From “one of the most soulful and perceptive writers of our time” (BrainPickings): a journey through competing ideas of paradise to see how we can live more peacefully in an ever more divided and distracted world.
“Nothing less than a guided tour of the human soul…A masterpiece.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert
Paradise: that elusive place where the anxieties, struggles, and burdens of life fall away. Most of us dream of it, but each of us has very different ideas about where it is to be found. For some it can be enjoyed only after death; for others, it’s in our midst—or just across the ocean—if only we can find eyes to see it.
Traveling from Iran to North Korea, from the Dalai Lama’s Himalayas to the ghostly temples of Japan, Pico Iyer brings together a lifetime of explorations to upend our ideas of utopia and ask how we might find peace in the midst of difficulty and suffering. Does religion lead us back to Eden or only into constant contention? Why do so many seeming paradises turn into warzones? And does paradise exist only in the afterworld – or can it be found in the here and now?
For almost fifty years, Iyer has been roaming the world, mixing a global soul’s delight in observing cultures with a pilgrim’s readiness to be transformed. In this culminating work, he brings together the outer world and the inner to offer us a surprising, original, often beautiful exploration of how we might come upon paradise in the midst of our very real lives.
About the Author:
Pico Iyer is the acclaimed and bestselling author of more than a dozen books, translated into twenty-three languages. His journalism has appeared in Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and more than 250 other periodicals worldwide. His TED talks have been viewed over eleven million times. He divides his time between Japan and a Benedictine hermitage in California.
About the Moderator:
Michael Shapiro is the author of A Sense of Place — a book of conversations about journeys, writing and life — with the world’s leading travel writers, including Pico Iyer, Frances Mayes, Paul Theroux, Jan Morris and Peter Matthiessen. He writes about travel, music and the environment for National Geographic, Sierra, AFAR and other publications. In mid-2022, Shapiro was awarded a grant from U.C. Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center to examine how travel makes us more open-minded and humble. His most recent book is The Creative Spark (Solas House, 2019), which profiles 32 creative superstars, including Amy Tan, Smokey Robinson and Barbara Kingsolver