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5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom at it's best!
Just the right amount of yin-yang, between business and bliss; this book is a pocket tucker. There are 166 pages fraught with stories and experience from this Zen Master. Chapter's entitled--True Nature, Enlightenment at Work, and Spiritual Life, Daily Life, encompass the freedom you'll gain by imbibing in the gem of a book. A worthwhile tax deduction at the price!
Published on May 11 1999

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3.0 out of 5 stars Man becomes zen monk while working at a large company
I think the title is misleading. It may better be labeled "Man Becomes Zen Monk While Working in a Good Position at a Large Company." I was expecting a more generic coverage of what "American" Buddhism might be about, especially Zen and capitalism/competition or even more detail about his progress via zazen. I was also disappointed that he did not elaborate on his...
Published on Dec 6 1999


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3.0 out of 5 stars Man becomes zen monk while working at a large company, Dec 6 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Zen at Work (Paperback)
I think the title is misleading. It may better be labeled "Man Becomes Zen Monk While Working in a Good Position at a Large Company." I was expecting a more generic coverage of what "American" Buddhism might be about, especially Zen and capitalism/competition or even more detail about his progress via zazen. I was also disappointed that he did not elaborate on his feelings about his master's death (he brought it up and immediately dropped it) and at his suggestion that a male Zen Buddhist would have the ability to make a woman not feel like she was "taken for granted." Enlightenment is knowing oneself and not necessarily others but in that latter point I felt he missed all that that complaint may emcompass. At that juncture the book lost me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom at it's best!, May 11 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Zen at Work (Paperback)
Just the right amount of yin-yang, between business and bliss; this book is a pocket tucker. There are 166 pages fraught with stories and experience from this Zen Master. Chapter's entitled--True Nature, Enlightenment at Work, and Spiritual Life, Daily Life, encompass the freedom you'll gain by imbibing in the gem of a book. A worthwhile tax deduction at the price!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual teachings in and from the marketplace, July 17 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Zen at Work (Paperback)
Review of Zen at Work.

Bright side.

Les Kaye is a Soto Zen teacher who spent several decades in training, starting with Suzuki-roshi, and concurrently worked as an engineer at IBM for the same period of time. In this text he shuttles back and forth between work anecdotes and more standardized spiritual teachings (sermon-like). In doing so he intertwines threads of the theoretical and the real to illustrate how Zen contextualizes problems so they appear as they are rather than as we imagine them. The book covers a fair ground of topics, i.e., relationships, self-expression, communication, fearlessness, letting-go, emphasizing two principles; big (oceanic) mind, and no separation between subject and object.
Most Zen authors mention the need for an integration of spiritual practice and everyday life. Les Kaye has taken this recommendation one step further by illustrating how he dealt with corporate problems spiritually. This is clearly the strength, as well as the emphasis of the book; carrying water and chopping wood really are the focus of everyday practice.
It is fun to imagine that Les has a subtle sense of humor, that is, the title reads as a pun. Take it as "Men (Zen) at Work", an icon of religious effort, or read it simply as Zen brought to the marketplace.

Dull side.

Les Kaye's description of his work life and his practice life seems incomplete. During the three plus decades covered by this memoir-teaching, San Francisco Zen centers and IBM went through momentous changes in growth and leadership, some positive and some negative. I assume that Les Kaye wanted to restrict his description of Zen and worklife to basically positive events but a description of Zen and "real life" might demand an assessment of what makes Zen work under trying circumstances. Not every Zen manual has to describe how traumatic life can be, but Les lived through historic times for western Zen practice and I feel he has a responsibility to tell us how he dealt with it. Possibly, Mr. Kaye was never strongly concerned with these dramatic changes; raising a family and working full time are certainly involving by themselves, but if this is true he should tell us rather than leave us wondering.
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Zen at Work
Zen at Work by Les Kaye (Paperback - Jan. 28 1997)
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