Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life: Book summary and reviews of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

By Karen Armstrong

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2010,
    240 pages.

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Book Summary

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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Media Reviews

"This counter to the religion-is-homicidal-and-superstitious school of invective passing for thought is well-informed, welcome, and practical." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Karen Armstrong Author Biography

Karen Armstrong, author, scholar, and journalist, is among the world's foremost commentators on religious history and culture. Her books include the bestselling A History of God and The Battle for God, as well as Buddha and Islam: A Short History.

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