Prabhash Karan’s hefty volume, How to Win Nature and Enjoy Good Life, is a compendium of his thought on myriad subjects, largely focused on relationships and nutrition.
The book begins with a Preface that offers a reverent ode to Mother Nature, noting: “She is my life, she is my universe. From birth to death, Mother Nature cradles me in her bosom.” The chapters that follow touch on more than 100 topics, including loneliness, longevity, sex in marriage, children, parenting, various diets, herbal medicine and much more.
While any of these could provide interesting inroads to thought and discussion, the narrative, unfortunately, is overwritten and hard-to-follow.
Karan’s prose is filled with odd turns of phrase. For example, in the “Love and Relationships” chapter, he writes, “Compatible daters who are interested in dating pay a close attention to each other and continue dialogue more alike.” Often, Karan presents drawn-out sociological dissertations about the history and roles of men and women and, later, food consumption and chemical makeup, many with unattributed statistics. He also focuses often on telling readers what they already know: Divorce is tough on the kids. Forgiveness in marriage is essential. Older people need to stay busy.
Some of the author’s sweeping assertions—“To be a woman, childlessness is a private sorrow,” for example, and that only-children “possess no social skills, are less competitive, and yet expect instant gratification”—are not only inaccurate but potentially offensive. Frustratingly, the lack of an index makes it almost impossible to find specific topics.
While Karan occasionally offers an interesting nugget —“Never laugh at your wife’s choices because you are one of them”; “What we wish our children to become is what we should strive to be before them” —such moments don’t compensate for the book’s flaws.
Karan’s intentions are admirable, but his book is an extremely difficult read. Greater focus, judicious trimming and better storytelling are needed to make this book come to life.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.