Book Review - Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

Photo taken by David Wilder.

Photo taken by David Wilder.

Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. I have worked very hard to improve my own relationship with anger over the years, and still feel like I have a long way to go. Although my temper does not flare up often, when it does rear its ugly head, it can sometimes be difficult for me to control. I suspect that it is most likely congruent with others' experiences as well. When something pushes us over the line, it seems like calming down is but an impossibility.

Being a fan of Thich Nhat Hanh's writing, I decided to give Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames a read. I have read some other books on anger, most notably Working With Anger by Thubten Chodron. I anticipate that I will read plenty more in the future, because I have discovered that developing a healthy relationship with anger requires a lot of practice.

Hanh's Anger defines what anger truly is, explores its causes, provides advice for learning to communicate effectively with others, and offers mindfulness and meditation techniques that address how to handle the feeling of anger (and other negatively-associated emotions). There are several stories, both from Hanh's personal experiences and people he has encountered, as well as fictional situations, that help illustrate his points for the reader.

I found the book to be extremely easy to read and full of great information about anger. I have read many of Hanh's books and have noticed that many of the stories are repeated from book to book. I do not take issue with this, and actually find the repetition to be helpful for me. But it is certainly worth noting that if one was to read many of his books, then it is perhaps worthwhile to expect to reread some of the stories multiple times. Compared to Chodron's book mentioned above, I did not find Hanh's Anger to be as practical or helpful, but it is certainly an excellent overview, with many techniques to practice and stories to learn from. Anger is certainly something that we will all face at various times of our lives, and I believe that reading this book could help transform our relationships with it.

227 pages. 4/5 stars.