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How to be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers [Paperback]

Toni Bernhard
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.99
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Frequently Bought Together

How to be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers + How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow + Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing
Price For All Three: 31.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications,U.S. (1 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861716264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861716265
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.3 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been a practicing Buddhist for over 20 years. Until forced to retire due to illness, I was a professor at the University of California--Davis School of Law, serving six years as the dean of students. I'm the author of the award-winning "How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers," and the newly released "How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for Navigating Joy and Sorrow." Both "How to Be Sick" and "How to Wake Up" are practical books. They are intended to help all of us find peace and well-being regardless of our particular circumstances. To this end, each of the books contains dozens of exercises and practices, all of which are illustrated with easy-to-relate-to personal stories. I live in Davis, California with my husband (also named Tony!) and our hound dog, Rusty. I hope you'll visit my website at

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
I want to tell you about this wonderful book that Toni has written.

But first, a little background about myself. I have stage four advanced breast cancer stemming from the genetic mutation BRCA2. I nursed my Mother when she died, have been there while my sister and nieces have undergone and are still undergoing treatment and, of course, my own. I am now on a trial drug to try and stop my cancer spreading plus monthly treatments. All this means I have many days of lying on a bed being very unwell and am also facing a very uncertain future.

Toni's book came to me through a link from a friend and it has been a god send. In the past I have both bought and been given a number of books on how to deal and be with my BC. Most are along the lines of me needing to think my cancer away, to completely change my diet, to think possitively and so on - you know what I mean. There is none of that in Toni's book. It is simply the most practical and inspiring book I have read. Toni draws from not only wonderful Buddhist practices, but from movies, songs, people, wrtings, poetry, and her own experiences. She showed me how to face and be with my cancer, to feel the uncertainty, the fear, to be a woman lying on a bed so unwell, worrying...
I have been around Buddhists for around 20 years (I am not a Buddhist myself) and the way Toni explains the concepts and practices of Buddhism is the best I have heard. Wow, Toni, I get it... or should I say - I'm getting it.

I do not write this lightly, How to be Sick resonated with my very core. As I face all that is cancer, not only now but the future, I am so very very grateful to have Toni's book right there beside me. Thank you.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Story 13 Oct 2010
This is a beautifully written story about a woman who is faced with a completely life-changing illness. But the story is not just for people who are sick, or even just for people who are caring for someone who is sick. It is a very touching story of mother, wife, friend, pet-owner, and law professor, who has to figure out how to enjoy living a life she never expected to live. Through self-discovery and her Buddhist practice, she discovers and shares with us how she has learned to appreciate her life as it is, and not how she wishes it could be.

For anyone who has ever struggled with dissatisfaction in their lives, and especially people who are dealing with chronic illness, this book will touch and inspire you
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful 11 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful. I expect this book to become a bedside bible for all those who are chronically sick . Toni Bernhard intertwines her own personal experience of ME/CFS with selected Buddhist exercises to nurture the body, mind and soul. Excellent, and a must buy for anyone who is chronically sick or indeed those caring for them.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars much better than the title implies! 3 Aug 2011
This book was recommended on a forum of sufferers who have the same chronic problem as I do. I wasn't keen on the idea of being coached as to 'how to be sick' as I've worked hard at transforming 'being sick' to managing and striving to overcome the obstacles and limitations that chronic pain throws at me, including depression. But I've soon discovered that the book is a great support and source of 'ah ha!' moments, and has been most helpful. Something to read again and again when things get hard. As a psychotherapist, retired for the last few years of my sickness, it was hard for me to 'heal myself' in the way that this book is helping; healing as in coming to terms and moving on with my sickness rather than remaining in denial and 'soldiering' on. I find the buddhist perspective incredibly helpful, something I am quite suprised about but for me, it works.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life changer...with quite a good title! 1 Jan 2011
By Zarla
I bought this book having no real knowledge of what it was about, but a friend recommended it to me. I was excited when I first opened the cover, and read the first few pages-here was a lady on my wavelength, with my experiences and challenges!
Toni has put into simple terms (and believe me, I had no prior knowledge of buddhist practice!) some easy to practice and sensible techniques. I dip into her book time and again, to help me when I am having a 'wobble'! It doesn't do anything to fix my ailing body - but it sure helps me to feel better within, and to come to terms with my limitations!
All in all, I think this is an excellent read, and have recommended it to many friends.....
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must have book 6 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must have book for anyone with disharmony in their lives not just an illness . I'm already using ideas from the book with good success . It's not gonna make me better but it helps me step back from things alittle bit and helps me to loosen the grip the illness has on me mentally x
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly helpful book 23 Sep 2011
By Paula
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a rarity - a truly helpful self help book. I read it in a few days while on leave trying to get a handle on the chronic headaches that had been causing me hell for several years and the doctors were very little help with. I'm now re-reading it chapter by chapter practicing the techniques and suggestions and it has helped me to become calmer and more accepting of my condition and to understand what I can and cannot change. This in turn has brought about an improvement in my symptoms that all of my desperate search for a simple cure had failed to do, and more importantly helped me to enjoy what I can do rather than concentrating on what I can't. I highly recommend it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Read with Few Good Suggestions and Examples.
In How to be Sick Toni Bernhard tells of how she used her Buddhist faith and understanding to accept living with a chronic disability. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Tamara Epps
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Inspiring!
I have a number of auto immune disorders and have found your book simply an amazing read! I already lead a 'spiritual' life and practice many of the techniques and practices you... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Lisa Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A must read for anyone suffering from chronic illness. It deals with issues compassionately and very caring and r rees ally helps you and other people who care for you to... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Emma Dilema
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddhism and ME/CFS
This is a splendid book, and almost exactly what I needed. The author was comfortable with Buddhist practice and teachings long before she took a plane trip to Paris with her... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cousin Jennie
5.0 out of 5 stars How to be Sick - Well worth the Read
A truly inspiring read. This book can teach alot, help those that are sick have a little more meaning in life, and understand that their illness is OK, there are so many ways to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Katwilson04
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, inspiring and very useful
I simply loved this book. The author does a great job of integrating her very difficult path of illness with the most useful buddhist philosophies. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MR N FINN
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Doesn't offer miracle cures, instead it tells you how to cope...
Toni Bernhard starts with her credentials - a story of illness and disappointment that is quite upsetting to read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. Hayward
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring book
This book has been a wonderful inspiration and support for me. It has reminded me that I am not alone and that my struggles are not unusual ones. Read more
Published 4 months ago by chani
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I thoroughly recommend this book. Toni Bernhard has a beautiful style of writing and her ideas are very helpful and calming for the chronically ill. Highly recommend.
Published 5 months ago by booklover
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed what I kindle broke!
I think this is an excellent overview of buddhist practices and how they can help people who are chronically ill and anyone else! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ms Kate Fyfe
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