The Book of Joy
Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.
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. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet.

From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: 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 have been tested by 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.

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The Book of Joy Reviews

  • Pablo
    Dec 4, 2016


    The actual structuring of the book is a bit messy at times but the content is beautiful and definitely recommended for everyone. There's a big emphasis given to how important compassion is for achieving joy not just for ourselves but those around us and I'm probably gonna go on about t...

  • Swan
    Dec 1, 2016


    I saw this book on the new releases shelf at the library and got super excited because I misread Douglas Abrams as Douglas Adams, of Hitchhiker fame. That would have made for an intense book about religion and philosophy. Nevertheless, this book still has some great insights about life...

  • Roger Kelly
    Dec 1, 2016

    Roger Kelly

    A great read. This is an account of a meeting between these two inspirational men. Anyone who admires either the Dalai Lama or Archbishop Tutu will enjoy this book. There's a great deal of reflection by both of them as well a sense of bittersweetness as they are unlikely to meet face-t...

  • Pranshu Patel
    Nov 30, 2016

    Pranshu Patel

    The book took me a long time to read. Yet when the end was near I wished it would never end. The teachings of these two great leaders has changed my mentality and perspective. The behaviour and relationship of these two is also something we all should learn from and bring into our live...

  • Amy Beth
    Nov 26, 2016

    Amy Beth

    I listened to this audio book on my commute to work. It was really great hearing the voice inflections of the people reading the dialogue since it really is a conversation between the two authors that takes place over the course of a week that Desmond Tutu visited the Dalai Lama. They ...

  • Katie
    Nov 26, 2016


    I love the Dalai Lama. I think he outshines Archbishop Desmond Tutu in this book, but it's hard not to feel an immediate sense of joy just reading about their wonderful friendship. The narrative was repetitive in places, but I think they do give thoughtful advice on how to seek joy thr...

  • Tamsyn
    Nov 24, 2016


    This is a book appropriate for young adults and up -- I am gifting it to myself all I can. Two kind, wise, loving men share their life experiences on how to create and maintain joy in your life in the face of personal sorrow and worldwide suffering. On the occasion of the Dalai Lama's ...

  • Sheila Pritchard
    Nov 24, 2016

    Sheila Pritchard

    Superb! Everyone should read this book. Two 80 year olds who have deep wisdom and life experience, who have both been in extremely hard situations personally and politically and yet are full of joy, laughter, able to tease each other, respect each other's religion... If only we had a w...

  • Joy Matteson
    Nov 21, 2016

    Joy Matteson

    The Book of Joy is an uplifting account of a conversation between two of the most honored contemporary spiritual leaders living today. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama met together in Dharamsala to have an intimate conversation about the meaning of joy. Literary ...

  • Caitlin
    Nov 20, 2016


    Really enjoyed how this book discussed the week-long meeting between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pulled together so many of the same themes I've been reading about for the past three months. Loved how they included a lot of the scientific research as well. Douglas Abram...