Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
October 2018
Fred's Rating: 
Krista Tippett
Total Pages: 
Penguin Press

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and NYT bestselling author. In 2014 she received the National Humanities Medal at the White House. She is the host of NPR’s On Being. (I’ve read her three books.)

I bought the hardcover edition but I give here the Kindle edition since it gives in full the 4-pp Author’s Note and the 17-pp Ch. 1 – Introduction: The Age of Us. It also gives the first 15-pp of the 42-pp Ch. 2 – Words: The Poetry of Creatures.

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

The 1-pp Contents is best seen in the hardcover edition, for the Kindle’s Contents includes also the audio contents, giving a multipage ‘mess’ to read.

The home page has a reasonable summary (click on ‘Read more’), less than but similar to that on my hardcover’s Front and Back Flaps. I recommend reading two of the home page’s Top customer reviews. The review by Big Mike rates this book at five stars, for he focuses on the positive value of this book. The review by D. Wilder rates this book at three stars, for he focuses on the fact that “her layout of material is confusing and hard to follow.” I agree with this. I also agree with D. Wilder’s comment that she “should have been better served by the editor.”

I offer this explanation for the book’s unusual structure – Krista Tippett has become very used to a spoken structure and has not adapted it to a book structure. Assuming this for all three of her books, the lack of any notes (footnotes or endnotes) is understandable. As is the lack of a bibliography of the books discussed in the main text of the chapter (or relevant books by the person with whom she was in dialogue with in her radio program) is also understandable. But the editors of these three books should have served her better. The present book at least has an index that one should be able to use to reconnect with her dialogue guest. But there is another way to enable recollecting a guest or books by the guest as well as any other books they may have referred to during a dialogue. It is what I learned to do when I read (or reread) parts of interest to me upon reading her second book, Einstein’s God. What I learned to do was to underline the author and/or book name that I wanted to look into. (If I still had the normal use of my hands and fingers, I would simply have written down in a small notebook the information of interest to me. But with my disability I now need both hands to do this, after first setting the book down. So underlining allows me to keep the book 'in hand' or 'on table.')

I discovered in Ch. 2 – Words – that this book has a new type of End Notes. The text of a chapter was her synthesis of discussions of the topic of that chapter with more than a single guest. But at the end of such a multi-guest discussion, she presented in a few pages a dialogue with a single person. Chapter Two has five such dialogues covering 14 pages. They represented special ‘takes’ with the guest named, on the chapter’s topic. Extra material is often given after the end of the book’s main text. To have them at the end of each chapter reminds me of editorial practice of perhaps the nineteenth century or earlier. I was pleased to have these End Notes where they are in this book.

Now I return to what I think of this book in terms of the material about wisdom. I very much enjoyed the depth into which Krista Tippett and her dialogue guests discussed the topic of interest in each chapter. I am very glad to have read this book. But I don’t reduce my rating down to just three stars as did D. Wilder. I feel that the confusing aspects of the layout didn’t bother me as much as they bothered D. Wilder. So I rate this very insightful and thought-provoking book Becoming Wise at four stars.