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Extended Audio Sample Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (832 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Karen Armstrong Narrator: Karen Armstrong Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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One of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—author of such acclaimed books as A History of God, Islam, and Buddha—now gives us an impassioned and practical book that can help us make the world a more compassionate place.

Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Here, in this straightforward, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book, she sets out a program that can lead us toward a more compassionate life.

The twelve steps Armstrong suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up “compassion for yourself,” mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She suggests concrete ways of enhancing our compassion and putting it into action in our everyday lives, and provides, as well, a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives.” Throughout, Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Karen Armstrong is a genius. A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life
     
  • Armstrong can simplify complex ideas, but she is never simplistic. The New York Times Book Review
     
  • Armstrong is a masterful writer. Publishers Weekly
     
  • Armstrong has the gift of being able to compress a lot of information into a small space without losing focus or clarity. Edmonton Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Charlie Byers | 2/16/2014

    " This book builds on Karen Armstrong's other works that emphasize the importance of compassion to moral and religious life, by discussing specific strategies for exercising compassion in our daily lives. I thought it was very well done, but not quite as inspirational as her other works. I don't know if the '12 Steps' structure adds much to the book, either. So, not my favorite of hers, but it's still a very wise and eloquent discussion of a crucial idea. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katherine | 2/16/2014

    " This is the first book I have read by Karen Armstrong but will not be the last. I read it for Scripps Book Club and am looking forward to the discussion tonight. Armstrong writes clearly and concisely about matters spiritual. While I won't be going through the whole 12-step program she outlines I got a lot out of this book especially the realization that it is much for me to be compassionate about things that are not close to me where it is harder to be compassionate about family. Hopefully this realization will change how I act. She points out that compassion is at the base of all religions although they have strayed a long way from it. Dogmatism comes from fear. She asks the provocative question - what would have happened if we had reacted to 9/11 differently - with compassion rather than arms? Never would have happened but interesting to think about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Paroma | 2/3/2014

    " The self-help vibe of the title nearly scared me off, but it's an interesting read. Excellent review of historical perspectives and the consistency of the golden rule in many religions. Strangely I didn't like the biological references throughout, it's more suited as part of the intro. Worth rereading periodically through life, many concrete methods on living a kinder life (a many reminders of how far I have to go!) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Libby | 1/20/2014

    " This is a great book that could be used for a study to teach about compassion as well as religious tolerance. "

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