Home All Being Human, A Love Letter (Book Review)

Being Human, A Love Letter (Book Review)

written by David J. Pollay 19 December 2015

David J. Pollay, MAPP '06, is a co-founder of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). David has an Economics degree from Yale University and has held leadership positions at Yahoo!, MasterCard, Global Payments and AIESEC. He is an Executive Coach who specializes in business relationships. He is also an author and keynote speaker known for his best-selling books, The Law of the Garbage Truck (how to navigate negativity) and The 3 Promises (how to create personal fulfillment every day). David's articles are here. For permission to reprint David's articles, please contact him.

Where do you find the inspiration to live a fulfilling life and the courage to navigate heartache and disappointment? One place I turn to is the writing of poet, lawyer, and positive psychology expert, John Sean Doyle.

In a new chapbook of selected essays titled Being Human, Doyle guides us along a path of kindness, compassion, and love. The selections contained in Being Human are drawn from a full, yet-to-be-published collection of Doyle’s work. A chapbook is traditionally a short collection of poetry or stories used to showcase the work of an author to a larger audience.

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.

“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

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.

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.

Image Credits
The Two of Us by Hartwig HKD, with a Creative Commons license
The fairy tale picture is used with permission from John Sean Doyle.

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Ellen Meier 19 December 2015 - 4:37 pm

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.

Frank Silber 19 December 2015 - 10:16 pm

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.

Judy Krings 20 December 2015 - 9:31 am

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.

Nancy Blackwell 20 December 2015 - 1:30 pm

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.

Liz 21 December 2015 - 8:00 am

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.

Joe Bennett 21 December 2015 - 6:55 pm

I couldn’t agree more with this review and the other comments here. Cannot wait for the full book to come out!

Aren Cohen 22 December 2015 - 1:48 pm

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!

v n choudhary 29 December 2015 - 11:38 pm

When review is so inspiring book will be really worth for life.waiting to get it.
with best wishes.vnc


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