When Things Fall Apart

Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,868 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Pema Chödrön's perennially best-selling classic on overcoming life's difficulties cuts to the heart of spirituality and personal growth, and makes for a perfect addition to one's spiritual library.

How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart - when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.

©2017 Pema Chödrön (P)2017 Random House Audio

Featured Article: 20 Best Spiritual Audiobooks for Finding Fulfillment


In our everyday lives, we are obliged to take care of certain things—we must advance in our work lives, we must progress in our social lives, and a variety of aches and pains force us to be constantly concerned about our physical well-being. With such a litany of concerns, it can be difficult to find time to work on our spiritual lives. Isn’t it time to focus on nurturing your soul and spirit? Here are the 20 best spiritual audiobooks to get you in the right headspace.

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Great Book, Peculiar Narrator

Pema is one of the voices I turn to, over and over. And I was grateful to find this classic available as an audiobook. As it began to play, I had an inkling of recognition. The narrator’s pouty, flirty voice sounded like she was at once drinking a fancy red while trying to sell you a luxury condo. And I realized this not-unintelligent voice was the one I had just heard narrating Molly’s Game— to which she was perfectly suited. Here, I spent so much energy baffled by and trying to hear the meaning behind the words the narrator seemed to have little understanding of herself, that the whole thing became an exercise in watching and noting the judgmental reactive mind. Which, I suppose, Pema might say is perfect. But I’m maybe not that enlightened.

I’m grateful to have the book, but would love to hear Pema read it.

26 people found this helpful

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Cassandra was not a good choice for a narrator

I have heard at least six audiobooks narrated by Cassandra and I consider her to be a great narrator. However, this particular book is really suffering because of Cassandra’s reading style and voice quality. The outcome is not soothing and calming. It is not even friendly.
Most people who reach for this title are probably experiencing emotional pain and suffering to some degree. Therefore, it would have been great to listen to a voice with a timbre that is more deep and calming, and a narrator whose style is less matter-of-fact.
When Pema was writing this book, my sense is that her intention was that her words would land in our minds in a clear, yet comforting and encouraging way. Cassandra’s interpretation makes these sentences and words have a pointy feel and look in my mind.
The content is immensely valuable and so I hope that Pema and the publishers will decide to record another audio version of this book.
Thanks!

101 people found this helpful

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  • DL
  • 03-30-18

Beautiful Book, Wrong Narrator

Would you listen to When Things Fall Apart again? Why?

Honestly, no. I'd read it or listen with a different narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I had to take many breaks and could only listen to Cassandra Campbell's narration for short periods of time. She's a fine reader, but her style is much too affected and stagy, almost like she's trying to sound seductive or flirtatious. It felt really distracting and wrong for this book, where you just want to experience the author's direct teachings, and not have the narrator inserting themselves or their weird interpretation into it. And yeah, I get the irony of being so annoyed by something like this when I'm trying to listen to Buddhist teachings. Oh well!

46 people found this helpful

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Heavy must

I would not recommend it in the start of a crisis because it’s hardcore and very true to the Buddha’s teaching. For a crisis I recommend “True refuge” by Tara Brach. This book is perfect when you have gotten a little less crushed.

I was thirteen when this book came out, due to reduced vision I prayed for an audio edition. I pre-ordered. and in some periods I listened to one essay. The last week I have used this as a retreat.

Everyone should listen in, you might need to listen over and over but it will soften your soul because it is the way of the Dharma in any form. Cassandra Campbell has the perfect velvet-voice for this classic.

Om mani padme hung(hung in Pali, hum in Sanskrit.)

12 people found this helpful

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Not the right narrator

I listened to Pema for the first time on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I was so intrigued by her and her story. I immediately related to her struggles through her relationships and decided to get her book. Her tone is so warm and sincere. That is originally part of what drew me in. When selecting reads that I am connected to on a spiritual and personal level, I’m hoping the voice reading back to me is easily relatable. I didn’t feel this was the right narrator for this story. Her voice didn’t connect with me.

63 people found this helpful

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it's the end of the world and I feel fine

I have struggled with ADHD and fought against depression for most of my 38 years. I've never felt like I was playing with a full deck of cards. This book helped me work on adapting my mindset and see alternative outlooks in myself. I'd been curious about this title for a while and I'm glad I checked it out now. I think that it will be something that I listen to again and again. Two thumbs up! <3

7 people found this helpful

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Delivery not for me

I am reading the book again, listening didn’t do anything for me. I think hearing Pema’s words read aloud is a personal thing, and the performance just didn’t work for me.

14 people found this helpful

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my great gratitude

Im grateful and thankful to Pema, this is a book to help me relate to great teaching of buddha.
sadhu sadhu sadhu..

6 people found this helpful

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amazing read.

this book is a great tool to change your perception pf any situation, master your mood and be kinder to others. Really refreshing and non judgemental or full of BS.

5 people found this helpful

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wonderful book

wonderful book as usual from Pema Chodron. simple and touching
great reading performance. I highly recommend

3 people found this helpful

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  • Monserrat
  • 09-24-18

Brilliant book, narrated badly.

I love this book, it is an essential read, but I would recommend you buy the actual book and read it rather than listen to this.
The narrator is heavy-handed and overly didactic in tone. Completely at odds with the light-touch and gentle message of Pema Chödrön herself. It's so self-regarding and preachy (the delivery, not the contents) making it a fairly excruciating listen.
I didn't finish it.
Rather go to any one of the many of Pema Chödrön's talks on Audible where she is in person or to one of the Pema books where Joanna Rotte is the narrator, she's much more listenable.

17 people found this helpful

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  • NickAMG
  • 12-16-18

wonderful book, just what I needed

This is just the wisdom I needed as things fall apart around me and I look for guidance to end the struggle for control. Lovely narration.

5 people found this helpful

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  • smace_clan
  • 04-30-19

great

loved it. did not find her voice off putting
highly recommended. glad I read this book

4 people found this helpful

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  • Katherine Long
  • 08-20-19

I will read this again and again, lest I forget ~

Such wisdom that it brings so much clarity, it’s nothing new, it’s really our innate self being encouraged to blossom

3 people found this helpful

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  • Writer/reader
  • 04-20-19

After I lost Mum

This audiobook is helping me work through my loss and grief and guilty feelings after my Mum passed away. It teaches us to not run from grief through distractions and not to grasp at and overreact either. It's about a kinder middle way. I am a Buddhist, but I guess that this would help anyone. After all Buddhism is more the science of examining yourself than a doctrine to be adhered to.

3 people found this helpful

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  • L1ght
  • 03-13-19

Beautiful

Beautiful in it's simplicity. elegantly told non-dualism that is raw with it's truth, beautiful and ugly.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Emma J
  • 03-08-19

I will definitely be listening again

This is just what I needed and at absolutely the right right time in my life. I will be listening again and again to keep learning how to move through being stuck in my past pain.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Willa King
  • 04-11-19

Excellent all round

The content is inspiring as ever with Pema Chodron’s words. Especially the 20th anniversary afterword. The narration is so good I forgot it wasn’t the author herself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • angela
  • 06-03-20

Great teachings... distracting narration

I'm sure the narrator would be brilliant reading a thriller, mystery, crime novel; unfortunately a very different genre to spiritual growth. I found myself often being distracted from the words (that were very insightful, helpful and beautiful) because of the narrator's style. Ironic really as the book focuses on meditation and bringing attention back and training yourself to be less distracted...I've clearly got a way to go! but seriously, I would definitely check out this book in a different format or reader.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-21-20

Incredible

Enjoyed this thoroughly. This book has changed me. I plan to read this atleast once every 6 months.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-18

Cool air touching my tender and vulnerable heart

This book gently journeyed through and articulated a heart space that I know but haven’t introduced myself to. I am about to listen to this book again for the third time. The idea that trauma and suffering can fuel transformation and deep healing is a salve.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dr Kylie Bown
  • 03-29-20

This - this is a book for now

To open heart and find compassion and face fear - very soothing book for all of us right now, March 2020

1 person found this helpful

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  • natalielisa@hotmail.com
  • 11-21-19

Incredibly Powerful

The beautiful way that Pema uses words is so powerful but yet so simple. This will be my handbook for life, and I was scribbling furiously when listening making notes.

The narration by Cassandra Campbell is great too. Great pace and a very considerate tone.

Highly recommend this to anyone going through a challenging time in their life, or for anyone just wanting to be a better human being.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-12-19

Fall apart.....

Absolutely honest and truthful. Will definitely be reading / listening to this many more times.Thankyou Pema...

1 person found this helpful

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  • jane smith
  • 11-05-19

A must listen too

We found the narration was excellent, easy to listen too.
The book is really good, well thought out and put together. highly recommended for beginners and a good reminder for the advanced too.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-22-19

This is my favourite Pema Chodron book.

Very powerful, Pema Chodron has immense wisdom & compassion and is such a skilful teacher - clear & easy to understand. Practical advice which truly helps me to be happier & have a more meaningful life.

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  • Mary D
  • 08-08-19

Inspiring, unique advice on overcoming your fears

Enjoyable listen! Interesting Budhasist teachings. on mindful relaxed living
Brings hope during lifes darkest moments ~ Life changing
Great narrating

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-17-19

Such a good book

Exellent. will listen too again and again to make it sink in
again and again

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  • Penny
  • 04-17-19

Advice for all times. It starts from within.

This is suitable for anyone wishing to be a positive influence in the world. It starts from within.

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  • Dr Wendy Blake
  • 12-01-18

Just what the very thing for me and for our world

Loved it and refer back to it through this diddicult times. My gratitude is boundless.