Books on Buddhism both academic and popular continue to come out in large numbers. Of course, as one would expect, they range from poor to excellent. An example of the first would be Greek Buddha by Christopher Beckwith which takes 275 pages of padding to explain what seems to be a rather tenuous thesis. I had to struggle to finish it. Matthieu Ricard’s Altruism on the other hand, is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Don’t be put off by its 849 pages. Ricard uses every one of them to present the latest research on altruism, compassion and empathy in an easy-to-read format. I opened the book at random with the intention of just skimming through it (its size initially put me off) only to find myself engaged almost immediately. Then I sat down and read it from cover to cover. Now I am going through it for a second time.
Here are a few others which have attracted my attention of late.