Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” as Want to Read:
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  21,700 ratings  ·  1,179 reviews
Out of nowhere, like a breeze in a marketplace crowded with advice, comes Byron Katie and “The Work.” In the midst of a normal life, Katie became increasingly depressed, and over a ten-year period sank further into rage, despair, and thoughts of suicide. Then one morning, she woke up in a state of absolute joy, filled with the realization of how her own suffering had ended ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by Harmony (first published 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Loving What Is, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Quantum Transformation Loving What Is, by far. I recommend the audiobook so you can hear her doing The Work with participants, rather than reading transcripts. It's much mor…moreLoving What Is, by far. I recommend the audiobook so you can hear her doing The Work with participants, rather than reading transcripts. It's much more powerful. As a coach and chaplain I have recommended this book to my clients, and help them the learn the processes in it to reduce stress and suffering. It's an invaluable resource and one of the simplest, most powerful tools with which you can arm yourself. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,700 ratings  ·  1,179 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Jan 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Hmmmm...need to digest this one before writing a review. Some things rang true, some were rather disturbing. I'll be back in a bit...

I'm back. Here we go:

After a long discussion with a good friend who found The Work extremely helpful in dealing with some difficult issues in her life recently, I'm willing to acknowledge that when applied appropriately with greater guidance and/or better explanation, many of my concerns as outlined below can be alleviated. My rating is staying at a 1-sta
Lori Kincaid Rassati
Jul 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I listened to part of the audio version of this book, but I couldn't finish it. I first learned of this book from a smart, very successful woman who referenced it in a talk to 250 of my co-workers. She mentioned how life-changing it was to determine what was her business, someone else's business or God's business. That made sense, so I decided to check it out.

My first dumbfounded moment was in her conversation with a mother who was struggling with her young son not doing his chores, not doing hi
Oct 26, 2012 rated it did not like it

I went into this with open eyes and mind and ended up being quite disappointed.


The story that really sent me over the edge was the one of the abused woman. She was sexually abused by her stepfather from about age 9.

Byron Katie must not be a sexual abuse surivor because her "work" with this gal both appalling and insensitive. To tell a victim that they need to admit they are guilty of some part of the abuse is incomprehensible to me. And to tell a victim to put herself into th
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book about blew the top of my head off.

Numerous times I had to sit back and contemplate the book for a long long time before I felt prepared to continue.

I recommend this to EVERYBODY. It's another one of those books that would improve the world by major leaps and bounds if everybody read it.
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you want a life-changing book, then you need to read this one today. It is so powerful.

Years ago, after months of dealing with post-partum depression after giving birth to my first child, my GP suggested I talk to a therapist to help me through the depression. I ended up seeing a cognitive therapist for a few months, which blew my mind. I actually got the tools necessary to help me deal with my emotional reactions to situations going on around me.

Byron Katie, whose book is at heart cognitiv
Bob Klein
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is a hard review. Her book (and her questions, but mostly her interviews-as-examples) have the potential to help a lot of people deal with interpersonal issues (that she boils down to inner-personal). The problem I have is the potentially dangerous way that she applies a universal logic to dealing with complex problems. The questions are general enough, and the answers are supposed to be generated by the people answering them. Still, she makes it quite clear from the numerous case studies i ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-danish, own
I've got nothing against the message of this book or the questions it's build up around.
It's just that it's all a little... shallow. . and simplistic.
There's so much more to life, and people and their problems, and their stories, and their thinking and their feelings than Byron Katie acknowledges.
Life is complex.
And sometimes the way to clear your mind or look at life and things from a different perspective doesn't come in a 4-question package, no matter how well and often it has worked for oth
Steffan Bard
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
As I made my way through it, I kept having this unsettling feeling - esp. as I read the dialogues in it. Eventually I figured out what was confusing and challenging about it. I deeply resonate with a lot of her core principles and premises (as they are ones I've come to on my own), yet I have some very sharp disagreements with how they are applied. This made it an odd book to read for me because usually when I resonate with the basic principles and premises an author is describing I usually also ...more
Oct 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking to improve themselves, or seeking better understanding
Recommended to V by: Book Club
To start, let me say I generally loathe self-help books. I don't like reading them, and most generally end up throwing the book out, or keeping it as a source of laughter material.

I would not have read this book if I didn't have to for a book club, and when I first picked it up and started reading I was like "Oh come on.. really?"

But as I got further into the book, and really started to grasp exactly what she was trying to say, and trying to get people to implement in their lives.. The simplicit
Lezlee Hays
Dec 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
I have no idea how to star this. One star because I think it's potentially dangerous? Four stars because I think some of it could be helpful for some people? Two stars because on balance I can't make up my mind? I don't know. Ultimately, I think Katie's concepts are too much for most people to digest without potentially having bad side effects. The idea of letting go of the things we can't control - other people, many of our thoughts, realizations that we're often our own problem and not the oth ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, 2019, owned, nf, self-help
I own both the audio and paper versions of this book. Considering the fact that most of my reading and listening comes from local libraries, that is saying something. The concepts in this book are fairly easy to grasp, and the impacts can be life-changing. Rather than studying enlightenment for years and hoping for a glimpse, Katie's ideas are the fast-track.

To summarize, the book explains that we are the projector of the world and everyone in it. If the world seems chaotic, there is chaos insi
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I was recommended this by my counsellor. I was very unsure about it because a lot of reviews suggested it includes a lot of victim blaming -- and this is, in a sense, true: Byron Katie's theory is essentially that we are always the ones causing ourselves pain. She does tell a woman to figure out what part her nine year old self had in her own rape, what she did 'wrong'.

That sounds very discomforting, but I think I see why she does it. When you've had some kind of trauma, there's often a question
Grace Dague
Oct 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
Heard great things and watched a film clip of Byron Katie on Oprah. What she said made some sense, so I bought the book.

Stopped reading at page 55. The recommendations in this book are potentially harmful. I would not put any stock in it.

This reviewer found 12 potentially positive aspects and 37 potentially harmful aspects!

I truly bought into what she was saying with the first chapter and did a practice exercise, but something did not seem right. I had
Elyse  Walters
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Katie Byron is FABULOUS....
Haven't heard her name for years!

She was a pioneer (along with Werner Erhard) ---

"The Way Things Are --are the way things are"!

FUN person! (we also saw her years ago)

Wow---all these spiritual books a Goodreads member posted --is taking me down memory land!
The Goon
Nov 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help, terrible
Whoooooooeeeeee, “Loving What Is” is some book. Byron Katie has it all figured out. Throughout pages and pages of transcripts of real ‘therapy,’ Katie teaches you how to do “The Work.”

The Work is a series of questions you are to ask yourself that are designed to lead to eventual insight.

The questions are: 1. Is what you’re thinking true? 2. Can you be absolutely sure it’s true? 3. How does it make you feel? 4. What would you feel like if you didn’t feel like this?

5. Now, make 3 statements that
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What if four questions could turn your frustration around and create harmony in your life? What if you could ask yourself powerful questions and trust that the process would lead you to inner peace and pain-free existence? What if it really were that simple - not easy, mind you, but simple?

This book has been an awakening in ways that I had not intended to experience. Subtle. Powerful. Inviting. Gripping. Nudging. Original. Oh my, quite the awakening.

In "The Work", Byron Katie takes us through th
Sherry Joiner
It took years to correct the thought patterns and the way I felt about myself and others. In Byron Katie's book with Stephen Mitchell, Loving What Is: Four questions that can change your life, the light came on. I searched my soul for the truth, and it enlightened every situation around me by me doing the 'work' of writing it down. I found out the reasoning behind- why I was being paranoid, and- why I made such rash judgments. Byron Katie invites you to discover the reality in your life, how you ...more
Brian Johnson
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.”

“There is no thought or situation that you can’t put up against inquiry. Every thought, every person, every apparent problem is here for the sake of your freedom.”

“Every story is a variation on a single theme: This shouldn’t be happening. I shouldn’t be having this experience. God is unjust. Life isn’t fair.”

~ Byron Katie from Loving What Is

THAT, in a nutshe
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help, nonfiction
As other readers have stated, this book was really hard to review. I didn't feel that the author was truly honest, for some reason. She presents herself as completely altruistic, but the dynasty that she is building through "the Work" doesn't seem to support that hypothesis. She comes off as a bit of a New Age nut, and the book is a little silly in parts.

But I have to admit that the four questions were insightful and actually helped me to see through a lot of issues I have been dealing with late
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Reality doesn't wait for your opinion, vote, or permission, sweetheart. It just keeps being what it is and doing what it does." Byron Katie, pg 70.

When I am discontent, it is because I cannot accept some person, place or principle that is not as I want. I get stuck on the "shoulds". Even though I know I need to let it go, I'm not sure how. This book gives a very simple process of examining my thoughts. For this reason, I rate this book as a life changing five star.

Many of us cling to our story
Ashley Hoopes
Dec 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I give this book five stars because I think that it is a profound idea that Byron Katie is introducing- especially for those who are tormented with the weight of worry about those people and circumstances around them that they feel as though they have some power to control. It was a breakthrough for me, to have permission to let go of some worries that I felt duty-bound to carry with me throughout life. Often, these questions pop up in my daily trains of thought, and cause me to re examine what ...more
Barry Lee
Feb 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
At best, this is a gross oversimplification of real problems people face with solutions founded in anecdotal evidence and contradictory principles.

If you cherry pick quotes out of this book you'll end up with a collection of seemingly valuable maxims, which I assume are the reasons for this book's success. That being said, the book doesn't cohere well logically.

One of the techniques she teaches is "the turnaround". This is where you turn a problem around and see if the problem is actually your
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My first exposure to 'The Work' and Byron Katie was about 15 years ago. Back then, I probably would have given any of her books one, possible two stars. But the truth is I wasn't ready or even able to hear or understand the concept of projection (even with a Master's in psychology! go figure). A recent accidental rediscovery--by way of a 7 min video of her working with someone on Youtube--just blew my mind. Since that day, I cannot get enough of Byron Katie's insights. The Work is working for me ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I liked this book at the beginning, but as it went on it just got kind of weird for me. I got some points as to what she was saying, especially when she talked about how you control your own thinking. But when it got to the section on rape, that was just messed up and weird. That's when I really lost interest. ...more
Mark Manderson
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beneficial books I've ever read.
Top takeaways:

Is it true? 

Can you absolutely know it's true? 

How do you react when you think that thought? 

Who would you be without the thought/story? 

We are Disturbed not by what happens to us but by our thoughts about what happens. Once you grasp this truth your whole understanding will change.

Allow yourself to be as judgmental and Petty as you really feel. Don't try to be spiritual or kind as The Peddler we can be when we're writing the
Mar 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
I read this because I saw a quote, which I liked, in an online discussion. The quote was actually from another book by the same author -- maybe I should try that other book instead.

In this one, the four questions (and a "turnaround") are like a simple, pared-down form of cognitive therapy. I tried them on a few problems, and they were helpful. Also helpful was Katie's notion that there are three types of business -- yours, mine, and God's -- and much of our stress comes from "mentally living out
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is like a reality show and I generally don't like those. People come up to the mic and the author asks them a few simple questions and they break down and cry and have epiphanies. I'll give the book the benefit of the doubt that what's on the recordings is real, but even so I'm not sure how useful this is in general. The author's personal story is of figuring out her process when she hit bottom, and I can believe that. What's refreshing here is that the author doesn't pretend to be some "re ...more
Crystal Hammon
Despite some vile language in the transcripts used to illustrate the author's system and a slightly condescending tone found there, I found this book a wonderful little tool for dissecting embedded beliefs that do nothing but create grief. The author's basic premise is that most unhappiness and stress comes when we argue with reality. By answering four questions and turning what's bothering you into turnaround statements, you can identify what's really true about situation, discovering new optio ...more
Jen Brodehl
5 Stars- This book is like a hug from a therapist. So many useful tips and life strategies. I loved the audio because Katie reads it herself. But I also just bought the hard copy to read and highlight so that I can refer back to it easier. Another great resource to help train your brain.
Elliot A
Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
When I started reading this book I had a very strange sense of deja vu until I remembered that the first chapter had been assigned as required reading in a previous course.

I was glad that I had the opportunity to read the entire book, since the first chapter did hold some interesting points.

In this book the author introduces her concept The Work, which provides a person the ability to see reality for what it is, reduce cognitive confusion and make peace with the uncontrollable aspects in life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Does doing The Work work? 6 64 Nov 09, 2015 03:08PM  
Seriously, No Discussions about "The Work?" 4 34 Sep 28, 2013 07:25PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want
  • Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What!
  • The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self
  • Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live
  • A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
  • A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
  • The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way
  • The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
  • The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection
  • The Seat of the Soul
  • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
  • Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
  • Existential Kink: Unmask Your Shadow and Embrace Your Power (A method for getting what you want by getting off on what you don't)
  • Making Your Thoughts Work For You 4-CD Live Lecture
  • Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential
  • You Can Heal Your Life
  • Susie Orbach on Eating
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

News & Interviews

Now that we’re halfway through the year, it’s time to check in on the 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge, our rigorous annual initiative for book...
140 likes · 39 comments
“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” 248 likes
“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.” 220 likes
More quotes…