By Azim Jamal. Grade: B+
Seven Steps to Lasting Happiness is the product of years of questioning and reflection in the author’s quest to find sustained happiness. The book examines how to:
- Have a clear vision for yourself
- Know your values and principles
- Feel fulfilled in the career of your choice
- Have wholesome and mutually fulfilling relationships
- Live to your fullest potential
- Move forward in your life
- Have a happy and balanced life
Ah, happiness! Who doesn’t want happiness? Each one of us experiences happiness, at least momentarily or temporarily. But how to make it last? How to live life in a way to sustain happiness? This question is the driving force of Seven Steps to Lasting Happiness. Azim Jamal, in this book, gives seven simple steps to guide the reader on the road to happiness – not just momentary, but lasting.
This book is self-help personified (closest to it, anyway). Whenever an average reader picks up a self-help book, he looks for genuine guidance to help himself. This is exactly what Seven Steps to Lasting Happiness does, through every single bit of its existence.
The language of the book is simple, yet it helps the reader understand, and more importantly, grasp the essence of the content. The book has a very interesting format. Every chapter has a quote following the heading, after which the main content comes in. Here comes the specialty. Following this is the “Ask Yourself” section, where the author poses a few questions which every person must ask oneself for introspection and answer to get important solutions. But the specialty of the book is the “How To Get Started” section, where the author himself lays down few guidelines as to how to get into the groove and make effective progress. In terms of flow, this book really excels. The sequential, not too fast-not too slow pace of the book really impresses.
“If we fail to realize our dreams, it is either because we lack clarity as to what we want or we doubt our ability to really do it.”
Lines like these really penetrate both sentiment and thought. What could be a simpler way to elaborate such a hardcore philosophical fact?
It is interesting to see how the author uses parallels from his own life. On the one hand, it is very relatable and on the other, it establishes the author as fallible, helping the reader to empathize both, with the author and the content.
An observation of special note, to the author and the readers. There are many quotations in the book, perhaps a tad bit too many. For better or for worse, but they’re everywhere. It’s like applying makeup. There’s only so much you can apply for someone to look good. After that, anything extra makes it look even worse.
Also, the trend in this book is that the teachings are not restricted only to Sufism. Everyone from Shakespeare to Indian philosophers has been quoted in the book. Although this brings in great variety and a more wholesome wisdom, it raises a question to the basic premise behind the series title “Corporate Sufi”. The book has gradually drifted from Sufi wisdom’s application to conventional wisdom, which although understandable, is not very healthy.
Irrespective of whatever a person’s current “happiness status” is, this book will prove to be a great help. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “Happiness is not a goal… it is the by-product of a life well-lived.”