The Big Idea:

Every minute you spend thinking about the past or the future is causing you suffering and pain. Neither of these are real. The only things that's real is the present and helping yourself stay in the present is the key to unlocking peacefulness and joy in your life.


The book is basically a covert book about Buddhism, with some sprinkles of mysticism and Christianity references to make it appeal to a wider audience.

Published in 1997, the book exploded when Oprah recommended it in O magazine in 2000. It has sold over 5 million copies. You likely have it on your shelf but haven't gotten all the way through. It's got over 42,000 4.5 star reviews on Amazon and just this week it was in the top 20 books sold on Amazon 😮.

Fun fact: When Paris Hilton was incarcerated for a month in 2007, she brought a copy of The Power of Now to jail. Other celebrity fans include: Kobe Bryant, Jim Carrey, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Top 4 Takeaways:

  1. If you cannot be free from your mind whenever you want, to turn off thinking about the past or future when you want, then you are a slave to it. Compulsive thinking is an addiction. And like any addiction it's wreaking havoc in your life and causing pain.
  2. To the ego, the present moment is not important. It is obsessed with the past and the future. It makes you a victim of the past and anxious about the future. It resists being in the present moment. This is how all of our pain and suffering is created, by our mind's insistence on time travel.
    • I've actually started to think of my ego as Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino – a character from the popular MTV reality show, The Jersey Shore. If you can make the things your ego tells you sound like someone other than yourself, you're one step closer to being aware when it's trying to negatively influence you.
  3. If you can learn to stay in the present, you can free yourself from all that pain and suffering. The easiest way to do this is to take focus away from where the mind wants to go and pay close attention to the body. You can focus on your breathing, observe what's happening around you, and even think about the emotions you're feeling in the 3rd person -> as if you are observing it.
  4. A great test of whether you are present: Ask yourself – is there joy, ease and lightness in what I'm doing right now? If not, your mind is likely causing stress by thinking about the past or future.


Final Thought:

 I've never highlighted a book more and at the same time been completely unable to discuss it with others. Most of my conversations have been like, "so, The Power of Now…" and then they say, "yea, really powerful stuff" and that's pretty much it.

To be clear, it's been really impactful for me personally. I love the test question mentioned in #4 above and I love what's it's done for my marriage. It's allowed me to keep from getting sucked into silly arguments that would have previously turned into a thing. I am able to be present enough to see that it doesn't really matter if I'm right. That's the ego afraid for its own survival.

With that said, I believe that this book is an advanced reader.  I wouldn't recommend as one of the first books for someone just getting into this work. And I'm on the hunt for a book that explains the same concepts in a better way.

Other quotes I loved:

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