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The Art of Power Paperback – Jul 1 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (July 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061242365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061242366
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“The Art of Power is a bold and visionary work that reframes power, ambition, success, happiness, love, and peace.” (Spirituality & Practice)

“Among Buddhist leaders influential in the West, Thich Nhat Hanh ranks second only to the Dalai Lama.” (New York Times)

About the Author

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen master, poet, scholar, and peace activist who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is the author of many bestselling books, including the classics Peace Is Every Step, Fear, and The Art of Power. Hanh lives in Plum Village, his meditation center in France, and leads retreats worldwide.

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Format: Paperback
I have belonged to Sangha in the tradition of Thich Naht Hahn for almost two years. I acknowledge that I have a fondness for the dharma (wisdom) as expressed by Thay (the familiar name for Thich Naht Hahn) I have read this book several times and my copy is underlined, dog eared and much loved. I have bought half a dozen copies of the book and given it to a vast aray of people from a psychiatrist to a man going to prison for two and a half years. If you only were able to read one book on how to wake up and engage in your life this would be the book. Thay gently explains the practice of mindfulness and how you can apply it to your life so you can be fully alive. Real power. True power. I come back to this book time and time again
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Format: Paperback
Not just a philosophy for business people, it's for everyone. It is both inspirational and practical. It helps me with my day to day personal life experiences as well as my professional practice. Thank you Thich Nhat Hanh for your incredible guidance.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thich Nhat Hanh est un grand maître bouddhiste. Je le lis avec le plus grand des plaisirs!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9c8db678) out of 5 stars 79 reviews
103 of 113 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bce1210) out of 5 stars The Art of Elevating Humanity Aug. 26 2007
By Layli Maparyan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As humanity evolves, so must power evolve. In The Art of Power, the eminent Thich Nhat Hanh presents us with a radically new vision of power for the coming age. True power, he declares, is spiritual. While the idea of spiritual power is profoundly simple, we live in an age where power is still understood as violent and dominating and spirituality is often conflated with religion and dogma. As human institutions - both institutional and interpersonal - disintegrate and decay all around us based on these outmoded and dysfunctional definitions, we are beginning to ask ourselves, "What next??" In simple, accessible, and sensitive language suitable for a wide range of readers, Thich Nhat Hanh answers this question.

Bringing his well-known "engaged Buddhism" to bear upon problems of contemporary society - from relationships, sex, and family, to business, politics, and the environment - he offers simple, straightforward practices for transforming the energy of power in real-life situations. In addition to explaining the Four Noble Truths in plain language, he presents the Five Spiritual Powers, the Five Mindfulness Teachings, and ten concrete practices to strengthen power and spiritual energy. In lively and unpretentious prose, he masterfully interweaves Zen philosophy and stories from the life of Buddha (as well as some of Buddha's lesser-known associates) with examples from his own life and the lives of others with whom he has worked in recent years. We observe how, paradoxically, impermanence, nonself, interbeing, and mindfulness form the foundation of the very peace, happiness, freedom, and prosperity we all seek on individual and collective levels. Thus, ancient wisdom finds contemporary relevance for everyone, from housewives (and househusbands) to corporate visionaries and heads of state.

People who enjoy this book might also be intrigued by Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R. Hawkins and The Integral Management of Tao by Stephen P. Chang, as well as Manual for a Perfect Government by John Hagelin and Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life by Shantideva. Westerners of a Buddhist persuasion will also be inclined to look for the "Sutra on the White-clad Disciple," which addresses laypersons and householders seeking greater meaning from life, after reading The Art of Power.

Thich Nhat Hanh is quietly one of the most powerful people on Earth today. He walks gently, intently, lovingly, and consciously in every step. He models the power of which he speaks. With this book, all can follow in his footsteps and tread a similar path. To quote him (p. 163): "Everyone can participate in the work of awakening, helping enlightenment to be born in society. Awakening is your task. By skillful means, you can contribute greatly to the collective awakening that is the foundation of all change." With The Art of Power, we have in our hands a much-needed guidebook and manual for this very awakening. Thank you, Thuy.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bce1264) out of 5 stars The Real Power....The Real Happiness Aug. 20 2007
By Dominick Hiddo-perry - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Thich has done it again!!! This book truly shows how one should make the neccessary steps to harness REAL power and REAL happiness. The message he sends for us is that happiness stems from within. However, humans tend to turn to external factors such as wealth, fame, power and sex as a means to drive our happiness; we use these as goals and say "...when I acheive these things, I will be happy." Through this book, Thich shows us that these external factors mean absolutely nothing if one cannot find happiness within himself / herself. This book is an essential! The whole "Finding Happiness within yourself" may sound like a cliche, but the writing style and succinct experiences provided by Thich this one of the most interesting, motivating and inspiring reads of 2007!! Enjoy!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bce169c) out of 5 stars A Completely Different Approach to Power March 6 2008
By David Crumm - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The striking design of this book's brick-red cover with the huge white word, "POWER," dominating all the other type -- is deceptively attractive. I know from talking with a group of teen-agers about books on spirituality that have caught their eye that this imagery is alluring.

But, of course, the Buddhist writer Thich Nhat Hanh defies our normal assumptions about power: that it is something we strive to attain so that we can control and perhaps even dominate people around us. That's the typical model of power in our culture -- power as "winning" in a competitive world.

Anyone who has read his previous works -- or heard his talks in person or on video -- knows that his traditional Buddhist approach to life is to set aside striving and competitiveness. Instead, compassion becomes the glue that should hold together our community.

So, what he really is writing about here is the social force that flows from the kind of authority we build through our exercise of compassion and a positive approach toward life. Some critics have observed that, over the years, Thich Nhat Hanh's books have tended to repeat themselves. And, yes, frequent readers will find the same heart of Buddhist teaching here that we know from other works.

But there are fascinating, fresh anecdotes and emphases in his teaching in this volume. For example, there's an intriguing story here about his return to Vietnam -- after many years of exile -- and the way he approached this extremely challenging journey. There are a couple of practical supplements in the back of the book, including some plain talk about Buddhist principles in the realm of business.

Yes, there is a deliberate twist in the title -- but it's a play on words in the service of wise and compelling teachings.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bce1a5c) out of 5 stars Illuminates the heart and the mind Aug. 25 2007
By Michael P. Maslanka - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Now in his early 80s, Hanh continues to write at a prodigious pace. We are blessed to have his latest. He does a riff on earlier ideas---interbeing(all is interconnected and we must be mindful of this central truth); the fundamental nature of karma(the harm you do to others comes back and harms you); impermenace(we are impermenant beings experiencing things that are impermanent). But he vears off in a new direction, applying these ideas to the workplace( the job title is just a form;don't lock onto the form which will change), to business(great chapter in an appendix by the founder of Patagonia) and to the development of a collective awakening from which the power to change the hearts of people and of goverments will come but only from patient listening and understanding why others believe as they do and changing their "wrong perceptions."(He includes a copy of his hand written letter to President Bush as an example). As always, the writing is simple and clear and harder to do than it looks. Although as persuasive as the writing is, I quite can't embrace the Fifth Mindfulness training about food and booze(that third martini at a steak dinner has too strong a pull).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bce1b40) out of 5 stars A taste of Buddhism for us all.. lessons for a life well-lived June 3 2011
By Chip Hunter - Published on
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I have VERY little knowledge or understanding of Buddhism. I was given this book by a friend of mine (from Vietnam) whom apparently thought I could benefit from some of Mr. Hanh's teachings. Intrigued, I dove into this thin book expecting a discourse on how Buddhism will make your life better, ect. What I found instead, was a heart-felt, insightful, and valuable introduction to a practical way to view life that can help you achieve happiness despite your circumstances. This is an extremely powerful and attractive system for viewing life. How to control your emotions, focus on whats important, realize that you have what you need, and appreciate the good things around you. These are lessons on how to live a happy and fulfilling life, not a lecture on why you should be a Buddhist. No matter what your religion or political views, if you can shift your outlook on life to be more like that of a Buddhist monk, you'll probably be a happier person. And you'll also be more enjoyable to be around! I'm definitely going to try to get my wife to read this book! Not that she's unenjoyable to be around, but I think everyone could use a dose of this simple but powerful lesson.

While I really enjoyed this book, and really think it will influence my life in a positive way, some of Hanh's metaphors and allegories caused a bit of eye-rolling, and some of his statements just came off a bit over-the-top. A flower doesn't need the sun to open, and its certainly not actually The Sun or The Clouds. I know its probably just my cynical nature that keeps me from fully appreciating the brilliance of Interconnectedness. Also, the repeated references to Jesus and The Kingdom of God in the context of the here-and-now were a bit off-putting to me. Either Thich Nhat Hanh doesn't really understand the meaning of what Jesus is and did, or he's purposefully ignoring Jesus' message for the purpose of making sure we all get along. Its the typical casting of Jesus, Mohamed, Moses, and Buddha as "great teachers" and nothing more. Somewhat irritating, but not enough to dampen my enjoyment of the book overall.

Basically, I think almost anyone with an open mind would appreciate and benefit from this book. Focus on yourself, appreciate everything for what it is, and make an effort to achieve happiness. Good lessons for a life well-lived. Highly recommended!