The story of how advice and philosophy can be skewed when people view them in the way that suits them; and that when the teaching and the person come together it can produce results.
First Published: 2010
Date Reviewed: 13th June 2011
A “contented” John first meets Zor when the latter fends off a couple of verbally abusive strangers, simply by not reacting. John is stunned, and even more so when Zor tells him what happened from a different point of view. Now John finds Zor at the bar he frequents, the man arriving on seemingly random occasions. John has problems, but beyond that believes things are as good as they will get – which isn’t very good but something he accepts. Zor has advice, but John must first work out whether it’s better not to trust him.
Although the book is fiction, it is steeped in non-fiction. Zor is similar to Plato in that there is a discussion, but the discussion is about true themes. Thus it blends both categories. Another element that moves it away from fiction is the referencing. You are able to enjoy this book as a story, but if you are intrigued by the topics covered and wish to read about them in more detail, Zor himself provides the titles of books you may want to seek.
Depending on what ideas you have thought about, or been exposed to, before, you may find the basics of the book rather straightforward, or mind-blowing. And because of the subject, even if you’ve encountered the subjects before you can still appreciate them for the power they hold. What’s interesting is that Zor is at once a good introduction to gaining happiness, and a deeply advanced look into things. The themes move from philosophy to spirituality to science (Quantum Physics) while at the same time switching back and forth. The science in particular is in depth, but even if, like this reviewer, you are a little stumped by all the science, J.B. brilliantly describes where the philosophy meets science and the two are related. And he claims something that most people believe can never happen – that spirituality and God can sit comfortably with science – giving ample evidence and food for thought.
And food for thought is here in abundance. The thing about philosophy is that it gives advice, which you could say is like a self-help book, but unlike your typical self-help book, it’s comparatively difficult to mock it’s worth. There is too much in Zor to discuss it all in a review, so here I will choose a few topics to include and/or talk about.
“Instead of being pro-peace, they become anti-war. Instead of trying to increase a positive they choose to decrease a negative. It is that very concentration that attracts more negative energy.”
“The times were not better, you were.”
“A child is beaten by a parent, who was criticized by a spouse, who was disrespected by a co-worker, who was yelled at by a manager, who was subjected to road rage by a stranger, who was given the wrong order at a coffee shop.
Who would ever believe the wrong amount of sugar in a cup of coffee fifty miles away, could cause a child to be beaten?”
That last quotation could be viewed as a bold stance to take, but one aspect you have to remember is that it takes this kind of thinking to truly sort issues out. The quote can easily be backed up by the fact that many people say they won’t treat their children as their parents treated them [the new parents]. This is often in an attempt to break a cycle where an issue has continued down through the generations because of one person’s negativity, if not simply to make someone’s life happier – for example a person receives no love from a parent because the parent doesn’t know how to love them because they never received parental love themselves. The cycle has continued and somewhere it should be stopped.
Negativity being passed on is just one of the themes discussed in Zor that are part of the overall topic of conquering negativity. The smallest things to one person can change the entire life of someone else.
Something that worries many people is their partner cheating on them, but in worrying about it aren’t we pushing it to happen? Because if it happens then we will feel content that we were right, correct? And in pushing it to happen we are focusing on the negative. If we focus on it happening then the way we act towards the person is only going to push them towards doing it – we will be too needy or too criticising. If we focused on how to keep ourselves happy, and thus them happy, perhaps it wouldn’t happen so much. We recognise the potential for someone to cheat, but if we recognise also, and just as much, the potential of them being faithful, we will be happier. How can we expect someone to be faithful if we do not treat them with happiness and create ourselves as points of happiness that they want to be with? Of course this isn’t a foolproof method, but if everyone did it we would see less problems. And by speaking collectively, using the word “we”, the idea becomes stronger, it becomes personal, and therefore we have more of a reason to want to conquer it.
Zor’s method for being happy is rather simple, really, although keeping it up is very difficult. Due to the subject and reasons for the book it would not be a spoiler to say that Zor advocates thinking positively at all times and in place of negative thoughts to think of something positive. John goes home to his wife and moans about work. That gives her something negative to think about, and this negativity unconsciously repels them from each other – who wants to be with someone who makes them feel negative, reminds them of bad things? They go to bed at different times and don’t talk. When John does what Zor advises he goes home, speaks of only the positive parts of his day and asks his wife about hers. This makes them have a good conversation, which ultimately means they spend time together. Their love life reaps the benefits.
And that is something very important to know about this book, when I say, “when John does what Zor advises”. J.B. discusses philosophy; a lot of people would not accept the kinds of things he talks about. And if he’d made John into a vacuum, a person who sucked up everything Zor said without thought, the goodness of the book would have been lost. Instead J.B. has created a very cautious character, one who borders on self-righteous, and lets him remain this way for most of the book. Even when John finds that the advice he does take on board works, he still remains a sceptic.
The last topic that I would like to mention is the one surrounding John’s reason to do what changes him so much. Zor says that one needs to have the right motivation for the action, not just the right idea, for it to work.
It is obvious that J.B. had much in mind to say, and his information and advice has been written very well – there is never too much (unlike this review), there is never too little, and he goes into more detail the further you get into the book so that you’re able to get used to ideas beforehand. Like most books that speak of similar themes you must be willing to open your mind to different viewpoints, but, and this is also like many similar subject books, you will not find your own opinions a victim unless you decide they are going to be.
Zor successfully gives the reader advice on how to take control of their lives on a happiness level, making ripples that extend to others as a result. You may already know what it takes, but often hearing it confirmed makes all the difference between wanting to carry it out and actually carrying it out. The book combines important teachings with a well-thought-out narrative and an easy-to-read style. It’s not too long, it’s not too short, and would provide both for people wanting an introduction to the themes and people with years of reading behind them.
Where self-help books spend ages telling you how to be happy, J.B. tells you straight away and all you need is willing.
I received this book for review from the author.