I'm your average American right now, struggling with a downturn in financial income and housing related issues. But I honestly refuse to participate in the emotional frenzy and other emotional stresses that surround our national pulse. I've become extremely aware that the focus on trying to be Greener both in ways, means, and outlook as radically altered my perspective on issues like finances, frugality, and life outlook. I think that I've realized that "going greener" isn't just about buying the right products, it is about making the right choices and choosing my attitude.
With that mindset going, I snatched Soul Currency: Investing your Inner Wealth for Fulfillment and Abundance by Earnest D. Chu off my Library's new book shelf. Right now I'm seeking books that green my attitude as much as much actions - and this seemed to fit the bill. As you begin to explore this book one realizes that Chu doesn't write necessarily from the platform of a preacher, teacher, or self-help guru but rather one that has made millions as the founder of nine companies, lost millions and lived off the help of friends only to make much more money back.
Chu explains the term soul currency in his introduction in that "It's a medium for exchanging value. Like money, soul currency can be shared, traded, donated and invested. But unlike money, it is not a symbolic object. It is spiritual energy that resides in everyone." (p. 3) But take heed, this isn't a book only about spirituality, moreso it is a work about finding spirituality in ourselves to encourage the flow of soul currency in our lives to heal other peripheral issues like work satisfaction, compensation, life investment.
Chu incorporates the studies, quotes, and philosophy of everybody from Budda (quote: Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it) to Studs Terkel (quote: Most people's jobs are too small for their spirits) as he weaves information about the fabric of the American working life together. Statistics and studies he brings into play show that most of us are only a paycheck or two away from hardship, and many people trade their job satisfaction in for job security when possible.
Chapter four, on Eliminating Counterfeit Currency is the best chapter in my opinion. To me it related very well to the current economic crisis and how much of America has hedged their bets on creating a currency that is false, and doesn't lend itself to satisfaction in many respects. The sub chapter on downsizing your false beliefs about success and money was important - and perhaps what many of us are doing now was we try to return to some of the simple pleasures in life, and step outside satisfaction based on acquisition that ultimately only leads to stress.
Now for the downside of the book, that in my opinion I felt just kind of "meh" when I read it. I think I'd do a disservice if I raved about every book that I read or reviewed. For many of the points in the book I felt like I'd get a greater level of enlightenment to just read the parts of Budda the author liked to quote rather than just reading what the author had to say about the quotes. He seemed to have a great love of pulling out case studies to illustrate his concepts, but I have little faith in reading case study parables and liken them many times to the likes of Dr. Phil. Just didn't really work for me in that respect.
My eyes seemed to glaze over at several points of the book - and I felt like his salient points were made in the chapters and sub chapters rather than the text of the book. Under each sub chapter there was usually an excellent nugget such as "when you invest your spiritual capital in positive ways, you make a choice to live in a world of possibility rather than limitation and fear." (p. 201) The excellent point was the Jerry McGuire moment of "you had me at hello," but everything else written beyond that pivotal statement was filler rather content that kept me engaged.
All in all it was an interesting read, and his concepts are profound though the rest of the material didn't work for me on many levels. Can I be so crass as to suggest a bullet pointed Cliff Notes for Soul Currency? I'd rate it as a 2 out of 5 for Green Readers.