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A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,841 ratings  ·  169 reviews
In her first two books, Byron Katie showed how suffering can be ended by questioning the stressful thoughts that create it, through a process of self-inquiry she calls The Work. Now, in A Thousand Names for Joy, she encourages us to discover the freedom that lives on the other side of inquiry.Stephen Mitchell—the renowned translator of the Tao Te Ching—selected provocative ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Harmony (first published 2007)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  1,841 ratings  ·  169 reviews

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Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me relax and know that there's never, ever anything to worry about, that life is safe and good all of the time, and that as long as I question my thoughts and don't take my beliefs as truth, it always will be. What freedom. ...more
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book on audio, courtesy of Byron Katie team themselves, pior to my interview with her.

The audio is simply mesmerizing. She has a voice that sounds like the voice of God if there were such a thing. She is incredibly soothing and comforting.

The book content is beautiful, but the concept of the Tao gets very esoteric for me, and I tried to stay with it. I did not multi-task when listening to this audio book and I really contemplated the deep concepts of truth, reality, self, ex
Feb 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
I guess I'm officially giving up on Byron Katie. This is the second book of hers I tried to read (after coming across a quote that I liked*). Parts of the book made absolutely no sense to me, as if they were written in a language I didn't understand. The parts I could sort of follow seemed to be proposing a method for suppressing fear and anger, which, IMO, is not a good idea, as suppressed emotions are likely to come back eventually, stronger than ever.

Also, the book is not logically consisten
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm inspired to share how I found out about Byron Katie in the first place. Around the time I came to the firm decision to both retire and to pursue my MtF transition during retirement (September 2010), I realized that I'd begun returning to something I'd let fall by the wayside since my college days: the mystical writings of the so-called ancient Hindu and Buddhist writers, and to some extent Taoist. I not-did the theist approach for basically all the years between my marriage in 1978 up until ...more
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
The framework is too esoteric and fakey for the easy, natural philosophy of the primary author. The "Tao" and "master" insertions are rigid impositions that make the text inaccessible in places and give the impression of insecurity, or of a grasping for validity.

However, when these moments pass and Byron Katie sinks into to the stories and patterns that characterize her one-on-one dialogues (which are brilliant and can be found on YouTube), the book shows its real value. Without the trappings an
Sep 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
What a horrible book. There are lots of good points and spiritual ideas that sound fair and true but if balance and joy means a life without Self, emotions, empathy and just basic humanity, I'm not sure it is worth it. The author's point seems to be that if you do not believe it, it does not exist. Like suffering. If you just tell yourself it is all in your thoughts and stop believing in it everything is perfect as it is. And yeah, that's a great way to make excuses for not caring a shit about a ...more
Alicia St Rose
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wishes to end their mental suffering by loving what is..
Shelves: selfrealization
As of August 2007, I'm on my fifth read of this profoundly moving book. I'm savoring it one paragraph at a time. I copy a key sentence from one paragraph each day and carry it with me.
Yes, this book is so rich in clarity, that every paragraph offers some insight.

If you are familiar with the Tao Te Ching, then this book will illuminate Lao Tzu's message like nothing ever has.

Simply amazing...

I have to sit with this book for a while before I really can rate it. I know I loved the absolutely unique voice of this woman, and her absolutely unique worldview; and I love anything that makes me think differently. I think about the book a lot. It might be too out there for me, but I think I can learn some things from her "Work" which is essentially a therapeutic tool to deal with unresolved issues. You make a statement about something unresolved, and ask some questions about it, and then rev ...more
Jul 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
I quit. I don't know if I'm just not used to reading this type of book, but I'm over it after only 14 pages. She's too damn repetitive and I just can't get behind her philosophy. Maybe I needed to read her other books first to really 'get' what she's talking about, but as of now I'm not a believer. She just keeps saying the same thing over and over, and that thing is that everything that happens in the present is what is exactly supposed to be happening and that fact should bring you joy - even ...more
Jeremy Neal
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love this book.

It's quite rare to read an account by somebody who is relating the experience of enlightenment, I've read plenty of treatises on what you need to do to get there.

I'm not enlightened, but neither am I a cement-head, and I can see that on a spectrum of learning, all of these ideas make sense. This is written like a dream; not in terms of prose, but in terms of relating a particular perspective, it's beautiful.
Rick Archer
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Byron Katie's best book. A commentary on the Tao Te Ching (translated by her husband) in light of her own experience. Read it several years ago. ...more
Jessica Mullen
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely life changing

The Work in the context of the Tao Te Ching cemented the process of undoing thought. For me, it was a more accessible route to understanding and integrating The Work than Loving What Is, since I already had faith and understanding in the Tao Te Ching.
I'm not entirely sure what to think about this book...

interesting quotes (page numbers from edition with ISBN13):

"In my experience, confusion is the only suffering." (p.)

"The world is the mirror image of your mind." (p.)

"By its very nature the mind is infinite. Once it has questioned it's beliefs, it can find beauty in all things. It's that open and free." (p.)

"No one who ever lived is a better or aworse human being than you." (p.)

"Admire Jesus's compassion or the Buddha's wisdom all you want, b
Jun 08, 2017 added it
Interesting and very engaging.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
This book sounded great. But I couldn't finish it. The writing is horrible with scattered thoughts. And some of it is so far out in left field that it made me cringe. For example, on page 47 she writes "Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time..." Seriously? Could she tell that those who have had their children gunned down at a school shooting? Or how about to those who lost their loved ones in the Las Vegas mass shooting? Or other such tragedi ...more
Jul 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ever read a book that was so awful you want to rethink your friendship with the person who suggested it? Yup, that bad. The whole book was a string of disjointed gibberish. What should I make of this? "A clear mind doesn't suffer. That's not possible. Even if you're in great physical pain, even if your beloved child dies, even if you and your family are herded off to Auschwitz, you can't suffer unless you believe an untrue thought." Excuse me?? ...more
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
I love the core of her basic philosophy - that it's your thoughts about things that cause you stress & unhappiness rather than the things themselves - but I don't really buy into it quite as far as she takes it. As a result, a lot of this book felt way, way out in left field. This would've been more interesting if I were either more familiar with the Tao or a bigger believer in her philosophy. ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read twice in 2018.
Chad King
I read this at the suggestion of a good friend who knows I enjoy philosophy books. I've been aware of Byron Katie's four questions for many years, so I was not surprised to see them show up in this book. You apply the four questions to any negative or anxiety-producing thought, and they help you see the reality of the situation. The questions are:

Q1. Is it true?
Q2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Q3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Q4. Who would you be withou
Gregg Bell
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought Byron Katie was a flake. I had no interest in reading any of her stuff. But the book club I was in was reading her. As it was, this book club was very far from where I lived so I ended up buying the book, rather than making the long drive to pick it up from the library (where the book club had ordered enough for the club), and am I ever glad I did.

The title is misleading. A lot of what's within the book is misleading. But--the good news--you won't miss out on Katie's heart for people a
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Byron Katies' comments on the Tao Te Ching. Excellent "dip into" book for inspiration. She is a truly remarkable woman who genuinely lives her message - being in total harmony with the way things are. The book is not pretending to be great writing, but it is a great and real life interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. In each short chapter, Katie elaborates on her understanding of a snippet from the Tao - always fascinating. I can only read a few pages at a time. This is a book for slow reading, ma ...more
Antonina Sh
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is my Bible now.

I've been doing the Work for about a month now, but this just took it to a whole new level for me.

I can see how my life quality is improving, in so many aspects - physically, emotionally, mentally. It's fascinating really. How much easier it is than suffering.

I will have it with me all the time, at all times, because just reading a couple of pages a day is the best therapy there is for me.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well I have to buy this book. It's a loose translation of Tao Te Ching. I felt like I could absorb it personally instead of intellectually. One of those books you can pop open to any page and it would apply to your current problem and perhaps give you a different perspective of it (like the Bible). ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: crazy ocd non-humans
If she isn't completely out of her mind, then I am. Hers is a life without emotion. I'm almost finished and will make an attempt at "the work" and let you know....

I couldn't finish this. It got too ridiculous.... It will go to the bookshelf for some other eager seeker of the truth.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am reading this for the second time and it is really opening my mind about reality
Emilie Leonard
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
More spiritual and “Taoish” than her other books. I put it on at night while falling asleep and found it useful for that meditative state just before sleep.
Renee Legris
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's a sign of how much I loved reading this book that I'm sad it's over. I'm glad I read it slowly - with a book club over 9 months - because it really helped to have time to let Katie's message sink in. Her nondual view (although she would probably not use a formal word like that) is sooo very different from how I look at my daily life. She was very clever and very relentless about offering her view over and over from different angles, until it dawned on me that she really meant it!

Perhaps wh
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fortunately, I read Eckhart Tolle's books first or I would have suspended belief of the peace and enlightenment that Byron Katie claims to have found. But, it was something Eckhart Tolle said about BK that prompted me to read one of her books.

I learned a lot from BK; but, I sifted through a great deal of content in the book that seemed rather Pollyannaish and, at some points, too laissez faire. Whereas ET advises surrendering to the present moment then dec
Donna D'Angelo Struck
2.5 stars

I love her overall premise and thought process but had a lot of trouble translating it into real life.

She lost me when her house was robbed of all its possessions and she felt, um, grateful. I can't imagine losing my wedding album, scrapbooks, etc. and feeling grateful they are missing. She has suffered through a painful, debilitating eye disease apparently without complaint. Wouldn't any human have moments of self-pity as a result? Is she Mother Teresa?

In theory I want to believe and u
I liked her questions about the thoughts we are thinking:
is it true?
Can you absolutely know this thought / belief is true
Who would you be w/o this thought?

Basically: don't let your thoughts lead your life- they may not be true! Your actions will be better if you check your thoughts before just blindly reacting. We have a tendency to tell ourselves stories about what happened that may not be objectively true.

I didn't finish reading her view of the TAo as i didn't understand her views. Also i che
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Byron Kathleen Mitchell, better known as Byron Katie, is an American speaker, writer, and founder of a method of self-inquiry called The Work of Byron Katie or simply The Work.

Katie became severely depressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother who lived in Barstow, a small town in the high desert of southern California. For nearly a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rag

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“I love what I think, and I'm never tempted to believe it.” 25 likes
“The reason I love rules and plans and religions is that people feel safe in them for a while. And, personally, I don't have any rules. I don't need them. There's a sense of order that goes on all the time as things move and change, and I am that harmony, and so are you. Not knowing is the only way to understand... Meanings, rules, the whole world of right and wrong, are secondary at best. I understand how some people think they need to live by rules...It's very frightening for them to watch the world unfolding in apparent chaos and not realize that the chaos itself is God in his infinite intelligence.” 13 likes
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