Tuesday, March 13, 2018

March Series of the Month: Living My Life by Emma Goldman

Happy Women's History Month from all of us at Cosimo! We are celebrating some leading ladies this March, starting with Emma Goldman who wrote our Series of the Month, Living My Life.

Radical thinker and writer Emma Goldman presents her life story and memories in Living My Life, first published in 1931. From her arrival in New York as a 20-year-old seamstress, when she immediately launched into a life of activism and public agitation, she recalls her childhood in Lithuania, her immigration to the U.S. as a teenager, and her wild adventures as an independent and intelligent woman. 

An important and influential figure in such far-flung geopolitical events as the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War, Goldman is one of the most storied people of the 20th century. And her story, in her own inimitable words, is one of the great biographies, and one of the great personal histories of a turbulent era.

About the Author
Anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman (1869-1940) is one of the towering figures in global radicalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Lithuania, she emigrated to the United States as a teenager, was deported in 1919 for her criticism of the U.S. military draft in World War I, and died in Toronto after a globetrotting life. An early advocate of birth control, women's rights, and workers' unions, she was an important and influential figure in such far-flung geopolitical events as the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War. Among her many books are My Disillusionment in Russia (1925) and Living My Life (1931).

Cosimo offers this impressive series by individual volume at various online bookstores or as a full set in hardcover or paperback. This is an unique and voluminous series, but could transform your reading room, living room or library into a den of knowledge: great for collectors, readers who like to expand their personal library or professional librarians. If you are interested in purchasing the full set, please contact us.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

March Classic of the Month: I Dare You! by William H. Danforth

In honor of the students in Florida who lost their lives, and their classmates who have decided to take charge of their communities and have risen up to protect schools and society against gun violence, we are highlighting I Dare You! by William H. Danforth as our Classic of the Month.

American entrepreneur and philanthropist William H. Danforth (1870-1956) is most famous for founding the Ralston Purina Company, but he also helped launch the American Youth Foundation in 1925 as a resource for spurring kids to becoming the best they can be. The spirit of his can-do philosophy is encapsulated here, in this cheerful and inspiring guide to being a creative, adventurous, magnetic, successful, daring person at any age.

For decades, I Dare You!, with its honest, heartfelt advice and entertaining and enlightening anecdotes, has encouraged and motivated children and adults alike to take control of their lives and become the happy, fulfilled people they've always dreamed of being.

As relevant and necessary today as it was when it was first published more than 70 years ago, this is a book to treasure and to share.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March Book of the Month: The Power of Yin, Celebrating Female Consciousness

March is the start of Women's History Month, and we at Cosimo are celebrating by shining the spotlight on three fantastic authors and their book: The Power of Yin, Celebrating Female Consciousness by Hazel Henderson, Barbara Marx-Hubbard, and Jean Houston as our March Book of the Month.

What are the best tactics to take to head off global environmental disaster? Is industrial society in decline, and if so, how should we manage its dismantling? How can humanity better integrate itself into the continuum of evolving technologies that surround us? Three of the most influential feminist philosophers of the 1970s met over two weekends in 1977 and 1978 to discuss the challenges facing society in the late 20th century... and their revelatory, inspiring conversation, reproduced here for the first time, is startlingly fresh and relevant for us today, as we rise to meet the challenges of the new millennium. With an uplifting spiritual perspective on the human experience and a uniquely feminine approach to interacting with the universe, Hazel Henderson, Jean Houston, and Barbara Marx Hubbard-with an able assist from editor Barbara DeLaney-here offer a magnificently feminist, grandly humanist, rousingly hopeful approach to the myriad challenges facing planet Earth and her people today.

The Power of Yin is more than a brilliant conversation. It is an invitation to women and men everywhere to express their own genius and empower their highest values and goals, to seek out others who attract them in this quest for personal development, to form ever deeper friendships, and to join together in spirit and in action to help evolve the human community on planet Earth.

About the Authors
Hazel Henderson is a world-renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, and consultant on sustainable development. Jean Houston is advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, and a principal founder of the Human Potential Movement. Barbara Marx Hubbard is president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and a cofounder of Washington D.C.'s Committee for the Future.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Guest Post from Author Paul Breiter: Have a Wonderful Day!

We are happy to publish a guest post from Cosimo author and Buddhist Paul Breiter, entitled "Have a Wonderful Day!"

Every morning at Wat Nanachat Bung Wai, large numbers of laypeople show up for the meal offering. Some are villagers who come daily, some come from nearby towns and cities, some from other provinces and regions of Thailand. Within this matrix of generosity and reverence for the Buddha, his teachings, and his spiritual community, there is an atmosphere of harmony and joyfulness. On my most recent visit, I saw many of the old-timers as well as many new faces. One man in particular, a little gentleman with an antiquated hearing aid, was eager to engage westerners in conversation, though his English was limited. He had recently retired at age 60 and seemed absolutely delighted to be able to come to the monastery every day. After introducing himself and struggling to converse, he would simply say, “Have a wonderful day!” and then move along to see if there was something he could do to help out in the kitchen, or someone else to share his happiness with.

In California, of course, one frequently hears a (probably insincere) rendition of those or similar words when concluding a transaction in a bank, supermarket, or other venue, so it has become something of an empty phrase to a lot of ears, not much different from “Do you want fries with that?” And in the forest monastery, the impulse of visiting western Buddhists is often to keep a distance from people so as not to get drawn into conversations. We have serious work to do, after all, what with the nature of existence being dukkha, and usually a limited time in which to do it. Or maybe I just habitually flash back to the days when the presence of a farang was taken as an opportunity to practice speaking English and perhaps pick up a free lesson, so I am always ready to run when Thais approach and start speaking English.

But after going through various reactions, I thought, “Why not?” The fellow’s happiness was so obvious that it was infectious, even for a stodgy type like me. And what could be better than wishing from the heart that everyone have a wonderful day? Contrary to many half-baked and poorly informed ideas, the Buddha didn’t teach about suffering in order to make us gloomy; he showed a way out of suffering, and being around those who dedicate their lives to practicing the way, and people in a culture that has practiced and revered that way for centuries, you can’t help but notice a lot of happiness. It made me reflect on the Chinese Buddhist custom of greeting each other by simply saying the name of Amitabha Buddha. Why not use our speech to elevate our minds, rather than letting it drag us into the old patterns of habit and unskillfulness? So much of what we say is at best unnecessary, so much is to our detriment and provokes turmoil and regret.

Ajahn Chah (echoing the late Tibetan master Tinley Norbu Rinpoche) said something about the process of growing food, and how a farmer could cut to the chase and just say that what he grows is earth, since that is the origin and substance of it all—it is a lot more simple and direct than explaining all the steps in growing grains and vegetables, and in the end, what does it matter what we say about it, and how many people want to listen to a detailed explanation? Similarly, instead of struggling to find something profound to say, or giving a discourse to everyone we meet, with voluminous quotations from scripture and enlightened teachers to back it up, why not just say, “Have a wonderful day” and move along? Surely the Buddha would be pleased if we could all have a wonderful day.

Have a wonderful day!
Paul Breiter

About the Author
Paul Breiter was born in Brooklyn in 1948. In 1970, he became ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, where he met Ajahn Chah and became his student. After disrobing in 1977, Breiter returned to the US and continued Buddhist study with masters in the states. Breiter's books include One Monk, Many Masters, A Still Forest Pool, Venerable Father: A Life with Ajahn Chah, Being Dharma, and Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away.