Happy Monday! Today’s picture is brought to you from one of the places that brings me joy: the woods. Nature really, whether it’s the beach, the mountains or the woods. I love it all.

Okay, back to books. Today I have a different kind of book that I reviewed. The Book of Joy is a non-fiction, and I’m not a non-fiction reader. BUT. I’ve got a interest in self-help books recently, and in search of ones that I should add to my TBR-list, I came across this one. My library only had it in Dutch, but I still decided to add it to my library haul of last month.

Here’s what The Book Of Joy is about: The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy.

Their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu overcame great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their eighties, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.

Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.

My thoughts on The Book Of Joy

It was hard getting used to this book because of the way it is written. It’s half a very long interview. But in between there are passages from the author himself. And sometimes it’s unclear who says what, although it’s also said in the book that they want it to be one messages from both of them as one.

Throughout the book, there are moments where it shows the humanity of the two very important spiritual persons. It is in those moments where it was hard to figure out who said what for it to make sense.

Aside from the writing style, I really like the book’s message. It shows you ways to have joy in your life (duh), even if you’ve been through a lot of hardships in your life. It gives you 8 pillars on how to achieve joy.

Unfortunately, they introduced those 8 pillars on page 200. Which means that the first 200 pages are more about the lives of the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama, and all the hardships one can have in one’s life. Not very joyful topics. Though there are some points I took from those chapters as well.

I loved it when they discuss the 8 pillars. They explain how to practice those themes and how they think it will bring you joy. It’s insightful, though some are kind of open doors.

The exercises at the end of the book (mostly meditation ones) are pretty standard. But I like that they added it, since they talk about it a lot in the book.

I really believe that every person on this planet should read this book. It talks about religion and being respectful towards other religions, about gratefulness, forgiveness and perspective.

As the Dalai Lama said: “As one of the seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has the responsibility to develop a happier world. We need, ultimately, to have a greater concern for others’ well-being.”

So, what things am I changing after reading The Book Of Joy?

I’m trying to be more thankful. I’ll admit that I sometimes like to have a little self-pity. Especially since my health isn’t great lately. Being more thankful for the things I do have and I do get to do, will help me get out of that negative spiral.

Also, I want to try to be more forgiving towards others, but also towards myself. The Book Of Joy has made it very clear that forgiving is an act of strength, not of weakness. And by forgiving you are not saying it’s okay what they did. You forgive the person, not the action. I think that’s a great way to look at it.

Final rating

With all the wisdom that I can easily put into practice, I give this book 4/5 stars.