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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelatory history and vital guide for our time
The authors see kindness as an essential part of what makes us human, what unites us with others; and as one of humanity's greatest pleasures, essential for our health, relationships and society. But, they detect, we have become afraid of strangers, of showing kindness and seeing kindness in others, in those close to us too.

The book explores how we are let...
Published on 6 Feb 2009 by Ms. P. Sebag-montefiore

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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed
As a previous reviewer mentioned this is an extremely slim offering. It seems to seek to display the reading lists of the authors rather than clearly define or properly evaluate what they consider to be kindness. It contains some ludicrous non sequiturs as well as a rant against Blair's government, which they accuse of introducing cost-cutting managers into social...
Published on 10 July 2009 by Jim


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelatory history and vital guide for our time, 6 Feb 2009
By 
Ms. P. Sebag-montefiore (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On Kindness (Hardcover)
The authors see kindness as an essential part of what makes us human, what unites us with others; and as one of humanity's greatest pleasures, essential for our health, relationships and society. But, they detect, we have become afraid of strangers, of showing kindness and seeing kindness in others, in those close to us too.

The book explores how we are let down by the ways we think about kindness and uncovers an enlightening, hopeful and deeply resonant way for us to understand and imagine kindness.

This small book moved me to tears, stirred me to listen closer to my instincts, and made me want to give it to as many people I can.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slighter in build than I expected, 13 Jan 2009
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This review is from: On Kindness (Hardcover)
Since I'd not checked, I expected this book to be more substantial than it actually is. At only 117 pages that's nearly 8p a page. However the book does have a sturdy hardback binding and a narrow silky bookmark sewn into the spine.

I bought this as an antidote to the modern dawkinsian view that we're all selfish and the gainful end always justifies the means, nomatter how machievellean.

It was featured in the Guardian's Review supplement, and I was rather attracted to all the allusions to great philosophers. As such I was expecting something slightly more academic and deeper. Instead it skims gently across the surface like a swallow skimming a millpond in summer.

In other words this book is not a philosophy or psychology textbook, in spite of the authors' qualifications and background, but ought to suit most readers, especially those who remember more courteous times. And, perhaps, it would provide some food for ethical thought for those who don't.

But then, I suppose, the latter type will probably just nick a copy from the library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opinion, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: On Kindness (Paperback)
ZA very very elegant book to read. Especailly as the book is is a collaboration. i have thought about KINDNESS more since reading his book and too see how this gesture is so lacking in our world today.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where kindness isn't., 7 Nov 2012
This review is from: On Kindness (Paperback)
I decided to order "On Kindness" having read other works by Adam Phillips, most especially "On Balance". Phillips working with Barbara Taylor attempt to put forward a short treatise on the historical and psychological aspects of kindness.
As this book's attempt to define kindness shows, kindness is more than a word that is difficult to define; it's also something that as a culture we are unsure about. Phillips and Taylor emphasize our strange reluctance, even embarrassment, to talk openly about our 'doing' of kind acts. We are more comfortable talking about unkindness (often done to us) than we are about the kindness(es) we enact.
My difficult with this discussion is it's size. Only so much can be said "On Kindness" in 117 pages and there are some broad sweeps across history. Christianity's treatment of kindness is, perhaps, the greatest victim of this because the text here is restricted to a brief discussion of kindness in relation to "agape" and St. Augustine. Christianity has 'done' far more for kindness than Freud (the real topic of this book) simply in that the Church has had more experience to take account of. For the Christian kindness is not some vague development of "agape", doing good to your neighbour, as the book suggests. Rather, the Christian understanding of kindness is a response grown out of compassion, a going beyond the self to the place of another. In this sense, a Christian kindness is closer to "eros" than it is to "agape", although all three of the Greek words for love are necessarily involved. Phillips and Taylor do not explore, let alone mention, these other Greek concepts for love that are crucial to their later Christian development.
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19 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elegant manifesto, 10 Jan 2009
By 
Sarah Knott (Bloomington, U.S.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On Kindness (Hardcover)
A beautifully written manifesto in favor of the lost art - and pleasure - of kindness.
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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed, 10 July 2009
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This review is from: On Kindness (Hardcover)
As a previous reviewer mentioned this is an extremely slim offering. It seems to seek to display the reading lists of the authors rather than clearly define or properly evaluate what they consider to be kindness. It contains some ludicrous non sequiturs as well as a rant against Blair's government, which they accuse of introducing cost-cutting managers into social services but fail to note this is slightly at odds with the increased budgets. Their tilt at "tawdry capitalist motives" is almost too facile for words. Another reviewer said she had been moved to tears - mine were tears of wasted time and money.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, poorly argued nonsense, 11 July 2011
This review is from: On Kindness (Paperback)
What a waste of a Sunday afternoon.
This book is not an interesting set of facts, nor an argument in favour of anything.
It is simply a lot of dubious points slung together rather poorly. We get a laughable Freudian argument that we fear kindness because we wanted to sleep with our mothers!
A short left wing political tantrum without justification or purpose and a rather poor historical overview with facts twisted painfully to support it.
Neither philosophical, political, sociological, nor pedagogical, in a word pointless!
Save your money.
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On Kindness
On Kindness by Barbara Taylor (Paperback - 27 Nov 2009)
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