This next reading recommendation in our 8th annual Book Issue isn’t exactly new. But The Book of Joy — published two years ago and a favorite around the offices here — is worth reading again and again. A New York Times Best Seller, it documents the 2015 meeting between Nobel peace laureates the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu over a five-day period in India in which they discussed the topic of joy. Editor Douglas Carlton Abrams wonderfully captures the playfulness and liveliness of their personalities, making the book as engaging as it is inspiring, and includes sections that distill their teachings into handy how-to guides.
Abrams touches on the science of joy, too. Did you know, for instance, that researchers have found that people who frequently use first-person pronouns (I, me, mine) are at greatest risk of having heart attacks? “With too much self-focus your vision becomes narrow,” says the Dalai Lama, “and with this even a small problem appears out of proportion and unbearable.”
That’s just one of the many gems and life lessons to be found. Here, some of our other favorite quotes in The Book of Joy.
“If you are setting out to be joyful you are not going to end up being joyful. You’re going to find yourself turned in on yourself. It’s like a flower. You open, you blossom, really because of other people.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“For every event in life, there are many different angles. When you look at the same event from a wider perspective, your sense of worry and anxiety reduces, and you have greater joy.” — Dalai Lama
“To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Where the wrong action is concerned, it may be necessary to take appropriate counteraction to stop it. Toward the actor, or the person, however, you can choose not to develop anger and hatred. This is where the power of forgiveness lies — not losing sight of the humanity of the person while responding to the wrong with clarity and firmness.” — Dalai Lama
“You show your humanity by how you see yourself not as apart from others but from your connection to others.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“The only thing that will bring happiness is affection and warmheartedness. This really brings inner strength and self-confidence, reduces fear, develops trust, and trust brings friendship. We are social animals, and cooperation is necessary for our survival, but cooperation is entirely based on trust.” — Dalai Lama
“In the end you discover that an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu