Score: 96/100 (9.6 out of 10)
“Flying Penguin" by Dr. Asoka Jinadasa and Felicio Ferraz is clearly one of the best non-fiction books of the season! It's actually quite difficult to place though. We'd actually rated it a 9.3 at one point, then, 9.4, then 9.5. After several rereadings, we realized this is one of the most valuable texts in the entire cycle.
What makes it tough to place? On one hand, it is a shotgun blast of different thoughts and ideas, some of which are backed by facts and data, others of which are greatly opinion-based and anecdotal. There's also a great deal of insistence by the authors on certain things like on a veganism and living a minimalist Buddhist lifestyle that may be somewhat bothersome to people who just don't buy into those ideologies or want to be preached to. On the other hand, despite this somewhat scattered, multi-faceted approach and some dogma, this book contains so much valuable, useful, helpful, and inspiring information in just 315 pages that we can't rate it any lower than our highest rating yet. 9.6 has become the magic number for our top-rated books, and this book certainly deserves it. So, let's dive in!
What is it about this book that makes it so great? Well, for starters, the reader gets to learn from a legitimately amazing man in Dr. Asoka Jinadasa, a successful business man, doctor, and life coach who has maintained youth, energy, and zest into his golden years. He and co-author Ferraz happen to also be quite gifted writers and communicators who know how to really engage reader. They really get you to buy into some of their ideas. Heck, we even felt like drinking green tea and doing the relaxation activities after reading this! We're seriously making some green tea now. There's also some very good, practical advice on eating and drinking. For example, the authors encourage us to chew our foods dozens of times and thoroughly enjoy every bite before swallowing. There is actually research to support that this causes a person to eat about 12% less and thus stay leaner and healthier. The reader is also encouraged to drink water (as well as green tea), which is said to help your brain to work 14% faster. There are also some great breathing and stretching exercises akin to yoga. This kind of advice is very practical and quite useful.
We never expect a book (or anything) to be perfect, but what keeps this book from achieving that ever-illusive perfection? For one, this book immediately bombards you in machine-gun fashion with a barrage of quotes by famous people, some of which have little to do with each other. For example, in between a quote about “changing the game” by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a quote by Gary Vaynerchuck about being the best version of yourself, we get the following quote:
“I became vegan because I saw what really goes on in slaughterhouses and dairy farms”
- Ellen DeGeneres
Then we get the quote:
“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”
- Elton John
So, if this section full of quotations were a section about the benefits of veganism or about the benefits of music, these quotes would make some sense. In this context, however, they stand out like a sore thumb (or two sore thumbs). They have little to do with self-actualization, business, or fulfilling goals, not to mention anything to do with the quotes before or after them.
But we digress, if you don't like something then you don't have to like it. It's not forced upon you. You have free will and can decide for yourself. Take everything with a grain of salt.
Another thing that we absolutely love—possibly our favorite aspect of this book—were the analogies and stories. We're almost immediately given the gist of the book via an analogy or story about fleas. The story goes that fleas can become conditioned to limit themselves just like some people limit themselves. The story goes that if you put a flea in a short cup with a cover, they will repeatedly jump trying to get out, hitting their head each time. Over time, they'll become so used to expecting to hit their heads that they'll stop jumping so high even if the cover of the container is removed. You get similar stories about how animals like elephants are put on a short leashes/ropes, then learn to be kept under control even after growing to be large and powerful. Human beings are also vulnerable to self-limiting thoughts and beliefs.
There are other great stories in here. One of the ones we're familiar with involved the donkey in the well who used the dirt that was thrown on him to climb to safety. That gave us the amazing quote from co-author Ferraz that “Dirt thrown on you can bury you or uplift you.”
There are other extraordinary original quotes from this book including:
“If you win every game, your game won't improve.”
“Every problem has an underlying opportunity.”
“Control your fear, or your fear will control you.”
There's another story that's just coming to mind about a man who desires to be king. The king actually lets him have his throne for a time, but the man has a sword dangling over him menacingly during an extravagant royal banquet. This so unsettles the aspiring king with the threat of being overthrown or killed that he gives the crown right back. Another story features a homeless man who is offered gold coins in exchange for something. He is asked for his limbs and even his eyes, but he rejects the offers saying that there's no point in having money if he can't move or see.
Every single one of these stories is tied into the grand holistic scheme of this book. It's incredible!
This book will help you to become a higher flying individual. Check it out!