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No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!

No Experts Needed
The Meaning of Life According to You!

Reviews

Curled Up With A Good Book
By Janet Stone

We’ve all heard it - that negative, inner voice that creeps into our heads and hearts, nudging us this way or that. That little voice, too often ignored in favor of what others say or think, that little voice, full of possibilities far greater than what we can imagine through our limited, current view. Call it guts, balls, or just plain gumption, but Louise Lewis pushed past her negative inner voice toward a journey of self-discovery. The result of that journey is her book, No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!

After working in an advertising position for eleven years, Louise Lewis found herself in a predicament that most would dread. She was laid off - or, as Lewis, in her perpetually positive state, would say, “set free.” After a momentary mark of fear, anxiety, and dread about what lay ahead, she heard an intuitive voice assuring her that all would be well. She calls that voice Spirit or God. Some call it intuition, the universe, soul, or inner self. The name is not important. What is important is that Lewis allowed that voice, or “Spirit”, to be her guide in a four-year spiritual journey into her discovery of the meaning of life. Her Spirit guided her with positive energy as she asked family, friends, and strangers one simple question; “What is the meaning of life?” She made one stipulation when answering the question: they had to answer her on the spot.

Through the telling of their stories, she demonstrates that the answer to the question is as individual as we are, and it is our responsibility to follow the longing of our heart to a life of inspiration rather than obligation. The responses to the question range from drinking beer and having a good time, to living with God and helping others, to valuing family and nurturing friends. Lewis reminds us that no one answer to the question of the meaning of life is right. She also reminds us that the similarities between us are greater that the differences.

Her dedication to her four-year journey is inspiring, and her devotion to spirit, refreshing. With strong awareness and conscious effort, she opens her heart to fellow human beings and looks and listens for inspiration, guidance, and love. Lewis believes that those she encounters on her path are put there for a reason. She blames no one or no thing for her circumstances (as we so often do) and she insists that things are exactly as they should be. The message is to live every day from the heart, and pay attention to the signs and synchronicities that guide you along the way. The lessons she teaches throughout No Experts Needed are plenty. One to take away is this: When we approach circumstance with curiosity and love, we unwrap the vast potential for hope.

Some stories came across as casual bar conversation, (which they were) and their messages were marred by murky prose. However, it is through the telling of personal stories of everyday life that we are inspired to make a difference in our own lives, and, in turn, the lives of others.

Pick up any spiritual book these days and you will find that most are written by professionals working in the “spiritual” realm who lead extraordinary lives, which we struggle to relate to. If you are looking for a structured step-by-step “how to do your life” book, then pick up one of theirs. If you are looking for a thought provoking, entertaining tale that gently sweeps you into asking the important questions in life, then pick up No Experts Needed. Lewis builds strong relationships with everyday people, giving us comfort and the knowledge that we, too, can change.


BaltimoreAtHome.com
by Melissa J Wantuck

No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You! by Louise Lewis, is a self-help pick-me-up book that anyone at any point in their life can read and meet someone who feels the same way they do. It’s comforting to the psyche to know you’re not alone with your feelings and experiences.

This is Lewis’s first book that she began writing in 2002 after she lost her internet-related sales job when the bursting of the dotcom bubble was at its peak. Her reaction wasn’t unlike what a normal person would feel—she was upset—but when she reached the emotional point where she either sank into depression and self-pity versus pulling herself up, dusting off her resume, and moving on, she chose the latter.

In addition to moving on, Lewis believed her latest life experience was to play a key role in the next phase of her life. Her life had been turned upside down and as she asked herself, ‘What did life mean?” reaching out to others was to become part of that answer.

Within hours of having the “unemployed” label attached to her current situation in life, Lewis made the decision to take a break from looking for a new job and working in order to dedicate her now unlimited free time to writing her book.

Without the constraints of a job limiting her time and keeping her research field confined to her neighborhood with only a little vacation time allowing her to venture out once in a while, Lewis had the ability to travel at will and she took the bait. She drafts not only her family, friends, coworkers and neighbors into offering their input, but strangers from all over the United States and other parts of the world are included.

No Experts Needed is both a personal and a spiritual journey. As Lewis traverses the country and other parts of the world, she asks people, “What is the meaning of life?” While a heavy subject, responses to Lewis make for interesting reading and Lewis is undoubtedly led by her faith to the people she interviews.

Lewis hits her mark in her final chapters. She meets with people who have suffered two of the worst tragedies or our country’s current history: 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The heartfelt answers that come from the survivors or these tragedies reach out to people from all backgrounds and all experiences to say no matter what, life is precious and you have the power to make it your own.

Lewis comes across as a perky extrovert who runs around the world and strikes up conversations with strangers in order to ask them her unfathomable question. If you can sit through her unending giggling it won’t take long to realize her ability to quickly get to know strangers is necessary for her to write this book.

Douglas Adams fans will be pleased to know his unique answer to the meaning of life makes a cameo.


Midwest Book Review
April 2008

Louise Lewis' new book is for those looking for main stream advice from everyday people on the meaning of life, and how to deal with the curve balls placed in our path along the way. Purposely void of pundits, commentators and Dr. Phil, Ms. Lewis brings us a variety of in-the-trenches perspectives on many issues that trouble all of us at one point or another. Written in a clear, methodical style, No Experts Needed is an easy book to put down and pick up without losing the point.

No Experts Needed is a good book to use as a spiritual reference guide when you have those moments when life overwhelms you. The author's anecdotes in a multitude of different situations brought a smile or an ah-ha to my lips. Just when I didn't think I needed an uplift from my life, reading this book re-awoke in me my need to give in order to get. Plus give with pleasure and have no expectations in the favor being returned. This book is a breath of fresh air, one that you should keep close at hand to keep your emotional life focused.


Amazon.com

A BOOK THAT IS A PLEASURE TO READ
By Terral Matherne
January 12, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars

"The Meaning of Life" takes you on a pleasant journey through the minds of people around the globe and from all walks of life. …The answers were as varied as the people she met, but most followed one line of thought. Love of God, family, friends and life itself. The inspirational aspect of the story is profound and I highly recommend it as a "must read".


Amazon.com

An Inspirational Read
By Irvine Literary Critic
January 10, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars

I recommend this thought-provoking, well-written, and easy to read story of Louise's spiritual journey following her being "set free" from the rat race. For anyone caught up in the day-to-day pressures of the working world (and even if you are not), this book puts into perspective what's really important in life.


Amazon.com

Great Life Lessons
By N.J.Mc
January 9, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars

A quick, easy, thought-provoking read. Provides simple life philosophies from everyday people that can be applied to anyone. Everyone finds themselves challenged at times. This is great to pick up and re-visit when those challenges arise. The "gift that keeps on giving".


Amazon.com

Honest and enjoyable
By P. Seely
January 9, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars

So you're not a heavy reader.....that's okay, neither am I. But do you need a little laughter? Or perhaps you've been holding back on a good cry? Well this may be the book for you. Not only will it fulfill those needs but it will probably have you scratching your head, asking yourself, `what is my meaning of life'. I highly recommend reading "No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You. It's thought provoking, warm and enlightening. Who knows, it may have you listening a little closer to `Spirit'.


From J. Kaye's Book Blog
January 30, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars

It has been my experience, women have more than one coming-of-age story to tell. Like the moon, we have many phases before our full potential is revealed.

Armed with faith, a journal and her lucky pen, Louise set out on her quest. Her search was to ask a special question. What was the question? What is the meaning of life according to you? She posed this question to numerous people she met on her journey, which is recorded in her book, No Experts Needed. Each encounter comes with an insightful story, like a treasure box of wisdom for the reader to absorb. Also, the author shows us that people can be profound if given the opportunity.


Midwest Book Review
January 4, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars

If you enjoy spiritual, inspiring memoirs, you just might consider this book.


Amazon.com

Very Good!,
By  Paul L. Dudley

December 14, 2007
5.0 out of 5 stars

What a fun and pleasurable Book to read. I couldn't put it down. Embarking on this unknown pleasure, I became increasingly hooked on the insight, humor and poignant message the author shared. I continually understood her message was one that I knew but never thought about in such understandable terms. The most exciting, loving and unforgettable part of my life was from learning her message. Paraphrased, (When the square peg doesn't fit, quit trying to force it and let YOUR sprit guide you!) It will not fail you! You will be happy no matter what the result.
 


Amazon.com

A trip through other minds
By "Wiredweird"
October 19, 2007

*Amazon Top 100 Reviewer

4-Star Review

When, very abruptly, Lewis had time to do what she wanted, she acted on the statement that comes first in this book: "I believe that everyone has a book in them." This was not just in her, but in dozens or hundreds of other people, too.

Journal in hand, she wandered from Italy to Hawaii, Australia to Louisiana, and more. Everywhere she went, she asked the people around her: "What is the meaning of life?" In this book, Lewis records not just their answers, but also the story that led her to that specific person and answer. Although the answers interested me, the glimpse into her life of mind offered me the biggest surprises. She lives that life very differently than I live mine.

She describes her relationship (sometimes posthumous) to her Daddy and Momma - I refer to my parents very differently, and that might be the least of the differences between our parental relationships. Her identity as a woman pervades every phrase. She can't even picture herself as a "deer in the headlights," she names herself a "doe." I've spent my adult life in engineering labs. Women are common enough there, as a minority, but usually as one of the guys (even if they have smaller hands and use the other restroom), so this is different for me. Above all, a Spirit guides her life. It guides her better than she could ever have done on her own, and tells her things she could never have known otherwise. My world does not have such beings in it.

So, this Spirit guided her from one chance-met conversation (or was it chance?) to the next. In each one, she collected another person's hopes and beliefs. The collection is worthwhile, but what really fascinated me was the collector.


Amazon.com

Timely, vulnerable and great food for thought!
By  Patrick D. Goonan "www.meaningful-life.us" (Pleasanton, CA) August 29, 2007

*Amazon Top 500 Reviewer

4-Star Review

The editorial reviews do a good job of describing the concept of this book. In short, Louise Lewis the author is laid off and suffers an existential crisis. It basically comes down to trusting the Spirit or what arises in the moment vs. being fear driven and trying to manage life from the head. Philosophically, it is easy to make the choice to live in the moment while you are doing well, but to find trust in uncertainty, this is where the juice was for Louise. As part of her process, she asked people to answer the question what is the meaning of life. Her book is the compilation of various people's answers and is peppered with her own insights.

What is most striking about this book is the informality and vulnerability with which the author writes. After reading it, you will feel like you've gotten to know someone at a deep level and I'm sure you will find many themes that resonate with you as a modern person living in a fast-paced society. You will also find many things to identify with in the answers that people shared to the question above. It's a very clever idea for a book!

Personally, I think there is a crisis of meaning in our society and people are starved for interiority. As we move more quickly, we tend to become atomized although we live among many others. Social bonding is important, yet in some areas people don't even know their closest neighbors. Also, intimate relationships have become increasingly complicated. This book looks at things like this and more. It also explores what it is to have a career vs. a job... by the latter term I mean something to "pay the bills" vs. a deep meaningful engagement with a calling or service to others.

Another good book along similar lines is What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question. This book is written in a different style and approaches the topic somewhat differently. I see the two as complimentary. If you are looking for a meaningful career, I also recommend The Beginner's Guide to Finding Your Perfect Job: How to Discover Your Real Life's Work. This audio provides a very right hemisphere, creative approach to finding your life's purpose and utilizes guided visualizations. I suspect many people reading this type of book would find these resources useful. I also like Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design (Arkana). I offer these as good resources based on my own experiences of career coaching and public speaking. I live in the SF Bay Area and I have seen many of the people laid off from the software industry in my practice. These are people like Louise Lewis the author of this fine book.

It is great to see people writing about the internal experiences of other. It seems that our society has moved to a point of "flatland" where we keep engaging deeper and deeper with surfaces. This book turns that perspective on its head. It's refreshing like having a heart-to-heart conversation with a good friend.

If you are looking for a more philosophical read to compliment this, then Ken Wilber's A Brief History of Everything would certainly provide good food for thought and a framework to hang new ideas on. I'm guessing most people reading this are going through a transition of some type and this book might be a useful part of a deep inquiry into the meaning of life.


Amazon.com

A Thought Provoking Book
By  Norman Goldman "Editor of Bookpleasures.com" (Montreal)
September 5, 2007

*Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer

4-Star Review

There is, for many of us, a terrifying time in our lives where we find ourselves in a situation that we believe is hopeless. Fortunately, in certain instances something magic happens where we seem to be connected to a spiritual power that guides us in such a way that our movements are natural, yet charged. Our relationships with our fellow humans become intense and invariably lead to a lasting and profound effect on our future. Louise Lewis, author of No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You, experienced this magical moment.

After eleven years employed in marketing and sales, Lewis's was laid off, or as she prefers to term it, "set free." No doubt this would be quite terrifying for anyone, particularly if you have obligations to fulfill as the payment of your mortgage and you don't have the foggiest idea as to when and where you will secure your next employment. However, Lewis faced up to the challenge by considering it to be an opportunity to start a new chapter in her life.

While sitting in an airport, after being fired, Lewis suddenly had a vision, which she describes as "two cupped hands rising up to meet me (much like the picture of the hands in the old Allstate commercial: you're in good hands with Allstate.") In the next instant, Lewis heard the "Spirit's words" that assured her that she was going to be OK as the "spirit" would take care of her. At this moment, Lewis describes her feelings as feeling light, relief and joy, all at the same time.

It was this inspiration of being set free that Lewis decided to embark on an interesting journey where she would ask anyone whom she met, the meaning of life. The result was the writing and publishing of No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You that comprises many thought provoking replies.

Now you have to admit that Lewis has a great deal of "chutzpah" to strike up a conversation with total strangers, even celebrities, anywhere and everywhere, such as in restaurants, bars, and while traveling, and ask them the big question, what life means to them. And what is even more intriguing is that the participants were not permitted to give verbal replies but rather they were obliged to write it down on a pad. By now, you are probably shaking your heads and asking how did she pull this off? One clue Lewis mentions is she is not one to favor small talk, as she can only chitchat with someone for about five minutes, and then she must take the conversation to deeper levels. No doubt, her selling and marketing experience must have come in quite handy as she convinced them to share with her their philosophies on life.

Reading some of the replies, I tried to decipher if there were recurring common themes. A number focus on living your life productively and using your powers of love and reason to your fullest capacity. Others have a more conservative Christian religious connotation where individuals would tie in his or her reply to opening and surrendering to Jesus Christ. Quite prevalent was the relation to doing good in the eyes of God or that we have a meaningful life when we live in God's presence. Family and friends were stressed, such as the reply of one responder where he asserted: "Life is to be lived and enjoyed for friends and family-family being a very big portion of life-having family and creating your own family." There were even some poetic responses such as JoEllen's "Simply stated: life is a journey through the universe. The contacts and contributions throughout it define our existence."

The reply that I could comfortably connect to was succinctly summed up by someone called John, "A good partner. Love. Understanding. And lots of good health."

Although, the one I always liked is the Yiddish adage my parents often uttered, life is about being a "mensch," or as translated, a person of character- an individual of recognized worth because of noble values or actions. 

One of the deficiencies of this book is that at times the reading became redundant and tedious. However, the ideas raised within its pages will certainly provide food for thought. It can be compared to drinking a succulent aperitif, such as wonderful dry champagne, where after whetting one's appetite for another glass, Lewis raises more questions than answers, prodding readers to discover for themselves what is the meaning of life.


Refreshing and a must read!!!!!  
By  Faye Hardee (Lynn Haven, Florida, United States)
June 26, 2007

Louise has done what I did not think was humanly possible. She has gone to people from one gamut to the other and asked the question "What is the meaning of life?" In this world of negativity and seemingly at times only the bad things. She has made me realize that people have a true sense of what life is for them. What was so amazing was that so many had the words God and love in their answers. This really sums it all up. Years ago I read Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life and it changed my life. It made me realize what and who I was for. Louise has done the same thing for me. She has made a difference in my thinking on life, and so glad I am part of God's plan. Thanks Louise for your leap of faith. Go Girl!!


Blogcritics
Written by Lynda Lippin
September 7, 2007

What does a 40-something-single woman with a mortgage to pay do when she gets laid off after 11 years selling advertising space for high tech publications? We hear these stories on television all the time. Such women can end up marrying the wrong men simply for security, going back to old relationships simply in the interest of stability, taking different unsatisfying jobs, going back to school, and sometimes tragically killing other people or themselves. But in the end the question they all ask is, "what is the meaning of life?" How can life have meaning without this job, this income, this lifestyle?

Look at Louise Lewis. When she was "set free" from the corporate machine and was faced with the "meaning of life" question, she decided to sit and wait and feel what might be the correct direction to take. Raised as a Christian with a close personal relationship to God (or "Spirit"), Lewis decided to listen for a message. And she found many - that this was a positive thing to not have this sales job, that she should take advantage of having time off, that she should keep looking and listening to see what the universe had in store for her, and that whatever was to come it would be great.

As Spirit says to her when she's crying in the airport, "You're going to be OK, Louise. I'll take care of you."

About a month after the shocking news, while watching Oprah join forces with CNN reporters around the world asking people on the street what they thought of America, Lewis realizes her path. Ask everyone the burning question, "What is the meaning of life?" and write a book about the answers.

No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You! is a book about the power of positive thinking, the Secret, the Law of Attraction, and the importance of being true to yourself. Lewis starts traveling and talking to everyone, from strangers at diners to Richard Dreyfuss at the ATM machine and from her own family to the survivors of hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 WTC attack.

And the answers she gets are incredible. From Richard Dreyfuss, "...You choose to give life meaning or not. If you choose to say life has no meaning, it doesn't. You'd be an idiot, but there you go...." From Katrina victim Dorothy Hampton, "The meaning of life is to move on. Deal the hand that's been dealt you." From NYC police officer Bobby Summers, "The meaning of life is to live to its fullest. Enjoy every day, even when things go wrong."

Deeply moving, interesting, and easy to read, No Experts Needed reinforces the basic goodness that is inherent in all human beings.


My Writing Mentor.com
By Shannon Evans
July 13, 2007

No Experts Needed is a refreshing collection of true stories of inspiration and introspection.  Author Louise Lewis, faced with being “set free” from corporate America and yet still having bills to pay, set forth on a magnificent personal journey of self-reflection. Searching for herself, a spiritual unfolding occurred as she searched for that ever elusive, “what is the meaning of life?” Following a particularly poignant epiphany in the San Jose airport, Lewis decided to follow her “Spirit’s” advice and get done with the pity party, dust herself off, and pick up a pen. What follows is her discovery of everyday people whose experiences and insights to life’s meaning pull her to a new chapter in her own life.

Inspired by an episode of Oprah, this debut novel is organized around a series of vignettes and personal anecdotes of Lewis’ family, friends, and others she meets as she seeks healing and an affirmation of her own spirit. To each person encountered, Lewis poses the same simple question, “What is the meaning of life?” and is rewarded with beautiful prose delivered straight from their soul. While sometimes folksy in delivery, the message is never repetitive or boring. No Experts Needed warmly develops the story of each person as a lead-in to their uniquely individual interpretation of the meaning of life.  It is apparent throughout the book that Lewis is inspired by the normal everyday people she interviews; however, all evidence of bias is removed by her provocative but spontaneous writing style.  Never preachy or sermonizing, the book fosters the reader in their own exploration of Spirit as they seek their individual interpretation of life.  Lewis presents an original yet inspirational text that explores her journey to overcome fear and self-doubt. Encouraging, graceful, and inspirational in its message, No Experts Needed provides simple insights that allow the reader to make their own judgments and generalizations as they examine their unique perspective of life’s meaning.

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Louise Lewis
author of No Experts Needed
The Meaning of Life According to You!


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