The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness by Marc Ian Barasch

“Today the world stirs with hope for some new upward arc, for a kinder epoch,” writes award winning author Marc Ian Barasch. “The need to turn away from cynicism and toward each other has never been clearer.”

With a keen balance of hope and skepticism, Marc Barasch sets out on a journey to the heart of compassion, discovering its power to change who we are and the society we have become. He describes encounters with empathic apes, and with monks whose brain scans show the power of compassion practice; with a man who donated a kidney to a stranger, and another who forgave his daughter’s murderer; and with astronomers trying to send a missive to E.T. that we’re not just clever, but kind.

With unfailing curiosity, Barasch poses vital questions: what can we learn from exceptionally empathetic people? Can we increase our kindness quotient with practice? How do we open our hearts to those who do us harm? What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually “survival of the kindest?” And he comes up with challenging, ultimately inspiring answers. Drawing on science and spirituality, history and popular culture, he creates a smart, provocative argument that a simple shift in consciousness changes “pretty much everything”.

“An argument for compassion that is balanced yet persuasive — and long overdue. This book ought to be a compulsory read for all.” –ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Since the publication of the hardcover, Barasch has worked toward what he describes in a new Epilogue to his revised edition as “green compassion”. He has gone on to found a global charity, the Green World Campaign, that is helping to restore the ecology and the economy of the world’s poorest places. Now he and Berrett-Koehler Publishers have arranged to give something back to the Earth with the revised paperback edition. A portion of each sale will fund the planting of trees in environmentally damaged areas around the world through the Green World Campaign