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The Book of Joy {book review}



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Hello friends, at the beginning of each year I try to read a book that will help me set my intention for that year. With the passing of the Archbishop and people trying to rewrite history and tell his story from one event and ignore his many layers, sacrifices and complexities. I felt that I needed to read some of his books. First on my list was the book of Joy, his collaboration with the Dalai Lama and Douglas Abrams.

Discovering more joy does not…. save us from the inevitability of hardship and heart break. In fact we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too….As we discover more joy, we face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitter. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heart break without being broken.


The Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have been friends for many years. Between them, they have endured exile, violence and oppression. In the face of these hardships, they have continued to radiate compassion, humour and above all joy.  To celebrate his Holiness’s eightieth birthday, Archbishop Tutu travelled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala. The two men spent a week discussing a single burning question: how do we find joy in the face of suffering?  This book is a gift from two of the most important spiritual figures of our time. The book of Joy offers us a chance to experience their journey from first embrace to final goodbye.

There is nothing wrong with the faiths. The problem is the faithful

Some points that I meditated on

  • Too much self- centered thinking is the source of suffering.
  • Compassion is a feature of strength, not weakness.
  • Envy doesn’t leave room for joy
  • Acceptance means not fighting reality
  • Gratitude means embracing reality
  • Unforgiveness robs us of our ability to enjoy and appreciate our life

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“Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment. ” 

Final thoughts

This was not a book that one simply picks up and finishes in a couple of days. It requires that you really let the chapters sink in. Also reflect on your own personal feelings and how to apply the lessons to one’s own life. The true friendship of these two men stood out for me, they had the joy they were speaking on, they truly love (d) each other. I found this book profound.

One Comment

  • Siyabonga Buthelezi

    One of the best book I have ever picked up…glad to see it account for all sorts of emotions and not just joy😍😍😍

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