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

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“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 “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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“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 “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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Showalter

    Perhaps, like me, you've listened to On Being on your local NPR station or by podcast for years. Perhaps you listen not only to the gracefully edited version of the program but also to the messier, more intimate, unedited versions. If so, you will love this book. Perhaps you've never heard of the author or her program but, like Solomon of old, you yearn to be wise. You too will find this book a refreshing stream in the desert. Krista Tippett knows the power of a good first sentence. She has Perhaps, like me, you've listened to On Being on your local NPR station or by podcast for years. Perhaps you listen not only to the gracefully edited version of the program but also to the messier, more intimate, unedited versions. If so, you will love this book. Perhaps you've never heard of the author or her program but, like Solomon of old, you yearn to be wise. You too will find this book a refreshing stream in the desert. Krista Tippett knows the power of a good first sentence. She has commented on how arrested she was by John O'Donohue's "It's strange to be here." Or Reinhold Niebuhr's "Man is his own most vexing problem." Her own first sentence reads, "I'm a person who listens for a living." She begins with "I," not with a more distant journalistic third person voice. The felicitous phrase "listens for a living" refers to far more than her job. It announces that she has a calling, one that involves living itself), and that she is seeking "voices not shouting to be heard." The search for wisdom can't be separated from the search for self-awareness. The subject and the seeker are one in this case. Like both of Tippett's other books, this one is an example of what Michelle Herman calls "stealth memoir." (http://www.riverteethjournal.com/blog...) It is "An Inquiry" as the subtitle states into "Mystery and the Art of Living." It is also an inquiry into a process of understanding ideas in relationship to human beings who explore them and, at their best, embody them. The gerund "Becoming" (like "Being" in the title of the radio program) can't be separated from Krista Tippett herself. Pursuing wisdom in public over the course of the last twelve years could be an overwhelming and confusing experience. After interviewing hundreds of people, reading not only their books but digesting other interviews and videos in preparation for conversation, the author might be forgiven if she never stepped back long enough to look at the whole. How does she make sense of all of it? By choosing five themes: words, flesh, love, faith, and hope. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Bible will hear echoes of the prologue to the Gospel of John ("The Word became flesh. . .") and the famous "love chapter" I Corinthians 13. However, since these chapters are containers for people of many faiths and of no faith, these words describe no narrow orthodoxy but expand capaciously to fit all of the above. Each chapter includes large sections of interviews excerpted from the online transcripts of On Being interviews. Again, this could feel cumbersome or repetitive to readers. What prevents that from happening, however, is the personal story of the author doing with her readers what she asks her subjects to do in radio interviews: reflect on how they themselves make meaning, starting with the very first question, “what was the spiritual or religious background of your childhood?” I’m a lover of the memoir genre quite aware of the accusations critics have made against it, narcissism leading the way. For that reason, I love “stealth” memoir, the kind that doesn’t announce itself and is quiet. The kind that includes both the author and the reader but provides what Parker Palmer would call a “third thing,” a subject much greater than either, a subject big enough to inspire the kind of humility, curiosity, and resilience that leads to wisdom. The memoir sections inside this book illustrate one of the most profound truths about wisdom: it can’t be grasped. It’s never once and done. It can’t be extracted or abstracted indefinitely. Like the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter and father and daughter, it keeps moving, changing, and growing. And it ends with hope.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Westley Dangles

    I am a huge fan of her podcast but I could only finish half this book and here's why: Tippett writes excellent sentences and paragraphs but, cohesively, this was not an excellent book. It's like when you ramble on through a bottle of wine on a Friday night with an incredibly eloquent friend and she just keeps showing you all these YouTube videos (except here it's poems) and you're like ugh Krista let's just have a straightforward discussion. Or maybe you enjoy that kind of stuff--in that case I am a huge fan of her podcast but I could only finish half this book and here's why: Tippett writes excellent sentences and paragraphs but, cohesively, this was not an excellent book. It's like when you ramble on through a bottle of wine on a Friday night with an incredibly eloquent friend and she just keeps showing you all these YouTube videos (except here it's poems) and you're like ugh Krista let's just have a straightforward discussion. Or maybe you enjoy that kind of stuff--in that case you'd give this 5 stars. So maybe I just needed a bottle of wine.

  3. 5 out of 5

    KA

    I almost regretted buying this when I read the acknowledgements and saw that Tippett is BFFs with Serene Jones (the current and disastrous president of my old seminary). I'm glad I ignored my misgivings--this is perhaps the best book I've read in the last year, maybe longer. Tippett draws on interviews with people of all faiths and none--mystics, activists, scientists, writers, teachers--and finds in them convergent messages about how to live well in an imperfect world. The book got better and I almost regretted buying this when I read the acknowledgements and saw that Tippett is BFFs with Serene Jones (the current and disastrous president of my old seminary). I'm glad I ignored my misgivings--this is perhaps the best book I've read in the last year, maybe longer. Tippett draws on interviews with people of all faiths and none--mystics, activists, scientists, writers, teachers--and finds in them convergent messages about how to live well in an imperfect world. The book got better and better, with the last chapter (on hope) being so beautiful and pertinent I wanted to read the whole thing out loud to my spouse. This is a book on spirituality I think anyone open-minded could love, whether theist, animist, atheist, or other.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Ridgway

    This review originally ran on Everyday eBook After the first season of the podcast "Serial" ended, my social media feeds were filled with pleas for new, amazing programs to listen to; one of the most suggested was On Being, hosted by Krista Tippett. Tippett's podcast is a series of conversations (usually between Tippett and one guest) that explore what it means to be human. Guests include theologians from a variety of faiths, scientists of varied disciplines, authors, philosophers, poets, and This review originally ran on Everyday eBook After the first season of the podcast "Serial" ended, my social media feeds were filled with pleas for new, amazing programs to listen to; one of the most suggested was On Being, hosted by Krista Tippett. Tippett's podcast is a series of conversations (usually between Tippett and one guest) that explore what it means to be human. Guests include theologians from a variety of faiths, scientists of varied disciplines, authors, philosophers, poets, and activists. In her new book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry Into the Mystery and Art of Living, Tippett distills some of what she has learned through her own life and through her numerous interviews and interactions into a guide on living. Tippett's previous book, Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit, was a New York Times bestseller; in it, Tippett collected edited transcripts of conversations that were about science and religion. Becoming Wise, while including many snippets of her conversations, follows more of a narrative arc and captures Tippett's voice, including her own life experiences and learning curve. From her childhood in Oklahoma to her experiences as a journalist in the divided Berlin to her experiences as parent, she gives her audience insight into how her own views have evolved and changed. Becoming Wise is structured around five themes expressed with deceptively simple words: Words, Flesh, Love, Faith, and Hope. Accompanying each theme is a great exploration of how it affects us, how we can use it more effectively, how it fits into our greater civilization. This is not about wisdom as we learn in school: facts and reason. This is the wisdom of living in the world, living a good life, being present -- both physically and mentally. At one point, when addressing the question of what the commonality is among the wisest people she has met, she says, "an embodied capacity to hold power and tenderness in a surprising, creative interplay ... it is an experience of physical presence as much as consciousness and spirit." The conversations in Becoming Wise are a wonderful antidote to our current political climate. Filled with potential and acceptance, Tippett encourages civilized, respectful debate, kindness, and forgiveness. When presenting her with the National Medal of Honor, President Obama praised her for "thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence." Becoming Wise is indeed a thoughtful dive into the mysteries while also pulling together the amazement of what we can be and what we can do.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Finally. . . I finished this book! Though to be truthful, I scanned parts of it. A class at church has been studying it, and it is not meant to be a study book. We have had some good discussions, due mostly to the creativity of different facilitators. The book is loaded with gems, but the formatting made it difficult for me to read. It has only five chapters, which are sooooo long. My advice: listen to Krista Tippett's podcasts. They are more digestible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    It has taken me a while to read this book because I only ever wanted to take it in a bit at a time, and then sit with the lessons Tippett, host of the NPR show On Being, offers up, and savor them. Which means that, having now read through to the last page, I feel I wouldn't be remiss to go back to page one and start over: there is so much quiet, profound wisdom in this book. It is composed of six chapters: Introduction: The Age of Us; Words: The Poetry of Creatures; Flesh: the Body's Grace; Love: It has taken me a while to read this book because I only ever wanted to take it in a bit at a time, and then sit with the lessons Tippett, host of the NPR show On Being, offers up, and savor them. Which means that, having now read through to the last page, I feel I wouldn't be remiss to go back to page one and start over: there is so much quiet, profound wisdom in this book. It is composed of six chapters: Introduction: The Age of Us; Words: The Poetry of Creatures; Flesh: the Body's Grace; Love: A Few Things I've Learned; Faith: Evolution; and Hope: Reimagined. It seemed particularly appropriate to finish this morning on hope, given yesterday's tragedy in Orlando. There is so much ignorance and hatred in this world, and yet it is important, imperative, not to succumb, but instead to nurture gratitude and hope and remain active, to fight against the bigotry and arrogance. Tippett, over the years, has spoken with hundreds of wise men and women. In this book, she turns to those conversations and reproduces some of the pithiest exchanges. Her quest feels very personal: she is trying to make sense (and heart) of it all for herself. But her quest also feels universal—because don't we all want to make sense of this crazy thing called life? The questions she asks, the thoughts she pursues, are questions and thoughts I might have if I paid these matters more attention. I thank her for doing it for me. My copy of the book is bristling with flags. For this report, I think I will just quote some of the lines and passages that struck me. "What does it mean to be human? What matters in a life? What matters in a death? How to be of service to each other and the world? These questions are being reborn, reframed, in our age of interdependence with far-flung strangers. The question of what it means to be human is now inextricable from the question of who we are to each other. We have riches of knowledge and insight, of tools both tangible and spiritual, to rise to this calling. We watch our technologies becoming more intelligent, and speculate imaginatively about their potential to become conscious. All the while, we have it in us to become wise. Wisdom leavens intelligences, and ennobles consciousness, and advances evolution itself." She speaks of the inquiry into the nature of "soul" or "spirit" as leading "organically, along straight or meandering paths, into the roots of the curiosity that becomes, in adulthood, passion and vocation." In one conversation, she discusses "generous listening," which itself is "powered by curiosity. . . . It involves a kind of vulnerability—a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity." Generous listening, she says, yields better questions—because, contrary to what we learn in school, there is such a thing as a bad question. "It's hard to meet a simplistic question with anything but a simplistic answer. It's hard to transcend a combative question. But it's hard to resist a generous question. We all have it in us to formulate questions that invite honesty, dignity, and revelation. There is something redemptive and life-giving about asking a better question." Surely, Tippett herself epitomizes generous listening. When she needs to "hold" a question, turn it over in her mind, dwell on it, she's not afraid to do so. "The crack in the middle where people on both sides absolutely refuse to see the other as evil—this is where I want to live and what I want to widen." "We are matter, kindred with ocean and tree and sky. We are flesh and blood and bone. To sink into that is a relief, a homecoming. Mind and spirit are as physical as they are mental. The line we'd drawn between them was whimsy, borne of the limits of our understanding. Emotions and memories, from despair to gladness, root in our bodies. . . . Our bodies are longing and joy and fear and a lifelong desire to be safe and loved, incarnate." "If we are stretching to live wiser and not just smarter, we will aspire to learn what love means, how it arises and deepens, how it withers and revives, what it looks like as a private good but also a common good. I long to make this word echo differently in hearts and ears—not less complicated, but differently so. Love as muscular, resilient. Love as social—not just about how we are intimately, but how we are together, in public. I want to aspire to a carnal practical love—eros become civic, not sexual and yet passionate, full-bodied. Because it is the best of which we are capable, loving is also supremely exacting, not always but again and again. Love is something we only master in moments. It crosses the chasms between us, and likewise brings them into relief. It is as captive to the human condition as anything we attempt." Oh, and there's so much more: about compassion, about allowing our hearts to be educated in relationship with others, about paradise being right in front of us, about mystery (which "lands in us as a humbling fullness of reality we cannot sum up or pin down"), about befriending reality in all its beauty and pain, about hope and truth. She ends: "We are so achingly frail and powerful all at once, in this adolescence of our species. But I have seen that wisdom emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and buoyancy, mine and yours. . . . The mystery and art of living are as grand as the sweep of a lifetime and the lifetime of a species. And they are as close as beginning, quietly, to mine whatever grace and beauty, whatever healing and attentiveness, are possible in this moment and the next and the next one after that."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    too many adjectives! such odd phrasing! how does one interpret '...some of the margins that are in fact the heart beat of society'? ; perhaps it is my current state of mind (too much at work, too much writing on my part), but I gave up on this book after the first section. It was simply too much work for not a lot of gain. Tippett has an interesting background and has interviewed many people who have things of interest to say, but the narrative pulling the pieces together was too heavily too many adjectives! such odd phrasing! how does one interpret '...some of the margins that are in fact the heart beat of society'? ; perhaps it is my current state of mind (too much at work, too much writing on my part), but I gave up on this book after the first section. It was simply too much work for not a lot of gain. Tippett has an interesting background and has interviewed many people who have things of interest to say, but the narrative pulling the pieces together was too heavily ornamented for comprehension. I was also uncertain of whether I agreed with the premise of the book 'What makes us human is our relationship with each other'. (an update of 'no man is an island'?) I stumbled over that one because those engaged in contemplative lives are in relationships with whom? I did get a small nugget in the form of a great quote 'Don't ask the mountain to move. Just take a pebble every time you visit' from John Paul Lederach (an expert in conflict resolution) Perhaps another time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    This book is exquisite. It reads like sacred text. I found the chapters on “Words”, “Love” and “Hope” particularly wondrous. Krista Tippett shares so generously and thoughtfully insights and wisdom gained from conversation partners over a period of 12 years. This is a book I want to carry with me wherever I go and meditate on its wisdom daily.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    Three years ago I read 30% of this book and felt I was not grasping it. This time I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author. There are many clips of interviews she did with wise people. This time I did understand and enjoyed the book immensely. It seems like such a wonderful resource of so much good thinking. I bought the ebook after listening to the audio, because there is so much that I want to follow up on. This book encouraged me to keep being the best me that I can be. So many wise Three years ago I read 30% of this book and felt I was not grasping it. This time I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author. There are many clips of interviews she did with wise people. This time I did understand and enjoyed the book immensely. It seems like such a wonderful resource of so much good thinking. I bought the ebook after listening to the audio, because there is so much that I want to follow up on. This book encouraged me to keep being the best me that I can be. So many wise people are saying that we need to keep hope alive. Doing the small part that we have before us especially in kindness is more important than we realize. That is just one aspect of the wisdom in this book, but it is what impressed me the most. I'm eager to read in print and look more into some of these people. I enjoy Krista Tippett's OnBeing podcast and fantastic website.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    A beautiful collection of some of her most poignant interviews over the years, woven together with her own wisdom. A rare book that I believe would be better in audio (as you hear the actual interviews rather than read the transcript). Update: Re-reading in print was wonderful, since I could underline passage after passage. If I had to choose one way, I would probably go with print, because there is so much of beauty to note here. :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Non-spiritual person that I am, I have always loved Krista Tippett's gentle, thoughtful tone and positive, respectful, interdisciplinary approach. Audio, of course.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Yoon

    Krista Tippett is the host of the podcast On Being and as such has the chance to interview hundreds of physicists, spiritual leaders, thinkers, activists and more on how they grapple with meaning in the world. In Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, she narrows her focus on words, flesh, love, faith and hope and dips in and out of a wellspring of past interviews. She’s a practiced interviewer playing host to some incredibly smart folks. The language is dense and Krista Tippett is the host of the podcast On Being and as such has the chance to interview hundreds of physicists, spiritual leaders, thinkers, activists and more on how they grapple with meaning in the world. In Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, she narrows her focus on words, flesh, love, faith and hope and dips in and out of a wellspring of past interviews. She’s a practiced interviewer playing host to some incredibly smart folks. The language is dense and prescriptive and is made for thoughtful contemplation not the aggressive consumption of my usual fare. You simply can’t chug through Rilke like you’re reading Rowling. I found myself tripping over the flowery optimism of the language. Still, I appreciate the exploration of ideas like how love demands effort and we should fight against its cheapening by appending it to Fridays, ice cream and “these shoes!” How faith is just as important to the atheist, and that science and religion need not be mutually exclusive. It’s just that when epiphanies are had on every page they tend to overlap and congeal diminishing their impact for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Kiernan

    Love her show on NPR, but this book did not have a comparable narrative drive or strong sense of organizing thought. Some lovely quotes from her interviews make this a good book to scan for the jewels. I stopped on page 81.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    If you listen to on being, there won’t be much in here that is new, but it’s still nice to listen to the bits of wisdom all in one place

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Bashaar

    I loved some things about this book and hated others. What I disliked about it was that it was very disorganized. The author loosely organized her thoughts into chapters (Words, Flesh, Love, Faith, Hope), but within the chapters, the material was very random and hard to follow. Too many disorganized ideas all piled together in no discernable order or pattern. Now for what I loved about it: so many interesting and thought-provoking ideas, on the general topic of the meaning of our human life! I I loved some things about this book and hated others. What I disliked about it was that it was very disorganized. The author loosely organized her thoughts into chapters (Words, Flesh, Love, Faith, Hope), but within the chapters, the material was very random and hard to follow. Too many disorganized ideas all piled together in no discernable order or pattern. Now for what I loved about it: so many interesting and thought-provoking ideas, on the general topic of the meaning of our human life! I especially enjoyed the chapter on Love, which was the least-disorganized chapter, too, and really focused in on the "beloved community" aspect of the Civil Rights movement. I took many notes and copied many quotes from this book (which was borrowed from the library) and will be thinking about it for a long time. Like my reviews? Check out my blog at http://www.kathrynbashaar.com/blog/

  16. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Challenging and thought provoking, Krista Tippett weaves together portions of interviews/talks with scientists, theologians, activists, and people passionate about life with her own musings. Liked the audiobook so well I'm purchasing the book. I think that I'll gain being able to underline important ideas and take notes better with a print copy, but I'll miss out on hearing the voices of her guests. Brene Brown's hesitation in answering Kirsta's question about what was on her list of negative Challenging and thought provoking, Krista Tippett weaves together portions of interviews/talks with scientists, theologians, activists, and people passionate about life with her own musings. Liked the audiobook so well I'm purchasing the book. I think that I'll gain being able to underline important ideas and take notes better with a print copy, but I'll miss out on hearing the voices of her guests. Brene Brown's hesitation in answering Kirsta's question about what was on her list of negative traits and then her answer was a perfect example of being vulnerable. Not sure that impact will come through in a print edition. Perfect book for anyone who wants to live a better life, to have hope for humanity. Highly recommended!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Tumenbatur

    As a big fan of her podcast On being" ,this book was a great review of most of her guests on the show and of course a great insight in authour's approach to life & diversity and her profession as journalist. One of my favourite quotes( and they are so many!) is about humility. "Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone else with readiness to see goodness and to be surprised." This is indeed a personal life goal As a big fan of her podcast On being" ,this book was a great review of most of her guests on the show and of course a great insight in authour's approach to life & diversity and her profession as journalist. One of my favourite quotes( and they are so many!) is about humility. "Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone else with readiness to see goodness and to be surprised." This is indeed a personal life goal for myself too and it can create so much focus and clarity.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    How many books have I read in my life? Thousands? And "Becoming Wise" is up there as one of the best. Tippett writes: "Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone with a readiness to see goodness and be surprised. This is the humility of a child, which Jesus lauded. It is the humility of the scientist and the mystic. It has a lightness of step, not a heaviness of heart." And that is what this book feels like. Read it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    The excerpts from interviews were interesting, but most of the book is her commentary stringing them together.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I love the On Being radio show; I sometimes listen to missed shows via podcast. I thought this book would distill what the author learned from her hundreds of interviews. Maybe it did, but I found it hard to keep reading. There were gems inside, but, as a whole, the writing felt scattered. Favorite parts were learning about the author's Baptist background, her time in Berlin, and her mention of and thanks to the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. This book was chosen for my congregation to read I love the On Being radio show; I sometimes listen to missed shows via podcast. I thought this book would distill what the author learned from her hundreds of interviews. Maybe it did, but I found it hard to keep reading. There were gems inside, but, as a whole, the writing felt scattered. Favorite parts were learning about the author's Baptist background, her time in Berlin, and her mention of and thanks to the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. This book was chosen for my congregation to read together; I look forward to our conversations about it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Burke

    A lovely, thoughtful book by a lovely, thoughtful person. And firmly in the “some books are better as audiobooks” camp.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Debbi

    This is a wonderful audio book! Listening to the voices of those interviewed by Krista Tippett is a real gift. Although not every person resonated with me I found so much to love and think about in this book. I may buy a paper copy to reference and use as a guide to further reading.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    The book's title is misleading. This is rarely about wisdom and the art of living, instead more often about mystery, spirituality, christian religion, and interviews with spiritual personalities. The chapter on faith is the largest. The parts about wisdom are more about attitudes (hope, agape-love, faith), not active arts of living. I guess if you're christian or very spiritual, you'll enjoy that. Tippett's writing, while often inspired, is often flowery and imprecise. It sounds like what a The book's title is misleading. This is rarely about wisdom and the art of living, instead more often about mystery, spirituality, christian religion, and interviews with spiritual personalities. The chapter on faith is the largest. The parts about wisdom are more about attitudes (hope, agape-love, faith), not active arts of living. I guess if you're christian or very spiritual, you'll enjoy that. Tippett's writing, while often inspired, is often flowery and imprecise. It sounds like what a somewhat hippie leader of a spiritual self-help group might say. Take this sentence for example: "The apprehension of beauty, at the life-giving seam between what is sensory and spiritual, is a virtue that clarifies." Apprehension is a sloppy word choice. How is it a virtue, how can this seam give life, and how or what does this virtue clarify? Her writing paints a pretty picture instead of precisely arguing concrete ideas. Susan Sontag gave good advice: Love words, agonize over sentences. Sloppy is also the simple road Tippett has taken of just printing whole extracts of interviews, instead of writing her own text for the most part, maybe with short quotes. Of course editing a set of interviews into a book is fine, but one would hope for a bit more added value, unless the interviews themselves are monumental and need all the space. The saving grace of this book for me are the wise words of the many many interesting personalities at the forefront of their organizations contained in these interviews. But you can also listen to them online, so the value of this book must be in Tippett's writing or editing. And there are also quite a few typos and grammar issues. There actually are quite a few wise words and interesting ideas also from Tippett herself here, but compared to Schopenhauer's wisdom of life, Susan Sontag's journals, or de Botton's How Proust can change your Life, this was quite disappointing. I'm sorry to be so harsh, Tippet seems like a wonderful person and these interviews done with love, it just didn't make for what i'm looking for in a book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    *4.5 stars* Poignant and thought-provoking. I've been cranky lately but even my state of mind didn't diminish the insights from many of these interviews and excerpts. I especially appreciated the recurrent emphasis on kindness respecting those who have different beliefs; not always agreeing but refusing to see those folks as being only what we disagree with them about; and the mention of showing respect for others by refusing to dress poorly in public. Very recommended. *What if we actually were *4.5 stars* Poignant and thought-provoking. I've been cranky lately but even my state of mind didn't diminish the insights from many of these interviews and excerpts. I especially appreciated the recurrent emphasis on kindness respecting those who have different beliefs; not always agreeing but refusing to see those folks as being only what we disagree with them about; and the mention of showing respect for others by refusing to dress poorly in public. Very recommended. *What if we actually were content with our lives? What if we actually knew this was paradise? It would be very hard to control us.* *Spirituality doesn't look like sitting down and meditating. Spirituality looks like folding the towels in a sweet way and talking kindly to the people in the family even though you've had a long day.*

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarahjae

    I could have finished this book days ago. I wanted to devour it. But I also wanted to sit with it, to put it down every few sentences and let the words sink in. And I could blandly say something like, Krista Tippett is everything. But it's not just her, she brings in the words of various interviews over the years and you are humbled by her ability to listen and do justice to those conversations. She weaves the stories of her interviewees in with the themes of breath, body, love and hope. It's a I could have finished this book days ago. I wanted to devour it. But I also wanted to sit with it, to put it down every few sentences and let the words sink in. And I could blandly say something like, Krista Tippett is everything. But it's not just her, she brings in the words of various interviews over the years and you are humbled by her ability to listen and do justice to those conversations. She weaves the stories of her interviewees in with the themes of breath, body, love and hope. It's a meditation. There are no words I could provide that would do this experience justice. I don't even know if I've truly caught every word. So at this moment, I'm going to flip to the first page and start again.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nada

    Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett, award winning creator of the podcast On Being, is a distillation of her conversations centered on five facets of life – words, flesh, love, faith, and hope. I find my reason for recommending it within the book itself. "Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living." Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016... Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett, award winning creator of the podcast On Being, is a distillation of her conversations centered on five facets of life – words, flesh, love, faith, and hope. I find my reason for recommending it within the book itself. "Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living." Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016... Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley received through NetGalley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Johannes

    I have listened to Krista Tippett's show "On Being" on NPR for years, and I was thrilled to read her book. It contains highlights of some of her most interesting interviews. I love that such an intelligent writer can dismiss Descartes and so much of the Enlightenment with ease, grace, and reason based on her thoughtful reflection of what it means to be mysteriously human.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    As an athiest with a religious upbringing, I picked up this book with trepidation, not wanting organized religion to be presented in rose colored glasses. Tippett beautifully navigates this minefield, in only the way that someone with her experience and thoughtfulness could. I really enjoyed the book, and know that I'll be referencing and referring people to it for years to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    4.5 - I love the collective wisdom and thinking in this book . I read it very slowly and will likely read it again. It's not a smooth-reading book - but it's the ideas and thoughts that made me love it so much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    A gorgeous, graceful antidote of deeply-dug hope.

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