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Extended Audio Sample Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett Click for printable size audiobook cover
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From the bestselling author and host of NPR’s On Being comes a master class in living drawn from the inspiring stories of extraordinary individuals who possess what she calls “spiritual genius.”

Over the fifteen years that Krista Tippett has hosted her award-winning and nationally beloved radio program on NPR, first under the title Speaking of Faith and then as On Being, the heart of her work has been to shine a light on the most extraordinary people at work on the big issues and questions of the day, people whose missions kindle in us a sense of wonder. Scientists in a variety of fields, theologians from a number of faiths, poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett’s compassionate but searching conversation.

In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from these luminous characters about the meaning of life in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind, that explores what it means to be human. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett but presided over by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of a teaching faculty. The art of living can mean many things to many different people. The questions most of us are asking ourselves today are intimate and civilizational all at once—definitions of when life begins and when death happens; the meaning of marriage and family; the human relationship to the natural world; our relationships to technology and through technology: how then shall we live? Tippett’s great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.

One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. Called enlightenment, called transcendence, often called nothing because it is beyond language, it is a state whose gifts can be described in many ways—nourishing, edifying, redemptive—as can its celebrants: courageous, tender, adventurous, curious. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett’s teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, some of the most powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it even better.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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, internationally bestselling author

  • “A thoughtful chronicle of spiritual discovery. A hopeful consideration of the human potential for enlightenment.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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