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Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living Paperback – February 28, 2017
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“Most of us can only dream of the dinner parties Krista Tippett could put together. We're lucky, then, that her new book is the next best thing to an invitation to sit down, make ourselves at home and prepare for a mind-expanding exploration of what it means to be human... Not light reading, but inspiring reading, for those willing to pull up a chair.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“ ‘Becoming Wise’ challenges all forms of dogma, in science, politics and philosophy as well as religion, and it affirms the holiness of the body and the glory of the inquiring mind. While our dominant media suggest that humans are incorrigibly selfish and greedy and cruel, Tippett and her conversation partners demonstrate that the longing to lead a good life, a moral life, remains powerful and pervasive in our day….”—Washington Post
“This is not just a selection of greatest hits. Instead, rooted in Tippett's own keen insight, she provides an interlocking frame based on five themes: words, the body, love, faith, and hope. With dips into Tippett's childhood and early career, readers are embraced by her own struggle, vulnerability, and thirst for meaning. As researcher and TED-talk phenom Brené Brown told Tippett, ‘Hope is a function of struggle.’ Tippett's striving here is the grist for creative genius.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A thoughtful examination of what it means to be fully human and aware, open eyed in the face of “the darkness that is woven ineluctably into the light of life.” — Shepherd Express
“We need Krista Tippett’s voice and wisdom now more than ever. She has elevated the art of listening and the practice of being present in a way that is both accessible and soulful. Becoming Wise is what I’ve been waiting for from Krista - the opportunity to learn from her and her experiences. This is brilliant thinking, beautiful storytelling, and practical insight. You won’t forget what you read here.” -Brené Brown, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Rising Strong
“Krista Tippett’s ecumenical generosity speaks both to high moral standards and to diverse ways of conceptualizing and achieving them. Her trade has been listening, and from that listening has emerged a deep understanding of the mind and the heart and the curious bridges between them. This is a book about kindness and forgiveness and the insight that is contingent on abandoning monolithic paradigms. Becoming Wise is an ambitious title, but in culling the wisdom of others, Tippett achieves a distinct and lovely wisdom of her own.”- Andrew Solomon
“A thoughtful chronicle of spiritual discovery. A hopeful consideration of the human potential for enlightenment.”—Kirkus Reviews
“I am a great admirer of Krista Tippett, who has spent years using her mind as a gentle but probing research tool into the beautiful, perilous, mysterious realm of the human soul. With this book, she has gathered all her years of learning and listening to create a masterpiece of philosophical and spiritual reflection. About halfway through the book, I stopped flagging pages and highlighting passages when I realized I was highlighting nearly every word. This entire book is filled with things I never want to forget. The only remedy will be to keep it near me, always.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
“After over a decade doing in-depth interviews and accumulating spiritual knowledge on her popular podcast On Being, Tippett pulls from that well of conversations to reconstruct her trail of investigation into the nature of wisdom. She tells her own life journey—her Oklahoma upbringing, her wide-eyed years in divided Cold War Germany, her decision to attend Yale divinity school—alongside the spiritual evolution that came while hosting the podcast. Pulling together and going beyond the accumulated knowledge of her interviews, Tippett's book is an incantatory trip into the paradoxical and profound.”—Publishers Weekly (staff pick)
“Krista Tippett has tirelessly reminded us of the perennial challenge, depth and complexity of the spiritual quest. At this pivotal moment in history, when on all sides religion is being so flagrantly abused, this marvellous book will inspire, excite and reinvigorate the reader.”—Karen Armstrong
“Krista Tippett is one of America’s ablest listeners, and in this book she assembles many of the people she has listened to and uses their example, and her own, to show us how many surprising and idiosyncratic paths still remain towards what even the most secular among us can agree should still be called enlightenment.”—Adam Gopnik
“When President Obama gave Krista Tippett the coveted National Humanities Medal, he praised her for ‘thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.’ This book is yet another piece of evidence of the truth behind those words. Grounded in Tippett’s ‘life of conversation,’ the book offers more, much more than a chronicle of her award-winning public radio program, On Being. In Becoming Wise, Tippett not only gives us the voices of the remarkable people with whom she’s conversed on-air. She speaks her own voice as well, a voice informed by her lifelong search for truth and meaning. Wisdom is a communal creation. Tippett is rare in her ability to host a far-flung community of luminaries, listeners and readers, who together uncover the wisdom that lies within and between us.”—Parker J. Palmer, author of Healing the Heart of Democracy, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, and Let Your Life Speak
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Even though her radio program, On Being, is not this way, I worried that this book would be too much about God or an effort to proselytize in some way. It is not either of those things. It's a mature, honest, lived perspective on what wisdom is, where it comes from, and what it can mean for us. Scientists, skeptics, and nonbelievers will find a great deal to relate to in this book.
If I have any critique, it's that Tippet bases her vision and effort on the great people of the world: the scientists, religious persons, and leaders of all sorts. It's no surprise that their work and words inspire. But Tippett pays little attention to the despots, the true criminals, and those who choose ignorance over thought (perhaps a large proportion?). She nods to her abusive parents, but seems to let them off the hook. I have to wonder what she'd write if she were down in the trenches facing the lesser of our collective angels. There is wisdom in such places and experiences, too. Wisdom of equal import, I think.
That said, the book is super, a must read, a must gift…
As a journalist she has had access over the years and throughout the world to these people, and has delineated her own personal growth and change as she has met and mused about them.....The "Mystery and Art of Living" seemed to me to allow the reader to accompany her on her life journey and, for me, fulfilled the promise of the title.....(Should I ever "Become Wise" (or wiser,) I would give her credit along with the philosophers of my early liberal arts education.)
Top international reviews
Thankfully, Tippett's chosen to present a gift to the world in the form of 'Becoming Wise'. It's a distillation of some of her most memorable conversations, and acts as a kind of guide to living – how to be. The richness of the book is almost overwhelming – it's sumptuously written, full of wisdom from some of the greatest thinkers of our time, ambitious in its scope – and I wanted to underline almost every word. It's one of the best books I've read all year.
"And so in choosing how we are in the world, we shape our experience of that world, our contribution to it. We shape our world, our inner world, our outer world, which is really the only one we'll ever know. And to me, that's the substance of the spiritual journey. It's not an exasperating idea but an infinitely emboldening one, and it's taken me many years to come to that without resistance."
Thanks to Krista and her team, and all those who gave so generously of themselves in the interviews.
The insightful conversations however are interwoven with Krista Tippets profound and searching autobiographical reflections. There is a superb and exciting feel to her writing which repeatedly and delightfully harked me back to my first reading of On The Road (Jack Keroac); an inspiring and effervescent experience of literature and life.
It is one of the most engaging books I've read in years.