Interview with write Doug Carnine

Writer Doug Carnine joins me on this holiday to
chat about his spiritual, self-improvement book, How Love Wins: The Power of Mindful Kindness.
During his 35-year career at
the University of Oregon, Douglas Carnine, Professor Emeritus, taught about,
conducted research on, and advocated for improved education for vulnerable
children—the poor, handicapped, English language learners, and children of
color. He has over 100 scholarly publications, has lectured around the
world, received the Ersted Award for outstanding University
teaching, and received the Life Time Achievement Award from the Council for
Exceptional Children. He received a presidential appointment to the National
Institute for Literacy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, serving as program
committee chair for three years. Simultaneously he developed his
meditation and kindness practice and became a Buddhist lay minister. Since
retirement, he has developed a mindful kindness project that includes
a prison ministry, two books—Saint
Badass: Transcendence in Tucker Max Hell
 and How Love Wins: The Power of Mindful
 and a related
Welcome, Doug. Please tell us about your
current release.
“Be kind. It
sounds simple, so why is it so difficult? Most of us recognize that being
kinder and more present would not only improve our own lives and the lives of
our loved ones, but also strengthen our communities and even our world. In
fact, numerous scientific studies have confirmed that both living mindfully and
being kind to others offer a host of benefits — from stronger relationships to
longer life. Yet even if we truly care and are motivated to change, we find
that old habits keep us coming back to the same self-centered cycle.
With his book How Love Wins, Buddhist and educator
Doug Carnine offers another path. In this simple but powerful guide, Carnine
leads the reader through a 12-step process of transformation, opening a toolbox
of skills and techniques that anyone can use to live more fully in the moment
and be more kind to themselves and others. A lay Buddhist minister who has
worked with hospice patients and prisoners, Carnine reassures us that everyone
is capable of building a mindfully kind life — and making it stick.”
What inspired you to write this book?
experiences of profound kindness, scientific findings about the power of
kindness, and the central role of kindness in all the world’s religions. These
points are elaborated in the “CADRE speech.”
Excerpt from How Love Wins: The Power of Mindful Kindness:
The Case for Mindful
You may have read a lot about mindfulness in
the media recently— for example, according to a recent article in the New
York Times
, mindfulness has become a “mainstream business practice and a
kind of industry in its own right.” However, when is the last time you really
thought about what it means to be kind? In fact, while mindfulness is a hot
topic with many different meanings in the fields of spirituality, personal
development, and business, you may not have had a conversation about kindness
since elementary school. And yet there are good reasons why you should.
Plenty of research shows that when we practice kindness, the people who bene t
the most are ourselves. Acting with generosity, altruism, compassion,
cooperation, forgiveness, empathy, and gratitude consistently results in better
relationships, a more satisfying career, and a longer, happier, and healthier
That’s not to dismiss the value of mindfulness.
On the contrary, this ancient practice has become popular for good reason.
Mindfulness comes with its own slate of proven benefits both for our physical
health (through less stress and lower blood pressure) and for mental health
(including less worry about the future and fewer regrets about the past, less
preoccupation about success and self-esteem, and more deep connections with
I like to use the word kindful to
describe how we can combine being kind with being mindful. If mindfulness is
how we can “be” in the world; kindness is what we can “do” in the world. Being
kindful frees people from the o en-unpleasant need for distractions that can
lead to addictions and violence. Spending less time with distractions gives us
more time to be kind to others and to reap the benefits of that kindness. This
book describes the value—to us and to society—of fusing kindness and
mindfulness in all aspects of our lives. I want to show you why you should make
kindness one of your life goals and explain why and how mindful- ness can help
you be more kind to yourself and others. Most important is the hands-on advice
for adopting habits of kindfulness and meditation that will change your life and
the lives of those around you.
What exciting story are you working on
“My life was the result of my crazy
With these
words began an extraordinary correspondence, between Roy Tester, a
double-murderer serving a life sentence in the notorious Arkansas prison Tucker
Max, and Doug Carnine, a professor emeritus at the University if Oregon and lay
Buddhist minister on the other side of the country. In the letters that
followed — more than 600 over seven years — these two men, along with three
other prisoners at Tucker, developed a profound spiritual partnership that
changed all of their lives. Saint Badass:
Transcendence in Tucker Max Hell
tells the inspiring story of these
unlikely friends in their own words, and follows their journey as they
rediscover their humanity in one of the most inhuman places on Earth. You can
follow their journey after the book ends by going to
When did you first consider yourself a
I started
academic non-fiction writing when I was a 21-year-old junior at the University
of Illinois National Science Foundation fellowship program to accelerate the
training of experimental psychologists. By the time I was 27 I was middling
academic writer, not becoming proficient until in my 30s. I have not yet become
proficient in writing trade books such as How Love Wins; the clarity of the
writing is strongly influenced by the developmental editor Ilima Loomis.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I write two
to three hours a day: revising this book, preparing course proposals using my
two books, writing my blog, responding to emails about my books, and responding
to letters that come out of my prison ministry.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I am obsessed
with getting feedback on everything I write and making revisions based on that
feedback. I rewrote this book probably 20 times over a ten-year period.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
In 7th
grade, I told my parents I wanted to be a psychology professor.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
When I first
started writing this I thought that the purpose of kindness was to help others.
I now realize we need to practice kindness so that our own lives will have
meaning and lead to times of contentment.
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Thanks for joining me today, Doug.

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