I am the book club's hostess for January as well as the author of the month. We will be reading my novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money. I'm going to set out some introductory material and outline some of the questions/issues I'd like to see us discuss in the coming weeks.

Before I talk about my book, I'd like to tell you my goals for the month. First, I'd like to develop a feeling of  community and warmth that will flow into the Book Club's coming months. I'd like us to get to know each other and have a good time together. I'd like us to learn from each other. I'd like to get a different understanding of my book from you.

My primary intention is that we should have fun reading Numenon. If you don't want to follow the schedule I set out below, forget it. Same with the questions. Don't answer them unless you want to. If you think of other issues or questions, bring them up. This is a time to hang out and examine a very unusual story.

I want to hear from you, too. Would you please tell us a bit about yourself as we begin? What's your background? What attracted you to the book club? Add anything that you care to share.

WHERE DO YOU BUY NUMENON? A number of places. I've got a surprise in point one below: How to get Numenon free.

    ⁃    I've arranged for you to get an eBook of Numenon free through Smashwords. Go to the book's Smashwords page.  Use the coupon code LV94U when you check out and the book will be free. The coupon is good through January 19th, and I can extended the date if people want me to. I believe Smashwords makes books available in almost every eBook format.  
    ⁃    If you'd like a print version, you can buy Numenon here: http://numenon.com This is the gorgeous hardback book that won all the awards. It was originally $24.95. We're selling it for $9.50 plus shipping. I will inscribe the book any way you like, just note what you'd like me to say in the message at checkout.
    ⁃    Numenon is also available as an Amazon Kindle for 99 cents. And it's available as a hardback on Amazon at a bit more than we charge. (We make almost nothing on the hardback when its purchased through Amazon, by the way.)   

Also––I am not a Jungian analyst or professor; I won't be leading this discussion as an academic or psychotherapist. I am an an author. I've got a fairly deep understanding of myself and the writing craft. Both halves of my brain have been educated: I hold Master's degrees in economics and counseling.


If you've got a few minutes, the interview that Bonnie Bright and I did and which is linked here is the best introduction to me and my work. If you don't have time to listen to it, I'll give you a (relatively) short run-through here:

I was born in San Francisco. at the end of WWII. My father, a first generation immigrant, founded and owned what was the 10th largest residential construction company in the USA in its heyday. I grew up on San Francisco's Peninsula, in the heart of what came to be known as Silicon Valley.

Those were intoxicating years. Not only was I surrounded by the cutting edge of corporate culture, I had my father sitting in the family room. That was like having Secretariat parked on the front lawn. I learned about extremely successful people from my father and his friends. They moved at light speed and were more directed and effective than any people I've met since. Mine was a heady and thrilling existence, quite addictive. When I write about the upper end of Silicon Valley society, I do it partially from my own experience.

When I was eighteen, a drunk driver killed my father and my charmed life vanished overnight. I set about defining myself. How I could define myself was limited. Business was the only life-path my father approved. Even though he had passed on, his influence on my psyche was enormous. I majored in economics. I earned two degrees in the subject and worked as an economist for years. I was a doctoral student at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

I left that program, but ended up working for the professor who taught Negotiation and Intervention at the Graduate School of Business. I coached negotiation and active listening with his students a few days a year for twenty years. That was a blast. As a result, I have an abiding love for MBA (Master's in Business Administration) students and MBAs. And negotiation. This shows in Numenon.

I left Stanford and started moving in a direction that better fed my soul. While working as an economist, I earned an MA in MFCC from Santa Clara University. There I learned about Jungian psychology and the transpersonal psychologies. Roberto Assagioli's Psychosynthesis fit my personal experience better than any other theory. Assagioli's egg diagram was almost a snapshot of my inner life. I've had unitive and other spiritual experiences since I was a young child. My first transcendent experiences occurred when I was a young teenager riding my horse through the redwoods of the Coast Range. I began a meditation practice in 1975 which accelerated and strengthened my spiritual development.

Years passed; jobs and professions along with them. In 1993, had a  personal crisis which shattered what I thought about myself and my world. I was devastated. I spent from 1993 to 1995 putting myself back together.

Two major events happened in 1995. I went to a meditation retreat. After that retreat, I had a mystical experience which lead to Numenon and my other work. This is described in the Author's Note in Numenon and in my interview with Bonnie Bright. I also I started writing with a writing group  led by a local poet. Those events changed my life.

When I wrote Numenon, I was dealing with PTSD and trauma-related issues. The book has a darkness that reflects my interior state. I was also trying to get my arms around what had happened to me and explain the nature of evil. Be aware of this as you read.


You can learn pretty much everything about Numenon through this link to my web site. The linked page offers a synopsis, information about the book's awards, reviews, an excerpt, a physical description of the book and more.

The book's "personal history" may be of interest to you. Numenon was released in 2008; it's been around for a while. Being the book's author has been thrilling. Numenon is my first novel; my second book. We entered it in a couple of book contests as an ARC (advance reading copy). It won the visionary fiction and religious fiction categories in those contests. I entered it in more contests after it was released. It ended up winning four more national awards.

I'm particularly pleased with the Silver Nautilus Award for Indigenous/Multicultural Fiction. The Nautilus Award was established to recognize books that promote spiritual growth, positive social change, and conscious living. Previous Nautilus winners include Thich Nnat Hanh and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Winning the Silver Medal in the IPPYs (Independent Press) Awards was also exciting. The IPPYs are the oldest and largest contest for independent presses. About 4,000 books were entered that year.

As a Kindle book on Amazon, Numenon jumped to the front of books about mysticism, ranking #1 in three categories of mysticism and hovering about the 1,000th level in Kindle sales ranking (out of, say, 900,000 books). It's an Amazon Bestselling book. Numenon also garnered five star reviews for years.

I'm not telling you this to brag: it's a cautionary tale. I didn't realize how extraordinary Numenon's performance was. It kept it's #1 position in mysticism for about a year with absolutely no promotion on my part. I became complacent, expecting the wave to continue forever. This was a mistake. I wish I'd taken a screen shot of its Amazon page when it was at it's peak.

Numenon has dropped in the rankings, but it's the same book with the same heart that was ranked #1.


The book has 448 pages. If we divide the reading evenly over the month, that would mean reading 112 pages per week.  If we do that, we should be on page 112 on January 7th, 224 on the 14th, 336 by the 21st and finish by the 28th.

Don't feel bound by this, if you want to read ahead, please do.  But, if you read ahead, please don't ask questions in the reading group that reveal content that other group members haven't reached. You can message me privately if you want to talk about something.  


Don't wreck  your experience of reading the book by trying to answer these questions while you read. Let the answers and your viewpoints rise to the surface as you absorb the text. Numenon is a piece of art and a gestalt, not material for a quiz.


Compare & contrast Will Duane and Grandfather's psychological development. These are two very successful men in radically different fields. How did they end up so different?

Will Duane's psychic structure. What Jungian concepts do you see manifesting themselves in the book's first chapter? Subsequent chapters?

How would you diagnose Will?

Grandfather has had horribly traumatic things happen to him. How did he come out so well?

How would you diagnose him?

Two shamans exist in Numenon: Grandfather and Great-grandfather. How do they strike you?


Numenon brings up a wealth of issues highly relevant to our contemporary society. The following add greatly to our understanding of the book and what's going on around us.

Recommended reading/viewing:

"Inside Job", the Academy Award Winning documentary film produced, written and directed by Charles Ferguson. I believe that this film, which documents the causes of the 2008 financial crises, generated the "Occupy Wallstreet (and everywhere else)" movement.

The film clearly illustrates how our financial markets caused their own collapse because of greed and lack of discipline and morality. It makes complicated economic concepts easy to understand by use of graphics. It also illustrates the culture of the upper financial echelon, which is of interest to us as we study Numenon corporation.

My character Will Duane isn't based on a real person. He's a composite, partially my dad, partially people in the news. And partially my neighbors. I lived in the Town of Woodside, bedroom to Silicon Valley's finest, for fourteen years. People like Will Duane were all around me.

When I wrote Will and his lifestyle, I thought I was absolutely over-the-top in describing his behavior in every direction. "Inside Job" shows that I under-wrote the character. In all likelihood, Will would have been more flamboyant, ruthless, and immoral than I show him.

The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (A Little) Craziness and (A Lot of) Success in America by John D. Gartner PhD. This illuminating book explains a lot about Silicon Valley and its "movers and shakers". I'll bring it up in subsequent weeks.

Well, that should be enough to get us going. Let me know what you think/feel about the book and what I've written above.

And enjoy Numenon.  One of the reviewers called it ". . . an amazing trip into two worlds."

Have a good trip! I'll be checking in often––feel welcome to come and hang out. I've got more material for the coming weeks . . .

Sandy Nathan

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  • I'm pooped from all the work I've been doing. Here's a little show and tell. My designer and I just finished the cover and interior of Lady Grace, which is the sequel to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, my book set in the 24 hours before a nuclear holocaust destroys the world. (It's actually quite cheery.) Lady Grace occurs when the radiation clears and people come back, trying to start new lives. It's a romance/adventure/thriller/sci-fi with philosophical overtones. Here's the cover:


  • Hi, everyone. I'll be responding and catching up soon. I've been slammed with work. But I haven't forgotten you!

  • OK. We finished reading the first half of Numenon last week. I have a few discussion questions about what we've read. Maybe you'll have some, too. Please add your questions to the discussion.

    1. The Brief. Betty pulls out binders packed with extensive information about American Indian history, about the participants in the Meeting. The Mogollon Bowl. And pretty near everything else you can think of about their trip.

    Does this seem realistic to you? Would business people actually do this before an important event?

    2. A Sentient Planet? Mark Kenna talks about the earth's power spots, ley lines, and the possibility that the planet Earth is a conscious thing. What do you think of that? He talks about psychic phenomena. Anybody have any experience with that? We also have people being able to communicate psychically in the book. Fiction, definitely, but does anyone have any related experiences?

    3. Kundalini and psychic power. Jeff Block discusses chakras, kundalini, qi gong and associated topics. Anyone have kundalini experiences or anything like what Jeff talks about?

    4. The Mogollon Bowl. What do you think the Mogollon Bowl is? Admittedly, it's purely fictional. But could it exist?

    5. Animals and talking animals.

    Animals and particularly horses play a big role in the book. What do you think the discussion about the dun stallion vs. Squirrel Brains means? What does Paul Running Bird's reaction to the two animals show? What about Bud Creeman's?

    We have animals that actually talk in the book, too. Do animals talk, if not in words, non-verbally? Any animal communicators among us?

    Horses play a big role in Numenon. I've ridden most of my life and am very familiar with what horses can teach us. They are the greatest psychologists in the world. Within about a minute of your stepping on a horse, he will know how well you can ride. And what he can get away with. People and horses can bond in ways that feel mystical. We'll get to that . . .

    I'll write some study questions for this week's reading. We're reading the 3rd quarter of the book. Some darkness gathering here.

    Have a great week! Enjoy Numenon!

    • I am just catching uphere.

      The Breif- Yes it is very realistic, especially in the information age. Knowledge is power. The mystery of the spirit world just doesn't quite obey the rules of the corporate world. Mark Kenna, the driver is an interesting character in that he is able to express spiritual views that no one else can admit are pulling them towards the Mogollon Bowl. It is funny today I was teaching children about the difference between geology and biology. One child asked "Are rocks dead?" " Inert is not dead" was the best I could come up with. What a poverty of language we have towards such things.

      I haven't watched The Inside Job yet. But this is a video I watched recently that explicitly connects hypomania and the drive to be an entrepeneurhttp://the99percent.com/videos/7078/Linda-Rottenberg-For-Entreprene... .The woman is clearly hypomanic and speaks a mile a minute. Perhaps she is like one of the women characters in the book? Sandy or a Betty?



    • Hi, Amy. I've got your video up on another screen. I'll watch it after dinner. Do watch Inside Job. The two people from the group who've given me feedback about it have been horrified. Seeing that sort of pure sociopathic behavior is what prompted what we'll get to this week and next. In places, we're looking at pure evil, separated into a separate being.

      Here's a question for everyone? I've heard Buddhists say that they don't believe in a devil, or outside force, that causes bad things. It's all the product of the human mind. Other points of view say, yeah, something evil exists. What do you think? Especially poignant after watching Inside Job.

      The Brief:A group of topnotch MBAs would do EXACTLY what our crew do in preparing for a big negotiation. That's what they're doing; going to a week-long negotiation. I was in a writing group led by a literature prof when I was writlng this part of Numenon. They all thought the briefing was overdone.

      No way at all! I worked for another professor, this one at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. (Richard Pascale, the best classroom teacher I've ever experienced and a very nice person. He wrote The Art of Japanese Managment, among other books.)

      Anyway, I worked for Richard a few days a year for 20 years, teaching MBA candidates negotiation. They do all thatΩ––even to the point of trying to set up a negotiation so that the sun is in the eyes of their opponents. So they'd go over all that stuff.

      And would be just as suspicious of the topics Mark brings up. He is a nice bridge between two worlds, grossly underutilized as a driver. Maybe he'll get a better job.

      The one who's really hypomanic is Will. He barely sleeps, works all the time, works out harder than anyone. And hasn't been diagnosed at all. Melissa would be the woman most likely to be hypomanic of the group. Though they're all compulsive workers.

      What did you think of Elizabeth Bright Eagle?

      I'm going to watch that video now.

      So long, Amy and all!

    • Dear Sandy,

      1. I believe they will,  very important = loads of cash, and greed is a powerful player. As in war you want to know every vulnerable aspect of the opponent.

      4. Why not, I do not believe man has discovered all our planets secrets. And it is a nice thought such a place can exist.

      2. 3. 5. Yes I do have experience in these area's. Because of my profession I cannot share personal stuff on the net, privacy and boundaries are important.

      Empirically, I've studied Zhineng Qigong for almost 10 years, there are a lot of similarities, since qigong is (I believe) originated in shamanism en deeply enrouted in nature. Zhineng Qigong is a healing qigong, aiming to regain balance and to heal. Qi-fields (probably the same as ley lines) are an important aspect.

      Also I'm a horse-person, at the moment living with to extraverted and talkative dogs.

      Theoretically I've studied parapsychology, qigong and Tao.

      Some of the adolescents want me to do 'tricks', when I tell them about qi, practice, practics is my answer. So that's also why I'm reluctant with sharing info, it can take strange proportions.;-)

    • Hi, Karina. Good to hear from you. The briefing thing is really important, as you suspect. I'll get into it more when I answer Amy below.

      That's a nice way of putting it: "And it is a nice thought such a place can exist," re: the Mogollon Bowl. It's purely fictitious, but a character in the book and its sequel just like a person. And maybe something like it does exist. Mark Kenna says, "Scientists don't know how I felt at Macchu Picchu." They don't know how I felt there, either. My husband and I visited it in the 1970s. Macchu Picchu is magical place. So pure and so clear. I felt wonderful there. I've felt similarly in Santa Fe New Mexico, supposed to be another energy vortex. And in California's redwood forests. It would be nice if all of that was vastly more powerful, as in the fictitious Bowl.

      I studied with a tai Qi and Qigong master years ago. He totally spoiled me for working with anyone else. He was so clear that the edges of his body where he met the air seemed to vibrate. He was from China, a scientist who worked on a Nobel prize-winning project at Stanford. He went to San Francisco every day, very early in the morning, and practiced with his master. Who turned the lineage over to him when he died.

      The way lineages are transferred in many different spiritual paths are similar.

      And yes, beginners can be fascinated with tricks and miss the truth of a practice. My meditation master had all sorts of stories about that.

      Gotta run. Good to hear from you. Sandy

  • Hi, everyone! Thought I'd check in. I hoped to have more  discussion topics for Numenon this weekend. Unfortunately, my husband and I went to a wedding Saturday and danced up a storm. Which was great, except that I have a fused ankle that really didn't like my having fun. So, I've been slowed down, hobbling around.

    I'll pose some questions for you early this week. We should be at the book's halfway point, launching into the third quarter of the book.

    Rereading Numenon has been fun for me, partially because I've begun rewriting the sequel, Mogollon. The characters are very fresh in my mind now. And the sequel is going in a different direction than the first draft. We'll see how it unfolds.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Hi all,

    I finally read through all the comments so far. *whew*

    One thing that stirred me in the book is Grandfather's shadow side coming out in his harrowing, vengeful rant on p. 117-118.  Just as he seemed eager to crush Paul's outlines for the meeting and claim it in the name of the Great One, he seems very eager to be the Great One's sword to tear into the Numenon group.  I didn't really pick up on any empathy for them from Grandfather.

    In contrast to some, I do feel an empathy for Will and there are remarks of his humanitarian efforts (though they may be small in comparison to some of the damage he has wreaked by running Numenon).  He is very alone and unrelated, though he desperately wants to do so.  No one taught him how to be intimate.  I grew up in a family very much like that.  My parents loved me and I loved them, but their parents taught them nothing of relational intimacy.  What they have and can give me falls along the lines of their platitudes from their fundamentalist religion and providing for basic needs.  They just are not equipped for that part of life very well.  I have had to struggle through that myself in therapy and am still a mess sometimes.

    Another thing that shook me was the line on p.123 about Grandfather's wife: "They were doomed before they started.  It couldn't work.  But they loved each other so much that they married anyway."  I just broke off a relationship that resonates with those words.  Intense seems an understatement.  The intensity of the relationship itself almost swallowed me whole and I am just now trying to find my way out of it.  The fire burned so hot, I was almost fully consumed by it (and by some of her personal struggles).  I'm not sure if there's hope for it in the future, it's still such a fresh break, but I can relate to Grandfather's ambivalence about getting back with her (or wanting to).

    I'm enjoying the work so far, Sandy.  Thanks for being a part of this!


    • I am not sure that every couple who is in love is meant to live with each other.  

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