Book Review – Unlocking Greatness

Unlocking Greatness: The Unexpected Journey From The Life You Have To The Life You Want by Charlie Harary with Mark Dagostino.

“Welcome to life in the modern world: a world in which most people have more wealth, knowledge and technology…than their ancestors could have ever dreamed for themselves. A world in which we have so much but so little…A world in which we are perpetually unsatisfied.” With this introduction, Charlie Harary poses questions about the difference between our wants and our needs, and provides a road map through our brain to help us navigate our physical and emotional life.  

I read this book in one sitting, sticking yellow post-it notes onto pages that captured my interest; I eventually used up the entire post-it pad, rendering my book a sunny glow of papers flapping from the margins. Citing numerous scientific studies, Harary explains how our brains can compensate for neurological damage through the process of neuroplasticity. He writes of Unified Energy, explaining that “the less your life is about you, the better it is for you”. He explains why performing a random act of kindness when you’re upset will erase your feelings of negativity; he writes about our “fundamental need to connect” through genuine relationships. He provides charts to aid in mental exercises and stresses the importance of the physical dimension by putting pen to paper (an anachronism in our keyboard/Alexa saturated world). He cites rabbinic sages and footnotes modern physicists and psychologists who have studied our minds and our bodies and the critical link between the two. He explains the purpose of goals, which “aren’t meant to be destinations” but are “meant to set a direction in which to head. It is the ride itself that is most important, not the destination.” He references Thomas Edison’s famous response to a reporter’s question about failing to invent the lightbulb- “Edison replies, ‘I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.’” 

My last yellow fluttering post-it captures the essence of the book and appears just before the author’s acknowledgments: “Real life is messy. It’s inelegant. And no one Is perfect. You have been blessed with a Divine spark and a nearly endless capacity to keep going, stretching, far beyond what you think you are capable of right now. That is special. You are special. Believe it and act like it.”

As I write this, we are awaiting a vaccine to conquer the virus which has forced us to mask up, social distance, and suds up our hands. Unlocking Greatness by Charlie Harary provides the encouragement and (literary) medicine so urgently needed right now. Read it, absorb his advice, and you will become a believer in yourself. 

Randy Rubinstein lives in Sharon, Massachusetts