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Publisher's Summary

No Man Is an Island is a collection of 16 essays in which Thomas Merton plumbs aspects of human spirituality. Merton treats the “basic verities on which the spiritual life depends”. Essay themes include hope, conscience, sacrifice, charity, sincerity, mercy, and silence. The work is threaded through with Merton’s deep awareness that we are all called to “live not for ourselves but for others”. The first essay, “Love Can Be Kept Only by Being Given Away”, is a spiritual classic.

©1983 The Merton Legacy Trust (P)2007 St. Anthony Messenger Press

Critic Reviews

"A stimulating series of spiritual reflections which will prove helpful for all struggling to find the meaning of human existence and to live the richest, fullest, and noblest life." (Chicago Tribune)
"Merton wrote of ageless spiritual life and religious devotion with the knowledge of a modern." (The New York Times)

What members say

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  • Overall

A Gem of a Book

I discovered Thomas Merton when I came upon Seeds of Contemplation while browsing in the stacks of a Library during the early years of my spiritual journey. He has been a spiritual companion and guide ever since. No Man is an Island is the sequel to Seeds of Contemplation. The titles of the reflections will give you a good taste of the content:
1. Love Can Only Be Kept By Being Given Away
2. Sentences On Hope
3. Conscience, Freedom and Prayer
4. Pure Intention
5. The Word of the Cross
6. Asceticism and Sacrifice
7. Being and Doing
8. Vocation
9. The Measure of Charity
10. Sincerity
11. Mercy
12. Recollection
13. My Soul Remembered God
14. The Wind Blows Where It Pleases
15. The Inward Solitude
16. Silence
These are quite simply some of the most profound spiritual reflections I have ever read by any author from any period of history. Sentences On Hope is the finest exposition of the true meaning of hope, a subject of special interest to me, that I have ever read. The Word of the Cross is a stunning exposition of the meaning and use of suffering. The final chapter, Silence, is rapturous (I use the word advisedly). These reflections can be read and re-read. The sheer weight of the insight contained warrants many readings and many returns. The book is a gem.

The narration is good.

I have long wished Audible would offer for books of serious spiritual literature, especially from the Catholic Tradition. They seem to be moving in that direction. Thanks, Audible, for making such a fine volume available.

50 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tom
  • United States
  • 12-27-11

All You Need Is Love.....

What three words best describe Jonathan Montaldo’s voice?

Mellow to the point of relaxing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me believe even more

Any additional comments?

All you need is Love and a lot of faith!

Thanks Thomas Merton!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Good for thought and reflection

I've tried to read Merton a few times and it would always bore me, but this time I was ready and it spoke to my soul. It's my first book by him.

He can be dry and slow in a way, but I also found it wonderfully deepening. The book chapters are divided into the topics of living a life in Christ and in stillness. Parts of his message are probably quite agreeable to someone who appreciates Buddhism.

Merton does not defend his faith, does not try to convince the reader, yet has a certainty about the realness of Christ that shines through very clearly. As a continually doubtful Christian, I find his approach helpful for my own faith journey.

He is quite matter of fact and neutral in his tone and assumptions. I generally appreciate this intellectual and academic kind of Christian talk over evangelical rara (nothing against evangelicals).

At times, the book seems like a preparatory guide for monastics, but I didn't mind that. Perhaps some monastic practices are good for all of us. In all, this audiobook can be really meaningful when the reader is ready.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Generally good

Would you listen to No Man Is an Island again? Why?

I would listen to parts of it. There were some great messages.

What was one of the most memorable moments of No Man Is an Island?

The parts about not becoming overly engrossed communing with God.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Montaldo – was your favorite?

Saint Paul

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The messages about solitude and silence. That silence is something that is everywhere although it may be drowned out by other noises.

Any additional comments?

The Jesus references were very difficult to understand.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Ani
  • Church Point, Louisiana, United States
  • 02-13-14

Great narrator for this content

Where does No Man Is an Island rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

No Man is an Island is a well-produced audio version of Thomas Merton's book.

What did you like best about this story?

Many beautiful insights, but not the most moving of Merton's works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heavy Spirituality Stuff

Would you consider the audio edition of No Man Is an Island to be better than the print version?

I am still working on this book. It is heady, and sometimes I think I am just not smart enough to understand or haven't the experience. As I go back to it, I find I do understand it. So I recommend that you read/listen to it in sections so that you can reflect on it.
I am not a Catholic, but I am interested in the spiritual path. It is not as approachable as Richard Rohr, but still as enlightening.

What did you like best about this story?

I like the topic, and I like the effort made to articulate the higher goals of my spiritual life and path.

What about Jonathan Montaldo’s performance did you like?

Yes, I liked the performance.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A Documentary on Thomas Merton's Mediations

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marie
  • WASHINGTON, DC, United States
  • 04-14-10

I really wanted to like this

This might be a better read than a listen. I found the narrator droning, so listen to the sample and if you find yourself nodding off, skip. While listening I did catch some gems but found it taxing to continue on.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

unprofessional reader

great book, unprofessional reader
How does someone perform an audiobook who struggles with annunciation?
He sounds like he needs to blow his nose.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


It is often difficult to understand what he is trying to say. You have to listen to it several times to understand what he is saying.

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One of best Catholic spiritual direction guides.

Outside of a monastery setting, this is a serious guide to interior life available to public. Thomas Merton is a powerful writer of spiritual discipline who lived in our lifetime.