Trying Not to Try by Edward Slingerland

Trying Not to Try by Edward Slingerland Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 4th March 2014
Book Depository | Goodreads

Edward Slingerland explains why we find spontaneity so elusive, and shows how early Chinese thought points the way to happier, more authentic lives. We’ve long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort. But recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life, like happiness and spontaneity, are best pursued indirectly.

The early Chinese philosophers knew this, and they wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world, which they called wu-wei (ooo-way). They believed it was the source of all success in life, and they developed various strategies for getting it and hanging on to it.

This book will not teach you how to be more spontaneous. Because of the very nature of spontaneity it is not something you can learn from a book. However it does show how not concentrating on a task will help achieve the desired outcome.

This book also explores the meaning of the Chinese concepts of wu-wei. The book is full of examples of the action-less doing of wu-wei (being in the zone) as well as examples from contemporary neuroscience. It even goes as far as comparing wu-wei to Luke Skywalker using the force in Star Wars.

This is not a self-help book, it doesn’t have a simple step-by-step guide on how to be more spontaneous. However it does have concepts that you can put into practice in every day life to try and be more spontaneous. Whether that be in sport, art, blogging or just falling asleep.

Buy Trying Not To Try on Book Depository

Thanks for reading.
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*I received a copy of this book from Broadway Books in exchange for an honest review.


17 Responses to “Trying Not to Try by Edward Slingerland”

  1. jdh5innervoice

    Cool piece.

    Long story to tell:
    I will (endeavor to) summarize.

    Had transcended intimate relationships
    (Read: given up on)
    Was living as a celibate
    Eighteen months.

    Joined an online writer’s group
    (Working on starting film production company)
    And found the love of my life.

    After I met her,
    Conducted Tarot card reading
    (Celtic cross for those interested).
    Final Outcome card: The Lovers.

    Happy tears.

    We are set to wed on 5/10/15.

    Yes, be passionate on the path
    Yes, have faith
    Yes, surrender.

    It all works out
    It needs to.

  2. shazzameena

    This sounds very interesting. I’ve just checked my trusty, local library online catalogue and they have it 🙂

  3. marshillmythos

    While visiting a garden with my husband, we realized that while I like to plan everything out with the map to make sure I don’t miss anything, he would rather wander around and enjoy what he finds. This book reminds me of that. It really helped us understand each other, because he approaches life that way. I find it is really hard for me to let go and just enjoy.

    • bluchickenninja

      Yeah thats sort of what my family does too. We half plan our holidays though things change and most of the time our days revolve around finding somewhere nice for tea and cake. Being spontaneous on holiday is much more fun.


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