Our October Book of the Month is Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours: The Adventures of an Enquiring Mind by Prasanna Gautam.
In a previous life, Prasanna Gautam was a distinguished physician and teacher of medicine at the University Group of Hospitals in Aberdeen, Scotland. Now he is pursuing his lifelong interests in Aryan history, ancient Sanskrit, and philosophy, and in March of this year published Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours: The Adventures of an Enquiring Mind with Cambridge Scholars, an extraordinary journey through the deepest and most subtle philosophical crypts. Gautam has also translated the Rig Veda into English, and has written, edited, and translated widely across Nepali, Hindi, Sanskrit, and English.
Although embedded firmly within philosophical traditions, the book is akin to the great musings of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius, one that takes us by the hand and guides us gently through topics such as superstition, religion, sexuality, and happiness. It invites us to consider how we can live better lives, not by telling us what that our lives should be, but by encouraging us to think more deeply about the question ourselves.
This book is a unique presentation of common but highly important issues that affect us all deeply. These are illustrated with personal anecdotes to which the readers can relate and compare with their own experiences in life. Each chapter is independent and presented in a conversational manner which makes reading easy. The book deals with a wide range of subjects, such as sex and sexuality, euthanasia, self-confidence, superstition, religion, evolution, parenting, conflicts, leadership, and the interpretation of scriptures, among others.
In addition to presenting the essence of many philosophical concepts and contrasting them with scientific evidence, the book asserts that our world has never before been richer and more technically advanced, but that our unthinking brains have precipitated unhappiness, conflicts, poverty, greed, crime and selfishness. A book of huge interest generally, this is also useful as a handy source of information for the students of humanities, the linguists and translators of ancient languages.
To find out more, please click here to read a sample extract and contents page.
We are offering all of our readers a generous 60% discount on this book throughout October. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code BOMOCT18 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 1st November 2018.
Please see below for highlights of the praise this book has been receiving:
"This is an impressive book covering a very wide range of topics. In reading this book you will be both entertained and stimulated. The author tries successfully to marry the informal with the formal and succeeds in producing a text which gains your attention and retains your interest. In my view, the overriding objective of the author is to stimulate the reader to think. Yes, he has things to say, points to make and theses to argue for which he thinks are important and hopefully you will agree with, but more fundamentally he wants to ignite enquiring minds, prepared to engage in rational debate and discussion. The author does not want disciples but fellow travellers, who see value in challenging conventions and commonly held beliefs and refuse to live the ‘unthinking life’."
--Dr Terry McKnight, Ulster University
"How often is it that we do things because that was the done thing, followed because everyone else has? We automatically say or do things without thinking about it and rarely listen with attention. Dr Guatam has asked the questions that have often been at the back of our minds. This well researched book makes us think about the why and the so what. We may not necessarily agree with all the ideas, but they give rise to deeper thinking of our own truths and principles."
"[T]his book is a must to read for everyone who desires to know what life is all about. It is lucid and inspirational."
--Dr. K.S.Sangunni, Former Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
"What should a good non-fiction book provide? Interest, information, education (for those willing to accept it), entertainment, food for thought – to mention but a few. In this book, Prasanna Gautam meets all the above criteria, and many more, and tackles a formidable bank of questions and themes via such media as personal experience, common sense, history, religion and culture."
"Once I started reading the book, I had difficulty putting it down. The flow and compelling arguments that Prasanna Gautam has made, chapter after chapter, albeit exploring different issues, makes it informative, interesting and educative. It is filled with knowledge synthesised through the centuries. [...] The author has succeeded in tying many loose ends and wild assumptions about ancient Indian literature and Aryan civilisation. The book makes an interesting reading and a great learning experience particularly because of the way the author entwines his own personal experiences in different phases, different circumstances and different places about many common issues, e.g. sex, paradoxes related to our brain, retirement, superstition, euthanasia, the reality about rebirth and so on."
"Every now and then in our reading we come across a book which is like no other we have read but makes us pause and become aware that it has changed our perceptions in some way usually for the better. Dr Gautam’s ”Reflexions on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours” is just such a book. [...] The “reflections” which the author expresses are frequently accompanied by questions which invite the reader to answer and perhaps re-exam his own standpoint. Although, for the most part, I agreed with most of Dr Gautam’s views there were times when I encountered those different from mine but I was quietly led to change my views and scarcely noticed it. It is a pleasant “adventure” to do so and a necessary one to embark upon. As Plato recalls Socrates speech at his trial “The unexamined life is not worth living”."
"Something of an absorption of thought and practice, Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours is a rewarding read. Within its gentle confines, Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours drops us bit by but into a significant bundle of important life events and issues―retirement―euthanasia―healing and violence, among them. The book discusses not just the attitudes of today, but looks far over our shoulders, and most especially into the disparate hymns and other writings from ancient India. Prasanna Gautam does a good job in capturing all that he can in as many light brush strokes as he does, for this must be the only way to try and gather the multifold and endless material that encompasses contemporary and ancient life. The sample size is fair as he covers a lot of ground! That is why the book possibly travels away from the experiences that are more commonly yours and mine―which it does very well―and becomes a more personal journey, the author’s own road to discovery."