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Download Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life Audiobook

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: December 2010 ISBN: 9780307881755
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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

  • Armstrong has the gift of being able to compress a lot of information into a small space without losing focus or clarity. Edmonton Journal
  • 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
     

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill Ashcraft | 1/18/2014

    " Great --- you can almost feel her soul in her writing, and the steps are practical ways to become better; to become more understanding and more compassionate. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marion | 1/17/2014

    " Outstanding book on the need for everyone to develop compassion as a way of life. Excellent history of various religion's interpretation of compassion in a faithful life. Practical steps included for personal or group study. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaitlyn Jongkind | 1/11/2014

    " Good reminder of the importance of the practice of compassion. It takes intention to love oursleves and others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colleen | 1/5/2014

    " Written by a religion historion this is educational as well as instructive. Most excellent! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 12/31/2013

    " awesome, need to continue to think about it "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 12/5/2013

    " One of the most meaningful books I've read in a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katharine | 12/2/2013

    " Buy it. Read it. Live it. If we all did, just think what the world might be like. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Devon | 10/12/2013

    " A good insight into the role of compassion as found in all mainstream religions. This is actually a fairly short read - I just happened to be extremely busy and ended up resorting to listening to the audiobook during my short commute to and from work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue Hedin | 9/15/2013

    " Karen Armstrong can do no wrong. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mom - Joanne | 8/9/2013

    " Reading can be challenge because the mixture of history and philosophy spices are complicated. Understanding this gives way to compassion. Keep working to achieve the book's goal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George Strout | 8/7/2013

    " I expect this book to influence my outlook for the rest of my life! If we could all be more compassionate, we would live happier, safer lives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will Holcomb | 4/10/2013

    " I bought the audio book of this to listen to on my commute. It was a brilliant piece of work. I like her concept of moving from using our reptilian brain to our modern brain. Most of the political. religious and social behaviors are still driven from our most primitive brain. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lia | 12/26/2012

    " I'm finding this book a little too cut and dry for my taste. I really WANT to like it, though... Maybe it's just not time for me to read it yet! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 8/5/2012

    " This is a lot more accessible and "how to" than Armstrong's other books. "History of God" was a bit dense for me, and this was just the right combination of practicality and religious history for me. It's a good read/listen and a lot to think about... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Talani | 4/28/2012

    " This one was really interesting too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 3/12/2012

    " Thought provoking, original, and heart opening. This was a deep look at the interconnected web of compassion that shines like a light through the teachings of great religious texts and philosophies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Selkirk | 1/28/2012

    " Call no. BL 624 A74 2010 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 9/7/2011

    " I think Karen Armstrong is very interesting and that her Charter for Compassion is potentially a great tool. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 8/25/2011

    " Another audio book that I would have preferred to read from print. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ed | 5/23/2011

    " Ideas for how to live a more compassionate life drawn from mythology, philosophy, poetry, classical literature, and the world's major religions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 5/18/2011

    " More comprehensive than a how-to book, Karen Armstrong quotes the thinkers and philosophers of our and other times to show how her twelve spheres of moral influence can effect change and greater goodness in the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annemarieke | 3/26/2011

    " This makes for a great discussion topic. Karen Armstrong draws on her vast knowledge of the world's great religions to explain how each puts compassion above any other quality in the spiritual life.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 3/22/2011

    " Both emotionally and intellectually mature. Read the library's copy, but I had to have my own. Will read it again with a pen in hand. One of life's essential handbooks. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 3/15/2011

    " Excellent exercises for increasing compassion. I'll read this in paper too (listened to it this time). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dora | 3/6/2011

    " Though I applaud her for her desire to foster compassion and while I usually devour her non-fiction this little pamphlet like treaty on compassion fell a bit flat and resembled too many other works of self-help and enlightenment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 3/4/2011

    " One of the most meaningful books I've read in a long time. "

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