Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
This deep and delightful book, published last year, became an immediate best-seller worldwide. The wisdom of these two great men in their eighties is surprisingly fresh and practical.
Douglas Abrams, who compiled the book, shows how modern research offers similar pointers for human happiness to the Buddhist and Christian teachings this book explores. This book offers a lot of useful insights from all three sources, illustrated by many vivid recollections from the dramatic lives these two men have led.
For example, the Dalai Lama says “a compassionate concern for others’ well-being is the source of happiness” and Archbishop Tutu speaks of the similar African concept of Ubuntu. The book then cites an American neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, who also affirms that generosity towards others is essential for lasting wellbeing.
Both men come across as warm, humble characters with huge compassion and wisdom, who never pontificate, and have a lot of useful insights to share. The Dalai Lama frequently emphasises, “we are all same human beings,” and admits that he only gets stressed in his public life when he thinks he’s different.
Desmond Tutu describes how we can grow through hardship, using vivid examples from his own life and Nelson Mandela’s during the long struggle to end apartheid. He says “it is the hard times that knit us more closely together.”
A large part of the book addresses obstacles to joy, and another major section explores the Eight Pillars of Joy, such as humour, forgiveness and gratitude. The last part is Joy Practices: guided meditations and other methods to make all this a reality in daily life.
The Book of Joy fully deserves its best-seller status: it’s a charming manual for deeper wellbeing.
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