This little handbook attempts to teach the reader how to have peaceful responses to stimuli, rather than angry reactions. I believe the author feels it will make the reader a happier person, and by doing so, he/she will contribute to the happiness of others and contribute to a more peaceful world.
There are questions and exercises to complete. The book asks and expects you to answer, very personal queries and will make you examine your behavior and the motives behind your reactions. It might be very helpful to someone trying to figure out how to have less impulsive, confrontational interactions with people. It attempts to help the reader deal with situations without having a knee jerk angry reaction, but instead choosing a more thoughtful peaceful, less incendiary response.
Reading the book dredged up thoughts I thought I had put away for good, which is a goal this book attempts to help you finally accomplish. Holding onto anger, the author asserts, is more dangerous to the angry person and has far reaching effects on others, totally unrelated to the original incident causing the feeling.
I found it a bit too simplistic and the assumption that it can be achieved en masse, unrealistic, but nevertheless it is a worthy goal. I also found the slim little book, to be lacking in its purpose as a primer. It was not nearly extensive enough to effect major change, although it will certainly make the reader introspective and might serve as a stepping stone to further research into the Zen approach to life.
I would not have chosen this book on my own. My face to face book club chose it which is why I like book groups. They afford the opportunity to read books you might not normally select or even be aware of, and sometimes they are great finds even when they are not five stars! Regarding a book group conversation, it could get too personal for some people, especially if the exercises are discussed or worked out at the meeting.