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A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,046 ratings  ·  111 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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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  1,046 ratings  ·  111 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. ...more
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
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
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
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a thought for every day that is encouraging and true
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.
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
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
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 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
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. ...more
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.
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. ...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
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a joy to have around the house.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
My favourite quote from today is "To know yourself is to discover the good that lies within." (N.B.: it's the only secular one from the 16th.)

This book is one of those 365-day compendia of pithy one-liners. Plutarch, Thoreau, and a couple other wise men are quoted, I'm sure including the author himself. It's not entirely Christian since there are Egyptian quotes, and stuff from Lao-tzu.

There's stuff from Talmud and Confucius, Strakov and Schopenhauer, Demosthenes and Cicero, Pascal and Bentham,
Rick Wilson
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tolstoy is great, if a bit confused about religion at times.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The last couple of years I've enjoyed having a sort of daily reading exercise. It's nice to spend some time in Tolstoy's brain each morning. I think I'll relieve myself of this for 2021, though I found the book's design and contents appealing. ...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
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... ...more
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." ...more
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! ...more
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.
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. ...more
Ramesh Naidu
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A pithy book full of nuggets of wisdom. Warns against too much reading or education kills our creativity, asks us to accept vegetarianism, religion as a sign of human intellect , prizes emotions and faith over intellect , always be working , the human condition is working.
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой|18479204; most appropriately used Liev Tolstoy; 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 ...more

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