Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon harvested the wisdom of the ancients to create a new paradigm for finding meaning in our lives, called The OPA! Way.

Since publishing the book in 2014, so much has happened. Read on for my original review of The OPA! Way and updates in OPA! news.


Book The OPA Way
The OPA! Way examines the quintessential Greek village life. It reveals that the villagers who were considered “backwards” or “didn’t know better”, actually knew better all along



Meet Alex and Elaine

Alex and Elaine are such accomplished individuals, it would take many pages to adequately speak of their backgrounds and accolades. Here are some snippets of their bios.

Alex Pattakos, PhD, known as “Dr. Meaning,” is the founder of the Center for Meaning, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and author of the international best-selling book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work, inspired by his mentor, the world-renown psychiatrist, Dr. Viktor Frankl (author of the classic best-seller, Man’s Search for Meaning). The book is currently available in 20 languages. Alex is a former therapist and mental health administrator, political campaign organizer, and full-time professor of public and business administration.

Elaine Dundon, PhD worked in business strategy and marketing, including brand management at Procter & Gamble, for 15 years. She founded The Innovation Group Consulting Inc. in 1995 and focused on consulting, teaching, and speaking in the area of Innovation Management. She created and taught the first-of-its-kind, integrated course on Innovation Management at the University of Toronto. Elaine is the author of an international best-selling book, The Seeds of Innovation. She’s as advised some of the world’s leading organizations on how to inspire employee-driven innovation as well as build a new model of leadership and organizational culture based on innovation and meaning.


The OPA! moment

Back in 2014, Alex and Elaine described the moment they realized that what the world needed was a little OPA!

We both were on a path to meaning, as we all are. We were frustrated with some work we were doing. A lot of our work wasn’t as meaningful to us. There was too much rush, rush. Every time we went to Greece, we’d have a different experience. At a taverna in Rethymnon, Crete –that’s where the concept was born—we observed many tourists. The taverna owner started moving things around, to give them a true Greek experience: eating, drinking, and dancing together. We looked at how people connected with each other. They shouted, ‘OPA!’ They got up and danced. We saw attitudes change. Uptight people were smiling and laughing; they probably don’t smile at home. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Life was good. ‘OPA!’ We looked at each other, and we knew. We thought, how could we bottle the enthusiasm and spirit we witnessed? Then we started to look at prior experiences, and within a few days it all came together. We also observed the resilience of the people during the crisis. We saw people connecting, who knew their life purpose, and have a different attitude toward life. It flowed from there.”


The OPA! Way

The OPA! Way examines the quintessential Greek village life. Many of us Westerners have always been told that the villagers were “backwards” or “didn’t know better.” On the contrary; we see that they are sage individuals, and actually knew better all along. We revisit these concepts that are at the very core of our Hellenism: filoxenia, filotimo, arete, evdemonia, and more. These are the virtues we strive for, and have often lost sight of, ironically, in our pursuit of a better life. The villagers embrace a true concept of community, and live these virtues every single day. This has led them to become very resilient in the face of adversity, especially with the financial crisis. They have a different attitude to toward life. They value the simple pleasures, and continually find joy in their lives. They actively embrace life, and are sure to take the time to engage with each other and develop relationships. They know they’re intertwined; they’re connected and each have a place in the world. They truly understand what community is, and why it’s essential. While we’ve been in the fast lane chasing material wealth and prestige, we’ve lost sight of what life is about. The result? We’re tired, stressed, unhappy, unhealthy, feeling like we have no purpose, and like our lives are without meaning.

The philosophers told us that our mind, body, and spirit are interconnected. When one gets out of whack, nothing else seems to go right. When we get stressed, it affects our physical health. When we don’t feed our spirit, we suffer in many areas. When we work, work, work and don’t make time for family and friends, for life, we lose meaning. We start to feel like we are on the hamster wheel and can’t get off. We have things, but we aren’t happy.



Listen to Alex and Elaine talk about The OPA! Way 



Review of The OPA! Way

The OPA! Way not only offers a great opportunity to learn or re-learn what the philosophers had to say, but provides a wealth of useful information, notably the OPA! Affirmations. The OPA! Way  becomes a road map for living, for embracing life, for reconnecting, and helping us find our place in the world. We all have much to give, we all have much to learn. It’s time to re-discover it and perhaps, finally, we will lead lives (and find work) that is meaningful and brings us joy.

OPA! truly is more than a word. It’s a way of life. Alex and Elaine have created a guidebook for our lives. The wisdom of the ancients indeed holds true, and in today’s world, is more essential than ever. The OPA! Way is a volume you’ll refer to again and again. It’s time to be the best you, to embrace life, and find joy.


The world is embracing The OPA! Way

The OPA! Way is the winner of numerous awards, including the Beverly Hills Book Awards; it was name finalist for several other awards, including USA Best Book Awards. Alex and Elaine have been invited to conduct book presentations this year at the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC, and at a Greek Embassy-sponsored event in Ottawa, Canada.

They’re pleased to announce the Greek edition of The OPA! Way (“Η ΟΠΑ! ΜΕΘΟΔΟΣ”), to be published by Hestia Publishers & Booksellers this June. Alex and Elaine will return to Greece for the book’s launch, and will introduce The OPA! Way in a keynote address, “Coaching with Meaning, The OPA! Way,” at the International Congress on Cognitive Behavioral Coaching in Athens (June 16-19). Other translations are in the works.

Connect with Alex and Elaine on Facebook. Everybody say OPA!

Check out The OPA! Way channel on YouTube

The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work

By: Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon

Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-940363-25-7

Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos

Founder & Editor at WindyCity Greek
For 10 years, Maria served as the Associate Editor and Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her work has been published in GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, Neo magazine, KPHTH magazine, and more. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal.
Maria A. Karamitsos

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