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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Road Map to Power by Syed Arshad Husain and A. Darius Husain is a thought-provoking book that examines the true source of personal power, how our quest for success and achievement originated, and how it affects us today. The authors explain that great riches, fame and success are dependent on genetics, inheritance and luck, and so 99% of people are unlikely to achieve the unobtainable goals they may set themselves. The Rule of the Road is that we are almost all average. We may measure our worth by how much we have, but this will never make us truly happy. Husain says he made this mistake – despite a successful career as a child psychiatrist in the US and a comfortable life, he was dissatisfied until he heard colleague Bob talk about his alternative contented way of living.
Road Map to Power explains what this humane, non-self-seeking and realistic way involves: We need to know that we are not all really equal, but are equal in worth; that we cannot all achieve extraordinary things, but that perseverance and development of self-esteem is good when we understand we have our own individual ‘ceiling’. Parental attachment to infants is essential for emotional strength and resilience. We all have our own personal ‘garden’ that we need to cultivate with generosity and giving to others, and we can do that when we understand that happiness stems from leading a life suited to our individual capabilities. When we stop believing we must have or achieve more and more in order to be accepted or to fit in, then we can live more authentically.
Road Map to Power is well-written and very readable. It follows a logical sequence with useful summing up sections at the end of each chapter, and includes references to many historical and significant people/events in order to explain various points. I like the assessment of the origins and role of different religions the authors make, and their suggestion that emphasizing the values rather than different theologies can have a unifying effect. Syed Arshad Husain established a trauma team to help children and families affected by war in Bosnia, and partly bases his theories about resilience, re-authoring our lives, and living to help others on the experiences he had there with some very traumatized children.
This is a book with a message that could be a starting point for transforming the lives of readers who are unhappy, stuck in pursuing something unattainable to them personally, or who are caught up in false beliefs that money, better possessions or approval will bring them the happiness they crave. The book’s message is to strive for our own best, not power or possessions. As St Francis of Assisi says: “It is in giving that we receive” - and we discover that this enables us to live fully in the knowledge that our 'best' will continue to influence others in a good way long after our own deaths. It is this way of living that is open to all of us equally.