The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness

by Marc Ian Barasch

(Note:  Each copy sold helps to fund the planting of trees in environmentally damaged areas around the world through the Green World Campaign.)

A Search for the Soul of Kindness

With a keen balance of hope and realism, Marc Barasch sets out on a journey to the heart of compassion, discovering its power to change who we are and the society we might become. He describes encounters with empathetic apes, as well as with Buddhist monks whose brain scans prove the power of compassion practice; with a man who donated a kidney to a stranger and another who forgave his daughter’s murderer; with teenage Palestinian and Israeli girls trying to wage peace; even with astronomers trying to send a missive to E.T. that we’re not only clever but kind.

With unfailing curiosity, Barasch poses vital questions: What can we learn from exceptionally empathetic people? Can we increase our compassion quotient? How do we open our hearts to those who do us harm? What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually “survival of the kindest”? Drawing on science and spirituality, history and popular culture, button-down business and a high sense of fun, he creates a smart, provocative argument that a simple shift in consciousness can change “pretty much everything.”


"I have read this book twice. The first time, coming from an intellectual perspective, I found things to think about. The second time, I stopped thinking and read it from my heart, and was doubly rewarded by the stories and the wisdom Marc shares. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand why the compassionate life is the answer--and who wants to learn how to live it."
-BERNIE SIEGEL, MD, author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles

"An argument for compassion that is balanced yet persuasive--and long overdue. This book ought to be a compulsory read for all."
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

"Marc Barasch shares with the best science writers an ability to make you feel the excitement of discovery. His book will interest anyone who struggles to be kinder in a not-so-kind world."
-Washington Post

"Barasch uses humor and fine reporting...Rather than a whifty compendium of spiritual musings, The Compassionate Life builds upon relevant observations from surprising sources."

About the Author

Marc Ian Barasch is an award-winning writer, editor, and television producer. He is the author of Remarkable Recovery, Healing Dreams and The Healing Path. For more information visit or visit Marc's foundation at

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication date: June 2009
Pages: 288
ISBN: 1576757560
Format / media: Soft cover
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