The Razors Edge



Here is my take on a classic novel about personal transformation along with some intriguing exploration of paradigms,  human perception, and frames of reference.

First, this blurb…


Thanks so much for putting this into words. It is the most concise and accurate analysis of this work that I have ever read. The Razor’s Edge has been my favorite book for many years. I re-read it often. And now I will be able to look at it with a fresh eye again.

Thank you. Terrific work.

–Jack Randall Earles, playwright



Top Executive Coach Tony Mayo’s essay on

The Razor’s Edge
by W. Somerset Maugham

The Razor's Edge book

The Razor’s Edge is often described as the story of Larry, a war veteran who forsakes a comfortable life in Chicago “society” for a vague spiritual quest. It is better appreciated as a portrait of his acquaintances, whose conventional lifestyles are starkly contrasted to the path walked by the seeker. Some readers have wished to know more of Larry and criticize the space and attention Maugham lavished upon the “ancillary” characters. Instead, The Razor’s Edge illuminates the spiritual path by focusing on people more like the typical reader, people who do not give up materialistic Western striving. The best way to see Larry is to look at what he is not.

This narrative technique succeeds wonderfully in the masterful hands of author W. Somerset Maugham, best known for Of Human Bondage. Rather than simply lay out the details of Larry’s explorations and development, which, being spiritual and internal, would be rather dull to watch, Maugham reveals Larry by dissecting the contrasting behavior of his associates.

The Positive Aspects of Negative Space

This reminds me of the artist’s exercise of drawing “negative space” instead of the object itself. By carefully sketching only those parts of the background visible around the figure one creates a suggestive (more…)

Rilke Poem on Spirituality

I live my life in growing orbits

That move out over the things of the world

Perhaps I can never achieve the last,

but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God,

Around the ancient tower.

And I have been circling for a thousand years,

And I still don’t know

If I am a falcon or

a great storm.

Letters to a Young PoetLetters to a Young Poet Cover

Rainer Maria RilkeRainer (René) Maria Rilke

1875-1926 Austro-German poet

An intimate conversation with an adventurous sage.



Autobiography of Values
by Charles A. Lindbergh

Charles A. Lindbergh, first person to fly the Atlantic alone, is a fascinating character. This book, written at the end of his life, is a glimpse in the fertile mind of a great man. He tells the story of being one of the first modern media celebrities, an unsought burden. We also follow him through his careers as a civilian combat pilot in World War II and as a medical researcher.

I wrote this review before I was aware of Lindbergh’s pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic statements. People are complex and mysterious. My admiration of some aspects of his work and stated philosophy should not be taken as an endorsement or even toleration of his significant flaws.

The real appeal of this book is not the facts of Lindbergh’s life, amazing and interesting as they are. The true privilege for the reader is to hear Lindbergh ruminate on the nature of life and spirituality, the ways to remain sane and centered in modern society, and what it means to (more…)