John Sean Doyle is the Serenity Prayer personified. He amplifies what is beautiful, enlivening, and possible for all of us. He also diminishes the debilitating power negative events often have in our lives. Through smart, sensitive and honest essays, Doyle takes the findings from the research into happiness and well-being and makes them personal by applying them to the human struggles we all go through in life, such as loved ones becoming ill, wrestling with the complexities of being good parents, or navigating challenges in the workplace.
Each essay is grounded in science with references to further reading, and each is filled with poetry. Doyle helps us acknowledge where we are in the struggle, shines a light on the good things around us, and inspires hope and a sense of meaning through an emphasis on kindness, humility and our connections with one another.
“How are we to live in such a world? We leaf through the pages of sacred texts. We wring beautiful truths from antiquity’s scrolls. We plot what science has taught on distribution curves. However, sometimes what we want and need and long for is simple validation of where we are in the struggle. To be given hope and reasons to hope. To be assured that while the things in life can be hard, difficult, scary, irrational, unjust and unfair, that fundamentally there is no reason to fear or fret or fade. There is always, always just-cause to love life and to celebrate the tender, rapturous, beautiful intimacies that also are our inheritance. We are not the first ones in this world to suffer or struggle or doubt. We won’t be the last. And there is comfort in knowing we never need go it alone.” From the the first essay: Frequented by Longing: An Introduction
Subtitled “A love letter,” the reader walks away from Being Human with a deep sense of being in love with life, even with all life’s imperfections and hardships. The comment shared most often after reading Doyle’s essays is, “I needed this.”
Most books you read once and then set aside. Being Human is an exception because of the hope and meaning on every page. I also love it for its refreshingly slim size: It’s a book we can all read before the New Year.In Being Human, John Sean Doyle establishes himself as the poetic voice of positive psychology.
I have a prediction: You will not want this book to end.
Being Human is one of my favorite gifts to give this holiday season.
Thank you, John Sean Doyle, for showing us the way to a good and authentic life.
Register here for news about the availability of Doyle’s full collection.
Doyle, J. S. (2015). Being human: A chapbook of selected essays: A love letter. Rainstick Press.
John Sean Doyle has written several articles for Positive Psychology News. Here’s a link to his collection.
The Two of Us by Hartwig HKD, with a Creative Commons license
The fairy tale picture is used with permission from John Sean Doyle.
I read ‘Being Human’ as soon as I received it, and am reading it again now. Sean writes in ways that we think internally, yet we do not disclose these emotions in everyday conversations. I was surprised with how deeply I was touched with his expressions. I highly recommend purchasing this book and supporting what is yet to come from Sean Doyle.
I really enjoyed this as well. Reading the essays immediately took me away from everyday life, got me thinking about things in a different way, and made me feel good about myself and about humanity. And you were right, I didn’t want it to end. I’m looking forward to the larger collection.
Thanks for the heads up. I just placed my Amazon order for Christmas presents. What a wonderful gift for your clients as well as to read at a holiday gathering. Terrific.
I’m so happy to read this wonderful review of Sean Doyle’s beautiful essays! He has such a wonderful way with words and gives us great hope for the human race and for our ability to better cope with what comes our way! I bought four of these books for Christmas presents and am ordering more. I, too, can’t wait to read more of Sean’s writings.
Being Human: Mr. Doyle is an eloquent writer who conjures up images in my head of what life means. Reading his work is good for the psyche. Looking forward to reading more from him.
I couldn’t agree more with this review and the other comments here. Cannot wait for the full book to come out!
David, your review is spot on. Sean Doyle is the poetic voice of the Positive Psychology movement. His writing embodies the perfect combination of thoughtful eloquence and deep contemplation about life’s meaning. Sean has learned from the best….. not only in terms of his knowledge of Positive Psychology, but as a life-long student of the craft of magnificent prose and poerty, having read the work of every Nobel Prize winner in Literature for more than 15 years. A life’s project in itself. So grateful to have Sean’s wisdom and perspective out in the world!
When review is so inspiring book will be really worth for life.waiting to get it.
with best wishes.vnc