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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Eckhart Tolle - a guide to mastering self-awareness through direct experience, not old presumptions or harmful thought patterns.

Through decades of martial arts and meditation practice, Peter Ralston discovered a curious and paradoxical fact: that true awareness arises from a state of not knowing. Even the most sincere investigation of self and spirit, he says, is often sabotaged by our tendency to grab too quickly for answers and ideas as we retreat to the safety of the known. This "Hitchhiker's Guide to Awareness" provides helpful guideposts along an experiential journey for those Western minds predisposed to wandering off to old habits, cherished presumptions, and a stubbornly solid sense of self. With ease and clarity, Ralston teaches listeners how to become aware of the background patterns that they are usually too busy, stressed, or distracted to notice. The Book of Not Knowing points out the ways people get stuck in their lives and offers listeners a way to make fresh choices about every aspect of their lives - from a place of awareness instead of autopilot. 

©2010 Peter Ralston (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"True innovators are, by definition, ahead of their time. Therefore, they remain largely unrecognized, except by a few. How many of us wish we had met Bruce Lee, sat in a session with Carl Jung, or walked around Walden Pond with Thoreau? Too late for that, but not too late to take notice of Peter Ralston. His creativity, commitment, and clarity shine through as he articulates higher principles based on direct experience and piercing insight. A caring teacher, he has been to the mountaintop and bathed in the spring of Being. His insights speak to us all." (Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior)

What listeners say about The Book of Not Knowing

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  • MJ
  • 09-05-2019

Painful

1.1 What on Earth 1.2 possessed the reader 1.3 to read 1.4 the chapter and verse 1.5 with the content 1.6 of the book? 1.7 Its so painful to listen to 1.8 and complete kills the flow 1.9 of the narration.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Alan Bouyssou
  • 19-06-2017

May have been good

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I couldn't get through the first chapter, not because of the content or the narration but because of the way the chapters are structured. Every few minutes or even sometimes seconds the reader announces the chapter and section. It was so distracting that I couldn't even follow the content. It would be like reading the bible and announcing the chapter and verse after every sentence.

12 people found this helpful

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  • WallStreetsInsane
  • 23-10-2017

Worth the slosh

The biblical sectioning especially in audio-book format is quite distracting and annoying.
The first 80% of the book is opinionated slosh but the few other chapters in the book are worth its weight in gold.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-09-2019

Most annoying narration...

The worst narration of any audible I have ever listened to, the reading out of sub-chapters every few lines is too much. In all honesty, I only got through the first 2 chapters before I couldn’t bare to listen any further, and it wasn’t bad so I gave the story a 2 star -

2 people found this helpful

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  • lamia
  • 09-06-2017

Narrator is fantastic/Mind-bending book

What about Keith O'Brien’s performance did you like?

At the time of this review, there are 3 2-star ratingsof the narrator with no explanation. I do not get this. The narrator is good, as good as any good narrator. There is certainly nothing distracting, annoying, or unusual about his narration.

I almost passed on this book because of those ratings. That would have been a mistake. The techniques in this book are very valuable to me. The narrator conveys them effectively. And pleasantly.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel A. Demski
  • 13-10-2017

Opinionated, but good

The message of this book seemed very similar to Thomas Metzinger's "Being No One", but 1) much more readable and usable, and 2) coming from a place of direct insight rather than philosophical thought - so, less detailed and (despite all Ralston's hard contemplation work) more willing to jump to conclusions.

In a few places, this book is either ordinary self-help/ positive thinking material, or ordinary Zen Buddhist material. But overall Ralston has succeeded in describing a practice different from either - and, for the most part, it's a practice grounded in reality.

This book could benefit from some of the fine distinctions Metzinger makes - after all, what is it to "be conscious" of the truth? Which of the many distinct types of consciousness are we meant to employ? But, on the other hand, Metzinger's book could arguably benefit from the practical advice on reshaping our consciousness which Ralston presents.

Basically, I'm saying read both.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jesse
  • 03-09-2020

Incredibly well done.

This is hands-down the best book I’ve read for a very very long time. It is up with the best writers on thought, being, and how we relate to our existence. This is the type of book that will change what you get out of every other book that you read. At least that’s what I found in it. I will probably re-read this book at least once a year for the rest of my life. Peter Ralston has an incredible understanding of being. I don’t know what else to say other than get the book and read it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-03-2020

Infuriating narration

I have a though time reviewing this book, because the narration made it almost impossible to grasp any of it. The shifting of tones and general style took all my attention away from the subtle message being implied through the words. Even after re-listening to bits (because I could never get in flow listening to it) I would just get more annoyed cause my subconscious would attack the narrotion style for robbing the focus of a message that goes deeper than words. Best way I can explain it is, that this sort of narration triggered my intellect like I was in math class being asked to figure out why f(e^x)=f'(e^x). Just not the experience I was looking for. I feel with this sort of book, the narrotion should trigger the eq (emotional intelligence) and intuition/flow state. All in all made it impossible for me, to have any profound epiphany moments. I would definitely recommend buying a hardcover or Kindle version.

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  • Verns
  • 09-09-2019

The Book of Not hing

Extremely verbose and wandering. After 18 hrs I walked away with little. I’m sure the author and narrator worked hard, so I feel bad writing this review. And it looks like many people loved it. Maybe I’m just not as smart as others here.

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  • Katrin
  • 07-11-2018

must read! must read. must read. must read. must

loved it! must be part of school curriculum. once you finish the book, you know your work is not done.

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  • Alexandru O.
  • 20-04-2020

One of the top books on self-understanding.

I love the content and it's one of that book that has to be listened multiple times. One thumb down though for reading the number at every new line. I find it tiring and interrupting the narrative.

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