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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How it made a DifferenceJuly 10 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I have been thinking a lot about 'Living Deliberately' and found myself going back to review the book. The first time reading the book left me confused and trying to read faster to get to some climax, revelation? I am a speed reader, so coming across a lot of lengthy words makes that difficult.
I do understand what the meaning is. Yes to live deliberately we all need to deliberate on our actions and most definitely reactions. If I wrote the review last Friday, this whole review may have been different. But just yesterday I had a gathering with friends and as sometimes happens my partner ended up causing a scene. I in turn, let him have it with my anger of how idiotic his behaviour was.
Here is the difference in my review if written Friday as opposed to today. Today I realized I wasn't angry with my partner for his childish behaviour but with my own, (even though he deserved to be kicked to the moon) the words in 'Living Deliberately' did make a difference. I have read many self help books (even though this book may sometimes be wordy, as I am being now) remembering the words made a difference on my reaction and understanding of myself the next day. Quite a revelation actually. I was able to assess the situation so much more clearly for it was myself I was assessing and not someone else. These words we have all read countless times, but sometimes it takes hearing them in a different format that makes the difference. So thank you for that.
The book I thought seemed to lead to atheist point of view, but that is not so. Changing religions isn't atheist, a great quote I know is "Know God, No religion". I find the author must be a very loved man for to achieve deliberate living with the change in faith, diet, lifestyle and still be able to keep the family unit would make someone very blessed. Having said that, I am not judging.
I did enjoy the quote from Albert Einstein "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Then again, what is simple, if it were simple we'd all be doing it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Life Philosophy with ValueJuly 9 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
"Living Deliberately "is a method or perhaps better, a theory by which one may approach and live his or her life. It is a lens through which we may view the world and then draw conclusions about it, other people, and our own actions. The author states early on in his book that his system may not work for a "religious person" because they have ascribed to a finite set of principles. I am not a "religious person"...but I am a person of faith and my faith, far from constricting me and confining me, offers me options and ideas that are as infinite as the God who thought them up. And because this is true of my faith, I was able to read this book and to derive benefit from it; regardless of the author's rejection of his own former faith and regardless of the fact that we approach life from quite opposite vantage points. I felt the biggest drawback of the book to be it's lack of spiritual understanding. The author seems to believe that man is the sum total of what he perceives himself to be. I believe that there is much more to us than merely our flesh and bones and self-perception. The book left me empty in that regard and I felt it to be a deficit.
My favorite chapter in the book was the one on failure. What a freeing concept; that there is no such thing as failure! And failure generally falls into two categories: a failure to attain goals we have set or failure to even set goals...and these failures can be turned inside out and used as learning tools for us to discover new things about ourselves and how we want to live our lives. I would suggest -and I believe the author suggested the same thing--that the only failure we can experience is the failure to learn through the experiences of our lives...especially those experiences of overt failure. He asked an intriguing question at the end of this chapter, "If you truly believed there is no such thing as failure, how would you live your life?" tan As far as the writing and style of the book: I found it to be quite difficult to read. Normally I do not have problems in reading comprehension and certainly not in vocabulary issues, but with this book, due mostly to the fact that it deals almost exclusively with abstract ideas, and due to an unusual manner of writing, I found myself struggling with it. I wondered if perhaps English may be a second language to the author. There was nothing wrong with his mastery of the language; it was just that there was an oddity to the phraseology that threw me a bit of a curve. And it is possible because of this fact, that I may have misperceived some of the statements the author made. If that is the case, I am truly sorry.
The author states that "Conscious Evolution" is the defining characteristic of deliberate living. He states that we can and should be constantly consciously be undertaking to better ourselves by constant self analysis and self-examination. I approach life a bit differently. If I want to become better than I am, it does not make sense to me to focus on myself for I am no model of betterment. I believe that our focus must be on a Being higher, better...and in fact perfect...and to choose to make Him my model.
As you can see, I have quite a different world view than does Hrvoje Burkovic and that causes me not to see eye to eye with him on a number of issues. However, I learned quite a bit from reading the book; I have been able to adapt some of the ideas contained therein to suit my belief system; and I believe that much of what he says is true across the board for anyone. All in all, it is a worthwhile read.