The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of The 99th Monkey, by Eliezer Sobel

Pop quiz: I am a slightly fretful and occasionally cranky bookworm who could manage her money better. I also accept myself as such. So … am I enlightened? Yes or no.

See, this is where some of the spiritual quests for enlightenment annoy me, because enlightenment presupposes that you accept yourself as who you are. And to me, this is an excuse for bad behavior. For the record, I don’t think I’m enlightened, whatever that is. This is where Sobel’s delightful and engrossing story of his lifelong spritual quest sort of lost me. I kept wanting to tell him to just shut up and be. On the other hand, I really enjoyed this book, so him shutting up would be against my interests. But … I’m just going to move on to the review.

Sobel has tried it all: est, yoga, various gurus — including Ram Dass — and just about anything you can name, plus a lot of things you probably can’t. He’s spent time in India and Esalen, he’s been thrown off guard by free spirits, he’s risen through various systems’ hierarchies. And all along, he’s maintained just enough skepticism to keep from completely buying what anyone else is selling in the way of spiritual paths. I like this, because I have a hard time believing anyone has all the answers. Skepticism is healthy.

Through it all, Sobel is an engaging storyteller, relaying his encounters with various people in a way that made me feel like I was there with him. I recommend this book.

As for animals, this book is SAFE for animal lovers. There are pet tortoises, personal menageries, references to a couple of quick animal deaths, Sobel’s pet cat, and a bit of wildlife. If the topic interests you at all, you should enjoy this book.


October 25, 2009 - Posted by | Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hey esheley, guardian of the late Priscilla, Plum, Peanut, Squarcialupi and my and I really appreciate your kind review!


    for photos of the kids, except Plum who missed the photo shoot, see the ABOUT page on

    Comment by Eliezer Sobel | October 25, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for visiting!

      Ever since I read your comment a couple of days ago, I’ve been thinking how perfect it would be for you (and only you) to write a bio of Ram Dass. You might not be interested in something like that, but if you wrote it, I’d buy it.

      Comment by esheley | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. P.S. oops, meant to write “my wife and I” there, not “my and I”

    Comment by Eliezer Sobel | October 25, 2009 | Reply

  3. BIographies sound like too much detailed, left-brain, research work for a lazy guy like me!

    Comment by Eliezer Sobel | November 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. Don’t want to comment on this book — just wanted to throw in a recommendation for a great book for animal lovers, “Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!” Heartwarming stories, and even help with the grief that comes, as we all know, when we have to say goodbye. I wish we’d had this 3 years ago, for my daughters, when we had to put their first cat down. It was a very wrenching experience for them.

    Comment by Liz | November 4, 2009 | Reply

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