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Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change…
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Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World (2013)

by Matthieu Ricard

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Excellently heartfelt and well-researched tome that arrives at a definition and tackles various subjects such as: Can animals act altruistically; the selfishness of corporations (Monsanto the perfect example), and many others, all with footnotes and a rather extensive bibliography. I particularly enjoyed the section on animals, which waded into the murky waters of stubborn scientists who refuse against all evidence to use language that admits that animals do indeed feel fear and loyalty and love; he asks "Can we call a spade a spade?" Ricard furnishes many examples of animals that rather do prove that animals can and do act altruistically (the chimp who dashes across electrical wires to rescue a drowning friend; such spontaneity precluded calculation, but had the other chimp drowned, there would be no point of expecting return kindness in future; and the elephant that lost part of its trunk to a snare, who was assisted and waited on by others until he'd regained some strength). Also really heartening was the Monsanto section in which "Vandana Shiva, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (the 'alternative Nobel Prize') in 2003 and named by The Guardian one of the 100 most remarkable women in the world, fights against the practices that are at the root of so many acts of despair in India." It gives one hope to read about people fighting against such corporate greed in a country where 270,940 Indian farmer suicides have occurred since 1995. You give capitalism a bad name, Monsanto, procurer of DDT, Agent Orange, GMOs, Roundup, and Aroclor! All in all, a huge, easy-to-read effort from a onetime geneticist who turned his back on his trade. ( )
  Muzzorola | Nov 22, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316208248, Hardcover)

The author of the international bestseller Happiness makes a passionate case for altruism--and why we need it now more than ever.

In Happiness, Matthieu Ricard demonstrated that true happiness is not tied to fleeting moments or sensations, but is an enduring state of soul rooted in mindfulness and compassion for others. Now he turns his lens from the personal to the global, with a rousing argument that altruism--genuine concern for the well-being of others--could be the saving grace of the 21st century. It is, he believes, the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Ricard's message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros.

Matthieu Ricard makes a robust and passionate case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our society. It's a fresh outlook on an ardent struggle--and one that just might make the world a better place.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 02 Aug 2015 19:33:22 -0400)

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"The author of the international bestseller Happiness makes a passionate case for altruism-- and why we need it now more than ever"-- Amazon.com.

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