendap. 55
Siblings: Mirror Imagep. 60
Thoughts for the Road: Ten Things I Wish I'd Said to My Fatherp. 67
Part 2 Private Pilgrimages
Vulnerability: A Broken Heartp. 71
Simplicity: As It Isp. 83
Therapy: Vision Questp. 91
Balls: You Only Need Onep. 101
Fear: The Bravest Thing I Ever Didp. 108
Vanity: A Man and His Hairp. 118
Mood: The Tyranny of Gloomp. 124
Conscience: The Burden of Truthp. 130
Meditation: The Question of Zenp. 140
Solitude: The Hermitp. 145
Thoughts for the Road: Ten Things Every Man Worth His Salt Should Know How to Dop. 152
Part 3 Rules of the Road
Heroes: The Chiefp. 155
Order: How Things Workp. 162
Patriotism: A Higher Callingp. 170
Risk: Let Your Soul Be Your Bookiep. 175
Resilience: Love Among the Ruinsp. 180
Faith: My Problem with Prayerp. 190
Courage: To Thine Own Selfp. 197
Loyalty: Coffee and Sympathyp. 204
Boundaries: Fathers to the Communityp. 212
Mentoring: In loco parentisp. 218
Thoughts for the Road: Ten Things I Hope My Kids Learn Sooner Than I Didp. 225
Part 4 Islands of Fame and Fortune
Money: You Can Never Lose Enoughp. 229
Harmony: Making Perfect Dirtp. 239
Recruitment: A Professor for All Seasonsp. 245
Work: Blood, Sweat, and Cheersp. 255
Listening: Finding Your Callingp. 262
Chance: A Planned Life Can Only Be Enduredp. 273
Failure: To Err Greatlyp. 279
Rewards: A Lucky Choicep. 286
Freedom: The Wild Blue Yonderp. 292
Thoughts for the Road: Ten Questions a Man Should Know the Answers Top. 303
Part 5 Diversions and Detours
Humor: Accustomed to Her Laughterp. 307
Beauty: Eye of the Beholderp. 313
The Wedding: The Great Groomal Expop. 321
Companions: Heartbeat of the Running Dogp. 327
Cars: Hers Is a Lush Situationp. 337
Fans: They Killed Our Fathers and Grandfathers and Now the Sonsabitches Are Coming for Usp. 345
Hunting: Basic Instinctp. 352
Icons: Some Real Good Menp. 360
Lifestyle: In the Tubep. 367
Thoughts for the Road: Ten Things I Want My Lover/Partner/Wife to Knowp. 372
Part 6 True North
Soulmate: First Love, Againp. 375
Authentic Success: Hero to His Childrenp. 385
Redemption: The Love of a Good Womanp. 396
Death: Beyond the Chrysalisp. 402
Joy: Cultivating Life As an Act of Lovep. 410
Thoughts for the Road: Ten Things Every Man Should Keep in Mind at All Timesp. 417
With Thanks and Appreciationp. 419
Selected Bibliographyp. 423
Contributor Biographiesp. 429
Indexp. 439