- Audio CD
- Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (December 28, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307881741
- ISBN-13: 978-0307881748
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 5.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 231 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
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 (œBe 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.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* It takes courage for a religious historian and writer of Armstrong’s stature to step out from behind the scrim of scholarship and analysis to offer guidelines for a spiritual practice designed to make humanity a kinder and saner species. With the boon of the prestigious TED Prize, Armstrong (The Case for God, 2009) worked with “leading thinkers from a variety of major faiths” to compose a Charter for Compassion, which calls for the restoration of “compassion to the heart of religious and moral life” in a “dangerously polarized” world. Not content with merely stating lofty goals, however, Armstrong, a revered genius of elucidation and synthesis, now tells the full and profound story of altruism throughout human history. She turns to neuroscience and tracks the evolution of our brains and our natural capacity for empathy, and performs her signature mode of beautifully clarifying interpretation in a mind-expanding discussion of the history of the Golden Rule (“Always treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself”), the essence of compassion and the kernel of every religious tradition. Exquisite and affecting explications of Buddhist, Confucian, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic commentary prepare the ground for meditation exercises meant to engender “open-mindedness” and the cultivation of compassion, making for the most sagacious and far-reaching 12-step program ever. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A hefty print run is planned for renowned religious thinker Armstrong’s bold approach to teaching the compassionate ethos. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
It went downhill from there. I don't think Karen Armstrong has actually experienced real compassion, based on reading this book. The first sentence of 'A Last Word' is typical: "The Trojan War did not end with the embrace of Achilles and Priam."
Who cares about the Trojan War and all those old myths in a genuine book about compassion?
Also, "Should" is not a compassionate word, as in the Eighth Step: "How Should We Speak to One Another?" Where is the self-compassion in a title like that?
Karen Armstrong needs to take compassion classes such as Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)
Jesus tells me in the New Testament to love my neighbor as myself as God first loved me. That's quite a challenge and this book helped me understand a whole lot better how to have compassion for all people and our planet.
Study guides for a group experience are available on the website for the Charter for Compassion.
"Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" is a compact, 200-page book which presents twelve aspects of living with wisdom, self-awareness and compassion. Armstrong researched these aspects, or "steps" carefully, and she structured the book so they build sequentially upon each other. We begin with the basic practice of connecting with our wish for a better world. For many of us, this wish has been callused-over by layers of despairing desire to avoid the world's suffering. We then progress gradually by learning about compassion and beginning to look around us with an open heart. Later we are led through more advanced practices such as developing concern for everybody, and contemplating what it would mean to love our enemies. Although the latter steps are in some ways more advanced, this does not mean that the earlier steps are preliminary and need to be rushed through. Each step is a life-changing spiritual practice in its own right. Although I would advise readers to read the entire book at least once through, some readers may feel called to focus on a single step as their main or heart practice.
As a historian of religion, Karen Armstrong draws her supporting arguments from the world's main religious and philosophical traditions. Armstrong strikes a good balance between her aim to write a compact, tightly-written handbook, and her responsibility as a writer to provide sufficient supporting arguments to convince and motivate the reader. Armstrong provides a brief summary at the end of each chapter, as well as the suggested practice for each step.
Karen Armstong's style might be categorized as interfaith or pluralistic. Armstrong argues that the world's enduring religious and philosophical traditions, although highly varied, are united in their function: they all have a positive and maturing effect on our hearts and minds. They expand our wisdom and compassion, and they devastate our self-absorption and impulsive-destructive tendencies. I find this way of understanding the world's faiths and philosophical traditions both helpful and inspiring. Rather than focusing on one or two traditions as some authors do, Armstrong gives examples from a variety of traditions to open our hearts to the suffering of others. In this way, the reader does not feel impelled to rush around looking for the most effective religious practice or philosophical orientation. The reader is encourged to deepen her or his own religious or philosophical practice, and emboldened to learn about the traditions and practices of others.
J Jennifer Matthews,
author of "Radically Condensed Instructions for Being Just as You Are"
Although there is a lot of religious history, the history provides examples of how compassion helps us understand others and their fears so we can listen with an open mind, without insisting only our way is right. Sometimes you feel Armstrong is speaking directly to you the way she expounds on every obstacle to the way we can view our enemies, or those we just don't like. Thee steps are practical and easy to follow. I have become calmer in discussions of issues I feel passionate about now that I can recognize how being too assertive backfires.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed this book very much