Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World

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9780316208239: Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World

"A careful, detailed, hard-nosed assessment of what is needed both for individual happiness and for the welfare of the planet.... This book is so rich, so diverse...that it is best kept as an inspiring resource to be consulted over many years." Wall Street Journal Matthieu Ricard, author of the international bestseller Happiness, makes the passionate case for altruism-genuine concern for the well-being of others. Presenting a vision based on decades of firsthand experience and scientific studies, Matthieu Ricard illuminates how altruism can answer the main challenges of our time: economic inequality, life satisfaction, and environment sustainability. In this riveting book, he champions the cultivation of altruistic love as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our global society, and offers readers practical and inspiring ways to develop their potential for compassion. There's an altruism revolution underway, and it just may be the saving grace for the 21st century.

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About the Author :

Born in France, Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who left a career in cellular genetics to study Buddhism in the Himalayas over forty-five years ago. He is an internationally bestselling author whose previous books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Ricard is celebrated at the World Economic Forum at Davos and at TED, where more than seven million people have viewed his talks. He lives in Nepal and devotes much of his time to humanitarian projects in Tibet, India, and Nepal.

Review :

"Altruism is divided into short, cogent chapters, making it surprisingly accessible, despite its massive dimensions. Much of the book is derivative but nonetheless immensely useful, an encyclopedic synthesis of evidence and examples from current events, books, scientific papers and personal experiences.... The numerous individual stories [Ricard] recounts are inspiring and often downright gripping, such as the California man who fought off a lion to rescue a small child.... Altruism is a careful, detailed, hard-nosed assessment of what is needed both for individual happiness and for the welfare of the planet.... This book is so rich, so diverse and, yes, so long that it is best kept as an inspiring resource to be consulted over many years."―David Barash, Wall Street Journal

"Matthieu Ricard brings together ancient wisdom and scientific insights to put forth a truly compelling global vision for the 21st century, cutting through our endless distractions and asking, 'What is a good life?' At a time when we as individuals and as a society have largely abandoned that question, his voice, his message and his wisdom are greatly needed."―Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and author of Thrive

"Matthieu Ricard is an extraordinary human being, whose luminous presence and gentle voice have a surprising effect: they compel respect for his benign view of life and make routine cynicism impossible."―Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and author of Thinking Fast and Slow

"Altruism is just what is needed to bring hope to those depressed by the violence, war, selfishness and corruption that surround us today. Matthieu Ricard provides convincing evidence based on both careful research and personal experience that altruism is an integral part of our nature with the desire to help others not only present in small children, but also in many animals. Altruism addresses how these qualities can be cultivated and enhanced in the individual and how a more altruistic society is not only possible but essential if we care about the future. Matthieu, thank you for writing this book."―Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, founder of Roots and Shoots, and noted author

"[A] life-changing volume."―Cherilyn Parsons, San Francisco Chronicle

"Matthieu Ricard is a genius for our times, a rare combination of scientific brilliance with the heart of a saint."―Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

"Written with deep conviction and breathtaking scope, this is a must-book for anyone who wants to explore the human capacity for altruistic love and compassion, and the potential of this capacity to transform our lives. In conversation with Western philosophical and scientific perspectives, the book offers a Buddhist vision for extending altruism beyond its natural limits through carefully crafted meditation practices. The goal is, quite simply, to enable you and me, our society, and all sentient beings to experience less suffering and greater happiness. Could one desire more?"Daniel C. Batson, author of Altruism in Humans

"Who better to tell us about altruism than a Buddhist monk and scientist, who has meditated so extensively on compassion that it has changed the left side of his brain? In a lively and personal account, Matthieu Ricard takes us through the origins of empathy and altruism, explaining how biology laid the foundation, whereas culture and spirituality permit us to expand its reach."Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy

"This remarkable book is an extremely well-documented and elegantly argued plea for altruism, kindness, and compassion in order to address the primarily human-inflicted suffering and sorrow in this world. What is usually unknown or ignored is that altruism is a cultivatable skill, a way of being that can and needs to be chosen to optimize our well-being as both individuals and as a species. If you doubt that, just read this book. Even little snippets will blow your mind and inspire you, as Matthieu puts it, to change yourself and the world."―Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to Our Senses

"Ricard's book, full of good behavior on the part of humans-and other animals-is of a piece with Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature in suggesting that we don't have to be rotten. Inspirational in all the right ways..."―Kirkus

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