In his four decades as a Harvard University psychiatrist, Dr. Barrie Sanford Greiff heard thousands of his patients, colleagues, and friends express a common yearning: to create meaning in their lives beyond material wealth and to pass something more than simply money on to the next generation. How, they asked, can we repay the world for the sacred gift of life? How can we share our lives and contribute to a better tomorrow?
The answer for tomorrow, as Dr. Greiff thoughtfully and clearly explains, is to build a legacy today, "to bequeath not only what we have earned, but what we have learned." In this warm and joyous volume, he tells the heartfelt stories of real legacies--of men, women, and even children who have found remarkable wisdom in the course of everyday life.
Be as a stone cast upon
the water, that the
positive influence of
your action may extend
far beyond the power of a
mere pebble in the hand
of a man.
-- Ancient Saying
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Barrie Sanford Greiff, M.D. is a psychiatric consultant to the Harvard University Heath Services. He has consulted for a wide range of organizations from Fortune 500 Companies to privately helf family business. For almost two decades he was the pychiatrist to the Harvard Business School, where he pioneered a unique course dealing with the juggling of self, family, and work life. He has lectured nationally and conducts a consulting practice in Cambridge, MassachusettsFrom Kirkus Reviews:
Soft-headed but kind-hearted, this account of the spiritual legacy we should bequeath to the world is peppered with inspirational stories and sayings, some flavorsome, some not. Psychiatrist Greiff (Tradeoffs: Executive, Family and Organizational Life, 1980), who formerly taught at the Harvard Business School, argues for a revival of the notion of the ``intellectual bequest''a legacy of sage advice, stories, and examples to pass on to future generations. These he groups under eight themes: Loving, Learning, Laboring, Laughing and Lamenting, Linking, Living, Leading, and Leaving. Collectively, he says, these eight Ls ``make up the core of the human experience'' and represent a ninth L, ``our Legacy.'' He expounds upon each through his own life lessons, stories about his patients, quotations, and anecdotes. The author's voice is generous and humane, his psychiatric abilities sharp, but as a spiritual teacher, he comes up short. The book promotes a resolutely secular spirituality, one that praises all spiritual ``beliefs and values'' and allows that some people are not spiritual at all but only ``bio-psycho-social.'' Fuzzy terms like ``spiritual safety net'' substitute for a clear statement of what the author believes about God, immortality, and the meaning of life. The murkiness is made worse by the author's habit of plucking quotations out of context and welding them together: Nietzsche and Peter Pan on one page, Saint Francis and George Bernard Shaw on another. Despite Greiff's claims, St. Matthew most assuredly did not have the Nine Ls in mind when writing his Gospel. Since the overall framework is vague, the book is only as vivid as its pieces; these vary in quality, from authentic insights to uncomfortable metaphors (our emotions as parts of a pizza). Not so much an argument as a treasury of points to ponder. May help some people who are seeking ``some kind of spiritual renaissance'' but may leave others still seeking. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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