I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism for about three years, and I find that the books written by the Dalai Lama are outstanding. This book is no exception. I have listened to it at least two times, and I intend to come back to it again in the future.
How to practice contains explanations of many important Tibetan Buddhist practices and beleifs. It also contains brief summaries and the end of each chapter to help reinforce what you learned and to give you a roadmap for your daily practice. Although my Buddhist practice is not very advanced, I beleive that this book will benefit beginners as well as advanced practitioners. The Dalai Lama's writing style is clear and easy to understand. He is generally serious but he is not above telling a joke or two. Overall, I found this book to be extremely enjoyable.
If you are looking for concrete advice on getting what you really want, this is not the book for you. That is, unless you want a book that mainly consists of rambling anecdotes and nebulous theories. Then, in that case, you should definitely get this book. I found it inadequate and boring. I can't help but think that there is a message somewhere hidden in this book but I can't find it. The authors speak broadly on various topics and then tell loads of personal stories. I found nothing substantive or interesting in this book and frankly regret my purchase.
If you are a fan of the authors then you may take a different view of this book. The book sounds like it was recorded at a speech given by the two authors, and, based on the recording, it sounds like the audience really enjoyed it. Needless to say, audience in my car did not enjoy it.
In the course of my study of Tibetan Buddhism, I have read and listened to many books by the Dalai Lama. Most of them are very good but this one is average. The commentary is helpful and interesting, and the subject is intellectually challenging but the editing is poor. Several times during the recording, the reader repeats words or sentences seemingly by accident. I do not expect that this repetition was in the original text, it simply would not make sense. I also found the reader's delivery to be a bit too monotonous. Granted, many audio books on Buddhism are read this way but this reader was an extreme example. Overall, I thought the book was helpful in my practice but it is not exemplary.
As a side note, I would definitely not recommend this book to a beginner. The subject is somewhat advanced and would not benefit a reader that lacks a decent understanding of Tibetan Buddhism.
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