Reviews

Rev. Dr. Bijesh Philip says:

An Orientation to Our Life presents the wisdom of the ancient world in a unique way to the modern mind. Even if the discussion in the book is in a pre-Christian Jewish setting, it has an enlightening appeal to all belonging to various religions of all ages. Especially Jews, Christians and Muslims will be able to find in it their rich common heritage with which they will be able to understand their respective faiths intelligibly.

Mixing of philosophy, theology, and ethics with a fictitious brush is the beauty of this work. The author invites the readers to have a wider and holistic picture of life and shares the transcendent and practical wisdom acquired through long years of study and reflection to give a meaningful orientation to all who face moral crisis due to the prevalent secular culture. The language of this fictitious conversation is simple, but each paragraph demands deep reflection and each chapter is thought- provoking.

Even if the subtitle says that it is a guide to young men and women, this book has a universal appeal. I wish that this could help many to fulfill their human potential and lead an authentic and successful life. As the author makes the Rabbi says, “To be authentic means you have to be the author of your own life”

Joanne Olivieri says:

I was intrigued by the title of this book "An Orientation to our Life." I was even more fascinated to learn that it was written in a conversational style. So, I decided to order the book. I found the book fascinating, contemplative and inspirational. I think it would make for a fantastic learning experience for anyone, not just young men and women. It engages the reader with thought provoking analysis of one's own beliefs and thought process. It will have you asking yourself questions and contemplating your own life and beliefs. A short but good and educational read for everyone.


C. A. Alexander says:

This book is a very easy read and is short in length and therefore it should serve as an excellent primer for teaching youngsters who are curious to learn about human life, and its purpose, though it is explained strictly within the limitations of an Abrahamic faith-framework. Its emphasis on educating the young folks using simple language and concepts in tackling many issues central to human existence is commendable.The book should serve as a good philosophical introduction for youngsters of Abrahamic faiths to understand the value of pluralism.

Vineeth Philip John says:

The main focus of the book is on some of the most intriguing existential queries which have perplexed most philosophers and thinkers for thousands of years. To give you a example, Rabbi and his group grapple with questions like" Why do we live?, How can we identify good from evil?, Where will we go: To Heaven or Hell?" . The answers are based on scriptural truths, free any narrow religious leanings. The style is conversational, the language smooth and flowing, and the content extremely thought provoking. This book serves as an essential map to one's journey of life with its focus on the most pertinent aspects of our existence in this world.

Daphanie Henson says:

I think it has good, simple explanations to a lot of things people question. I love page 49!! I think it opens up the mind to think more about each discussion because it is displayed in such a simple way that is easy to grasp. It has simple explanations to complex questions. This is a good book for young people, following the conversations makes it easy to understand. I think it was a great idea to use the part of the Bible, Adam and Eve, that most people have heard of, to be the foundation of each chapter. People can relate because they have at least heard the story of Adam and Eve.

Stephanie Webster says:

This book gave me a new outlook on some of the most complex questions we all face in life. I feel that any intelligent person would have or will at some point in their lives ponder these questions for themselves. I think this book has also allowed me to ask myself these questions and discover how I really feel about my beliefs at this point in my life. I can honestly say that I have pondered all of the questions the book asks. The book in its entirety was really helpful, though I found myself really focusing on the beginning chapters of the book, especially those of 1-7. Chapters 6 & 7 really hit me hard though as I am going through some relationship problems currently. There was nothing in the book that I disagreed with; on the contrary, I saw the book as a different approach (from mine) to life and some of its toughest questions.

I enjoyed that this book was in conversational form. There was an ease about the book that I really appreciated. If someone would have asked me to write a book on the orientation to life, I wouldn’t even know where to begin! The way in which there are questions and answers in this book is really very interesting. It seems that one could write 1000 chapters on some of life’s most difficult questions. I am guessing the author has had these questions about life himself. I wonder what made him come up with this list of questions.

As a young woman I am trying to really figure out what I believe in and what I value the most in life; naturally, this type of discovery warrants many questions. Many of the questions I ask myself from time to time reflect almost perfectly with those that are asked in the book. Personally, I am trying to figure out what I want for myself in the future (especially regarding my career and marriage). Chapters one and two really helped me gain a new insight on my current situations. These are issues I often lose sleep over, and reading these chapters really allowed me to have faith in myself and in God regarding these problems. Once I am at peace with myself and really listen to my heart's desires, I can see with more clarity.

I especially loved some of the allusions to the human body and the organs (since this is what I studied in college). There is an example of this in chapter 14 when the society is related to the body. I agree that we need a more “integrated society: one in which there is a regular supply of basic necessities to all members equally (pg 66).” While the human body is something that I think about often, I have never thought of comparing this system to others in society. Our bodies are brilliant machines. Many people take the things that we do every minute of the day (even when we are asleep) such as brain activity and breathing for granted! It is such a complex and intelligent design: why not model other things in our life after our own bodies?

In conclusion, I think this book was a brilliant idea. I have never seen a more direct and to-the-point book about some of life’s toughest questions. While I appreciated that the length kept my attention, I was disappointed to reach the final chapter and concluding pages. I wanted to read more! I also started to sympathize and relate to some of the characters. While I realize that the book was not about them in particular, I was finding myself wanting more information about them and their lives.

Rachell Baldwin says:

The chapter on mending broken relationships really hit home. As someone who married young, I’ve learned and I’m still learning how to forgive and to not hold grudges. After reading the chapter, I found it very informative. It talks about the person who broke the agreement having to sincerely apologize, which, from my understanding, means that they must admit fault and work on re-establishing the broken relationship. I really loved the part that says, “Imagine how the world would be if all people in the world are willing to apologize and to forgive.”   

The chapter on sex is really good.  There it says that sex is a part of life but not life itself. I totally agree. Love is unconditional. I married my husband for sickness and in health and I take my vows very seriously. If something happens to him I will not leave him just because he can't fulfill his "sexual obligations". There are more important things than sex and that's something people need to understand.

Daniel George says:

I could finish the reading in one sitting itself and I really wished to have such a book in my teen years. Sure it is a wonderful guidepost which will impart proper orientation to our youngsters. I suggest you keep on adding questions and answers and address current issues, of course not in Rabbanic perspective. Your presentation is clear and logical. I could continue to read and felt happy the way you explained .

Cicily Sunny says:

I really appreciate your patience, your thinking, the ideas, the way you compiled it together and the setting you created. It is good for all starting from the age of 13. All these questions have gone through my mind too at some point in life. The book will really help young minds who are not sure of many things and who have the tendency to get lost in the crowd. I wish all youngsters read this. Still, if we ask the youngsters read it, they may be reluctant.

This is good for adults too who have not set their thinking and life straight. Lots of adults are thoughtless for whom this book may be a treasure. People with truth-seeking souls will find interest in things like this and will grab it. For others, nothings bothers. It is very hard to make them read it.

G. Puthenkurish says:

Michael Faraday, an English physicist did not have any formal education when he grew up. He worked as a blacksmith and spent seven years as a book binder. During that time, he read many books.  He was very much interested in science and attended the lectures by the eminent English scientists. One day he found a note, in a book came to his shop for binding, “electricity generates magnetic field when it passes through a conductor.” His inquisitive mind was stuck in that statement and prompted him to ask a reverse question. Why then magnetism can not produce electricity?  Rest is history.  Electro magnetism, Dynamo, and numerous other inventions he made changed the world we live in.

Kumaran ashaan, one of the greatest poets of Kerala, in his famous poem, Child and Mother (Kuttiyum thallayum), makes the child raise an innocent question by inviting the attention of the mother to the beautiful flower, “Look at those petals mom! They are flying away. Ha! It is beautiful!  Mother then corrects the child by saying that “It is not the flowers little one, it is butterflies.”  Their questions and answers lead us to an unfathomable realm of thinking.

The instinct we see in Faraday and in the child of the Kumaaren Ashaan's poem is inherent in all of us. But are we willing to ask questions? Through the book, ‘An Orientation to our life’ John Daniel Kunnathu is encouraging young men and women to ask questions about life and make it more meaningful and successful.  This book is good for every age group and its purpose is to provoke thoughts and prepare us to enter into the world of the unknown.  The settings and questions are familiar to most of the people.  Why do we live? Who are we?  Does God exist? (There are total fifteen questions in this book) are some of the questions embedded in our mind but never bothered to take a minute and ponder over it. Many times we leave everything as it is so that we never have to get out of our comfort zone.

This book is written in a style and a language that any body can understand.  The writer has presented familiar and great questions for us to think.  I urge everyone to read this book and find out yourself where it is going to take you.

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