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Paulo Coelho – By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Paulo Coelho – By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Score: 7/10

#Low-dog-ear-ation

Intro:

I have always admired people who actually study the books they are reading, not just read them. (And sure, there are books to be read for sheer pleasure, but you know, and you know it for a fact, that there have been some lessons you wish you would have writtendown when you read some books and you damn right should.) And for that, I always fold my corners on the bottom parts of the page (low-dog-earing them), where I find something I might want to revisit. Which I, of course, then never do. But those times are over. This is a birth of my lower corners section. My last Coelho was actually that good to force me into this. (ain’t he gorgeous?!)

1. This(below) is why I read this corny special gentleman! (Now tell me honestly that you don’t know what he is talking about here. Right?!!!)

“You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun–and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived that moment, that it doesn’t exist–that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists–a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.”

2.This one is a MASSIVE ONE! Just remember how many times did you end up in a conversation about how corrupt is your government, how horrible is the traffic etc. just this week. (And then there are some worse cases.) It’s really really good to learn that you don’t have to play a role in the scripts of the others. THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST ADVICE I HAVE RECEIVED FROM PAULO COELHO THUS FAR.

“Don’t be frightened, Pilar. Don’t just fall into playing a role.” I didn’t want my problem with the old man to become a problem with him, so I tried to stay calm. “I don’t know what you mean by ‘playing a role.'” “Some people always have to be doing battle with someone, sometimes even with themselves, battling with their own lives. So they begin to create a kind of play in their head, and they write the script based on their frustrations.” “I know a lot of people like that. I know just what you mean.” “But the worst part is that they cannot present the play by themselves,” he continued. “So they begin to invite other actors to join in. “That’s what that fellow outside was doing. He wanted revenge for something, and he chose us to play a part. If we had accepted his restrictions, we’d be regretting it. We would have been defeated. We would have agreed to participate in his miserable life and in his frustrations. “The man’s aggression was easy to see, so it was easy for us to refuse the role he wanted us to play. But other people also ‘invite’ us to behave like victims, when they complain about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask us to agree, to offer advice, to participate.” He looked into my eyes. “Be careful. When you join in that game, you always wind up losing.” He was right. But I still wasn’t happy about being inside the chapel. “OK, but I’ve already said my prayer. I’ve done what I wanted to do. Let’s go.”

3. This could be both warning and suggestion. Form you own opinion for once! I’m not your daddy!

“But love is much like a dam; if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current.”

4. Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times, blame it on the OTHER. Really! This sounds like a big pile of BS, but it really works. You CAN start from the scratch with the clean sheet and this is a very smart way of doing that.

“The Other wants to come back”, he said, as if had guessed what I was thinking. “The Other is always afraid of saying something that might sound silly.”

“So my superior said, ‘There are many ways to serve our Lord. If you feel that’s your destiny, go in search of it. Only a man who is happy can create happiness in others.’ ” ‘I don’t know if that’s my destiny,’ I told my superior. ‘Peace came into my heart when I entered this seminary.’ ” ‘Well, then, go there and resolve any doubts you may have,’ he said. ‘Remain out there in the world, or come back to the seminary. But you have to be committed to the place you choose. A divided kingdom cannot defend itself from its adversaries. A divided person cannot face life in a dignified way.’

5. On why you should never stop performing good deeds! (Others can see it and by that they will form a good opinion about you and that is extremely important! “WHAT WHAT?!” <-Just testing your attention.) What I really wanted to say is that you can help the whole humanity to evolve. Be that counterparty to Daily news, Hollywood movies and constant complainers.

“A scientist who studied monkeys on an island in Indonesia was able to teach a certain one to wash bananas in the river before eating them. Cleansed of sand and dirt, the food was more flavorful. The scientist who did this only because he was studying the learning capacity of monkeys did not imagine what would eventually happen. So he was surprised to see that the other monkeys on the island began to imitate the first one. “And then, one day, when a certain number of monkeys had learned to wash their bananas, the monkeys on all of the other islands in the archipelago began to do the same thing. What was most surprising, though, was that the other monkeys learned to do so without having had any contact with the island where the experiment had been conducted.” He stopped. “Do you understand?” “No,” I answered. “There are several similar scientific studies. The most common explanation is that when a certain number of people evolve, the entire human race begins to evolve. We don’t know how many people are needed but we know that’s how it works.”

6. On love. (Express what you want and what you feel, else you might end up with the wristband and barrette yourselves too.)

“A boy and a girl were insanely in love with each other,” my mother’s voice was saying. “They decided to become engaged. And that’s when presents are always exchanged.
The boy was poor–his only worthwhile possession was a watch he’d inherited from his grandfather. Thinking about his sweetheart’s lovely hair, he decided to sell the watch in order to buy her a silver barrette.
The girl had no money herself to buy him a present. She went to the shop of the most successful merchant in the town and sold him her hair. With the money, she bought a gold watchband for her lover.
When they met on the day of the engagement party, she gave him the wristband for a watch he had sold, and he gave her the barrette for the hair she no longer had”

 

 

I have also this, in case you have’t read this one:

 

 

Malcolm Gladwell -The Tipping Point & Paulo Coelho – By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Score: 10/10 (mostly for the discussion potential this combo provides)

(I know we are on an uncharted territory of comparing incomparable, but let’s give it a shot.)

Weeks ago, I had this conversation with the colleague of mine, where I, being the constant complainer that I’m, expressed my jealousy towards the atheists or 100% theists,’ cause I find it so INCREDIBLY difficult to just keep on trying to find THE answers (#firstworldproblems).

This discussion ended with me receiving this pic/screenshot. (And, you don’t have to worry for a second that I will not update my profile pic with now-iconic shelf picture soon enough.)

And, while reading yet another Coelho, I have found this. (My story-telling is on the level of 6 year old, but don’t let that stand in front of you on your way to a very intriguing argument.)

“A scientist who studied monkeys on an island in Indonesia was able to teach a certain one to wash bananas in the river before eating them. Cleansed of sand and dirt, the food was more flavorful. The scientist who did this only because he was studying the learning capacity of monkeys did not imagine what would eventually happen. So he was surprised to see that the other monkeys on the island began to imitate the first one. “And then, one day, when a certain number of monkeys had learned to wash their bananas, the monkeys on all of the other islands in the archipelago began to do the same thing. What was most surprising, though, was that the other monkeys learned to do so without having had any contact with the island where the experiment had been conducted.” He stopped. “Do you understand?” “No,” I answered. “There are several similar scientific studies. The most common explanation is that when a certain number of people evolve, the entire human race begins to evolve. We don’t know how many people are needed but we know that’s how it works.”

And now call me whatever you want, but to me this The tipping point. It might have been taken from slightly different prospective, but effectively it’s the very same thing Malcolm Gladwell described in his famous famous book.

And I’ve realized that this exactly is the reason why do I have hard times to praise these two. Because they don’t provide that benefit of doubt I would want them to. They are explaining the most complex things as if they understood them thoroughly and I get mad at them for not knowing that they don’t know. And I bet they even know.

(I might be just jealous, in fact, I’m sure I’m just jealous. It looks to be working magically and maybe they are just smart enough to know that if they would question all they do, they wouldn’t write a word. And God knows that would be a major pity!)

Also, this whatever-it-is wouldn’t be complete if I wouldn’t choose my side.

And as pathetic as it sounds, while reading the “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” I have re-learned why do I keep coming back to Coelho that often. He just makes me a happier person, while I read him. I do have those moments, where I buy completely in and believe every word he writes for sentence or two and when that happens, I do really feel all the magic in the world… And to say it also explicitly, Malcolm Gladwell seems to be stealing it from me (He is stealing my thunder!). So yeah, I would have to go with the Philosopher of the Simple Ones as I heard him being called and didn’t enjoy it at all…

And both books are 7s, in case you were waiting for this.

P.S.: Yes, this is the review of The Tipping Point. (I have started to write the“serious” one more than once, but it just didn’t happen for us….)

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