Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Dan Harris’s follow-up to the 2014 book about meditation called 10% Happier, is less a memoir than the previous book, and more of a how-to book on meditation. Dan Harris and Jeff Warren do a cross-country road trip with meditation. They meet friends and other celebrities that the introduce meditation to and encourage the reader or listener to learn along the way. I made sure to mention listener because this book is primarily an audiobook. Both Dan Harris and Jeff Warren talk about meditation throughout this book and Warren gives guides meditations.
There is a ton of information in this book. They touch on many different aspects of meditation including meditation for focus, compassion, healing, and investigating feelings. A lot of the sections are divided up between common excuses people use for not meditating like “I don’t have the time or people will think I’m weird.” In fact, I think that Harris and Warren try to cover a little too much in this book. There just are too many different types of meditations in this book that it’ll be a little overwhelming for the reader to remember and implement each and every one of them. They really tried to make this a one stop book on mindfulness meditation but it could have been split up in multiple books with greater emphasis on each type of meditation. I get why they did what they did but it gets a little overwhelming.
When I read some of its reviews, one large criticism of this book is that Harris is trying to hard to be personable and congenial. He says phrases that are a bit silly and it can be annoying for some readers. Jeff Warren’s “guided meditations” can have instances where there is an interruption in the process because of his desire to be humorous. I do think they needed to be serious at certain moments in this book and the overall tone is one of silliness in order for normal people not be intimidated by meditation. In this aspect, I believe they failed. Meditation is naturally something that people need to take seriously or it just won’t work for them. Jokes are fine and alright but while you are trying to focus on your breath, the last thing you want is for the guided meditator to try to crack jokes.
Regardless of my criticism with this book, I still think I got a lot out of it. It will be something I’ll reread in the future and take my time with. I recommend it for people wanting to try meditation and to get a better understanding of what meditation entails after just focusing on your breath.