Read Search Inside Yourself: The Secret to Unbreakable Concentration, Complete Relaxation and Effortless Self-Control by Chade-Meng Tan Free Online
Book Title: Search Inside Yourself: The Secret to Unbreakable Concentration, Complete Relaxation and Effortless Self-Control|
The author of the book: Chade-Meng Tan
Date of issue: February 28th 2016
ISBN 13: 9780007467167
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 338 KB
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Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan
This book looked enticing. I am interested in meditation and concentration techniques and this promised to be an enthusiastic exploration by a keen intellect. How could one resist a book claiming to be “The Secret Path to Unbreakable Concentration, Complete Relaxation and Total Self-Control?
However I had to abandon it largely because of the style and unconsious elitism of the author, a man who wears his corporate credentials on his sleeve.
Chade-MengTan is a top Google executive; and don’t you just come to know it! From his pat corporate-speak (‘high resolution emotion’, ‘outside the box’) to his boundless lauding of the great company itself. Right from the start we learn that the ‘worlds happiest man’ - one Matthieu Ricard, a monk- had to settle for becoming happy by this route only because: “he could not join Google back in 1972- and the monk thing seemed like the next best career choice”, comparing Google to the taking of holy orders is indicative of Meng’s attitude. Yeah I know we’re not supposed to take his goofy comedy seriously but the Google namechecking starts here; building up through the book into a relentless motif. Google can do no wrong, from granting it’s employees 20% work time for their own projects (recinded now I believe), to giving them all free lunches.
On page 170 he mentions someone elses book: ‘Good to Great’, which discusses business growth. He suggests that the early developers of Google (including himself, natch) embody the tenets set out in this book - including the idea of a special type of leader: one who has great ambition as well as great humility. “These leaders are highly ambitious, but the focus of their ambition is not themselves; instead they are ambitious for the greater good.” Google is apparently run by saints only for the betterment of society.
Meng’s tone throughout is on the corny side of goofy. He employs the old American schtick of promoting himself as just one of the guys. So he might ‘ask the boss for a raise’ or he might be ‘amused that Google lets [a mere] engineer teach emotional intelligence. What a company.” Or he might pronounce: ‘I knew my engineering degree was good for something.’ (p.4) like he was justifying his paper credentials to the blue collar boys at the downtown bar.
This ‘down with the people’ attitude grates in conjunction with what we come to understand are Meng’s usual associates. His unashamed name-dropping is almost heroic: Barak Obama, The Dalai Lama, Richard Gere, will-i-am, Gwyneth Paltrow, Deepack Chopra, Bill Clinton, Natalie Portman. Most of them, whether they are celebrities or just the great and the good, turn out to be his ‘friends’ as he never tires of reporting. The unabashed enthusiasm Meng feels for CEOs and celebrities begins to pall after a while as does his queasily American equation of high power with high moral ground.
And isn’t there something incongruous in blithely squaring ancient meditative techniques with capitlism at its most rampant? “What if contemplative practices can be made beneficial both to people’s careers and to business bottom lines?” (p3). Does it not seem odd for a high-flying executive in a hugely powerful corporation such as Google (an organisation which makes money ‘aquiring’ infomation from the population at large) to be pontificating on matters ethical? For you get the feeling that though he may hanker after world peace- he also wants to make loads of money.
Meng claims to be a rational man- “being very sceptical and scientifically minded, I would be deeply embarrassed to teach anything without a strong scientific basis” (p.3) and yet he feels like a unqualified child next to his friend the multi-millionaire New-Age snake-oil salesman Deepac Chopra (p.75).
Surely the truely rational would not wish to stray so readily beyond natural phenomena as Meng does in presenting such ‘holy’ people as the Dalai Lama, who isn’t just skilled at meditation but is some sort of supernaturally beneficent indidvidual who can inspire an arch sceptic (Paul Ekman) just by holding their hand for 10 minutes while radiating “an abundance of goodness within his entire being” (p184). These wild claims belong in a haigiography rather than a serious work on meditation.
Chade-Meng Tan, though humble likes to talk about himself. You get many hokey self-references: ‘if Meng can cook so can you’ or ‘If Meng can sit, so can you’. These may seem like self-deprecating gestures, but when they proliferate you begin to see them for the self-important proclamations they really are, the message is: ‘I’m the important factor here; look to me first before you can pronounce on yourself”.
He appears to have no qualms in talking about: ‘compulsively pragmatic people like me’ (p.4), or of the “Many hundreds of strangers [who] tell me that I have inspired them” (p.126); he graces us with examples of his poetry (p.207), and proclaims, in case we should be left in any doubt: “... I find myself able to project a quiet but unmistakable self-confidence, whether I am meeting world leaders like Barak Obama... or dealing with a traffic cop... I watched a video of myself speaking at the United Nations, I was amazed at how confident I appeared. Heck, if I didn’t already know the guy on that video, I would have thought him to be very cool.” (P74). These start to seem less like the reports of a humble man; they savour more of egomania.
He appears to have become so institutionalised to corporate life that the only people he can relate to are those he associates with. Nearly all the exemplars he mentions are millionaire CEOs or celebrity ‘friends’. He gains his inspiration from entrepreneurs such as the ‘millianaire CEO Tony Hsieh’ who pushes the idea of ‘delivering happiness’ to his customers, and while corporate hot-air such as this may inspire Meng but affects me like an overdose of candy-floss.
This elite lifestyle leads him to equate the rewards of “fulfilling our higher purpose” with: “..a big bonus, a special mention by a company vice president, a story in the New York Times, or an expression of grattitude from the Dalai Lama.” (p.115) most of which are not readily available to the average non-Google citizen, and some of which just seem to reflect the brown-nosing atmosphere of trying to curry favour all the way up the greasy pole- Please, count me out: a special mention by a company vice president does not fulfill my lifes higer purpose!
And so we return to the theme of World Peace which is Meng’s forte. “My own dream is to create the conditions for world peace in my lifetime” (p.125) “I am amazed by how much my simple aspiration for world peace has resonated with so many people” (p.126) “Soon, I was building a network of allies (whom I jokingly call the ‘grand conspiracy for world peace)” (p.126)
This ‘conspipracy’ includes celebrity New-Agers such as Richard Gere, will-i-am, Owen Wilson and perhaps also the dead Pope John Paul II whom he quotes enthusiastically at the start of his ‘Three Easy Steps to World Peace’ Chapter (p.195). A pope whose contributions to world peace included covering up the vast network of peadophiles that the Catholic church embraced; demanding that those dying from AIDs in Africa should be denied condoms and condeming atheists as morally repugnant.
Meng’s other paragon of peace, Gandhi, thought it would have been better if the Jews had committed mass suicide rather than offer resistance. This would have raised the worlds attention to the holocaust in a peaceful way. But world peace cannot be as simple as unilaterally becoming a pacifist. As Sam Harris has said: what did Gandhi expect the world to do after the Jews had brought attention to the attrocity- commit suicide as well?
So how will world-peace come about? It will spread through the world from its source: Meng’s meditation workshops at Google: “The way to create the conditions for world peace is to create a mindfullness-based emotional intelligence curriculum, perfect it within Google, and then give it away as one of Google’s gifts to the world.” (p.201) Oh, Mr. Google, with your world peace you are spoiling us...
Hurrah for Google: the saviour of the world, with Meng as the prime mover.
But hold on a minute; what about Sunni and Shia; Muslim and Christian and all the other religions that look upon each other as enemies in faith and upon meditation as the devil’s work at worst or the mind-fart of impressionably naive new-agers led astray by self-help books and Deepac Chopra types at best?
There are good books on meditation techniques out there which aren’t written by self-aggrandising, delusional, fat-cats. I don’t trust Google as far as I could throw it and down-home hokiness I can do without.
Sorry Meng, you may mean well but my bullshit detector is off the scale. Still I dare say you will get a good hearing from Deepac, Gwyneth and Mr. Gere.
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Read information about the authorChade-Meng Tan (Meng) is Google's Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny). Meng was one of Google's earliest engineers. Among many other things, he helped build Google's first mobile search service, and headed the team that kept a vigilant eye on Google's search quality. His current job description is, "Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace".
Outside of Google, Meng is the Founder and (Jolly Good) President of the Tan Teo Charitable Foundation, a small foundation dedicated to promoting Peace, Liberty and Enlightenment in the world. He is a Founding Patron of Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). He is also a Founding Patron of the World Peace Festival, and adviser to a number of technology start-ups.
Meng earned his MS in Computer Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He went to Santa Barbara mainly for the beach, but didn't mind the graduate degree either. He considers himself a Buddhist "on most weekdays, especially Mondays". He is an avid meditator, because meditation facilitates in him inner peace and happiness "without doing real work". Meng occasionally finds himself featured on newspapers. He was featured on the front page of the New York Times and delivered a TED talk at the United Nations. He has met three United States Presidents, Obama, Clinton and Carter. The Dalai Lama gave him a hug for his 40th birthday. His personal motto is, "Life is too important to be taken seriously".
Meng hopes to see every workplace in the world become a drinking fountain for happiness and enlightenment. When Meng grows up, he wants to save the world, and have lots of fun and laughter doing it. He feels if something is no laughing matter, it is probably not worth doing.