Summary: As a two year hard-core student of the Red Pill, self-improvement and intergender and sex dynamics, I am not the target audience for this book and didn’t necessarily “learn” anything new. With that said, the lens through which this book was written was entirely unique, will appeal to a large audience and it reawakened some of my own thinking and has already allowed me to push through past barriers to improvement. I think that no matter where you are, if you keep an open mind, you’ll get some new perspective or some new nugget that hasn’t yet been uncovered and I would recommend it anyone.
Full Review: I’ll admit that I am struggling with how to present this review. It first needs to start with Athol’s previous book: The MMSL Primer 2011 (AKA “The Primer”). This book was raw, edgy and was written for men, and explained things between genders in a comprehensive way that then allowed us married guys to apply it to our lives to improve ourselves and our relationships. This new book may have the same bullet points repackaged, but is the opposite of raw and edgy. As a regular reader and one who is used to the author writing to a more masculine audience, it was admittedly a hard pill to swallow. The Mindful Attraction Plan is written for both men and women and you can tell from the outset it was toned down specifically so that it appealed to more conservative masses. I certainly can’t fault this approach since it does probably start more people on a journey towards a more positive life, and as one who is pro-staying-married (once you’re there), I think this message can’t be spread far enough. But I, for one, missed the raw edge.
I liken the two books to differing approaches to a protest. The Primer was the “in your face” aggressive protester who is throwing bottles at the cops and pissed off about whatever injustice they are protesting about. The Mindful Attraction Plan (The MAP) is the hippy non-violent protester who accomplishes their fight against injustice in a more peaceful way. Both are acceptable approaches depending on your vantage point, and are two sides of the same coin… much like the yin/yang-esque symbol on the new book’s cover.
For about half my life now, my philosophical and spiritual thinking migrated from younger christian beliefs to more eastern philosophy and non-traditional spirituality. I was really surprised to see this play a foundational role in The MAP. Positive and negative energy in the context of self and relationships is something I’ve believed for awhile, and Athol makes this the centerpiece of his book. To me, this makes way too much sense and was a little surprised that he made the jump from the raw force that was The Primer to the softer more positive, more spiritual approach here. But in doing so, it does lose some of the biological and anthropological explanations and backbone with regards to intergender relationships that made The Primer so powerful. It focuses nearly entirely on self, being present, making changes within yourself as an end in and of itself. I really liked the idea of making small improvements each day (he referred to a change of 0.1% each day) to add up to big improvements later.
As one who considers himself more academic and loves statistics, studies and research in support of key points, I thought The Map was lacking. I consider it more gooshy and soft science (at best) when he was making his point. It lacked some substance in my opinion. He references a number of times throughout the book circumstances where he’s seen certain things or helped couples overcome toxic situations, but he doesn’t ever reference specific stories. Books like No More Mr Nice Guy and Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (a great book I’m reading now I’ll do a write-up on in the future) carry more weight due to the specific examples of real couples dealing with specific situations. Now the focus is more on self in The Map, but thought this type of thing would have bolstered some of his writing.
As a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now about being and living in the present, I think The Mindful Attraction Plan has a lot to offer for self-improvement and about seeing the dynamics between people in a new light. I can say that there are still stagnant things in my own life that I need to work on, and this book has me already addressing them in a way that is positive and doesn’t beat up too bad the reader’s past choices. It’s a very positive mindset book, and while it’s a little soft for my tastes, still has a lot to offer and is a good introduction to self-improvement, marriage improvement and sex improvement (in a roundabout way) without scarring the uninitiated. I would say it’s a good companion to The Primer, but of the two, The Primer is more of a slap in the face from a Bull which I think is needed for many men having a hard time figuring out why their marriage isn’t what they want. The MAP is a soft approach into the same areas and is a great intro to men and women who are looking to simply improve themselves and as a result, their marriage and sex life.
ETA: I’ve been a regular reader of Mr. Kay’s for a long time and agree with most of what his messages are about. He does a lot of good for married people, and therefore I want the guy to succeed. I’m not a fanboy by any means and don’t always agree with what he’s putting out there, but overall he’s a good shit. This review, in my opinion, is pretty even handed about what you’ll read for yourself if you feel so inclined.