One of my favorite summer reads so far is The Book of Joy, Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams © 2016, Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Few could argue that both spiritual leaders have suffered greatly throughout their lives, but when these octogenarians got together to celebrate their birthdays, they giggled like a couple of kids. The book is drawn from conversations held during a week in Dharmasala.

Each chapter contains golden nuggets mined from their years of experience. From beginning to end they model the way that people of faith who practice different religions can live together peaceably and joyfully without any type of diminishment. They echoed something that Vaclav Havel said to the U. S. Congress more than 30 years ago:

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility. Accessed 6-23-17,

The two declared that “lasting happiness…resides only in the human mind and heart, and it is here that we hope you will find it.”

Their conversation ranged from scientific research to faith to human experience, from the reality of suffering and the obstacles to joy to chortles of glee amid a world full of fear.  In the final section of the book they name “the eight pillars of joy”: perspective, humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity.” The book also includes “joy practices.”

It’s a delightful, thought-provoking read. I recommend it.


Patty Meyers

Past CEF Board President