“Mindfulness for Chocolat”e Lovers by Diane Gehart

Diane R. Gehart’s Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers isn’t a lengthy work, but Gehart packs its brief duration with a tremendous amount of personal insight. Her academic training and professional experience, however, never strike a dry note for readers; she has a conversational tone throughout the course of Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers setting readers at ease from the beginning and making her concepts digestible for those familiar with mindfulness and utter novices. She has a number of revelatory takes on this popular approach to living that, in hindsight, may make many readers think, “Well, that makes sense, why didn’t I realize that?” Such moments are among the hallmarks of a genuine teacher. Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers is well written and constructed from beginning to end and stands as a work you can return to long after first reading.  

The biggest reason for this is Gehart is a talented writer. She definitely gives lie to the idea that academics cannot communicate with common readers without losing them in a jungle of clinical verbiage. She keeps the book’s discourse on a conversational level throughout the book; mindfulness is, if nothing else, one of the most democratic forms of self-improvement that has gained popularity in the last quarter century. You don’t need an advanced college degree or a wide reading selection in order to comprehend its requirements, demands, or precepts. Instead, any intelligent individual can comprehend its aims and methodology so they implement it in their everyday life.

Many books of this type make use of exercises and worksheets to buttress its theorizing and Gehart’s Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers is no exception. The same straight forward approach she adopts for the text serves her and readers well here. They are practical without ever being extraneous or useless. They reflect the clear and economical structure she imposes on the work as a whole and the formatting makes following them easy for readers. The book doesn’t rely too much on such things and mixes them in well with Gehart’s writing.

I appreciate how Gehart shares her personal experiences; these moments are never too obscure and relatable throughout. They even provide some moments of good natured humor, for instance when she discusses how she’s passed down her love of high end chocolate to her children, and make for some canny additions to the text. These moments are comparatively fewer as the book progresses and this decision reveals how she has orchestrated a nuanced text – she designs the book’s opening to put readers at ease before heading into the worksheets, exercises, and detailed discussions.

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Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers stands out in the literature on mindfulness thanks to Gehart’s style and unique point of view. She doesn’t advocate anything particularly groundbreaking or makes a case for rebuilding the mindfulness wheel; instead, she takes the work of others before her and advances it further with her own idiosyncratic take on the practice without ever taking those familiar with mindfulness as a concept into alien territory. I hope this won’t be Gehart’s last word on the subject; the world can use more books like this.

Michael Rand

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