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Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  5,831 ratings  ·  550 reviews
“I’m a person who listens for a living.  I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard.  This book chronicles some of what I’ve learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations.”
Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most e
Audiobook, 288 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Penguin Press
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Adriana Krista Tippett, along with her phenomenal podcast On Being, does not cater to women or men. Are the topics of spirituality, religion, truth, science, …moreKrista Tippett, along with her phenomenal podcast On Being, does not cater to women or men. Are the topics of spirituality, religion, truth, science, literature, poetry, kindness, unity, society, philosophy (etc. etc) gendered topics? Is the concept of humanity gendered?

More precisely, most of the reviewers of this beautiful book are women due to the fact that men do not often read books by women (especially books by women writers that are branded as "self-help," a categorization for this book that I find paltry and lacking).(less)

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Shirley Showalter
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jubilación
Perhaps, like me, you've listened to On Being on your local NPR station or by podcast for years. Perhaps you listen not only to the gracefully edited version of the program but also to the messier, more intimate, unedited versions. If so, you will love this book.

Perhaps you've never heard of the author or her program but, like Solomon of old, you yearn to be wise. You too will find this book a refreshing stream in the desert.

Krista Tippett knows the power of a good first sentence. She has comme
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"History always repeats itself until we honestly and searchingly know ourselves."

Krista Tippett`s Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living is a book, as the title suggests, about "becoming wise". The book is also about achieving and living with high moral standards.

"You try to appeal to the goodness of every human being and you don't give up. You never give up on anyone."

Krista Tippett includes her personal thoughts and also from the conversations she had with many people of
Westley Dangles
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I am a huge fan of her podcast but I could only finish half this book and here's why: Tippett writes excellent sentences and paragraphs but, cohesively, this was not an excellent book.

It's like when you ramble on through a bottle of wine on a Friday night with an incredibly eloquent friend and she just keeps showing you all these YouTube videos (except here it's poems) and you're like ugh Krista let's just have a straightforward discussion. Or maybe you enjoy that kind of stuff--in that case yo
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I almost regretted buying this when I read the acknowledgements and saw that Tippett is BFFs with Serene Jones (the current and disastrous president of my old seminary). I'm glad I ignored my misgivings--this is perhaps the best book I've read in the last year, maybe longer. Tippett draws on interviews with people of all faiths and none--mystics, activists, scientists, writers, teachers--and finds in them convergent messages about how to live well in an imperfect world. The book got better and b ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the content of this book, but it did not fully work for me as a book rather than as a collection of interviews from a podcast. This worked much better for me when I switched to the audio, and with that said, I recommend just sticking to the podcast. You will get everything from it that this book has to offer (which is not nothing! just that the book is superfluous IMO)
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: r5-group
too many adjectives! such odd phrasing! how does one interpret '...some of the margins that are in fact the heart beat of society'? ; perhaps it is my current state of mind (too much at work, too much writing on my part), but I gave up on this book after the first section. It was simply too much work for not a lot of gain. Tippett has an interesting background and has interviewed many people who have things of interest to say, but the narrative pulling the pieces together was too heavily ornamen ...more
Jennifer Ridgway
This review originally ran on Everyday eBook

After the first season of the podcast "Serial" ended, my social media feeds were filled with pleas for new, amazing programs to listen to; one of the most suggested was On Being, hosted by Krista Tippett. Tippett's podcast is a series of conversations (usually between Tippett and one guest) that explore what it means to be human. Guests include theologians from a variety of faiths, scientists of varied disciplines, authors, philosophers, poets, and act
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Finally. . . I finished this book! Though to be truthful, I scanned parts of it. A class at church has been studying it, and it is not meant to be a study book. We have had some good discussions, due mostly to the creativity of different facilitators. The book is loaded with gems, but the formatting made it difficult for me to read. It has only five chapters, which are sooooo long. My advice: listen to Krista Tippett's podcasts. They are more digestible. ...more
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It has taken me a while to read this book because I only ever wanted to take it in a bit at a time, and then sit with the lessons Tippett, host of the NPR show On Being, offers up, and savor them. Which means that, having now read through to the last page, I feel I wouldn't be remiss to go back to page one and start over: there is so much quiet, profound wisdom in this book.

It is composed of six chapters: Introduction: The Age of Us; Words: The Poetry of Creatures; Flesh: the Body's Grace; Love:
Nov 19, 2017 added it
This book is exquisite. It reads like sacred text. I found the chapters on “Words”, “Love” and “Hope” particularly wondrous. Krista Tippett shares so generously and thoughtfully insights and wisdom gained from conversation partners over a period of 12 years. This is a book I want to carry with me wherever I go and meditate on its wisdom daily.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, audio
Three years ago I read 30% of this book and felt I was not grasping it. This time I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author. There are many clips of interviews she did with wise people. This time I did understand and enjoyed the book immensely. It seems like such a wonderful resource of so much good thinking. I bought the ebook after listening to the audio, because there is so much that I want to follow up on. This book encouraged me to keep being the best me that I can be. So many wise ...more
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful collection of some of her most poignant interviews over the years, woven together with her own wisdom. A rare book that I believe would be better in audio (as you hear the actual interviews rather than read the transcript). Update: Re-reading in print was wonderful, since I could underline passage after passage. If I had to choose one way, I would probably go with print, because there is so much of beauty to note here. :)
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2017-reads
Non-spiritual person that I am, I have always loved Krista Tippett's gentle, thoughtful tone and positive, respectful, interdisciplinary approach. Audio, of course. ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Krista Tippett is the host of the podcast On Being and as such has the chance to interview hundreds of physicists, spiritual leaders, thinkers, activists and more on how they grapple with meaning in the world.

In Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, she narrows her focus on words, flesh, love, faith and hope and dips in and out of a wellspring of past interviews. She’s a practiced interviewer playing host to some incredibly smart folks.

The language is dense and prescrip
Kathryn Bashaar
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved some things about this book and hated others. What I disliked about it was that it was very disorganized. The author loosely organized her thoughts into chapters (Words, Flesh, Love, Faith, Hope), but within the chapters, the material was very random and hard to follow. Too many disorganized ideas all piled together in no discernable order or pattern.
Now for what I loved about it: so many interesting and thought-provoking ideas, on the general topic of the meaning of our human life! I es
Stephen Kiernan
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Love her show on NPR, but this book did not have a comparable narrative drive or strong sense of organizing thought. Some lovely quotes from her interviews make this a good book to scan for the jewels.
I stopped on page 81.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you listen to on being, there won’t be much in here that is new, but it’s still nice to listen to the bits of wisdom all in one place
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Challenging and thought provoking, Krista Tippett weaves together portions of interviews/talks with scientists, theologians, activists, and people passionate about life with her own musings. Liked the audiobook so well I'm purchasing the book. I think that I'll gain being able to underline important ideas and take notes better with a print copy, but I'll miss out on hearing the voices of her guests. Brene Brown's hesitation in answering Kirsta's question about what was on her list of negative tr ...more
May 17, 2017 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
How many books have I read in my life? Thousands?

And "Becoming Wise" is up there as one of the best.

Tippett writes:
"Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone with a readiness to see goodness and be surprised. This is the humility of a child, which Jesus lauded. It is the humility of the scientist and the mystic. It has a lightness of step, not a heaviness of heart."

And that is what this book feels like. Read it.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
The excerpts from interviews were interesting, but most of the book is her commentary stringing them together.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Krista Tippett is a journalist.

"The discourse of our common life inclines towards despair. In my field of journalism, where we presume to write the first draft of history, we summon our deepest critical capacities for investigating what is inadequate, corrupt, catastrophic, and failing. The “news” is defined as the extraordinary events of the day, but it is most often translated as the extraordinarily terrible events of the day."

Let's switch that idea around, she suggests. Let's talk to people a
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, uusp
I love the On Being radio show; I sometimes listen to missed shows via podcast. I thought this book would distill what the author learned from her hundreds of interviews. Maybe it did, but I found it hard to keep reading. There were gems inside, but, as a whole, the writing felt scattered. Favorite parts were learning about the author's Baptist background, her time in Berlin, and her mention of and thanks to the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. This book was chosen for my congregation to read toge ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful audio book! Listening to the voices of those interviewed by Krista Tippett is a real gift. Although not every person resonated with me I found so much to love and think about in this book. I may buy a paper copy to reference and use as a guide to further reading.
Meghan Burke
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely, thoughtful book by a lovely, thoughtful person. And firmly in the “some books are better as audiobooks” camp.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Going to read this again...this time with a highlighter! So many great insights. Such a positive read...and not naively so.
May 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book's title is misleading. This is rarely about wisdom and the art of living, instead more often about mystery, spirituality, christian religion, and interviews with spiritual personalities. The chapter on faith is the largest. The parts about wisdom are more about attitudes (hope, agape-love, faith), not active arts of living. I guess if you're christian or very spiritual, you'll enjoy that.

Tippett's writing, while often inspired, is often flowery and imprecise. It sounds like what a somew
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
*4.5 stars*
Poignant and thought-provoking. I've been cranky lately but even my state of mind didn't diminish the insights from many of these interviews and excerpts. I especially appreciated the recurrent emphasis on kindness respecting those who have different beliefs; not always agreeing but refusing to see those folks as being only what we disagree with them about; and the mention of showing respect for others by refusing to dress poorly in public. Very recommended.

*What if we actually were c
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could have finished this book days ago. I wanted to devour it. But I also wanted to sit with it, to put it down every few sentences and let the words sink in. And I could blandly say something like, Krista Tippett is everything. But it's not just her, she brings in the words of various interviews over the years and you are humbled by her ability to listen and do justice to those conversations. She weaves the stories of her interviewees in with the themes of breath, body, love and hope. It's a ...more
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-ng
Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett, award winning creator of the podcast On Being, is a distillation of her conversations centered on five facets of life – words, flesh, love, faith, and hope. I find my reason for recommending it within the book itself. "Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living."

Read my complete review at

Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley
Maggie Tumenbatur
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a big fan of her podcast On being" ,this book was a great review of most of her guests on the show and of course a great insight in authour's approach to life & diversity and her profession as journalist.
One of my favourite quotes( and they are so many!) is about humility.
"Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone else with readiness to see goodness and to be surprised."
This is indeed a personal life goal for my
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32 likes · 13 comments
“I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly. The difference in our opinions will probably remain intact, but it no longer defines what is possible between us.” 37 likes
“Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone else with a readiness to see goodness and to be surprised. This is the humility of a child, which Jesus lauded. It is the humility of the scientist and the mystic. It has a lightness of step, not a heaviness of heart. That lightness is the surest litmus test I know for recognizing wisdom when you see it in the world or feel its stirrings in yourself. The questions that can lead us are already alive in our midst, waiting to be summoned and made real. It is a joy to name them. It is a gift to plant them in our senses, our bodies, the places we inhabit, the part of the world we can see and touch and help to heal. It is a relief to claim our love of each other and take that on as an adventure, a calling. It is a pleasure to wonder at the mystery we are and find delight in the vastness of reality that is embedded in our beings. It is a privilege to hold something robust and resilient called hope, which has the power to shift the world on its axis.” 18 likes
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