Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
Published by Penguin Press
Jul 27, 2016 Web Exclusive Photography by Penguin Press
Krista Tippett's Becoming Wise is not a book for the cynical. Tippett has outstanding credentials: graduate of Yale Divinity School, Peabody Award Winner, New York Times best-selling author, recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2014. The list goes on and on. Becoming Wise is an extension of Tippett's weekly NPR program and podcast "On Being," where she discusses big questions about life and living with the best and brightest from across different fields of study.
Becoming Wise distills her conversations and existential inquiries into five main areas: Words, Flesh, Love, Faith, and, lastly, Hope. The book's chapters deal with these areas individually, each chapter ending with series of conversations with Tippett and various scholars.
In sum, Becoming Wise is spiritual. It is philosophical. It questions how we wish to live our lives and the messages we choose to send into the world, and then it attempts to answer those questions. Big questions. Important questions. Thought-provoking questions. Tippett talks about yoga, awareness, wisdom, and understanding. Much of Becoming Wise is anchored by the spiritual. Of all the topics addressed, most interesting to this particular cynic (read: your fair reviewer) is her discussion with physicists about religion and the question of meaning in the universe.
It is easy to read Becoming Wise with a cynical eye, questioning Tippett's spiritual questions and longing for answers that are unattainable. However, if this is how one chooses to interact with the text, one may just be converted by Tippett's final chapter, Hope, a term which she defines as a choice becoming practice, grounded in reality and the present, and not simple wishful idealism. As Tippett says best, "Cynicism is not more reasonable than hope."
Author rating: 6.5/10
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