The Book of Joy Book Summary - The Book of Joy Book explained in key points
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The Book of Joy summary

Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

4.6 (338 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu is a journey to attain Joy. It draws upon their experiences and insights to offer practical advice and guidance about how we can cultivate Joy in our own lives.

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    The Book of Joy
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 9

    Suffering is a core aspect of both life and happiness.

    From the morning traffic jam to the bills that never stop piling up, suffering is a constant in human life. But despite its obvious drawbacks, suffering is essential to enjoying the positive moments in life, and is even a vital part of life itself. In fact, pain and suffering can actually be fruitful and constructive.

    For instance, every mother knows how painful giving birth can be. Nonetheless, they accept the pain as necessary because of the tremendous joy that a new child brings. If women avoided the discomfort of childbirth, the human race would be done for!

    Or take Nelson Mandela. He suffered tremendously during his 27 years in prison. He was made to sleep on the floor, and his every moment was occupied with mindless manual labor, like breaking rocks.

    While one might assume that, after such an experience, Mandela would be as broken as the rocks he smashed to bits, his suffering actually helped him cultivate kindness and empathy for his political adversaries. This compassion later played an integral role in Mandela’s becoming the first president of a free South Africa.

    So, suffering is important, but only if experienced in a particular way, one that requires shifting your perspective away from yourself and toward others. After all, as the Buddhist mind-training practice lojong teaches, obsessing over yourself and whether you’re good or bad will inevitably lead to sadness.

    Just consider an experience that the Dalai Lama had after being asked to share his Buddhist teachings at Bodh Gaya, the holiest Buddhist site in the world.

    Before arriving at the site, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach. It appeared serious and he had to be taken to hospital immediately – but the nearest one was two hours away.

    On his way there, he saw a sick, old man, sitting alone on the street, clearly nearing death. The author shifted his attention to this other person, felt the man’s agony and, at least for a moment, forgot his own pain.

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    What is The Book of Joy about?

    The Book of Joy (2016) is an insightful guide to living a life free of sadness, stress and suffering. These blinks are full of actionable ways to cultivate joy for yourself and others while overcoming the obstacles that so often prevent people from finding happiness on earth.

    The Book of Joy Review

    The Book of Joy (2016) is a remarkable collaboration between two iconic spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, as they share their wisdom on finding joy in the face of adversity. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers insightful perspectives from two renowned figures, providing a unique blend of Eastern and Western wisdom.
    • With touching personal stories and engaging conversations, the book offers tangible strategies for cultivating joy and happiness in our lives.
    • By exploring the universal outlook of joy, the book transcends cultural boundaries, making it relatable and inspiring for readers from all backgrounds.

    Best quote from The Book of Joy

    Wherever you have friends, thats your country, and wherever you receive love, thats your home.

    —Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
    example alt text

    Who should read The Book of Joy?

    • People who are feeling down on life
    • Those who struggle to cultivate meaningful relationships
    • Anyone interested in Buddhist teachings

    About the Author

    His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. His teachings advocate compassion and Buddhism, and he’s written several books about them.

    Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and civil-rights activist for racial reconciliation, was a South African archbishop. A famous opponent of apartheid in South Africa, he wrote a number of books, including The Book of Forgiving.

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    The Book of Joy FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Book of Joy?

    The main message of The Book of Joy is finding lasting happiness and joy through compassion and gratitude.

    How long does it take to read The Book of Joy?

    The reading time for The Book of Joy varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Book of Joy a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Book of Joy is a remarkable book that offers insights and wisdom through the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu's deep conversations. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Book of Joy?

    The authors of The Book of Joy are the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

    What to read after The Book of Joy?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Book of Joy, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Buddhism – Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen
    • The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
    • The Four Noble Truths of Love by Susan Piver
    • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    • The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
    • Mind Magic by James R. Doty
    • You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
    • The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • Life Leverage by Rob Moore
    • No Self, No Problem by Chris Niebauer