Originally published in 1978, "The Road Less Travelled" by M. Scott Peck didn't become the bestseller that is until 1984. It is Peck's most popular work and now that I've finally read it I can see that it still holds a rightful place on the shelves of libraries, private homes, and mental health providers. Peck, using his own experiences as a Harvard educated psychiatrist and as a human being, describes the necessary ingredients for a good life.
According to Peck in section one, discipline is the cornerstone of emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being. Discipline is what allows humans to evolve to their highest selves. To exercise discipline, you must be able to accept personal responsibility for yourself and actions, delay gratification, and seek truth and balance in all things.
In section two, Peck discusses love. He considers romantic love to be a harmful myth and that the feeling of falling in love is more about hormones and dependency than true and sustainable love. Instead, Peck says that "true" love is about the consideration and nurturing of others in addition to having a healthy level of self-love, not narcissism. He argues that love is the basis for all spiritual growth.
In section three, Peck describes his belief in miracles, serendipity and grace, and although he presents himself as a man of science, he makes a strong case for the existence of GOD. In fact he believes that the evolution of man in all respects can only be explained by the existence of a greater force or being.
Although it has been in print for close to 35 years, the message of "The Road Less Travelled" couldn't be timelier. In this day and age where there seems to be a definite lack of personal accountability, it is refreshing to be told the cold, hard facts about the need to accept responsibility for ourselves as individuals, parents, and community members even if the truth hurts more than a little.
"The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior. "
- M. Scott Peck
Recommended by Cheryl Finnan