“For All Of Us Who Are Stupefied About Who We Are, It Is A Must Read”
Title : Enduring Edge – Transforming How We Think, Create and Change
Genre : Non Fiction
Author : Amita Shukla
Publisher : Vitamita House
Pages : 223
Book Review by VINOD KAUL
At some point in our headlong rush in life, we all take a pause to ask the ultimate question, ‘What is it all about?’ Predictably, there are two pretenders to the rescue – science and religion.
Science starts from the existential reality and builds a logical edifice. The only drawback is that the scientists are taking an awful lot of time and have covered very little distance in the last few thousand years. On the other hand, religion and other spiritual discourses start from the other end. With claims to know all about the final destination, they then attempt to make a link backwards with the real world. While pure faith has been steadily losing ground, it still has a stranglehold on most of the world.
In the ultimate analysis, the two – science and faith – are talking about the same thing, but the ‘twain never do meet’ and the great mystery remains!
Amita Shukla attempts to connect the two approaches in logical steps. She tries to build a bridge across the abyss, by building a theory of three levels of the mind – the first being the animal reactive mind, the second one is the rational mind and the third faith residing remotely. Her thesis is that the third mind can be cultivated by any of us as has been by Jesus and Gautam Budh. She connects many dots in the mind’s landscape and explains the role of innovation, focus, effort, success and failure.
Akin to some philosophers, she minimizes the role of the real world and postulates that the real story is that of the mind – the mind at three distinct and identifiable levels. Amita stops short of explaining why we are here. In that sense she is not a messiah or a pretender. At worst she expounds an art of living with ‘yoga’ its best example. Nevertheless, she makes for compelling reading, linking events in her life to the mind architecture that she propounds.
The book is well researched, something expected from the author who is quite accomplished. Shukla is an alumna of Harvard and Stanford, an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist and a wellness expert. In fact, she very cleverly uses arguments from her area of expertise – biochemistry, the whole issue of wellness, the placebo effect and other unexplained real-world aspects in these areas. It is quite like the Uncertainty Principle in physics, where you can never put your finger on the final aspect and must make do with shadows.
The book makes for compelling reading not only for the rich content, but its unfolding story-telling style – almost like an autobiography. For all of us who are stupefied about who we are, it is a must read. Amita may not be a Krishnamurthy, but she probably makes more sense. The big question is: does it resolve our doubts? The writer asks us to have faith for that is the language of our destined world!
Is the book life transformational? Surely for some; for others it will be another case of putting the book back on the shelf and continuing headlong in one’s life, bouncing off all the hurdles in between.
For the Indian readers, the book is available on Amazon.
About the reviewer
Vinod Kaul is an alumnus of St.Stephen’s College, Delhi and IIM, Ahmedabad. He has worn many hats, as corporate honcho, publisher, marathon runner, independent management consultant, and successful writer. His first book of short stories, ‘Confessions of an MBA’ was published by Frog Books, Leadstart Publishing.