Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life is Karen Armstrong’s latest book and it has been on the bestseller lists for many weeks.
This book began as a movement to develop, launch and promote a Charter for Compassion which would be written by leading thinkers from a variety of different faiths with the aim of restoring compassion to the heart of religious and moral life. The title immediately brings to mind the twelve steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Armstrong quotes the Dalai Lama who said that “whether a person is a religious believer does not matter much. Far more important is that they be a good human being.” Beginning with the first step, Learn about Compassion, and ending with the last step, Love Your Enemies, Armstrong offers practical suggestions on how to implement these steps in one’s daily life. As one moves through the steps, Armstrong hopes to expand the capacity for compassion in the readers for themselves and for others. Whether the reader is religious or non-religious, this book has something to offer.

This book is well-written and includes many personal and other anecdotes which illustrate her ideas. Elaine in our Winkler branch says that for those who enjoy Karen Armstrong’s writing, this is a must read.

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