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Altruism
Cover of Altruism
Altruism
The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World
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The author of the international bestseller Happiness makes a passionate case for altruism—and why we need it now more than ever.
In Happiness, Matthieu Ricard demonstrated that true happiness is not tied to fleeting moments or sensations, but is an enduring state of soul rooted in mindfulness and compassion for others. Now he turns his lens from the personal to the global, with a rousing argument that altruism—genuine concern for the well-being of others—could be the saving grace of the 21st century. It is, he believes, the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Ricard's message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros.
Matthieu Ricard makes a robust and passionate case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our society. It's a fresh outlook on an ardent struggle—and one that just might make the world a better place.
The author of the international bestseller Happiness makes a passionate case for altruism—and why we need it now more than ever.
In Happiness, Matthieu Ricard demonstrated that true happiness is not tied to fleeting moments or sensations, but is an enduring state of soul rooted in mindfulness and compassion for others. Now he turns his lens from the personal to the global, with a rousing argument that altruism—genuine concern for the well-being of others—could be the saving grace of the 21st century. It is, he believes, the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Ricard's message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros.
Matthieu Ricard makes a robust and passionate case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our society. It's a fresh outlook on an ardent struggle—and one that just might make the world a better place.
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About the Author-
  • Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, an author, translator, and photographer. He has lived, studied, and worked in the Himalayan region for over forty years. The son of French philosopher Jean-François Revel and artist Yahne Le Toumelin, Matthieu was born in France in 1946 and grew up among the personalities and ideas of Paris' intellectual and artistic circles. He earned a Ph.D. degree in cell genetics at the renowned Institut Pasteur under the Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob.
    In 1967, he traveled to India to meet great spiritual masters from Tibet. After completing his doctoral thesis in 1972, he decided to concentrate on Buddhist studies and practice. Since then, he has lived in India, Bhutan, and Nepal and studied with some of the greatest teachers of that tradition. He is the author of several books including The Monk and the Philosopher, a dialogue with his father; The Quantum and the Lotus, a dialogue with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill; and Why Meditate? His books have been translated into over twenty languages.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2015
    An overlong but vigorous gloss on the Dalai Lama's famous remark, "My religion is kindness." Former geneticist and longtime Buddhist monk Ricard (Happiness, 2012, etc.) sets out to prove that true altruism exists, but he winds up exploring nearly the whole of human nature. His task is compounded by the Hobbesian mood of the age, when the individualistic mode is one of "irresponsible selfishness and rampant narcissism, to the detriment of the well-being of all." However, altruism means many things to many people. Ricard generally agrees with researchers who hold that it is the motivation and not the "intensity" involved that counts: for it to matter, in other words, altruism is less the instinctual sacrifice of throwing oneself atop a hand grenade in a foxhole than the self-negation that comes, in one of the author's examples, with abandoning a promising white-collar career in order to dig wells for impoverished villagers. One great virtue of this virtuous book is Ricard's ability to poke holes in received wisdom. For example, he observes that while some abused children become abusers as adults, more often, they decide to "do the opposite of their parents when they have children." Sometimes, the author is imprecise: cutting down on meat consumption won't really "prevent 14% of deaths in the world," since all of us die; perhaps he means death will be forestalled in that many cases. Elsewhere, Ricard ranges too far in quest of examples; his revisiting of the Holocaust-era extermination squads Christopher Browning writes about in Ordinary Men (1992) draws perhaps the wrong conclusion, for the opposite of that murder would not be guilty weeping but instead a policeman's taking the place of a victim. Still, 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 (2011) in suggesting that we don't have to be rotten. Inspirational in all the right ways but a challenge to get through it all.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Arianna Huffington Matthieu Ricard brings together ancient wisdom and scientific insights to put forth a truly compelling global vision for the 21st century, and his voice, his message and his wisdom are greatly needed.
  • Daniel Batson, author of Altruism in Humans Written with deep conviction and breathtaking scope, this is a must 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?
  • Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy 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, 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.
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Altruism
The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World
Matthieu Ricard
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