Try to imagine one book that will help you think more clearly about time, reveal the art of mentoring, capture the adventure of faraway places such as Easter Island and Paris, celebrate the challenges of creative struggle, and relish the sweet spot that is part and parcel of sports performance. Only a Renaissance man like Phil Cousineau could possibly have written this lyrical and enthralling paean to myth, which he calls "a series of ruminations on those stories and images that first opened my heart and continue to open it again and again." The author, who admits to sleeping only four or five hours a night, has written fourteen books, made twelve documentary films, and toured the world as an adventure travel leader.

Cousineau proves himself to be a meaning-maker par excellence as he delves deeply into some of the major concerns of our age. This is a wide-ranging and creative probe of the ways in which myths unspool in our daily lives and contemporary culture. One of the most enlightening chapters is titled "The Myth of Time: From the Valley of the Kings to Silicon Valley." Here the author perfectly conveys the mania for speed that seems to be the hallmark of our society. Cousineau admits his own voracious interest in the past and his immense curiosity about the future. With the dazzling virtuosity of a juggler, he melds his own experience with juicy quotes on time by Jacob Needleman, Sam Keen, Will Rogers, Mahatma Gandhi, Tennessee Williams, and others. The result is a thought-provoking overview of the meaning of time. And this is no abstract dissertation. He points out, for example, that the elevator button most likely to have worn paint is the one that says "Door Close."

Anyone who has the slightest bit of interest in urban living will savor Cousineau's fascinating observations on "The Myth of the City: From the Walls of Jerusalem to the Cafes of Paris." The author's 25-year love affair with Paris beautifully seeps through his descriptions of the soul of the city.

Once and Future Myths is the kind of book you will want to read in different rooms of your house surrounded by appropriate ritual objects. Cousineau enables us to understand myth as the soulful pulse underlying our deepest yearnings for meaning.