One-Minute Book Reviews

March 14, 2008

Grand Prize Winner in the 2008 Delete Key Awards: Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:08 am
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And the grand prize winner in the 2008 Delete Key Awards contest is …

“A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!”

“We are in the midst of a momentous event in the evolution of human consciousness. But they won’t be talking about it in the news tonight. On our planet, and perhaps simultaneously in many parts of our galaxy and beyond, consciousness is awakening from the dream of form. This does not mean all forms (the world) are going to dissolve, although quite a few almost certainly will. It means consciousness can now begin to create form without losing itself in it. It can remain conscious of itself, even while it creates and experiences form.”
— Both from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Plume)

What was Oprah thinking when she chose this New Age mumbo-jumbo as her new book club selection? Other writing on the shortlist for the 2008 Delete Key Awards might have been bad, but at least you could figure out what it meant. Does anybody know what Tolle means when he says that consciousness may be “awakening from the dream of form” not just on Earth but “in many parts of our galaxy and beyond”? For sheer incomprehensibility, these passages surpass anything on the shortlist and have earned this self-help book the grand prize in this year’s contest for authors who aren’t using their delete keys enough.

The Secret may try to support its gospel of materialistic acquisition with pages of quotes from self-help gurus, but A New Earth looks to higher authorities to pave its path to to personal fulfillment: Tolle attempts to give credibility to his claim that “consciousness” may be awakening in other parts of “our galaxy and beyond” by drawing repeatedly on the Bible and other sacred texts.

For a while, it looked as though Oprah’s Book Club had made a welcome turn toward classics. But the winning entries from this book are classics of hokum. Goodbye, Love in the Time of Cholera. Hello, Psychobabble in the Time of Ratings Wars.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. If Tolle we leaving a comment in this box instead of me, I wonder if it would explain just what those quotes mean.

    Naah, probably not.

    Good choice for the award.


    Comment by knightofswords — March 14, 2008 @ 1:57 pm | Reply

  2. My god. I’m surprised you even managed to read through the paragraph in order to nominate it.

    I’m not even sure what that paragraph meant.

    Comment by Don — March 14, 2008 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  3. Malcolm: You think we could understand Tolle’s comment? A mystery.

    Don: Actually, I read the whole book. And there’s lots more like it. I have to admit, I don’t envy the producers for Oprah’s show who have to come up with questions about to ask on the air. Thanks for the comment.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 14, 2008 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  4. Absolutely the best choice for this award.

    I read the excerpt one last time, just in case some light bulb might come on, but no…

    My head still hurts from it. I couldn’t agree more. What was Oprah thinking? I’m wondering if the ratings aspect won’t end up backfiring. Who could continue to tune in for this babbling?

    Good work.

    Comment by ggelliott — March 14, 2008 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  5. An interesting question: Could this backfire? Clearly Oprah’s producers don’t think so. They’ve planned a series of Webcasts about “A New Earth” on Monday nights in March.

    But you have to wonder if they decided to do the programs as Webcasts rather than TV shows because they knew that TV viewers might not put up with them.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 14, 2008 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  6. Gee, what if it’s some kind of secret conspiracy to find out, via the webcasts, who are the most gullible viewers so that they can add them to some ‘Compliant Sheep’ list for future nefarious schemes? and book sales?

    Hm-m-m-m-m…[rubs hands together while snickering]

    Comment by ggelliott — March 15, 2008 @ 8:33 am | Reply

  7. […] Grand Prize Winner in the 2008 Delete Key Awards Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ « One-Minute Book Reviews […]

    Pingback by links for 2008-03-15 « Charlottesville Words — March 15, 2008 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  8. So Tolle it is! Who will tell him? How will he handle it? Meanwhile so many other writers are “saved” and live to write (and redeem themselves) another day without the mark of the DK Award. I am counting on McEwan to get the next book right, Sebold to find another direction, and Steve Martin to return to the stage with that arrow on his head as in days of yore…because it was funny, at least back then.

    Comment by oh — March 16, 2008 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  9. I hope all of them are reading this and take your excellent suggestions. Mitch Albom was the first runner-up last year and hasn’t come up with a new book since. Let’s hope he, like Sebold, will “find another direction” …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 16, 2008 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  10. Hi, Jan, I’m glad and impressed that you actually did read the entire book before negatively reviewing it; most don’t even bother. (To me, this doesn’t lend a lot of credibility to their writings.) In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed A New Earth and did learn many things from it. Many of his concepts actually come from Buddhism, not the so-called (and really not as monolithic as everyone thinks it is) “New Age movement.” I can see how that specific quote about “the galaxy and beyond” might trip someone up, however. People who are into traditional religious structures, as well as non-religious and non-spiritual folk, won’t find anything of interest in it, either.

    I look forward to reading more of your reviews, especially the ones concerning poetry. (I’m a Creative Writing BA-er and studied with Kelly Cherry and Dillard and other wonderful writers at Hollins.) Cheers!

    Comment by bloominglotus — May 9, 2008 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  11. He does quote a lot of Christian texts, though, even if much of the book comes from Buddhism. So the audience was never really clear to me …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — May 10, 2008 @ 3:00 am | Reply

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