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Deliberate Acts of Kindness: Service as a Spiritual Practice Paperback – January 15, 2002

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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An indispensable guide to the spiritual and the practical aspects of devoting one?s time and energies to the service of others.

Deliberate Acts of Kindness is for people who are ready to supplement"random acts of kindness" with intentional acts of generosity, decency, and integrity. More than simply a handbook for volunteers, it explores the significance of service as an expression of spirituality and the commitment to something greater than oneself.

Meredith Gould guides readers through their journeys, from recognizing when they are ready to answer the call to service to finding the right place to donate their time and talents. She offers invaluable advice on discovering the types of work that best suit their personalities and the areas in which they can make the greatest contributions. There is helpful information on how to get involved, as well as sensible suggestions about what to do when things go wrong in a service situation.

An easy-to-read mix of tips, quotations, reflections, and short narrative passages, Deliberate Acts of Kindness presents a comprehensive, honest look at what service is like on a day-to-day basis. Its insights will help new volunteers and veterans alike negotiate the practical difficulties that sometimes arise and achieve the spiritual maturity that comes from answering the call to service.

About the Author

MEREDITH GOULD, a freelance writer and editor, is the author of Staying Sober and Tips for Your Home Office. She has written articles for a wide variety of periodicals, including New Age Journal, New Woman, Utne Reader, and Vegetarian Times. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Image (January 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385502435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385502436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,481,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Despite academic training that included completing a doctoral dissertation, Meredith Gould never intended to write books. After grinding out academic journal articles during her decade as a Sociology professor, she graduated to writing for regular folk.

An essayist and lifestyle reporter for nearly two decades, Gould was published in magazines and newspapers -- when she wasn't writing public relations blather about pest control and wall coverings. Some sort of strange interior, possibly bio-chemical and definitely psycho-spiritual thing happened after her first book was published in 1998.

"I guess I'm a book author," says Gould, who now has nine published books to her credit. She's also swift to point out that being a mid-list author is hardly lucrative. "Providing digital strategy and editorial services pays the mortgage."

Digital strategy? An early adopter of social media, Gould is a fierce evangelist for its value for building and sustaining community. Her most recent work is focused on how social media can and should be used by faith organizations. To that end, she founded a weekly Twitter-based chat (#ChSocM) that's focused on church social media. (Read more about that:

For literary relaxation, Gould blogs about the spirituality of everyday life at More Meredith Gould ( For even more information, check out her LinkedIn profile: Email from readers is always welcomed!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Grenager on January 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
WONDERFUL!! The world needs this now more than ever! Good stuff about boundaries, and levels of service, and how it figures in religious traditions, as well as how to figure out whether the alleged call is of the heart or of the mind.
Reading this has helped me sort out intriguing doubts and questions I've been having about some of the service I've seemed called to lately. I got both clarity and affirmation from this wise guidance that I'll not only use myself, but to help coach clients.
What's more, the material is beautifully organized, and expressed with the delightful, tongue-in-cheek irreverent and eminently readable wisdom that is Gould's trademark as a writer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
From the tzedakah of Judaism to St. Benedict to Buddhism's dana and Hinduism's seva, Meredith Gould highlights the significance of good works in all spiritual/religious traditions.
This is a very nifty--and practical--book! She holds our hands as she guides us along the journey of doing good--the upside and what she calls the "shadow side of service." She teaches us when and how to say yes or no, how to manage volunteer assigments, and even <gasp> how to recognize burnout and what to do about it.
She writes with great and gentle humor, warning newcomers to community work of booby traps they may trip over while on the path to kindness and self-fulfillment.
This is a tips book for people who seek to aid their communities in any way they can and for people, already active volunteers, who wish to probe further into what they and their organizations can accomplish.
What a treasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Harrigan on December 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I read Deliberate Acts of Kindness years ago, I had no idea that #26Acts would go viral in 2012. But I immediately thought of this book when I saw the hash tag on Twitter.

This book about doing intentional acts of kindness was written before its time. It goes beyond a commitment to do 26 acts of kindness or 52 acts of kindness to a commitment to living a mature spiritual life of service to others and provides a guide as to how to do so. This is a book for our times that those who seek to live meaningful lives should pick up and read.
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