Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

by Krista Tippett

Hardcover, 2016




New York : Penguin Press, 2016.

Media reviews

In a thoughtful chronicle of spiritual discovery, Peabody Award–winning broadcaster Tippett (Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit, 2010, etc.), host of NPR’s On Being, draws on conversations with poets, scientists, theologians, and other seekers of truth. The author focuses on five concepts—words, flesh, love, faith, and hope—that she identifies as “raw materials” for the “superstar virtues” of “love, compassion [and] forgiveness.” Those virtues are undermined, she writes, by public discourse that “inclines toward despair,” fueled by journalism exposing only “what is inadequate, corrupt, catastrophic, and failing.” “Our world,” she counters, “is abundant with quiet, hidden lives of beauty and courage and goodness.” Tippett advocates “generous listening,” which she describes as “a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity” in order to generate salient questions that may elicit “honesty and eloquence.”

User reviews

LibraryThing member clifforddham
Heard on "Forum" on NPR. Author has a program on NPR, "On Being." Thoughtful.

Amazon: " “I’m a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard. This book chronicles some of what I’ve learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations.”

Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from an array of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett's compassionate yet searching conversation.

In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett and accompanied by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of teaching faculty.

The open questions and challenges of our time are intimate and civilizational all at once, Tippett says – definitions of when life begins and when death happens, of the meaning of community and family and identity, of our relationships to technology and through technology. The wisdom we seek emerges through the raw materials of the everyday. And the enduring question of what it means to be human has now become inextricable from the question of who we are to each other.

This book offers a grounded and fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century – of personal growth but also renewed public life and human spiritual evolution. It insists on the possibility of a common life for this century marked by resilience and redemption, with beauty as a core moral value and civility and love as muscular practice. Krista Tippett's great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.

One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett and her teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it better."
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LibraryThing member jack2410
Has many sources on which to base and illustrate her theses. Not a quick read; the reader must concentrate. The book provides hope and direction for being a constructive force in one's circle of influence, whether that be just your family or your community. I will be re-reading.



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