Book Review: Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan


ashley | I’m not one for self-help books. I’ve read a few, but I have this egotistical response to books telling me what to do, a response that makes it seem like everything they are telling me is common knowledge or doesn’t relate to me. I’m aware of this, so I don’t often indulge in that kind of book, but I made an exception for Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (And World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan, half because my brother highly recommended I read it and half because I really liked the unique approach to it.

This was written by a computer engineer who implemented a mindfulness program at Google that successfully increased productivity and happiness among Google employees. What I loved about how this was written was that it was from a very simple and logical place. As an engineer, Tan explained things very clearly, he had really great examples to support his points – and I don’t mean some philosophical metaphor that you don’t understand, I mean an actual story from his own life, usually a situation in the workplace, that clearly showed what he is talking about. It was so easy to understand what he was talking about, you really do have that “this is such common sense” feeling, but without the egotistical judgement, more of an awakening feeling. Like why haven’t I been doing this all my life?

Tan kind of organizes all your thoughts and feelings into situations and actually teaches you how to deal with them. There are in depth descriptions of each element he is focusing on, plus detailed exercises that you can actually practice in your daily life. In my usual fashion, I read through the book skipping over the exercises (this is why I’m bad with self-help books), but even just reading his insights on life, the way he phrases certain situations, the positivity and encouragement he puts within his words, the whole thing was very inspiring. I didn’t feel weighed down by anything too spiritual or religious, I didn’t feel like I was being preached to, I felt like I was learning a lesson and taking valuable tools with me to take on my daily life.

If you’re interested in mindfulness or curious about how you can help find a bit of inner peace and happiness, I recommend you start here. I find a lot of books about this can be discouraging or make you feel a little silly if you’re just starting out, but Search Inside Yourself is a great middle ground for people who aren’t quite ready to completely let go of their reservations, but wouldn’t mind seeing what all the fuss is about.


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april 24, 2012