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Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  6,819 ratings  ·  516 reviews
It was under the bodhi tree in India twenty-five centuries ago that Buddha achieved the insight that three states of mind were the source of all our unhappiness: wrong knowing, obsessive desire, and anger. All are difficult, but in one instant of anger—one of the most powerful emotions—lives can be ruined, and health and spiritual development can be destroyed. With exquisi ...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by Riverhead Books (first published August 1st 2001)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  6,819 ratings  ·  516 reviews

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Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who struggles with "negative" feelings (especially anger or anxiety)
Shelves: favorites
This book was recommended to me by my therapist when I was having serious anxiety issues, as well as relationship issues. I keep coming back to it and loaning it out, because it may be the best book I've ever read on relating to "negative" feelings.

Thich Nhat Hanh proposes that anger, and other emotions we perceive as negative, are in fact our way of letting ourselves know that something needs taking care of. Just as we would not ignore signs that something such as our liver needs taking care of
Jan 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Well I made it 20 pages in. This is what I have learned: Thich Nhat Hanh is a time traveler. He has come to the present from a time long before the scientific method, and therefore feels totally qualified to assert easily verifiable claims with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Case in point, quoting from the book: "So when you eat the flesh or egg of such a[n angry] chicken, you are eating anger and frustration. So be aware, Be careful what you eat. If you eat anger, you will become and expres ...more
Julie Christine
This is not something I will ever "finish" reading. It is, like Taming the Tiger Within , a work I will return to again and again when I need solace and quiet wisdom to guide my energies and soothe the chatter in my brain. Thich Nhat Hanh gently challenges us to engage in mindfulness in everything that we do. Only through mindfulness can we let go of the detritus that poisons our life- the noise and distraction of ambition, expectations, material possessions and technology- and embrace the peace ...more
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! Well, not the book, but my reaction to it.

I first read this book in 2005 for a book club I was part of in LA. I HATED this book with a passion. Instead of helping me not feel angry (which I really was during that time anyway), it made me furious! I had a very short patience for it and I felt that the book talked to me as if I were a stupid child. I really hated that book.

However... I've grown up, matured. I re-read this book about a year ago and it was so very hilarious to realize how
Dec 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
So, I was mad about something and a friend told me to read this. It's a book all about how not to be mad at stuff and my reaction to it was that it made me so mad that I couldn't finish it. So now I am mad about the original thing I was mad about plus also mad at a Buddhist monk author person. GOOD TIMES
Kirtida Gautam
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chakra-2
I never read Thich Nhat Hanh's book in a single go. I pick one of his books and read it over a period of a few months. Just a couple of pages at a time. This is the best way to read his work. If you will read his book, you might think he is saying the same thing again and again.
It's because he IS saying the same thing again and again.
That is how the Buddhist mantra conversation works.
If you will read the work over period of a long time, like a practice, you will notice a paradigm shift in you
Jul 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, reviewed
I started reading this book without knowing what to expect, hoping to get some useful advice and inspirational ideas. Instead, the book quickly started to annoy me, having too much of the following:

1) preachy and patronizing sentences, such as: we must recognize... we need to... it is important to... that is the real truth ... that is sheer ignorance...

2) many clichés,
People actually need only half of the food that they daily eat.
To eat properly, you should chew food at least 50 times befor
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 40-books-in-2008
i remember the first time i read a chapter by thich nhat hanh, 5 years ago after a jazz camp experience in litchfield connecticut. the way it made my heart feel, my body, my associations... that spirit was totally rekindled when i read this book. his ideas are so repetitive, which is so enlightening for someone who is looking to transform her emotional states.

this book is fantastic. it's not just about anger, it's about all emotions that might be causing some sort of intensity (whether good or
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The man I love broke up with me the week I stumbled upon this book in a crowded shop in an unfamiliar city. I spent a half hour enthralled, slowly gravitating to a corner where I quietly cried. This simply written book spoke volumes to me, evoking memories of the many times I had unleashed my anger upon my wonderful ex-boyfriend, selfless family members, and supportive friends. It helped me recognize the depth of the unnecessary, cruel pain I had wrought upon myself and others, especially my lov ...more
Sep 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, psychology
I consider myself a fairly angry/high strung person, so I've been looking for good books that address this emotion. This shows that anger exists in everyone but some are better than others at "taking care of it" when it arises. He's pretty generous with metaphors that help you visualize anger, though you might get them mixed up after a while (I take care of my "baby" anger, like a seed I water in myself, like a potato boiling in a pot, etc. etc.). The content is a little repetitive, but maybe it ...more
I first attempted to listen to Peter Coyote's reading of Anger about 10 years ago. Without Thich Nhat Hanh's gentle and forgiving voice, Anger lost its heart. I have recently been reading--and enjoying--it on my phone between meetings and, because I have listened to several of his other books, I inserted his voice into the text.

Anger was well worth the second purchase. His reframe of anger and relational disruptions as an interpersonal problem is a gift that we should all carry with us, one tha
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy this author. When I was down I looked around for anything by TNH that I had not already read and found this book on my self. Even reading just a few pages, helps me regain a better outlook on life -- even if anger was not the emotion I was feeling at the time.
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, spirit-matters
I cannot say how much I am grateful for having been given this book. I asked for a book on Anger, and my Friend from Quaker Meeting came back with this. I opened it during Meeting, and, in the way that Meeting so often works, I fell on words that I needed at that moment, and I could feel them working in me. I read the book once, slowly, mindfully, like a piece of the most delicious cheesecake. I practiced each new thing I read about as I read it. It is making a difference. Then, when I got to th ...more
Sep 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed other books by this author, so I picked this one up after a friend recommended it. I was really hoping to get some useful advice and "enlightening" ideas that I could immediately apply to my everyday life.

Unfortunately, Thich Nhat Hahn It lost my respect and attention when I got to the paragraph about how eating the eggs and meat from "angry chickens" makes us angry. Really? And this must be the absolute truth because a vegan/vegetarian monk says it must be so? Where is the sci
May 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I saw one reviewer who said her therapist had given it to her. I am a therapist and I have photocopied several passages and had clients read certain chapters. As with many of his books, after I read it for awhile I come away with the same feeling I have after I meditate - centered, grounded, peaceful (usually, anyway). Even if anger is not a huge concern, this book holds wisdom for everyday living. Better yet, all proceeds from his books go to his monastery - I love that.
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, 2019
Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. I have worked very hard to improve my own relationship with anger over the years, and still feel like I have a long way to go. Although my temper does not flare up often, when it does rear its ugly head, it can sometimes be difficult for me to control. I suspect that it is most likely congruent with others' experiences as well. When something pushes us over the line, it seems like calming down is but an impossibility.

Being a fan of
Steve Woods
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first read Thich Nhat Hanh when I sarted to become seriously interested in Buddhism I couldn't really connect with his style or the substance of what he was saying. That difficulty derived from the way in which I received his teaching, through the divided dualistic intellectual mind that was in fact the source of my troubles. This is a very powerful little book on letting go anger. The one thing that came out for me is that it is the power of mindfulness that is the generating engine in my own ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked this book. Debated between 3 and 4 stars, but settled for 3. It was very centered on achieving mindfulness. It gave a lot of good advice I thought - but most of it I have read or heard before in my reading material and just about Buddhism in general. It is always a good reminder though of how to live a peaceful life. The first chapter was about "you are what you eat" - which I found quite interesting especially after just reading "skinny bitch" before this - but just him talking about th ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2000s
While this book had a lot of great advice (the mindful breathing seems to help me a bit) it's mostly to help deal with anger with the people we love (partners, children, parents) and not as much with other kinds of relationships. For instance, in my case, a lot of the anger I experience in my recent life is because of my boss. I can't exactly sit down and do compassionate listening for my boss...the best I can do is try to give my boss a present every time I'm angry...but I may go broke followin ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This book reminds me of my dad. Calm, peaceful, and gently preachy in an otherworldly way. Ostensibly talking to you about a specific topic (here, "anger"), but inevitably circling back, again and again, to his favorite life mottos. Full of unverified anecdotes with fairy-tale endings. Full of advice that's of limited direct practical value, yet that stirs appreciation for the deep happiness, genuine humility, and pure intentions at its source.
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Taken with a grain of salt, there is some information that can be taken away, mostly... that of breathing and accepting that your anger is your responsibility, and that lashing out at the person who has angered you just adds to more pain in the world, resolving nothing.

However, anyone with a two year old child, will tell the author of the book to go stuff it, and get ANGRY!!!
Apr 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: married people
Shelves: attempted
This repetitive book had only to do with fights between couples who live together. Since I'm single, that made me ANGRY, ironically enough.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're angry at a significant other or family member, this book is helpful. If you're angry at life in general then it's not helpful at all.

I think I'm angrier now than when I started!
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Guidance for the specific control, defusing and dismantling of negative emotions and behavior patterns

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

In one, attentive, mindful of regular practice in the area of the possible, minute one chooses voluntarily. Namely between hours to days of trouble, strife, aggression and harmful stress, including physically harmful effects or rest, contemplation and derivation of negative energies until t
Elizabeth Lozano
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of his best books, and that is to say something. Thich Nhat Hanh is a treasure
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book from which you should expect the ethics and philosophical underpinnings of Buddhist thought. And, possibly, for that reason, it could be one of the most powerful/ practical guides on how to deal with one's anger, mainly towards others, but also the "seeds of anger" (as Thich coins it) within us all, which is then manifested and/or revealed through our anger towards others and/or at our particular circumstances.

Although there may be some misconceptions about whether it is best
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I sort of like - and sort of really don't like - this book. It is so basic, I feel like I could've written it myself. Also, I was able to read it (or skim it, rather) in under an hour... and I am not a fast reader. Don't get me wrong, there are things in this book I agree with, and believe are essential teachings for everyone. "One minute of practice is one minute of generating the energy of mindfulness." Great. But then, there are passages like this: "In the Vietnamese tradition, husband and wi ...more
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I started reading this as research for an Anger Management workshop I will be presenting. While Buddhist in nature, I felt the tips and techniques offered were very valid and useful. The most important thing I took away from this is that anger is part of who all of us are, it's not something that is done by someone else to us. In order to alleviate anger, we have to accept it, embrace it, and recognize that it is there. There is a reason we are feeling it, and we must determine what that reason ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

"When you begin with yourself, you will be able to restore communication, and the other person will change naturally."

Really? Will they? *sigh* After reading about angry chickens & a bunch of stuff that really only seemed to apply to intimate relationships, I read the above quote & finally called it quits w/ this book. I mean, sure, a person has to start w/ themselves. That doesn't mean another person is necessarily going to alter a gd thing, though. In my experience, more often than not, the

Ryan Rodriquez
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." - Buddha

This book was written by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk that has an affinity for simplicity and a great understanding of anger and the many things that cause it. Thinking about Buddhist monks, you don't really get the sense that they are angry people. Reading this book I've come to learn that they are not angry people because they completely understand anger, and how to take care of it like a needy child. This boo
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Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who now lives in southwest France where he was in exile for many years. Born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo, Thích Nhất Hạnh joined a Zen (Vietnamese: Thiền) monastery at the age of 16, and studied Buddhism as a novitiate. Upon his ordination as a monk in 1949, he assumed the Dharma name Thích Nhất Hạnh. Thích is an honorary ...more

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