Tami BradyHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 12 2011
Are you living deliberately? Is life something that happens to you? Are you constantly in reaction mode? Or do you make each moment count? Do you make decisions based upon who you want to be and how you want to live?
Living Deliberately asks the reader to decide for him or herself how they want to live life. Not only what's important and where to focus energy each day but also deeper at what you believe (and whether that works for you). Essentially, making sure that every aspect of your life and being are being experienced deliberately, or as much so as humanly possible.
Peppered throughout the book are stories of average everyday people. These people illustrate common problems or automated reactions. Then, looked at in a different light, the individual opens themselves up to a different way of seeing their situation. Really, a lot of our judgments are just a lack of perspective.
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I disagree with anyone who would describe this book as a "pretty easy read." On the contrary, I often found it to be rather verbose, awkward and confusing. "Deliberate living" as described in the book seems to be a lot of words used to explain some pretty simple concepts which could be summed up as : Our thoughts affect our feelings. If we change our thoughts we can change our feelings and end up changing our lives. This is hardly a novel concept as many a cognitive behavioral therapist would let you know.
While it is admirable that the author appears to have put a lot of work into this book I am nonetheless disturbed by the author's apparent downplaying of the importance of religious and/or spiritual beliefs in our lives. He seems to imply that they can only impact on an individual in a negative way rather than being something very supportive and positive, helping a person not only endure, surviving particularly difficult times, but also grow in their relationship to whomever they conceive as their higher power or their God. There seems to be an underlying atheistic bend in the thought process of this book. Of course I may be accused of being prejudicial because I am a practicing Catholic and a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ from whom I draw much strength. I am also the daughter of Lithuanian born parents whose strong cultural identity and deep religious beliefs helped them survive a Communist occupation which necessitated them to flee, literally for their lives, and start a whole new life in another country--one in which cultural and religious tolerance was something of an ideal the citizens of that country at least strived to achieve.
I understand that the author was born in Croatia in 1974 into a Christian family.Read more ›
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Reading LIVING DELIBERATELY by Hrvoje Butkovic leaves one with the feeling that here is a man who is on a perpetual journey for a meaningful life of joy and satisfaction - and his manner of writing is so encouraging that we want to take that journey with him. He is uniquely gifted - born in Croatia, then living in Yugoslavia until the brink of the civil war there, and now living in Johannesburg, South Africa - he has observed all manner of people and influences and customs and has developed a following that most assuredly will be advanced by the reading of this book.
Butkovic defines `deliberate living' as `living life in such a way that the protagonist is aware of shat she is thinking, saying, doing, understands why she is thinking, saying, or doing it, and approves off it being thought, said, or done, for every though, word, and action of consequence.' Note, immediately that the author substitutes the pronoun `she' for the usual `he' - a slight but meaningful way of suggesting that we look at his words in a refreshed manner. This is more than the usual self-help book or book on ancient philosophy (especially Eastern) or mystical book. In a manner of speaking it is all of these but filtered through a more direct and entirely introspective and personal method of perception of who we are, why we are that way, and then choosing if we want to support that way or alter it. `The concrete approach that is taken to accomplish this can be summarized as an attempt to answer the question "Who am I?" in experiential terms. In other words, to fashion one's life into a self-definition by means of stringing together a series of authentic experiences. The book is broken down into three parts. The first part defines the key concepts that pertain to deliberate living. The second part describes the process that can be followed in an attempt to achieve it. The third part lists the effects that this is likely to have on one's life - the challenges of doing so, the rewards of succeeding at it, and the likely reception among the people who don't hold this approach to living in a similarly high regard.'
As Butkovic states `a life journey that has to final destination, but where each step that we take is its own reward, one that makes the whole journey well worth taking' is the goal of deliberate living. If we assume complete responsibility for who we are, work thorough understanding who we are and then nurture who we are places the authority of our being within our own hands. Butkovic takes us through the various stages of his concepts of training us to live deliberately by offering sage advice and then, as any good teacher, ends each brief chapter with a summary or series of questions to test our level of assuming control. It is powerful, enlightening, enriching and fulfilling - especially when Butkovic reminds us that we will never be complete in our journey, offering his own status as proof.
Impressed by this book lead this reader to some research on this very sensitive writer and found that he is also a social activist. A quote form his site: `Having followed the work of some of the people who are disillusioned with the present-day society and contemplate a better future, and having observed and/or participated in some of the initiatives that are aimed at positive social change, I've come to realize that many people are finding it difficult to picture how such a future might work, and even more difficult to envisage how we might create it. It occurred to me that it would help the situation if we could find a way to leverage all of these initiatives so that the role that each one can play in bringing about the desired change is well understood. To this end, I have tried to put together a comprehensive plan of action whereby such a change could be achieved, trying to account for all the prerequisites and drawing on all the initiatives that I'm aware of. In so doing, I haven't necessarily adopted them in their entirety, but only taken the parts that could contribute to the overall transformation as I see it, without clashing with other initiatives. The purpose of the plan of action is to create a utopian society. That is, the best society that we can imagine. Because different people imagine different things and what we imagine changes over time, this vision is neither singular nor static. I have adopted as goals those aspects of our vision that I consider to be universal - goals like freedom, harmony and prosperity - while trying to allow for multiple ways of reaching them. The plan of action is subjective in nature. It is really nothing more than my opinion, and shouldn't be taken to amount to more than this. It is offered in the hope that you find it useful; that it makes social transformation appear more tangible and that it stimulates participation in various activities that can help bring it about. Hrvoje Butkovic is obviously an enlightened thinker and one who seems destined to have an influence on every mind he touches. Read and absorb him. The journey is incredible. Grady Harp, July 12
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Definative Guide for Living Life on Your Own TermsJuly 4 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is delightful! Had I come across it years ago, it would have saved me significant trouble in my life. Beyond Butkovic's eloquence, I see this book as a tapestry that weaves all the elements of self-help, religion and philosophy into one volume. Yet without the negative aspects of any of them. His introduction highlights the issues with all three of these paths so precisely that it staggered me.
I think the best approach is to also use this as a workbook. There are questions throughout the text just for this purpose. It's easy to believe you don't have to do them. But I actually sat down and gave it a shot. I truly peeled back some layers that I'd had difficulty confronting. So I can vouch for their authenticity.
Overall, Butkovic offers cohesive thought and sound solutions for people searching for a no-nonsense approach to life. I think it's refreshing to read a book about realistically taking charge of your life while still keeping their feet solidly on logical ground. This is a simple, yet effective plan for change. As such, I recommend this book highly to anyone that has been dissatisfied with other approaches.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating adventure into ourselves.May 31 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I found the philosophy and psychology in Living Deliberately to be absorbing, enlightening, and quite interesting. This methodical and instructive book can be read over and over again, and each time you pick it up, there's always something new to digest. I enjoyed the words of wisdom that abound in almost every page, with plenty of real life examples to go by.
According to the author, living deliberately is a way of life, and this begins by taking responsibility for one's actions. Throughout the book, one explores the recurring theme of finding out and knowing who you are. That includes asking questions, like "Who am I?"
In one particular section, the author discusses multitasking and how it is conducive to forming habits:
"When having tea with a friend, it makes sense that we should give the conversation our undivided attention. The significance of drinking tea pales in comparison. In this instance, drinking tea is a suitable background activity. This isn't a problem the first time it happens. However, as we participate in this activity and others like it, we form a habit. The habit tells us that drinking tea is a suitable background activity, not just in a particular instance, but every time....Because we have learned not to value them, we approach them with the goal of getting them out of the way as quickly as possible..."
I believe that this can apply to family as well. For example, if one is busy working on the computer or cooking dinner, and their spouse or child approaches them, do they give them their undivided attention, or do they put the meal first and their spouse and child second? Can you see where this is going? It can become a habit, and if you're always too busy to give them your full attention, then you aren't living in the moment and truly experiencing them.
Other topics the author delves into are experiencing pain, identifying the consequences of our conduct, dealing with failure, and understanding our belief system. Also, at the end of the chapters, he asks pertinent and thought-provoking questions. Towards the end of the book, there are flow charts that aid visually in the path of deliberate living.
The author ends the book by suggesting that each one of us not settle for the society we live in, but start changing it. He has formed a website for like-minded people along that line.
The only thing this book did not have, was spiritual enlightenment. Given that the author mentions that he was influenced by the book Conversations with God, I expected some reference to a higher power, a God, an unseen force, being within us along this path of life. That was not the case. However, there is valuable advice for readers who are counselors and people searching for a better way of life.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Choosing yourself as a friendAug. 16 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
The author's own assessment is the best place to begin reviewing Hrvoje Butković's book, Living Deliberately. He wrote it to bridge "the three distinct categories" of books he studied in the five years it took him to research and write, while marshaling materials into a rational sequence and onto paper. Those three categories are: self-help books; books rooted in ancient philosophical and religious traditions, "particularly Eastern ones"; and, books which "wrestle with the matter of ultimate reality and enlightenment." Living Deliberately derives a great deal from these categories, and also from other sources. Let us add Seneca, whose writings instruct his readers to take practical steps to confront or reverse their problems in life. In particular, Seneca's Consolations include advice he gave his mother, Helvia, during his sentence of exile in Corsica.
Many of Seneca's Letters emphasize practical steps that readers can take to confront life's challenges. Living Deliberately attempts, and usually succeeds, in doing the same. (Butković's family was not exiled; but it made "an auspicious move" to South Africa to escape the impending war in Croatia. Regarding his approach to life's challenges, I suspect that Butković himself was unaware, when he wrote his book, that he does seem to share some body of common experience with Seneca.)
Living Deliberately draws on a Stoic approach in the purest sense: that of managing, despite adverse odds, to live in harmony through negative chapters in life. No matter how tough the times, our own life's experience offers approaches and memories by which we can overturn, overcome or set aside adversity. Living Deliberately makes a worthy toolkit for personal state-of-our-being repairs. The author's style matches his book's intention; a non-specialist reader should have no trouble here.
Seneca wrote, "We learn not in the school, but in life." Living Deliberately takes that approach. Life is to learn from; it is the vehicle that teaches us lessons we can use. (If we so choose.) That is Butković's remit. His chapter Putting It All Together starts with this epigraph from the founder of modern Sufism: "Well-makers lead the water; archers bend the bow; carpenters hew a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves."
How do wise people fashion themselves? Well, Butković starts a chapter with the heading, "The Role of the Past": "The past acts as a repository of information regarding our conduct." Then comes "The Role of the Future": "Since the past does not define who we are"--[as distinct from who we used to be]--"we need to look for our identity elsewhere." This guides us to "The Role of the Present," which Butković illustrates consistently and well, drawing examples from everyday living in many fields and showing how we can turn negative factors or feelings into neutral, if not positive ones.
Living Deliberately places itself in the category of Personal Growth. That is certainly true. The back cover asks: "Would you choose yourself as a friend?" This book can help us all say Yes!
Robert Fripp Author, "Spirit in Health: Spiritual roots in modern healing" (Mind and body; the role of the mind in healing)
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
first rate explainion on how to know yourselfSept. 7 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Living Deliberately is an amazing self-help book that actually teaches us how to live consciously. Hrvoje Butkovic' explains what this means in the first part of his new book, and then proceeds to give excellent examples on what this way of meaning can do for the reader.
Without conscious, deliberate examination of our thoughts, beliefs, prejudices and even our way of thinking, we are robbed of our free will. We might as well be programmed robots if all we do is react to life instead of living our passions.
This book wasn't written by a psychologist, psychiatrist or any sort of new-age guru, but by a man who sets out to know himself. There's a good reason why one of the smartest men ever to have lived, advised us to get to know ourselves, and Butkovic' gives us the reason why.
Step by step, Butkovic' takes us through the joys of deliberate living, and also the pitfalls. I'm not sure who our society was set up to serve, but it certainly doesn't seem to serve those who want to live their passions. Once in touch with our true selves as Butkovic' explains, we realize that morality is inwardly motivated, and a person who is moral because of their self-realization, doesn't have to have rules imposed on him.
Butkovic asks us to question the long-held beliefs we've inherited about from our parents and society, to see if they actually are working for us. I've heard it say that is something is true, then it works. Do our religions work towards peace when the thing that causes most wars is religion? Good question. Does eating a certain way because it's what society does, actually make you feel good?
This book is about one man's journey into himself, something that few of us do, and the answers he's discovered. He's our modern day `wounded healer' who's made the journey into the `dark night of the soul' bringing back the wisdom to the tribe.