Foreword Reviews

Ambition Addiction

How to Go Slow, Give Thanks, and Discover Joy Within

Shalva offers solid and upbeat advice for those struggling to control their fixations on the future.

Being motivated and driven seem like positive characteristics, but for ambition addicts, wanting to do and be more often comes at a high cost. Benjamin Shalva, a self-professed ambition addict—as well as a freelance writer, rabbi, meditation teacher, and yoga instructor—shares his experiences with ambition addiction and in this audio version of his book Ambition Addiction.

The book is read by the author, which makes for a personal feel. Shalva works to change his tone and keep delivery interesting, though it is easy to drift as lists of activities repeat alongside multiple cautionary tales aimed to scare ambition addicts straight.

The title otherwise works well in audio form, with the author directing listeners to a website to find printable resources, though a table of contents to assist with second listens might have been helpful.

Shalva argues that ambition addicts are dogged by uncertainty, vulnerability, and mortality, and that they use their heightened ambitions as a way around these inevitabilities. Their lives are ruled by what he calls “any day now,” a movie that runs in their heads, showing their yet-to-be-achieved successes and allowing them to feel like they have made it.

The alternative, he says, is to replace “any day now” with “this day now,” and he offers tips and guidelines for cultivating mindfulness, gratitude, and compassion that he says have helped curb his ambition addiction.

Ambition Addiction offers a solid plan for ambition addicts willing to do the work of paying attention to their lives and the people in them. As with approaches to any other addiction, ambition takes daily, consistent work to tackle, but Shalva shows that it is worth the effort.

Reviewed by Sarah White

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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