Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

harridI need to admit up front: I am a Dan Harris fan. A friend suggested his first book (10% Happier) to me and since then I have been a convert.

If you aren’t familiar with the Dan Harris story: he is a journalist on ABC and he had a panic attack on air during a national newscast. This was due to many factors. In the book 10% Happier, he recounts the details running up to this incident, and how he investigated and found meditation and mindfulness as a solution, or at least helpful in his quest for managing his panic attacks.

When I saw there was a “How To” book for 10% Happier I was both excited (since I was a fan of the ‘franchise’) and skeptical. Skeptical because I was worried how he was going to follow up on the 10% Happier book. I shouldn’t have been concerned.

‘Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics’ follows Dan Harris and his friend/meditation mentor Jeff Warren on a 10 day cross-country tour of 10% Happier to spread the word about mindfulness and meditation.

The book is a good mix of story telling about the journey of the tour and it also gives hacks and instruction on how to start or pick-up a meditation practice. Jeff Warren is (as Dan Harris calls him) the MacGyver of meditations. My favourite is his ‘Welcome to the Party’ meditation: as you sit and find your breath, you just kind of go with the flow of your thoughts and anything that comes into your field, and say “Hey, welcome to the party, can I get you a cocktail?” (or something like that). The purpose is to just practice letting things come and go. Admittedly, it is explained much better in the book.

I really enjoyed this book. I think there was a good balance of storytelling, of instruction and theory behind how mindfulness and meditation works. It was re-assuring to me, as a intermittent meditator that this is an issue for many, and there were hacks on how to get back in swing of it, and how not to be too hard on myself about it. And there are many ‘hacks’ on how to weave mindfulness into everyday activities and not make it a ‘thing’.

If you were a fan of either the 10% Happier book, or the 10% Happier app (or podcast) you will thoroughly enjoy this. If you are meditation-curious, I think you will also enjoy this. Like 10% Happier, this takes the ‘mystical’ aspects of mindfulness and meditation out of the mix and helps to instruct you on a very simple and straightforward way.

I recommend this highly and gave it a 4/5 star rating on Goodreads.

Full disclosure: I received this eARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. (Thanks NetGalley!)

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