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Emily Levine had stage IV lung cancer. But instead of fearing the inevitable, she decided to embrace her new reality, and face death with humor and gratitude.

In her own words: “I love being in sync with the cyclical rhythms of the universe. That’s what’s so extraordinary about life — it’s a cycle of generation, degeneration, regeneration. ’I’ am just a collection of particles that is arranged into this pattern, then will decompose and be available, all of its constituent parts, to nature, to reorganize into another pattern. To me, that is so exciting, and it makes me even more grateful to be part of that process.”

She died on February, 3 2019. Please watch this clip from her TED talk a few months before her death.

 

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This is a self-help book that shares wisdom designed to enrich the quality of a persons’ professional, personal, and spiritual life. The book contains 101 simple solutions to be integrated into ones’ life. At just 195 pages, the book is a speed read. However to get the full benefit of each suggestion, it is a good idea to read the book slowly. Start from the beginning and read one solution each day. Reading the whole book in one sitting might leave you overwhelmed with information, making it easy to miss the point or forget the tips. That’s how I felt after reading the book

The best part of this book is how easy it is to read. Each solution is a short one to two pages and very easy to incorporate into one’s life. Some solutions are common knowledge, but a great number of them are unique, useful, and insightful. The book is quite holistic and covers a wide arena of topics. Tips like “always carry a book with you” ensures lifelong learning, while “spend a day without your watch” covers slowing down.

The book starts off with a quote from Norman Cousins: “The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of ourselves when we live.” But the best quote, that stuck a chord in me was when Robin quotes his father’s words “The tree that has the most fruits is the tree that bends to touch the ground”. Meaning the people who know the most and who have lived the most are also the people closest to the ground. In a word, they are humble.

4 Gates of Speech

He also quotes an old Sufi tradition which advises us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through four gates. At the first gate, we ask ourselves, “Are these words true?” If so, we let them pass on; At the second gate we ask; “Are they necessary?” At the third gate we ask; “Are they beneficial?” and at the fourth gate, we ask, “Are they kind?” If the answer to any of these is no, then what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

I definitely recommend this book. If you want simple steps that tell you how to improve your life, this book is it.

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