Skip to content
December 8, 2010 / Jenny Ann Fraser

The Wisdom To Know The Difference

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Peace, happiness, contentment. I believe that these are things that we all crave, whether we know it or not. While it is easy to get side-tracked by looking for external events, circumstances, people, or even possessions to bring us to a place of serenity, we will not find it within any of those things.

Inspired by the latest book that I have been asked to review for TLC book tours, I find myself wondering if the balance that the Serenity Prayer speaks of might be one of the best avenues toward finding that peace.

Eileen Flanagan’sThe Wisdom To Know The Difference is definitely a great place to start when pondering such a question.

From the first page I knew that I had in my hands one of those magic books that I will cherish, and savour for many years to come. It is a treasure chest that is too full to sort through only once.

The Wisdom To Know The Difference,When to Make a Change__and When to Let Go is a fascinating look at these concepts at work in the lives of various people. Through the stories of different people from many spiritual traditions we read about how they applied various combinations of acceptance, and courage to find their way through adversity, towards peace and the wisdom that they gained through their experiences.

One story that stood out for me was the story of Dr. Dan Gotlieb who had to learn to let go the hard way after he became paralyzed in a car accident which caused him to lose his best friend, then later his marriage, followed by the deaths of his Mother, his sister and his ex-wife. What he found helpful was the insight that it is clinging to our picture of how life should be that makes us suffer.

Eileen Flanagan combines these fascinating stories with stories from her own life experiences as well as wisdom from her own spiritual tradition as a Quaker, taking you on a journey that is as thought-provoking as it is inspiring. It was difficult to put the book down.

What moved me most, was the concept that the biggest stumbling block that gets in the way of our finding the wisdom that we need comes from fear. Learning to trust is key to understanding how to discern between the need for acceptance, and the courage to create change.

Learning to trust our own inner guidance, in the Higher Power that we believe in, that things will work themselves out, or that we have the strength to move on. There is much that we need to trust so that we might be able to more clearly discern when to take action or not, and what action to take if any.

Ideas such as facing change with willingness rather that wilfulness have sparked a new perspective for me and added new meaning to the idea of letting go, in order to grow both personally and spiritually.

As I have been struggling with my own inability to “Let go and let God” of late, the stories and insight in this book have more than opened up new avenues to explore with greater hope and a move toward less fear.

The questions at the end of each chapter are designed to enable the reader to reflect deeply on the concepts of the book as well as oneself. Quakers call these Queries and this is a practice that I would love to learn more about. I am still going through the process of sitting with and reflecting the queries in this book, and I am sure that I will visit them again when I am done. This book will definitely be taking up space in my “must have at my fingertips” pile of books. It’s a tiny pile reserved only for those books that not only inspire me to grow, but will surely inspire me to grow again the next time I pick them up. It is not often that I find such a gift and it is a blessing that I will not take for granted.

The Wisdom To Know The Difference is a book about personal growth, greater wisdom, and working towards these things to create a better world for ourselves as well as for others. It is not surprising that it is endorsed by His Holiness The Dalai Lama himself.

This book is a gift to anyone who has the opportunity to read it. I would imagine that it would not be for everyone, but for those of us who have embarked on a spiritual journey, regardless of which path or tradition we choose to make that journey, it is unlikely that you would be disappointed.

Thank you TLC Book Tours, and Eileen Flanagan for this wonderful gift!

This book is available through



Leave a Comment
  1. Emily Jane / Dec 8 2010 10:53 am

    This looks like a great read! I may have to add it to my Christmas list… and perhaps purchase a copy for a person I feel needs to hear this message right about now. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Dec 8 2010 6:13 pm

      I hope you do get a chance to read it Emily! It really is fabulous!

      • Emily Jane / Jan 3 2011 8:41 am

        I did end up buying it for my mother in law for Christmas! I’m picking up a copy as soon as I’ve finished my next book 🙂

        • Jenny Ann Fraser / Jan 3 2011 2:40 pm

          That’s great Emily! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.
          I really hope that this book does catch on as it is so meaningful. It is I believe the type of book that we need to not only create better lives for ourselves but also for the world around us.
          Thanks for keeping me posted!

  2. nrhatch / Dec 8 2010 11:08 am

    Sounds like a good book, like many I’ve read on mindfulness. Being aware of the thoughts we think paves the way for smoother sailing through life.

    When we learn to accept the “what is” . . . life gets infinitely easier. We no longer add to our own suffering by constantly saying “if only.”

    Hardship is inevitable. Misery is optional.

  3. Patricia / Dec 8 2010 1:13 pm

    I just loved this book and it was a joy to read and touched me deeply on so many pages. I have given it to 2 friends as birthday gifts this year.

    Your review is great and gives this peaceful book a good thumbs up – I am hoping it will become a best seller –

    Thank you

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Dec 8 2010 6:16 pm

      Thank you Patricia!
      I didn’t read your review yet as I needed to write mine first! 🙂
      I loved this book so much that it was hard to decide what to touch on! I too hope that it will become a best seller. I think that this is one of those books that would be good for the whole world.

  4. Eileen Flanagan / Dec 9 2010 6:46 am

    Wow, Patricia and Jenny, keep those best seller vibes coming! It’s very hard for a little-known author to break into the big leagues, but the best way to do it is this–through Internet word of mouth–so I really appreciate your support.

    If anyone feels moved, another helpful thing would be for people to post their reviews on amazon or other sites. (By the way, I’ve posted both your reviews to my Twitter and Facebook lists.)

    Thanks again!

    • Patricia / Dec 9 2010 1:39 pm

      My review is on facebook and twitter, but for some reason it is not up and running on amazon. I will correct that.

      Best seller, best seller, best seller…..sending out good vibes

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Dec 9 2010 1:59 pm

      Unfortunately, you have to make a purchase at Amazon to post a review. I’m considering doing that so that I can add a review to .. while sending out those vibes and of course Twitter.

    • Viv / Dec 10 2010 4:01 pm

      Eileen, just to let you know that as a result of me posting this on FB one of my friends has just ordered it.
      All the very best to you.

  5. Heather J. @ TLC / Dec 9 2010 8:39 pm

    That Serenity Prayer is deceptively simple; it’s easy to say but much, much harder to put into practice.

    I’m so glad that this book was inspiring to you. Thanks for being a part of this tour.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Dec 9 2010 10:46 pm

      Thank you Heather for inviting me!
      I love how you put it. Easy to say… I think that is part of what makes this book so wonderful. It makes us aware of the challenge, but gives us the guidance to believe that we can practice it.

  6. Ollin / Dec 9 2010 9:53 pm

    I have to add that to my book list. Sounds like something I would definitely love. Thank you for sharing, you already sound more wise and more at peace now that you read that book.

    By the way, I’m so sorry that my blog spammed your comments. I don’t know why it did that, I’m going to see how I can fix it. If it keeps happening please let me know. Thank you. Sorry again.

  7. Viv / Dec 10 2010 9:31 am

    I have FB’d and tweeted this, Jenny(and Eileen) it sounds like a wonderful book indeed.
    That prayer has been one of my favourites for a long time and I hope the book does well.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Dec 10 2010 10:57 am

      Thanks so much for all of that Viv! It really is wonderful and I hope you get a chance to read it!

  8. timkeen40 / Dec 15 2010 6:25 pm

    No wiser words have ever been spoken.

  9. rob white / Dec 31 2010 9:28 am

    Sounds like a gem, Jenny Ann. I love the idea of “queries” at the end of the chapter. It is wise to look objectively at other peoples life experiences and ask, “what does this have to do with me.”

    Happy New Year

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Jan 3 2011 2:37 pm

      Happy New Year to you too Rob! (And what a fabulous New Year it is turning out to be! more blogging to come soon!)
      The queries were a fabulous addition to the book, an added tool for self-reflection. thank you for stopping by!

  10. jonathanfigaro / Jan 5 2011 12:59 pm

    Here some advice unless you already know. You can put the book up on Barnes and nobles and even LuLu…More exposure…Nice book… Hope it becomes a best seller.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Jan 5 2011 5:55 pm

      Thank you so much Jonathon!
      I will pass that on to Eileen! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  11. Bryan / Jan 7 2011 10:38 am

    Jenny Ann, what a helpful-sounding book, though most of us wouldn’t have thought of it until we needed a book like that. I will check it out. Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Andrea DeBell - britetalk / Jan 9 2011 6:31 pm

    Hi Jenny! I love your opening quote.It’s important to know when to change things and when to let things be. It’s a true wisdom to walk this fine line. I haven’t read this book but it sounds like a great book. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the great tip. Loving blessings!

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Jan 10 2011 6:36 am

      Thank you Andrea,
      I really do hope that you get a chance to read the book. It is well worth the time!


  1. Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference, on tour December/January 2010 | TLC Book Tours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: