How Love Wins: The Power of Mindful Kindness by Doug Carnine is a book which is intended to give the reader instruction on how to develop the three Buddhist qualities of mindfulness, compassion and wisdom, but without using Buddhist terminology. The author chose not to write this book in overtly Buddhist language so that the teachings it contains would have the opportunity to reach the largest possible audience.
Doug has spent a lot of time working in partnership with prisoners, as described in his previous book, Saint Badass, so the secular approach which is adopted here makes a lot of sense. It also makes How Love Wins a very good title to share with non-Buddhists who might still want to develop the qualities of mindfulness, compassion and wisdom – which are, after all, universally beneficial – in their own lives.
The book opens with an introduction which puts forward the case for mindful kindness, explaining the benefits of both mindfulness and kindness, describing the intimate relationship between them, and highlighting their impact on our happiness. Having established that foundation, the author then takes the reader through Twelve Steps for Change, with each of the following chapters focusing, in turn, on one of those twelve steps.
Each chapter provides a good overview of the topic being discussed (such as why it is important to Face Up to Your Unkind Habits, or Set Your Kindness Goals), with the author drawing from his own wealth of experience as a Buddhist teacher – including his work with prisoners – as well as sharing relevant findings from scientific and spiritual communities. Along the way, the author provides plenty of exercises and practical instructions which allow the reader to apply the steps to their own lives.
The language used in this book is refreshingly straightforward, and the voice of the author is very much like that of a friend who is sharing ideas that he knows will work. This makes How Love Wins a joy to read, and instils in the reader a desire to actually follow through with the exercises provided in order to realise the many benefits that are described. A list of useful Resources for Mindfulness and Kindness is provided at the end of the book so that the reader can continue their journey of personal development and exploration.
In conclusion, How Love Wins is a book that will prove invaluable to all who spend time with it, regardless of whether or not they call themselves Buddhists. All human beings can benefit from developing more mindfulness, compassion and wisdom in their lives, and this title not only explains how they can do that, but it also takes them by the hand and leads them every step of the way. We are therefore very happy to give How Love Wins our highest recommendation.