Book Details

Life's Operating Manual

Tom Shadyac

Inspirational, Spirituality, New Thought


Just about everything today comes with an operating manual—from your computer to your car, from your cell phone to your iPad. Is it possible that Life comes with an operating manual, as well?

That's the simple, but powerful premise of Tom Shadyac's inspiring and provocative first book.

Written as a series of essays and dialogues, we are invited into a conversation that is both challenging and empowering. The question now is, can we discern what is written inside of this operating manual and garner the courage to live in accordance with its precepts.

Book Reviews
May 22, 2013 alpha_andy_omega

You definitely want to read this book. Life's Operating Manual is so engaging I read it in one sitting. I'm finding it hard not to gush over this one, it really grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Mr. Shadyac makes an incredible argument that competition is not our natural state. If we were hardwired for fighting, then he points out, our systems would flourish under those conditions. Of course the opposite is true, and stress is the number one killer of modern man. We never truly own anything, so why do we strive so hard to get more and more? To lead a simpler, more compassionate life makes a lot more sense than the direction most of us are heading. The fear/truth dialogue technique at the end of each chapter is pretty darn cool. It's an amazing way of taking each idea further, and bouncing it back and forth, while viewing it from every possible angle. I first heard of Tom Shadyac when he was a guest on my favorite internet radio show, Whitley Strieber's Dreamland ( That interview led me to see his film "I Am", which was absolutely brilliant. This book goes much deeper into his philosophy, and his amazing story of how he went from directing blockbuster motion pictures to finding true happiness. Even though I have slightly differing views on God and "The Secret", I have to say this book blew me away.

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

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May 30, 2013 hhreviewer2

Life's Operating Manual by Tom Shadyac is a book that rips away the veil and forces the reader to face the truth: that everything Western society believes - the Amercian Dream, the empty promises of money and success - is all a myth. A terrible myth that may very well be destroying us at the soul level.

After I finished Life's Operating Manual I felt as though I had just experienced something so incredibly profound. I don't know that my world view was necessarily shaken, but much of what I have becoming to know as truth on my own was painfully and wondrously validated. The author, however, leaves you with, after the knowing, what do you do about it?

If anybody is looking to find answers at the end of Life's Operating Manual they most likely will not find them. Instead, Tom Shadyac has posed questions, weaving them throughout. More than likely you will be filled with more questions than answers but, as the author points out, it is our path to make for ourselves. Nobody else can guide us on our own journey but us.

What I probably found most comforting was that he pointed out that it took him 10 to 15 years after the knowing to finally reach where he is today. It is a slow path to enlightenment.

The book itself is a relatively short, easy read broken out into chapters which include quotes, an expansion on Tom Shadyac's ideas, and dialogue between his own truth and fear. The author suggests that it is fear which keeps so many of us from knowing and acknowledging the truth.

I can't express enough how life changing this book truly is. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take a step further into their knowing of the truth about life.

This is my review of Life's Operating Manual by Tom Shadyac. I acknowledge that I received this book free from Hay House Publishing to review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment.

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Jun 10, 2013 timlarison

Tom Shadyac had it made by conventional standards. A successful Hollywood director whose films had grossed nearly two billion, Shadyac led a life of luxury and fame. “I flew privately everywhere and anywhere I pleased. I bought expensive houses, antiques, and old masters’ paintings at Sotheby’s auctions, and paid tens of thousands of dollars for authentic Persian rugs,” he recalls. Then a near fatal bike accident caused him to reevaluate his priorities and human nature in general. Shadyac shares his insights in his new book, Life’s Operating Manual, a worthy followup to his “I Am” documentary on a similar theme.

“Our culture keeps us so busy counting money and material possessions, focusing our attention on status symbols and skewed definitions of success, that our own happiness, anchored in family, community, creativity, simplicity, and service – is passing us by,” Shayac writes. In Life’s Operating Manual Shayac contends that people are basically good, that cooperation, not competition, is the natural state in the animal world, and that our current society is out of alignment with these fundamental truths. This stance will no doubt draw criticism. Shayac addresses the naysayers in a creative way through a series of “fear” and “truth” dialogs at the end of each chapter. For example, this exchange is included after a chapter on cooperation:

“FEAR: Ah, yes. Just what the world needs, another socialist who wishes to redistribute wealth.

TRUTH: I do not wish to redistribute wealth; I wish to redefine it. When people understand that true wealth is found not in the accumulation of things, but in the advancement of love, wealth will redistribute itself.”

I thought the fear/truth dialogs were effective in summarizing the main points of each chapter while answering any doubts a skeptical reader may have.

I also liked Shadyac’s message to all of us of charging what we need for our services, earning a fair return, without getting as much as we can. “Whether in the grocery or garment industry, in education or entertainment, we are all encouraged, even expected, to charge the highest price for a good or service the market will bear,” he writes. I was moved by Shadyac’s example of St Judes Children’s Research Hospital as an organization that doesn’t overcharge and exists to genuinely serve humanity. “No cancer-stricken child should be denied treatment, regardless of ability to pay,” is the hospital’s motto.

“Society’s so screwed up because we’re so screwed up,” the author writes. “But what if this story about our inherent defects is just that – a story? What if we are actually good in our nature, divinely designed so, hardwired to help and to love?” Is it realistic to expect society to change from a competitive “me first” attitude to the utopia Shadyac envisions? Perhaps not. If the change Shadyac hopes for is to become a reality, it will happen one person at a time. Reading Life’s Operating Manual caused me to reevaluate my priorities, and I think it will do the same for you.

I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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