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Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Lifeby Karen Armstrong
A thoughtful guidebook designed to make for a kinder humanity, Armstrong's inspiring and transformative examination of altruism and empathy will hopefully reach the wide audience it rightly deserves.
Synopses & Reviews
One of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world — author of such acclaimed books as A History of God, Islam, and Buddha — now gives us an impassioned and practical book that can help us make the world a more compassionate place.
Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Here, in this straightforward, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book, she sets out a program that can lead us toward a more compassionate life.
The twelve steps Armstrong suggests begin with “Imagine a World of Compassion” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She suggests concrete ways of putting compassion into action in our everyday lives. And she makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two.
"The prolific, well-informed, and passionate Armstrong (The Case for God) writes a somewhat different book this time out, stemming from her winning a ,000 prize in 2007 to promote an idea worth spreading. She always has a thesis in her books as she sweeps over the historical development of world religions, but this is a book with an agenda: you ought to be more compassionate, and here's how. So instead of being her usual somewhat academic teacher of religious history, she is more of a personal spiritual teacher, in the vein of the Dalai Lama. That task, and corresponding tone ('Be patient with yourself during this meditation'), is not her long suit. Still, this slightly self-help-y book is deeply grounded in what Armstrong knows, and presents, well: the core teachings of all religions that can make us better, more compassionate humans. The former nun pulls ideas and references from religions Eastern and Western with aplomb and respect for all sources. This counter to the religion-is-homicidal-and-superstitious school of invective passing for thought is well-informed, welcome, and practical. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“Karen Armstrong is a genius.” A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life
“Armstrong can simplify complex ideas, but she is never simplistic.” The New York Times Book Review
"Armstrong is a masterful writer.” Publishers Weekly
"Armstrong has the gift of being able to compress a lot of information into a small space without losing focus or clarity.” Edmonton Journal
About the Author
Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs. In February 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working on The Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public, crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, and launched globally in the fall of 2009. She lives in London.
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