There are some books that have a before-and-after effect. After the last page has been turned, you’re just not the same person. The world looks different to you.
Charles Eisenstein’s A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible is one of these transformative reads. That is, once you get over the title.
At first glance, your cynical mind lets out an audible groan at the quixotic-ness of it all. Here we go, yet another idealistic book from the love and light brigade. But you open the cover, nonetheless… and then boom!, straight off the bat, Eisenstein acknowledges the title’s idealistic undertones. He speaks to his own disillusion, cynicism, and stuckness on the plethora of global crises we face. He shares his story — a story that feels like your own. And immediately you are hooked.
The author paints your childhood, your adolescence, your 20-somethings. He speaks of nostalgia for a time in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, America was bringing democracy to the world, and the doctor could actually fix you.
If you just got into a good college, followed medical advice, read The New York Times, obeyed the law, and stayed away from Bad Things Like Drugs, you’d be happy, you’d be successful.
But then he wises up and speaks to the devastating realization that this, simply, is not our answer.
It’s pretty clear that time is over. But Eisenstein argues that this time is not only over, but rather it never existed in the first place. It was just a story, a Story of Separation. A narrative built on human suffering, environmental degradation, and self-deception.
If you sit with that story, as Charles encourages you to do, it’ll crack your heart wide open. It’ll put you on your knees. It’ll feel unbearable. It’ll force you to come to grips with the fact that yes, things are fucked up here on Planet Earth.
You’ll reach for your usual lifelines. The government will step in, science will find a solution, you’ll finally change your ways; only to then realize that those stories can no longer comfort you.
But fear not, just as you’re at your breaking point, Eisenstein reminds you that there’s a new story emerging, one that we’ve always intuitively known. He calls it the Story of Interbeing, built on the belief that we are all connected and our small, personal choices bear unsuspected transformational power.
A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible is a book that helps our minds and souls bridge the gap between these two stories: the Story of Separation and the Story of Interbeing.
It’s a tough leap for our mortal minds to make. Can small acts of radical kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and personal healing really save the world? Can your conscious brain prepare to wrestle with the naivety of this theory of interbeing?
Eisenstein has an answer for that… actually, he has 36.
His book is structured across 36 chapters that each serve as an empowering antidote to the frustration, paralysis, and suspicion so many of us are feeling today. Through real-life stories of acts of courage, empathy, and surrender, he counterargues every cynical argument your brain throws his way. And he does it with intelligence, rationale, and clarity.
Eisenstein is a Yale graduate with degrees in Philosophy and Mathematics. He has studied Eastern spirituality. He is both humble and otherworldly. And as much as you’ll be prodded, provoked, and even angry, you’ll find it hard to disagree with him.
It’s only natural that your brain is going to get uncomfortable because Eisenstein is asking it to change, to pave new neural pathways, and to adopt perspectives that, at times, go against every conditioned worldview you’ve ever been sold. It’s a big shift that requires letting go, acceptance, forgiveness, and the ability to hold polarities. But above all, this book is an invitation, an extended hand, a clarion call to surrender our worldview of separation to finally create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.