"Sometimes imagining I could somehow swing myself around, out of the realm of perception and, paradoxically, really perceive the world."

When philosophy and life experiences intersect, the result is often a purposeful endeavor to understand what it means to be a human from the myriad lenses available. Yerucham embodies this outlook in nearly every way en route to providing an intriguing insight into many cultures, regions, and much more. To call his work comprehensive would be an understatement, yet the depth to which he goes and the care with which he describes all his experiences (and the meaning derived from each) will undoubtedly prove meaningful to audiences.

Perhaps what makes Yerucham’s work stand out is how relatable it is to the ordinary man. When a brewing intellectual curiosity and a falling out with academia lead eighteen-year-old Yerucham to New York City, an onslaught of experiences and reflections commence that unequivocally form the fabric of the author’s identity while also harboring the potential to impact readers’ lives directly.

While there are countless themes that exist in this work of literary nonfiction, the author’s ability to maintain a conversational tone keeps the pages flowing and the storyline moving. This is undoubtedly not what one would imagine when thinking of a philosophical text of the likes of Plato or Aristotle, though both bear influence in Yerucham’s work. Whether it is the nostalgia of his Indiana childhood when fondly remembering every friend he spent his days with or taking us through the tenuous character arc of his relationship with his ex-wife and her family, Yerucham is fearless when discussing fleeting time and the importance of exploration, learning, and loving.

Though Yerucham’s relationship with his father is hardly ideal, he credits his father and his work as a college professor for instilling an insatiable thirst for knowledge within him. He meanders into Eastern religions, particularly Hinduism, and begins to understand and experience true spiritual growth. There are shades of Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari in this portion of the novel as Yerucham delves into the appreciation of every action, every breath, and every thought as an intentional alignment with one’s purpose. In a more contemporary match, Yerucham discusses Kafka’s diaries and letters at length while simultaneously detailing his observations of actress Kristy McNichol, the repetitive nature of working at the bar, and more. Nevertheless, as the novel progresses, Yerucham’s deeply investigative nature and the ancient mysticism and spirituality of places in India like a Bengali Ashram in Delhi, Ajmer, Vrindaban, and Varanasi are a perfect match. He immerses himself in meditation. For the duration of his life, he is thirsting for knowledge everywhere, yet the principles of meditation will lead directly back to the self, the atman, and the true knowledge that lies within.

Truthfully, the ease with which Yerucham is able to share his life story in the context of philosophy is uncanny. When appropriate, he is able to poke fun at himself, while in other, more profound moments, he explores the complexities of life in ways that even a layman can understand. Ultimately, there are countless stories and experiences, and yet, his work makes each one stand out and have meaning. Rather than simply writing a chronicle of his life, the author has worked meticulously to produce a work that is, in the same breath, unquestionably personal and yet universal, insightful and actionable.

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