A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought

Non-Fiction - Social Issues
402 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Leonard William Smuts for Readers' Favorite

It seems that wisdom, much like common sense, is no longer common. There are distractions. The need to earn a living and lifestyle choices leave little time for self-contemplation. Because of this, individuals simply take on the belief systems of society and lose individuality, influenced along the way by social media and fake news. The modern education system is not geared to encourage freedom of thought, nor does it cultivate inquiring minds, yet it is the ability to introspect and know ourselves that leads us towards wisdom. Wisdom takes readers on a journey of exploration, delving into all the relevant aspects that define our lives. Jason Merchey unpacks what wisdom represents and explores issues such as whether wisdom can be taught, whether it requires a high level of intelligence to achieve, and whether it inherently brings happiness. Jason asks searching questions of contemporary American society and its values, politics, beliefs, and present direction – where wisdom is increasingly lacking. Topics such as social justice, the capitalist system, political polarization, mental illness, and equality are among the many topics evaluated. Measuring success is equally challenging. Humans are by no means perfect and the pursuit of wisdom is not an easy path.

In writing Wisdom, Jason Merchey inspires readers to take time out to evaluate the questions that have troubled philosophers for millennia, and in particular, wisdom. In this, he succeeds admirably! Classic philosophers have arranged themselves into schools of thought, but few have really provided a cohesive overview of the nature of our being. Using a practical approach, Jason draws on his experience of life, both as a former psychotherapist and a student of human behavior to provide guidance. The success of this book lies in the author’s ability to convey complex concepts in simple terms, illustrated with many examples and backed by quotations from the wise. The lofty ideology of academia is replaced by homespun values which lead to understanding and ultimately wisdom. By reading this book we can better understand the underlying thought processes that influence our lives and then apply them to achieve personal growth. Wisdom is a virtue that is not for sale - life must be experienced and lessons learned. This is a thought-provoking and insightful book, which is highly recommended, and concludes that wisdom remains our greatest strength. A great book that provides a down-to-earth understanding of a neglected field!

Foluso Falaye

Even though the USA has advanced in technology over the years, several major problems remain unsolved and are becoming more apparent, like debt and poverty, violence, mental illness, environmental degradation, inequality, racism, addiction, and more. Wisdom by Jason Merchey suggests that gaining wisdom is the answer to many of the problems in our modern world and that if people knew the true meaning of wisdom and followed its path, we would have a healthier, happier, more loving, and more conscious generation. Thus, Wisdom examines the full meaning of wisdom by looking into several thoughts and quotations from various noteworthy individuals throughout history and in our present age. Readers are provided with insights on different subjects that pertain to wisdom, including kindness, open-mindedness, modesty, emotion regulation, emotional intelligence, insight and intuition, and much more.

With an analytical dissection of thoughts and ideas from different ages and an intelligent and fluent communication of reflections, Wisdom explores what it actually means to be wise and how knowing this could result in a better world for all. Wisdom is so rife with information that every page has a bookmark-worthy line that could spark hours of reflection and a serious reassessment of values like religion, politics, intelligence, and wealth. Duane Elgin's quote about leaders and how their cumbersome responsibilities hamper their effectiveness caused me to realize that we as citizens need to work on the changes we desire. This is just an example of the countless gems that Jason Merchey's book contains. I strongly recommend Wisdom to all as everyone deserves to know how to get the best out of life and reduce suffering—especially in a generation that is constantly bombarded by distressing, detrimental, and distracting information.

Vincent Dublado

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought by Jason Merchey is a fascinating discourse on the nature of wisdom. It is where philosophy, psychology, well-being, personal growth, spirituality, politics, and American culture come together to deliver the true beauty and power of wisdom and its potential to pay amazing dividends in our lives. The author draws from a diverse selection of modern books on the subject, complemented by a considerable number of original insights. Given that wisdom is a broad subject, the book elucidates its viewpoint by bringing in diverse voices—exponents from various fields who have something valuable to say on the virtue of wisdom. From the wise lessons of traditional values to a call to action in embracing wisdom, it is an exciting and enlightening journey into the different facets of being wise.

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought is the kind of intelligent nonfiction that we all need. On a theoretical level, Jason Merchey defines the core elements of wisdom and what sets it apart from other human strengths. In doing so, he has written a book that is not only enlightening but also integrative and holistic in its approach to presenting wisdom as a specific element of competency. It is an approach to the conduct of human existence by bringing together the past and present, and how it acknowledges the proper way to face the uncertainties of the future. As we all continue to be awed by the nature of wisdom, this book is a must-read for anyone who ever wondered about the answers to life’s questions. It doesn’t have all the answers, but it helps to explain why we ask the big questions.

Steven Robson

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought by Jason A. Merchey is a bold attempt to define the incredibly complex and ever-changing essence of wisdom. We cannot paint a clear picture of wisdom with simple brush strokes: it requires a canvas as vast as the human mind and an artist as capable as life itself, using colors and skills at times unquantifiable, striving to achieve the masterpiece we all take with us when we leave this world. Through exploring intellectual, emotional, environmental, and perceptual influences on our lives, in tune with the way we are biologically wired, Mr. Merchey has taken an incredible step toward shining a spotlight on this amazingly rich and diverse subject. By far the most prominent outcome of reading Wisdom is that your thoughts will be stimulated in the most profound and startling ways, which will live and grow with you into your future in this world.

Jason A. Merchey’s Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought may at first glance appear daunting to those not drawn to psychology, but it quickly becomes apparent that this material is targeted at a more general audience. The narrative is clear, uncluttered, and devoid of obvious complexity that could have reduced its overall appeal. One truly great aspect was that many of the conditions covered could be related directly back to my personal experiences, resulting in a kind of penny drop realization within my mind. Another interesting methodology employed involved extensive use of quotes to summarize issues and chapters, and these I found most thought-provoking in their own right. I would highly recommend Wisdom to all who are capable of advanced thought, which to be honest, should be the entire human race.

Astrid Iustulin

We live in a world where it seems that one of the most precious virtues of society, wisdom, is ignored by a large part of the population. However, if you are among those who want to rediscover it, I suggest you read Jason Merchey's Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought. In this comprehensive and extensively researched book, Merchey delves into topics such as compassion, modesty, and self-awareness (to name a few), and adds his personal experiences and a wide variety of quotes from the most famous and authoritative writers. Wisdom is a fascinating subject that will help you reflect on modern society - and the American one in particular.

Wisdom is a book that fascinated me right from the title because it promised to be (and is) something that would help me reflect on issues that were already important to me. However, I did not expect the breadth of vision with which Jason Merchey has analyzed the themes. While they have universal value, I appreciated that the author links them to contemporary events such as Donald Trump's presidency and the Coronavirus pandemic. I also liked that Merchey used authoritative quotes and personal experiences because they add value to the book. I must say that reading many wise words allowed me to open my mind and gave me a lot of food for thought. Wisdom makes you reflect on modern society from many points of view, and I recommend it to all those who wish to explore a complex but fascinating topic.