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The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life

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"A book after my own heart!"—His Holiness The Dalai Lama

The Power of Kindness is a stirring examination of a simple but profound concept. Piero Ferrucci, one of the world's most respected transpersonal psychologists, explores the many surprising facets of kindness and argues that it is this trait that will not only lead to our own individual happiness and the happiness of those around us, but will guide us in a world that has become cold, anxious, difficult, and frightening.
Piero Ferrucci warns against the dangers of "global cooling." As the pace of living grows faster and the impact of new technologies more insistent, communications become hurried and impersonal. The drive for profit overrides the heart. Warmth and genuine presence fade.

In eighteen interlocking chapters, Dr. Ferrucci reveals that the kindest people are the most likely to thrive, to enable others to thrive, and to slowly but steadily turn our world away from violence, self-centeredness, and narcissism- and toward love. Writing with a rare combination of sensitivity and intellectual depth, Dr. Ferrucci shows that, ultimately, kindness is not a luxury in our world but rather a necessity for us all.

288 pages, Paperback

First published November 30, 2005

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About the author

Piero Ferrucci

43 books63 followers
Piero Ferrucci is a psychotherapist and a philosopher. He graduated from the University of Torino in 1970.

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5 stars
912 (39%)
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808 (34%)
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447 (19%)
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110 (4%)
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32 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 309 reviews
Profile Image for Jodi Maples, MSW, LSW.
118 reviews4 followers
January 15, 2009
As I deal with a bit of back-stabbing and the bitterness in my stomach grows, it is this book that helps me strengthen the filter in my brain & NOT actually say the evil thoughts running through my head. It reminds me that compassion is a good thing, that the person not treating me kindly is probably in a very bad place herself. It helps me to remember to "Rise above it all."
Profile Image for Sarah.
250 reviews127 followers
May 3, 2011
or... Cute Stuff My Son Said in the Car the Other Day.
Okay, so to be totally honest. I haven't READ this book. I picked it up for a book club, and sat down to read it, filled with giddy anticipation that it might be like Field Notes on the Compassionate Life (which I LOVED) and instead, I quickly realized that it is just a bunch of shlocky maple syrup doused over whipped cream. I began skimming over pages of sentimentalism and then starting flipping. No matter where I turned, it was still mumbo jumbo anecdotes and stories about the funny thing his son said to him on the way to school or at breakfast and wise old sayings and this one time..... If you are on heavy sedatives, Vicodin would be a good choice, or plagued by nightmares and take a sleeping narcotic, this might make for a decent audiobook.
94 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2014
This book is a little conflicting for me. It has some wisdom in it, a lot of stories and metaphors, and a few references to the studies it mentions.

I enjoyed the stories, but in a book that is talking about the outcomes that will occur from actions you take (e.g. being kind will make you & others happier), I like to see a bit more research on the subject (including references to the studies) and a lot less anecdotal evidence.

That being said, there were some good bits of wisdom in there and it was an easy read. I just prefer my non-fiction books, when they're trying to make a specific point, to have a bit more compelling evidence.

Read if you're looking for some motivational stories & metaphors, but be wary that the science might be less than concrete.
Profile Image for Shannon.
48 reviews2 followers
May 14, 2010
I was in the need for a spiritual type read and this one hit the spot. It helped re-ground me as I have become too busy and too rushed to really take things in. This reminded me that i talk too much and don't listen enough. It also reaffirmed my belief of the importance of being kind and continuing to give. Good book for my life right now.
Profile Image for Walter.
130 reviews51 followers
January 5, 2011
This is an excellent book! It is so full of wisdom that, paradoxically, it's almost a challenge to read and process all of its insight. Piero Ferrucci, the author, is a practicing psychiatrist in Italy who uses kindness as a metaphor to explore the qualities/aspects that make a fulfilling life. In the process, he examines various aspects of kindness - from Honesty to Forgiveness to Trust to Humility to Service, etc. - including how and why they are relevant, how we should conceive of and use them in our own lives, etc. In so doing, he takes on a journey of who we all wish we could and should be, often approaching familiar subjects in new and unexpected ways.

For example, Ferrucci's take on Patience begins with an Ethiopian folk tale, moves on to a rumination of how difficult people can be softened/turned around by unexpectedly kind treatment, then reflects on the modern tendency to "leave our souls behind" and engages in an extended consideration of the concept of time, including a very interesting application of Buber's I-Thou/I-It rubric. Along the way, he challenges us thoughtfully to examine what we believe both generally and about ourselves and then shows us alternatives that will make us both more kind specifically and better people generally.

There are a few interesting juxtapositions in the book that lessen its impact somewhat, but these are minor in both extent and consequence. For example, in an aside in the Memory chapter, he recounts a story of being asked for directions by a woman seeking food for her child, but his response - he judges her and then chooses not to assist her - seems less than kind. This proves that the author is human, but, thankfully, is such a rare occurence that it is noteworthy only because it contrasts so greatly.

In summary, I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone - we can all benefit from its piercing insights and its very helpful guidance. Ferrucci has written a classic. I, for one, value it so highly that I intend to read it again from time to time to keep its lessons fresh and top of mind.
Profile Image for Hagar.
56 reviews25 followers
May 7, 2019
I absolutely loved this book!
I think this is one of the books that has everything to do with timing. Had I read it a couple of years ago, I think I’d have found it rather dull and stating the obvious. But the fact that I read this book at this point of my life made it really helpful. It felt like some compassionate voice reminding me of all the ways to be kind, the small things & the big things, and also all the reasons one should be kind, to others surely, but to one’s self as well.
The entire book felt like a pat on the shoulder, it kind of is associated with my journey to rediscover myself, and it helped me reconnect with my kinder, more compassionate, more empathetic self once more. A connection that has been cut for almost a year now actually.
Also I read some of the chapters of this book by the sea, and it made me feel like the world is a little bit more beautiful, more tender, and more peaceful than I’d have anticipated. Idk the exact reason why, but sth about the whole experience of me reading this book felt like magic. And for that I’m grateful.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,906 reviews22 followers
April 19, 2015
This started out as a 2 star read. The author was taking his views of kindness and supporting it with everything from fiction to history, and fables to ad campaigns. While I can appreciate a certain amount of ingenuity, it seemed like the author was trying to make mere kindness sound like it was elusive.

However, once, I got through the first part where he was trying to explain everything, I felt more impressed with the true message behind his words. And that I could appreciate. I also liked his use of word in his descriptions....they were chosen with preciseness and economy, which are two talents I love to see.
Profile Image for Tracy.
223 reviews
March 24, 2021
I loved listening to this audiobook. Highly recommend.
I love a book that improves my life and self, and this one was very enjoyable to listen to and immediately applicable. After only listening to it once or twice, I already found several applications and put it to use in my life.
I went back and got a copy to highlight all the quotes and insights that I liked the first time while listening.
The first chapter on honesty was so good. Such a great foundation for kindness.
I liked the variety of sources, cultures, and religions for supporting anecdotes. I liked his references to studies and his clinical experiences.
Not a book that you should plow through in a few sittings. Lots to think about, and would be better to do a chapter at a time.
Make sure to listen/read the whole thing, including the preface, introduction, conclusion, and exercises at the end. Make sure you get the tenth anniversary edition as well. (Or the most current edition.)
Profile Image for Cheyenne.
4 reviews8 followers
January 16, 2008
This is a great book to dip into whenever you feel cranky, frustrated, angry, etc. It reminds you of those qualities (patience, generosity, flexibility) that are fundamental to any relationship, at home, at work—anywhere. It goes beyond self-help anecdotes to offer some fascinating science and compelling evidence behind what makes people thrive. I read it on and off for a couple months. And then I gave my copy to someone else. I asked them to give it to someone else when they were done.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
7 reviews4 followers
May 12, 2017
This should be required reading for every human being.
Profile Image for Sue.
613 reviews24 followers
February 4, 2021
I bought this book many years ago but only pulled it off my shelf to read recently. Perhaps I felt the world needed kindness even more in 2020 or perhaps quarantine finally gave me the time to devote to it. Whatever inspired me to choose this book from among the many others on my shelf (so many books, so little time), I'm glad I did. It is a lovely, thoughtful, and wise study of the many qualities that make up true kindness (no superficial sentimentality here) that somehow manages to be both challenging and inspiring at the same time. I found myself re-reading some of the passages and was struck again by the simple truth in them that, nevertheless, I had missed as I hurried about my life. I found myself wishing that I could simply talk with this author, soaking up his ability to make the mundane meaningful and to see the soul's beauty in the most ordinary of acts. And I found myself wanting, really wanting, to be a more compassionate person, simply for the sake of bringing joy to a jaded and exhausted world.

I recommend this book to absolutely everybody. Time spent reading it will not be wasted. You will find wisdom in its pages that will be a gift to you that will resonate through your entire life. (And to my Goodreads friends who, like me, enjoy starting the morning with something nurturing and inspirational, this book would be an excellent choice!)
Profile Image for Chalay Cragun.
281 reviews
February 6, 2022
I loved this. Everything in it rang true to me and I loved how it didn't seem preachy. Ferrucci did such a wonderful job incorporating so many different types of personal stories, evidence based research, different cultures and religions. It really feels like a book anyone, any part of the world can read and have so much to gain. Definitely one I will be coming back to every few years.
Profile Image for Amanda Davis.
46 reviews
April 19, 2022
This is, in my opinion, a book anyone could read and benefit from. I listened to the audiobook and truly enjoyed it. I particularly enjoyed the honesty, empathy and gratitude chapters. I appreciated the author’s real-life examples from others as well as his own experiences. The book was easy to follow and gave me so many ideas of ways I can improve and apply to my life. Everyone should read it!
Profile Image for charlie.
69 reviews
November 18, 2012
I dipped in and out of this for over a year. I really got into it recently and really enjoyed the different chapters, stories, mythology used to explain the different facets of kindness. A book i'll keep and come back to over the years.
69 reviews
November 7, 2017
This is the type of book everyone should read once a year, at least. It's so easy to understand and apply to daily life. I felt optimistic every time I opened it. It's beautiful.
Profile Image for Erin.
38 reviews14 followers
April 20, 2018
Annual read

This is a book I’ll want to read annually. So much truth and wisdom- I’ll need much more time to soak it in.
Profile Image for Beth.
666 reviews2 followers
March 4, 2020
Lots of thinking after this book. It was the book I needed to read now. I will reread, but a chapter here and there as I need it
Profile Image for Quinn Lynch.
4 reviews
April 19, 2022
Never before have I read something that had such an impact on my day-to-day life. This book even helped me change my perception of events in my past, both ones that uplifted me and hurt me. The Power of Kindness gave me an internal peace that I never knew I could have. It has restructured the way I see myself and the way I want to interact with others.

One thing I found myself thinking about as I read this book was the concept of Mercy as a facet of Kindness. Maybe I missed it, but I thought many of Ferrucci's thoughts were just steps away from discussing Mercy. I've always thought of Mercy as a facet of kindness because it helps me understand the power my actions can have on others. My actions can either uplift or hurt someone, so it seems to me that being merciful is a good trait to have for treating others with kindness. Even if Mercy is just understanding that our kind acts can give someone respite from the cruelty of the universe, I thought it fit in well with the ideas of the book and I'm thankful for the mental exercise it gave me.

I began to list my favorite chapters for this review, but it would take less time to list which one or two were not ny favorites.

The breakdown of each facet of Kindness is so eloquent and to-the-point that every word of this book feels like it's nourishing my soul. I learned things about myself through reading this book that surprised me. For example, I've always been an introvert and value my alone time. But reading this book unsurfaced a desire I have deep in my mind for a sense of belonging. The book helped me realize how important community is for my mental and emotional health. There were other things I already knew about myself prior to reading this book, but learning more about those concepts gave me validation and inspire me to try harder to achieve those virtues.

25 stars out of 5 from me, definitely going to buy my own copy someday so I can re-read it again and again!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Maria.
281 reviews
March 6, 2022
Kindness, gratitude, compassion, and happiness are all inter-related and have benefit for both the giver and receiver even if not done in a completely altruistic manner. Nothing earth-shattering or particularly new here for me, but a great reminder of the benefit and need to practice kindness every day.
Profile Image for Amy Day.
383 reviews2 followers
February 6, 2017
A warm and well read audible book reviewing and reaffirming the many rewards for living a life of kindness. Health, happiness, peace, love and joy fill our lives and all others through simple kindness.
Profile Image for Lauren.
380 reviews1 follower
May 2, 2019
DNF. It feels a bit cruel to leave an unkind review for this book, but here we are. (Note: Has this joke been made multiple times already in the reviews section?) (Update: Only somewhat.) This book didn’t click with me at all and felt way too much like an inspirational page-a-day calendar. I wanted to like it, but I wanted more evidence and less sections that began, “There’s an old Buddhist/Christian/Sentinelese story that goes like this . . .” If you’re going to convince me to chat up strangers on the bus, then you’d better give me some hard science.
Profile Image for Phuongvu.
513 reviews67 followers
April 19, 2020
Quyển sách nhẹ nhàng đọc khi đi ngủ cực hợp. Mỗi ngày đọc 1 phần.
Tác giả coi lòng tốt là điểm xuất phát, là nguồn gốc tạo ra nhiều giá trị tích cực.
Chúng ta được sinh ra để tạo ra bầu không khí, nguồn năng lượng tích cực.
Ngọn lửa 1 khi đã thắp lên sẽ không bao giờ tắt^^
Chủ nhật, 19.4.2020
Profile Image for JM Pama.
6 reviews
January 25, 2020
"Just as important is to realize that microcosm is macrocosm: Each person is the whole world. If we can bring some relief and well-being to just one person's life, this is already a victory, a silent, humble response to the suffering and pain of the planet. This is the starting point."
-Piero Ferrucci

" My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
-His Holiness Dalai Lam

This is the best book I've read so far.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ashley.
19 reviews1 follower
March 1, 2020
This has turned into a daily read. Always relevant.
Profile Image for Donna.
854 reviews5 followers
August 9, 2020
A compelling argument for Kindness and its associated virtues. I love the way the author uses stories from multiple cultures to make his point.

It's validating on the one hand, but a stark reminder of what can happen if we are NOT kind.

Let's just be nice, eh?
Profile Image for Katy.
268 reviews
May 13, 2021
This book was a great reminder of the power of kindness. Outward kindness also has a direct impact on you. Great food for thought.
Profile Image for Beth.
151 reviews
September 17, 2018
Excellent book. I feel good I'm on the right track but still have work to do especially with patience.
Profile Image for Heather.
983 reviews7 followers
February 8, 2022
This is an insightful and helpful book about the importance of kindness. I loved the principles it highlights as a part of kindness: honesty, warmth, forgiveness, contact, sense of belonging, trust, mindfulness, empathy, humility, patience, generosity, respect, flexibility, memory, loyalty, gratitude, service, and joy. What wonderful reminders and examples of kindness and making the world a better place. Kindness really is what helps the world keep going. Here are some great quotes:

"'Kindness and compassion are among the principal things that make our lives meaningful. They are a source of lasting happiness and joy. They are the foundation of a good heart, the heart of one who acts out of a desire to help others (Dalai Lama, p. ix).'"

"Life goes on precisely because we are kind to one another. No newspaper tomorrow will tell of a mother who read a bedtime story to her child, or a father who prepared breakfast for his children, of someone who listened with attention, of a friend who cheered us up, of a stranger who helped us carry a suitcase. Many of us are kind without even knowing it. We do what we do simply because it is right (p. 2)."

"To receive kindness does us good (p. 3)."

"Giving kindness does us a much good as receiving it (p. 3)."

"Suppose we are kind in order to feel better and live longer. Wouldn't we be perverting the very nature of kindness?... How true! Kindness derives its purpose from itself, not from other motives (p. 3)."

"Human relations are becoming colder. Communications are becoming more hurried and impersonal. Values such as profit and efficiency are taking on greater importance at the expense of human warmth and genuine presence (p. 7)."

"Kindness is essential at all levels of education since we learn more in an atmosphere of warmth and attention than of indifference and repression. A child treated with tenderness grows healthily, a student who receives respect and attention can make much progress (p. 9)."

"It is a choice... the way of solidarity and kindness (p. 10)."

"Can honesty and kindness coexist (p. 12)?"

"To be transparent is a relief... Honesty allows us to look into someone's eyes and through them into the heart... It allows us to let ourselves be seen--and look back without averting our eyes. Honesty exists in both directions--in our interactions with ourselves and with others (p. 13)."

"'This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man (Hamlet, p. 14).'"

"If kindness has falseness at its base, it is no longer kindness. It is a labored courtesy. It does not come from the heart, but from a fear of sticking one's neck out... What do you prefer--genuine kindness, ready to tell the uncomfortable truth? Or the politeness of someone who avoids confrontation... and smiles when in agony (p. 15)?"

"To act honestly--even at the risk of saying the unpleasant truth, or of saying no and causing distress to others--if done with intelligence and tact, is the kindest thing to do, because it respects our own integrity and acknowledges in others the capacity to be competent and mature (p. 16)."

"To be honest also means to recognize a problem rather than to pretend there is none... You have to face [problems] with open-eyed honesty (p. 17)."

"I realized how weak and awkward we are when we try to hide our feelings. And how important it is, within limits of tact and good taste, to be honest and freely show what we feel and who we are (p. 19)."

"Not only is honesty compatible with genuine kindness, it is the very basis of kindness. False kindness pollutes. As long as you are not living in the truth, you cannot really communicate with others, you cannot have trust, you cannot relate (p. 19)."

"Warmth is the potential for all emotion, and therefore makes life itself possible (p. 23)."

"Intimacy is not only physical, but also psychological and spiritual. It is the capacity to enter and to let enter, to get to know and to allow to be known. To reveal our own dreams... To be without fear (p. 25)."

"When we enjoy someone one's company, who is warmed by the relationship? And when we hold a newborn baby, who gives and who receives the tenderness? If we give warmth, we do not end up feeling cold (p. 28)."

"Forgiveness is the inner act of making peace with the past and of finally closing accounts. This decision is not easy (p. 33)."

"Whoever forgives, feels uplifted (p. 34)."

"Every element of a human being influences every other element (p. 35)."

"As long as we do not face r anger, it will remain. We cannot simply sweep it under the carpet. Kindness can find no room in us (p. 37)."

"Being able to forgive and being able to say sorry are two sides of the same coin (p. 37)."

"The future can be promising, particularly if we see it this way (p. 41)."

"Distance may be safer. But our lives are poorer without the nourishment that these people can give... The fewer our contacts, the poorer our health may be (p. 43)."

"People with greater capacity for contact have a bigger and better network of social support than those less able to establish relationships with others (p. 49)."

"The more sociable a person was, the less susceptible he was to contagion... Lack of contact is linked to various illnesses and a shorter life expectancy... Social isolation correlates with a greater incidence of cardiac disease, sleep disturbance, depression, backache, deterioration of memory (p. 49)."

"We live in an era of individualism... In other eras and civilizations, individuality was less important (p. 54)."

"The importance of belonging to a community is often forgotten (p. 55)."

"The sense of belonging... the feeling that we are part of a whole greater than ourselves... is a necessary factor to our well-being (p. 56)."

"The greater the number of friends upon whom we can count, and the better the quality of these relationships, the greater is our longevity and our health (p. 57)."

"Sometimes being alone can be a relief and can give us a feeling of freedom and spaciousness. True loneliness... is different. It is the feeling that whatever happens to us has not the tiniest importance to anyone else (p. 58)."

"Trust is a bet. Each time we trust, we put ourselves on the line. If we confide in a friend, we can be betrayed. If we have faith in a partner, we can be abandoned. If we trust in the world, we can be crushed... But the alternative is worse still, because if we do not put ourselves on the line, nothing will happen (p. 61)."

"Distrust can have profound and lasting effects (p. 63)."

"Distrust sets up a distance, perhaps a barrier. Trust creates intimacy (p. 65)."

"A certain degree of suspicion is healthy and wise. But when it forms part of our character, becomes our worldview and turns into muscular tension, then it becomes a hindrance. Trust and kindness go hand in hand. Kindness is trusting and ready to risk; it brings us close to others. To trust is to be kind to others (p. 67)."

"At the center of trust we find surrender. The ability to let go has a profound and revolutionary effect on us. We realize that we cannot control everything, that we might as well abandon certainty--or the illusion of certainty (p. 68)."

"Think about the past or anticipate the future, and you are no longer present but immersed in the flow of time... That intangible moment is all that we really have, all we really are. The past is already lost. The future, however promising, is still a fairy tale. Only the present is--and we cannot grasp it. Yet we are always in the present... Memories can nourish and strengthen us (p. 72)."

"Be mindful and you will be alive (p. 74)."

"To be in the present with someone else is a gift. The gift of attention is perhaps the most precious and envied of all... To be there. To be totally available. This is what we secretly hope other people will do for us (p. 77)."

"We can care for, we can love, and we can enjoy one another only in the present... For all our relationships, the only time is now (p. 80)."

"Human beings can thrive only in community. And that is impossible if they cannot read the emotions and intentions of others (p. 83)."

"Training in empathy is perhaps one of the most urgent needs in our educational programs at all levels (p. 83)."

"The moment someone feels understood and realizes that we see the validity of his point of view and the legitimacy of his demands, he changes (p. 84)."

"Empathy... has more to do with failure than success... How do you feel pain? It is not easy. Some pretend not to feel it... Some like to show it off... Some blame God... These are ineffective ways of dealing with suffering... The best way to face pain is directly, with sincerity and courage (p. 86)."

"If I deny my suffering, it is hard for me to identify with the pain of others (p. 88)."

"Suffering can harden us or make us more cynical, but it can also make us kinder (p. 89)."

"To know our own weaknesses and to accept them, even if it is painful. To be honest. To chase illusions away and realize how much you do not know. To treasure life's lessons. That is humility. And humility is a great strength (p. 93)."

"When you know your own limits, you are ready to begin again (p. 94)."

"If you want to be at your best in learning, humility is your tool (p. 94)."

"I am not the only one--other people exist... we are not the center of the universe. To realize we are not as important as we thought can be painful, but it is also liberating... Theodore Roosevelt used to go outside at night to look at the stars and remind himself of the vastness of the universe. To be head of a great nation had a completely different feeling in the context of galaxies. Here we have an essential condition for kindness. How can we be kind if, deep down, we think we are special and not subject to the laws others have to obey (p. 99)?"

"It is precisely by understanding and accepting our weaknesses that we become fully human (p. 100)."

"Humility places us in a state where learning becomes possible. It gives us a taste for simplicity; and when we are simpler, we are also more genuine... Humility helps us find our place under the stars (p. 101)."

"We too often leave our souls behind (p. 106)."

"Traveling more slowly on land or sea, you can more easily comprehend and assimilate the change (p. 107)."

"In order to be kind, we must make time (p. 107)."

"In these times of accelerated pace and immediate gratifications, patience is an unpopular and seemingly tedious quality (p. 109)."

"Patience is just the ability to face without fear the incessant flow of time (p. 111)."

"Generosity touches the deepest strata of our being... To be generous means to... redefine our boundaries... borders are permeable. What is yours--your suffering, your problems--is also mine: This is compassion. What is mine--my possessions... my knowledge and abilities, my time and resources, my energy--is also yours: This is generosity (p. 115)."

"True generosity is guided by awareness. It gives people what they really need for their next step forward (p. 117)."

"It seems almost offensive to speak about the benefits of generosity (p. 120)."

"Happier people tend to be more generous. If we are feeling content, we are likely to be kinder to others... The converse is also true: If you are generous you are more likely to be happy. Generosity is a mood-lifter... 'Nothing makes you happier than to help someone who is unwell' (M0ther Teresa, p. 121).'"

"Generosity is... to give that which is dearer to us. It is an act that transforms us... we will be poorer, but we will feel richer (p. 122)."

"Who can be bothered to take the time to know us truly? Very few. It is hard work... Even worse is when we are not seen at all--treated as if we were invisible (p. 123)."

"The students who are seen by the teacher as the most intelligent become the most intelligent (p. 128)."

"Appreciating others will make us feel better (p. 129)."

"Respect is not just a matter of seeing... It is also about hearing. Respect does not exist without a listening ear... True listening only happens in silence (p. 130)."

"Listening needs more than just silence. It requires the ability to hear not only what is being said, but how it is being said. Often, the words by themselves are not so important, the tone counts much more (p. 131)."

"To listen, you have to empty yourself of yourself (p. 132)."

"Evil must be faced... Evil develops because it is ignored (p. 135)."

"If you adapt, you survive. If, in the midst of changing conditions, you stay fixed, you perish (p. 137)."

"The more flexible entity is the one that wins (p. 138)."

"Will you fight or will you dance? The ability to be flexible resonates in our relationships (p. 141)."

"Give people we love the freedom to be what they want to be... give them the space to experiment, make mistakes, be creative, fail or succeed (p. 144)."

"The nicest aspect of being flexible, and the one that has most to do with kindness, is perhaps availability... To be available can of course be tiring and can open the door to people who exploit us and waste our time... We cannot respond to every request, return every call, satisfy every need, answer each e-mail... It is a matter of holding an inner attitude of availability as a guiding value in dealing with others (p. 146)."

"A little more kindness and good organization goes a long way to making people feel welcome (p. 147)."

"People are still there even when we do not think of them. They continue to suffer, work, enjoy, get sick, get well, die (p. 150)."

"In memories we preserve the soul (p. 153)."

"The people who belong to our history are part of us, and we need their presence and support in order to feel strong and whole... Acknowledging our roots changes us (p. 158)."

"We cannot be kind if we forget those who are no longer useful to us. We will never be whole and comfortable, in ourselves and with others, if we divide people into grade A and grade B. We will not understand the relationships we have with one another if we do not deeply understand how much our lives are woven together in the past, present, and future, how much they become part of one another, and how much each one of us is everyone else (p. 160)."

"We would like to be associated with loyal people. Nevertheless, we do not hear much about this quality (p. 163)."

"Loyalty is... 'being with.' It consists in keeping the thread, without allowing distraction or interruption to guide our lives (p. 166)."

"We are programmed to give and receive loyalty (p. 167)."

"To hold a friend in the heart without judgment, without demand--simply to care for this person because we are interested in what he thinks about our ideas and because we know he is ready to listen to and understand us and be on our side... Friendship heals and regenerates (p. 168)."

"Hand in hand with loyalty go reliability and faithfulness (p. 169)."

"When we are loyal and reliable, we feel a fundamental integrity that gives us a sense of well-being (p. 170)."

"Loyalty gives substance and strength to kindness (p. 171)."

"Gratitude... the easiest way to be happy (p. 173)"

"If we recognize the value of what we have, we feel rich and fortunate. If we do not recognize it, we feel poor and unhappy (p. 175)."

"If everything always went smoothly, we would take for granted all that was beautiful and would not fully appreciate the gifts of life (p. 177)."

"Gratitude is warmth, openness, intimacy. Life becomes much easier. We are no longer anxious to prove how clever we are. And we stop whining and complaining... We discover that happiness is already here... Right in front of our eyes (p. 182)."

"There are infinite ways... of bringing into the life of another person some benefit, relief, cheerfulness, hope, well-being, intellectual or spiritual growth, ecstasy... service is also in the little things... to hold the door open for someone, to give warm appreciation, to offer your seat on the bus (p. 185)."

"Requests for help and occasions for service all about us abound... To offer something useful to someone can reward us personally (p. 191)."

"Serving others brings about the best in ourselves (p. 192)."

"True kindness is given happily... One component of kindness is a happy disposition (p. 200)."

"An optimistic attitude has several benefits for health (p. 202)."

"What is it that makes us happy? Enjoying the beauty of nature, spending time with someone we love, doing physical activity, reading a book, playing music, rediscovering solitude: there are many possibilities (p. 204)."

"We are happier if our relationships with those around us are good (p. 204)."

"Opportunities for kindness are all around us (p. 208)."

"Infinite are the ways of being kind (p. 209)."

"Being kind is taking a stand (p. 211)."

"The problems of humanity can be resolved only by the participation and initiatives of large numbers of people, and by profound cultural changes... It is short-sighted to see kindness as a light-weight factor. Not only is kindness capable of saving humanity--it is already saving it. Have you ever asked yourself how come the world, with its complex structures, hasn't collapsed? It is a miracle that this unimaginably complex system goes on without plunging into total chaos... It is thanks to... kindness (p. 212)."

"'I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease... It is the principal source of success in life (Dalai Lama, p. 213).'"
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