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Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit and Be Much Happier [Paperback]

Robert Thurman , Sharon Salzberg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2013

When people and circumstances conspire against us, how can we douse the white-hot fires of rage? How can we break the cycle of hurt, anger, and revenge to find inner peace and co-exist peacefully with the world?

In Love Your Enemies, Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman draw on ancient spiritual wisdom, modern psychology, and the latest neuroscience to guide us in dealing with troublesome people and situations, and overcoming the real source of our distress, our deep-seated self-centeredness and self-hatred.

Based on the popular workshop they teach together, the authors offer practical methods for transforming our relationship to our outer, inner, secret, and super-secret enemies. Thurman, a noted Columbia University professor and former Tibetan Buddhist monk, brings to life traditional wisdom teachings such as Shantideva's advice on replacing anger with patience, and the practice of exchanging self-preoccupation for compassion set out by Dharmarakshita. Salzberg mines her experiences as a leading teacher of insight and lovingkindness meditation to relate real-life examples of putting the teachings into practice. Together, the two perspectives give us a well-rounded course in conquering our outer and inner enemies. The material is presented in a warm, accessible manner that welcomes spiritual seekers of all levels, from newcomer to dedicated practitioner.

Frequently Bought Together

Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit and Be Much Happier + The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Programme for Real Happiness + Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (Shambhala classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House UK (1 Oct 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1848503067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848503069
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


If life is a struggle, this book is your friend. Its whispered truths, like the first inklings of the dawn, bring both relief and recognition. Return to it time and again; its good humour and wise counsel are a balm for the soul. (Mark Epstein author of The Trauma of Everyday Life)

If there are two beings in the whole world whom I trust with my whole heart to give powerful, honest, kind and deeply truthful teachings that can free us from burning in the mental anguish that is the 'new normal' in these anxious and fear-ridden times, it is Tenzin Bob Thurman and Sharon Salzberg. Having known both of them for many years, I can say that I am blessed that they are with me on this desert island called Earth. (Krishna Das musician and author of Chants of a Lifetime)

Brilliant! Love Your Enemies is possibly the most inspiring and liberating meditation on love ever written. (Robert Holden, PhD author of Shift Happens! and Loveability)

Praised as possibly the most inspiring and liberating meditation on love ever written, this warm and compassionate manual gently guides you through the practical steps of doing the seemingly impossible - loving your enemies. (Cygnus Review)

Highly recommended! (YOGA magazine)

About the Author

Sharon Salzberg cofounded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and is the New York Times best-selling author of eight books, including Lovingkindness, Faith, and The Power of Meditation.

Tenzin Robert Thurman, a professor at Columbia University, holds the first endowed chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in America. He is the author of the bestseller Inner Revolution, as well as Anger, Infinite Life and numerous other books. The first Tibetan Buddhist monk from the West, he has been a close friend and colleague of the Dalai Lama many years.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift of the authors to their readers 20 Oct 2013
By Kalden
If you are looking for inspiration, inner support, or a gift to someone you love, please consider buying this great new book by Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg. A true gift of the authors to their readers. Whether you are a religious person or you consider yourself not involved in spirituality at all, I am sure you will value the content. In a time where negativity sometimes seems to play a too important role in both our individual lives and in national & global affairs, this book can be of great help to all of us. That is how I feel about it after reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking & Well write 2 Dec 2013
By Peter
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A thought provoking well written book offering strong advice and strategies to help build and maintain happiness. A strong recommendation!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book written with love for the sake of love 8 Oct 2013
By C. Stock - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
"Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier," Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman say.

When I read the title of this book, my first question was, "How can I love people who've hurt me if I'm labeling them `enemies'?" I've learned that as soon as I see someone as separate from me and label him or her, I'm acting out of my ego, which means I cannot really love a person I call enemy.

Early into the reading, however, Thurman answered my question. He clarifies that "ultimately, we have no enemies. We think of an enemy as someone--or something--that blocks our happiness. But no other being can block our happiness; true happiness comes from within. Therefore, ultimately, we have no enemies."

Salzberg and Thurman use the term "enemy" so we can clearly understand the message of love and acceptance they share with us. The book offers tools we can put in practice any time to come to terms with our so-called enemies. I especially enjoyed the basic and specialized meditations in the Appendix.

Also, the authors explain how "love" means to "wish for the happiness of someone," so if we send thoughts of happiness to our enemies, we might not only bring happiness to these human beings (who are probably tormented as a result of their own actions,) but also achieve inner peace.

The most thought-provoking aspect of this book is the idea that we all have four kinds of enemies:
1. The outer enemy (people or institutions who've hurt us and situations that frustrate us.)
2. The inner enemy (negative emotions such as anger, hatred, and fear.)
3. The secret enemy (sense of disconnection from other people, which the authors call self-obsession and self-preoccupation.)
4. The super-secret enemy (lack of self-love--even at a subconscious level.)

The four kinds of enemies match the spiritual teachings that guide us to overcome expressions of the ego: a sense of separation from others, attachment to ideas and to the way things "should be," and disconnection with our True Selves (love.)

Love Your Enemies helps us develop conscious awareness that if we don't let go of our grudges, we won't be hurting our enemies, but we'll be hurting ourselves.

Sending thoughts of happiness to those who've harmed us isn't something to be achieved in a day. Loving everyone is a practice, and as we grow into this practice, we'll stop being offended easily, align with people who share our values, and let go of our personal history. I believe we need to focus on the latter. Embracing the emotions brought about by our past traumas and releasing these emotions are the healthiest steps we can take to achieve authentic happiness.

Love Your Enemies is a book written with love for the sake of love. Read more about love on my blog: www(dot)cloriskylie(dot)com.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Yourself 30 Sep 2013
By Yvonne M. Stegall - Published on
This is an amazing book. Love Your Enemies not only teaches you to deal better with bullies and those that have hurt you, but also with your inner demons. Think of the ways you talk to yourself at your darkest moments? This book will banish those words and thoughts from your life. What happens when that self-loathing is gone? You are able to be happier and more successful. This is a fantastic book, and it doesn't just tell you what you should do. Instead the writers walk you through the steps to a happier life, filled with love for yourself and others. *In an effort towards full disclosure, I must let you know that I received this book free from Hay House for review purposes.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enemies are really our greatest teachers 5 Nov 2013
By Tim Larison - Published on
I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Think of a person who really bugs you. Yes that one. Feel all the negative emotions as you imagine that person in the room with you right now. Did you know this supposed enemy could be one of your greatest teachers? That’s the premise put forth by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman in their new book “Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & be a Whole Lot Happier”

“If there weren’t people trying to harm us or keep us from getting what we want, how would we learn patience and tolerance and forgiveness?” writes Thurman in the book’s introduction. People who anger us are just one type of enemy discussed by Thurman and Salzberg. There are three more:

The inner enemy: anger, hatred, fear, and other destructive impulses
The secret enemy: self-obsession and self-preoccupation, which isolate us from other people, leaving us frustrated and alone
The super-secret enemy: deep-seated self-loathing that keeps us from finding inner freedom and true happiness

The focus of “Love Your Enemies” is on what is happening inside of you, and not on other people. “The teachings and meditations in this book help us to draw on our own innate wisdom and compassion in order to transform our relationship with our enemies, both inner and outer,” writes Salzberg. Can I really be at peace no matter what others may say or do? A tall order, but “Loving Your Enemies” will move you towards that perspective.

I was confused with the mix of writing styles in the book. Robert Thurman is brilliant in his grasp of the human condition, but I find him difficult to understand at times. Salzberg is more down to earth. When reading Love Your Enemies some of the concepts went over my head (“those must be Thurman’s words,” I thought) while other examples were easier to relate to. I think the book would have flowed better if each author wrote individual chapters, clearly marked with a by line, rather than mixing the two styles throughout.

Nevertheless, “Love Your Enemies” is a valuable book. “We should be grateful for our enemies, the Dalai Lama has said, for they teach us patience, courage, and determination, and help us develop a tranquil mind,” state Thurman and Salzberg. While I’m not at that point yet, the book did cause me to evaluate what areas I still need to work on. If you want to approach your feelings towards enemies as an inside job, you will like this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended … for Some 13 Jan 2014
By Patti Foy - Published on
I was going through a period where I was working through some anger toward someone who’s repeatedly frustrated me with her power games.

I was eager to read this book to see how effectively I could apply its lessons.

Well … In the end, I was a little disappointed but I still think this book has a lot to offer.

>>> Anger

First, I didn’t expect it to be quite so focused on blatant anger, but it is.

If you have issues with “anger management” and letting it fly when you’d rather not, then this would be a great book for you.

It touches on some of the more complex and subtle forms of anger such as feeling victimized, jealous, frustrated, resentful, etc. but its focus is on anger as an emotional outburst.

I have to admit, this may have been my own misunderstanding about what it was about. The subtitle is “How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier”, after all! Still, the description led me to believe it would have a more broad application.

I already knew that in my case, I needed relief more from my own thoughts and emotions than from the person with whom I’d been interacting!

>>> Outer vs. Inner

The book begins by addressing outer conditions and our surface experience of them, and works its way more and more inward to those parts of our being that we’re not as aware of.

For the first half, I thought I didn’t like it because so much of the outer that I/we are aware of was not so new or revealing.

But the second half gets much deeper and is more what I was after.

Rather than looking at another person as the “enemy”, it helps you examine your own patterns of thought that result in your suffering through these types of experiences.

>>> Thoughts vs. Exercises

Throughout the book there are many insightful statements that will be great for review. They offer new ways of looking at the situation(s) that can help you see from a new perspective.

But to get at the deeper more ingrained patterns, it takes more of an ongoing practice. Fortunately, this book offers many exercises and suggested practices; some presented as you go but most in the appendix.

And even though one exercise may take up just one page, if really practiced it can be very powerful! I know this from experience since one of Sharon’s exercises is a meditation similar to those she offers (along with co-author Joseph Goldstein) in her Insight Meditation Kit. The kit is not only potentially life-changing, but it’s so classy and beautiful that I’ve purchased it not only for myself but also as gifts. It includes a 240 page book plus 2 guided meditation CDs and a set of cards.

>>> Two Voices

Love Your Enemies is written as an interesting collaboration in that each of the two writers maintains their own voice. On any given topic, first you hear from one, then the other. I actually liked this as they both approach things quite differently and this gives more ideas and options to consider.

>>> Recommended … for Some

Just like most books, this one can be great for some and not so useful for others.

If you struggle with anger issues, AND are willing to apply some focused energy, then I think this could be a very valuable book.

If you want pointers as to how to love your enemy in general (or even to counteract different or more subtle issues than anger per se), OR if you don’t want to take the time to apply their suggestions, then this book is probably not for you.

Note: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes and this review reflects my honest evaluation.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Learn How to Put Your Anger to Good Use 6 Dec 2013
By Hay House Reviews - Published on
Anger is often a misunderstood emotion. Not only is it a secondary emotion—typically covering up a deeper emotion that its host is not allowing him/herself to feel—but is also an emotion that becomes a habit for many people. Instead of learning ways to feel and release the emotion, or learning new life skills/habits that are helpful in overcoming whatever primary emotion is being felt, many people respond to situations out of anger, not because it is useful or helpful, but because it is the only way they know to manage feelings or feel powerful in a situation.

Love Your Enemies by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman is a book that can teach you about anger, about its useful purposes and about how to manage it. Anger, in and of itself, is not bad. It can be very helpful in propelling a person towards a great job, a great relationship or ironically, more peace. But when it becomes a chronic habit it can become destructive and harmful to one’s health. Readers of this book will learn how to use anger to their benefit and to release it appropriately and timely. Whether you are looking to break your anger habit or understand a loved one who is stuck in this emotion, this book will be extremely helpful to you.
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