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A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  825 ratings  ·  85 reviews
This is the first-ever English-language edition of the book Leo Tolstoy considered to be his most important contribution to humanity, the work of his life's last years. Widely read in prerevolutionary Russia, banned and forgotten under Communism; and recently rediscovered to great excitement, A Calendar of Wisdom is a day-by-day guide that illuminates the path of a life wo ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 14th 1997 by Scribner (first published 1906)
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 ·  825 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A precious collection of quotes and snippets of text from The Talmud, The Bible, The Qur'an, The Bhagavad Gita, various poets, authors, and other religious, philosophical, and cultural texts. Hand-picked carefully by Tolstoy. One page for each day.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
My bed time great companion. It smoothes one's thought and is very inspiring in different school of thoughts, covering from the East to the West, ancient to now. It is too lucky of us to have this book as Tolstoy finished it as one of the biggest projects before his death. Tolstoy, why everytime I flip over a page of your words with hesitations, with the doubts in myself of being incapable of taking in your great thoughts and with fears of my book thay would run out sooner with one more page com ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A good source of wisdom quotes from Tolstoy and others. Several quotes with a common theme are featured for each day of the year.
Manik Sukoco
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This extraordinary volume of selections from Leo Tolstoy's writings from his final years is a treasure, and it has a spirit of love and peace that one can even feel as one holds this book in one's hands. It is a delight and inspiration to read, whether one chooses to read it through from cover to cover, or use it as one would a daily devotional; to start each day with Tolstoy's wisdom, is to start the day with a quiet joy, and fresh understanding of what lies ahead. For each day, there is a chap ...more
David Gross
Feb 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
While there are a few pearls of wisdom scattered here and there in this collection, most of it is vague, shallow platitudenizing suitable for new age refrigerator-magnets. It stands as a warning that a mind of Tolstoy's caliber could have become so vulnerable to so much Sunday School poppycock.

Also: it's eye-rollingly repetitive.

And: the quotes are often Tolstoy's paraphrases rather than the actual words of the people he attributes them to... and sometimes they seem to be simplified in a way tha
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a thought for every day that is encouraging and true
Aidan Reid
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some gems in here:
"When you emerged into this world you cried, while everyone else was overjoyed. Try to see to it that, when you leave this world, everyone cries, while you alone smile."
"The more accustomed we get to doing with less, the less threatening we find deprivation."
"Wealth is like manure: it stinks when it is piled up, but when it is scattered about the Earth it fertilises it."
"Look upon your thoughts as if they were your guests, and your desires as if they were your children."
- Surpr
Marina Fraser
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a great collection of wise thoughts
and quotations by
great writers
from all over the world
Feb 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I gave this book a shot from January 1 til mid-February, but it's just not doing it for me. It's too religious. I prefer The Daily Stoic, which I find 10000x better and more suitable for my life.
Octavia Cade
It's always tempting, when reading the great novelists especially, to try to sift through the text to discover something of their own, personal opinions and beliefs. It can be tricky - we can misinterpret, or see things we want to see, or even ascribe meaning where there is none, particularly. With a book like this it's easier: Tolstoy made his own "quote of the day" calendar, essentially, except there's more than one (themed) quote per day and he adds a little piece of commentary of his own - s ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is a sort of daily proverb calendar compiled and/or written by Leo Tolstoy. There are 365 pages of quotes, philosophical ramblings, or scriptural verses that are tied together by a topic. The topics include such things as wealth, poverty, education, intellect, science, faith, effort, prayer, civility, self-improvement, and so on. Tolstoy borrows from a variety of religious texts, particularly the Gospels and the Talmud. And there are certain authors and philosophers that he tends to qu ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am giving up on this pretty early in the year.
I read ahead a few days, and in the first 10 days, I found only about 3 daily thoughts of wisdom that I enjoyed. Most of them are taking from religious books which while in theory could be good/interesting are so far written in very old styles that don't really add anything.

The only good quotes sofar came from Thomas Jefferson and Confucius, and there must be much better books out there with a much higher ratio of good quotes to bad quotes.
So perh
Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it
I did not realize how much religious content would be in the book. There was however a lot of other material I enjoyed reading. I particulary enjoyed reading about the various quotes on vegetarianism. A nice book to read through and go back to your favorite verses for inspiration.
Mark Esping
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To be read one day at a time. Starting my third time through. Amazing the people that Tolstoy read. I always read the days readings before breakfast and then my wife and I start the day with those topics.
Marina M.frazer
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
for every day
of the year -
i keep it on my desk
and read a page a day
Amro Osman
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I lost count how many times I've been inspired throughout this book. A truly eye opening read.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books you can read again and again. Religion, ethics, philosophy- all good for reflection.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a joy to have around the house.
Rick Wilson
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tolstoy is great, if a bit confused about religion at times.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, spiritual
I find it hard to sit and just read it "page by page-day by day" So I take it in chunks. I agree with a great deal of what I find, disagree with some,a s it ought to be for someone who draws their own conclusions on the world. However, his general philosophy is so sympatico with my on on too many things, to pass it off and say "well, I Don't Care if I finish it this year, or not"- I plan to get through the whole thing, then, pass it on to an interested friend...
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love quotes, so Tolstoy's selections on varied topics was most interesting. I'm reminded that you learn a lot about someone by the wisdom they appreciate. This collection was Tolstoy's last major work and a project of 15 years. Examples: "Those who are in the mountains can see the sun rise sooner than those in the valley." "A person who loves himself has few competitors." "He has power who can keep quiet in an argument even when he is right."
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the 5 books I keep on my shelf at work to ground me, to re-set my moral compass, and to remind me of what is important. Many of the religious quotes do not resonate for me but the rest does in a big way.
Lane Anderson
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been turning to this book every morning for a while now. Tolstoy was a great thinker, and his thoughts on religion and philosophy are a frequently-sought but rarely-found source of great wisdom. I highly recommend this book as a daily reader!
Ivey Coss
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These juicy little nuggets of timeless wisdom help to jar the mind out of all that entangles it from more theories, more teachings, more formulas and the barrage of of "NEW" that comes out every day!
It's simple and pointed with scriptures to back it up! A joy to read each day!
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Somewhat a book of affirmations. Tolstoy is Christian and expresses his views on Christianity. He uses all of the world's religions in a sense to get across his view on life.
As a vegan his views on meat eating were refreshing.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Rated: D+
This book was given to me by participants in a workshop that I delivered. It is a day-by-day listing of quotation that Tolstoy put together with each day having a common theme. Based on the wide variety of quotation from various religious sources, Tolstoy has an open theology to accept ideas for numerous belief systems. Consequently, I found most of the ideas more of a humanistic world view which often is antithetical to a biblical world view. With thousands of quotations, only a handfu
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy books which provide daily readings to inspire you and provide food for thought, you will like this book. I have not "finished" this book, but read each day's selection one at a time, and will probably do so for several years. I have long been a fan of Leo Tolstoy and was excited to see this book in a handsome, solidly bound hardback version. It is a selection of Tolstoy's thoughts along with quotations from a wide variety of authors and religious/spiritual viewpoints. Highly recomme ...more
Vizi Andrei
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Leo Tolstoy is easily one of my favorite thinkers. The concept of the book is clever; in an abundant world, knowledge is not about gathering information, but about filtering it.

There are many (way too many) books (and increasingly more) which are not to be read in full, but in small parts. This book is to be read in full.

Anyway, I found many reflections to be extremely repetitive (which could indeed be a virtue: repetition is the mother of all learning), but there was an excess of it to the poin
David Roberts
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Gift from Jaycob Christmas 2017
Shelves: daily-reading
An interesting collection of quotes from Leo Tolstoy, which apparently exists in multiple versions. The collection of quotes is grouped by daily topic, although there are a number of topics that do repeat (war, the nature of the soul, others). I did find myself highlighting something almost every day, which, to me, suggests that it is a great book.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Did not finish. I appreciate the variety of inspirational sources, but religion is REALLY important to this author. By the time I hit the second round of "people can only be decent people if they believe in God," I had to quit. Not a fan.
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To ...more

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