Paul Pearsall is a clinical education psychologist specializing in the interactions between the brain, mind, body, and the immune system. He is a bestselling author who is an ardent admirer of the principles and practices of ancient Polynesian culture. In this up-tempo book, he reveals the relevance of the five components of this path: patience, unity, agreeableness, humility, and tenderness. These virtues address what Pearsall calls our "delight deficiency" which manifests in sleeping disorders, consumerism, carelessness, feeling stressed, and being conflicted. "The Oceanic people taught that a joyful and healthy life was based on following our seventh sense, an instinctive drive to what is healthful and pleasurable."
One of the paradoxes of life, according to Pearsall, is that often those who are terminally ill are the most appreciative of the pleasures of life. They model for us a re-enchantment with everyday life. Pearsall delineates five factors of fitness which are part of the pleasure prescription: food, flexibility, flow, family, and fun. For the Polynesian, balanced pleasure is the purpose of life: each day offers fresh experiences. That is why they would agree with Albert Camus who once wrote: "If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life."
Pearsall spells out more of the thematic richness of the pleasure principle with chapters on each of the aforementioned components as well as on the nature of success, overcoming the illusion of separateness, bliss, saving the soul, and giving. These explanations are followed by ideas on applying the pleasure principle to intimate relationships of marriage, family, working, and healing the planet.