Tiny Buddha Book Review & mini-mission

What do you get when you combine a powerful, personal story with Twitter collaborators from around the world? A life changing book.

Lori Deschene the founder of Tiny Buddha offered more in her book Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions than I expected. I knew she would offer priceless wisdom and thoughtful contributions, but I didn’t know that I would get to learn so much about her. Lori shares the heartache she experienced growing up and how she learned to love herself. Reading Tiny Buddha reminded me that all we really have is our story and that story needs to be shared.

When I read through the Table of Contents and saw that the chapters were named simply; Pain, Meaning, Change, Fate, Happiness … I knew this was a book written just for me.

“Can people change? Absolutely, It’s the only thing everyone and everything does. We just have to choose – in one moment, and then the next.” – these hopeful thoughts are a common thread throughout the book.

Lori asks tough questions like “Does everything happen for a reason?” and “What is the meaning of life?” but then instead of letting the reader fend for themselves, provides ideas and answers from Twitter responses. While there are no right or wrong answers, there are answers from real people experiencing real life.

Lori’s book is full of suggestions and challenges and one of them is a perfect mini-mission. Create meaning through joy. Grab a piece of paper and start to …

Create Meaning through Joy

If you’ve gotten a little too serious in your pursuit of purpose:

Make a list of three to seven things that you enjoy most in life. These don’t have to be huge things. They might be simple things, like walking on the beach, riding your motorcycle, or listening to the sound of your baby laughing. Think about the activities that often leave you thinking. This is what it means to really be alive.

Take a look at your current schedule. Do you regularly do those things? Are you making excuses about why you can’t? Maybe it’s your busy schedule, or your limited finances, or some other external restriction.

Find tiny holes in your upcoming week. Even if you’re busy, odds are you have an hour here, twenty minutes there, and maybe even a complete day or two sometimes. Identify potential gaps right now, acknowledging that they’re available to be filled.

Plan to do something that makes you feel exhilarated for at least a small chunk of time every day. If you love animals but don’t ever spend time with them, go to a local dog park during your lunch break. If you’re passionate about yoga but can’t afford a class, find a free one on YouTube. Plan for a little activity every day that makes you feel alive and connected to something larger than yourself, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. Then do only those things, without carrying your worries or fears into the moment. When you make time to experience pure, engaged joy, you both create meaning and open to new possibilities that may create more.

If one thing you enjoy most is reading, you’ll love this. Lori is giving away 2 copies of her brand new book, Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions to Be More with Less readers. Simply leave a comment about this mini-mission and I’ll pick 2 winners on Friday, December 23.

Good luck and thanks so much to Lori for writing a beautiful book, giving us a very timely mini-mission and giving away 2 books!

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. Ashley says

    Wow, what an amazing/life changing idea! I often think of how alive and exhilarated I feel when I’m rock climbing, learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or doing some other type of physical activity, like playing a sport. And yet, I never go rock climbing, have given up Jui-Jitsu, and am currently working out but not competitively. I read a lot, and I enjoy reading, but it doesn’t give me the same rush. When I leave work today, the first thing I am going to do is sign up for a co-ed basketball league through my church. Then I will look through my budget and see if I have room to start BJJ again.

    • Fran says

      My sister got me hooked on tinybuddha about a year ago and I am always passing it along to friends. It motivates me to take care of me! I just recently went back to the gym to “Take care of me”! As a Mom, I tend to take care of everyone else and not enough of me! I look forward to reading a good book after the holidays! Fran <3

  2. says

    This sounds like a really good book for me to read right now. I like that it has the word ‘tiny’ in it, makes it sounds so delicate and not so overwhelming!

  3. Kim says

    Sounds like a great book to check out! Sometimes a tiny bite is all we need to get us from here to there.

  4. says

    I love Tiny Buddha; it was one of my favorite twitter profiles (when I still used it). It is also one of the blogs that I share the most on my FB profile and also on a couple of the FB pages I admin. I am looking forward to reading it.

  5. Sarah C says

    Some of my favorite activities are: spending time with my husband, reading, and doing yoga. However I had turned my (stiff, aching) back on yoga for far too long! Last week I managed to fit in a class and was instantly reminded how much I both enjoy it and truly need it. Thank you for this mini-mission.

  6. Ann says

    Great mini-mission! I started incorporating this recently when I wanted to get writing again. I seem to have the most luck with this in the mornings, so I’ve been waking up an hour earlier (even though that means 4:30am) to get in some writing before I take off to the day job. It’s been wonderful–I start with Morning Pages, and then into whatever story I want to work on at the time. My husband says I actually seem excited to get out of bed again now.

  7. Karen says

    my list is as follows:

    1. writing in my journal – entries/poetry
    2. meditating
    3. riding my bike
    4. reading
    5. watching a live band
    6. taking pictures

    I don’t do these nearly enough during my daily life but I’ll be getting some noise cancelling headphones for Christmas from my boyfriend so that will aid a lot in meditating regularly (I meditate with instrumental music) and it helps a lot in easing anxiety and stress. Tonight I plan to exercise for 20 minutes, which always leads to a feeling of joy and wellbeing.

  8. Ser Tan says

    I forget that even doing something for 5 minutes can change your whole perspective. I took 5 mins today to contact a loved one who I always think about – but I never think I have enough free time to catch up with :-)

  9. says

    Sounds like a great book. Life is full of little “micro-satisfactions”, and sometimes that’s all there is after you slog through life. I try to grab onto those, be fully present, and wring as much joy out of them as I can. I like sitting still and petting my dog. I like brewing and drinking a cup of tea. Things like this seem simple, but can bring much joy.

  10. Kathryn says

    I’m also a long time follower of Tiny Buddha – I followed her link to here, in fact :)
    I was already on this mini-mission, but I’ll share my short list:
    playing with the dogs
    chatting with my kids
    playing a board game with my kids
    watching a movie
    taking a walk
    playing with art supplies – lots of choices here :)

    Thanks for the giveaway – I look forward to checking out the book one way or another!

  11. says

    Courtney, thank you for sharing this review! I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to Tiny Buddha, and am glad to hear that Lori’s latest is such a good offering.

    To fulfill this mini-mission, I’ve scheduled a time to go figure skating before the New Year. I was a competitive skater in my teens, but now, I do it just for joy. I can make plenty of excuses: “The rink’s too far away,” “I’m out of practice,” “I need to get my skates sharpened”…but those excuses don’t matter the moment I step out onto the ice. Skating has always been a source of delight for me, and so I’m realizing that that’s reason enough to get past the excuses and just do it!

  12. Jens says

    Wow, this is a great post for the beginning of a New Year. It brought to mind Diane Ackerman’s book “Deep Play”. I actually love doing yoga and need to make more room for it on a daily basis. It’s so rewarding even if you only practice for a few minutes at a time.

  13. Carrie K says

    I want to take time to write this list! i love this idea…

    thanks for the chance to win this book ive heard so much about

  14. says

    This is a great mini-mission. I’ve chosen Joy as my 2012 word and have already begun thinking about what would bring me joy in 2012 and how to make room for it. I really want to focus on this and the mini-mission is a great starting point!

  15. Nancy says

    This mini-mission challenge really hit me! I don’t do the things that bring me joy nearly as much as I used to. I’m going to start making time – even just a little – for:

    watching a movie
    volunteering in the Cat Room at the shelter

  16. misty says

    I would love love love this book. I need some self help during this awful time I have been going through!

  17. says

    I’ll be more than happy to win one those two books.

    Growing our spiritual wisdom should be on top of everyone’s list.


  18. LeeAnn says

    When I grow old, I never want to look back and say, “I wish I had done….” (fill in the blank). That is why I love this mini mission. Commit to filling the tiny holes in our schedule with things we love to do and pretty soon there will never be a moment where we say, “I wish I had”! Although sometimes I just wish I had the faith and courage in myself to see it through on the tougher days. Ahhh, but that’s living and learning about ourselves, right? :-)

  19. Tania says

    I think this mini-mission is great. It’s so easy to lose touch with who you really are and what truly makes you happy. I’m experiencing this now more than ever because I work 40+ hrs/wk in a retail store and it’s insane. My job is all-consuming and absolutely soul-crushing. It’s important to take some time every day to ground myself and remember who I am and why I’m here. I also never take the “little things” for granted. I use the twitter hash tag #enjoythelittlethings to remind myself of what makes me happy and keep a record I can look back on. It’s what keeps me going!

  20. Patricia says

    This is great! I need to take time and appreciate the wonderful outdoors. I forget how much nature is inspiring and nurturing. Thank you for the chance to win an amazing book.

  21. says

    “Plan to do something that makes you feel exhilarated for at least a small chunk of time every day.” This is a great idea. I need to do this

  22. Renate says

    I love the tiny buddha tweets every day!!!It helps me through the day and makes life a bit easier. I’m sure I will love the book… It would be surely a good start in 2012 😉

  23. Kenny says

    An excellent choice especially at this time of the year when we all could use a positive change in life.

  24. says

    Tiny Buddha helped me keep my cool for my bout this past Saturday, and as well as when I was in the hospital due to an insane hit. Due to maintaining my cool, I was able to receive MVP for the bout. Thank you!

  25. S. Baker says

    I love reading, and you would think I get my fill by being an English graduate student/instructor. But I always make sure to insert Books for Pleasure into my schedule. I made a pledge at the beginning of 2011 to read at least one book a week for sheer pleasure. Time sometimes demands that I read a smaller book for pleasure than other weeks, but I’ve made good on my pledge. This week, the first after the fall semester has ended, I am reading a 1,200 page novel that I’ve been waiting for a slow week to tackle, and look forward to every moment I can spend within its pages.

    I’d love for Tiny Buddha to be one of my first Weekly Books for Pleasure in 2012.

  26. Carolyn says

    I love doing yoga and don’t have the time to do it for as much as I’d like, but I DO try to fit in at least 10 to 20 minutes most days of the week. I also love petting my cats–so calming; it’s instant happiness! I’ve read tiny Buddha blog for a year or more, and would enjoy reading the new book. Sounds like a great read.

  27. says

    I will have to read Tiny Buddha. Life has been difficult this year and now I have to start serious meds for my MS. I need someone to lean on and I have used your blog, Courtney, to help me thorough my recent tough times. I look forward to reading
    Tiny Buddha. Here’s to 2012 being a better year~

  28. Michelle says

    Absolutely love the little bit of the book I got from your post! What a treasure to win the whole book! Thanks for sharing the words & the opportunity!

  29. Janet says

    After losing my job and house, I am learning the value of appreciating the simple things in life and trying to find those “mini” moments of pleasure. It has enhanced my life more than anything I ever bought. My faith in God has allowed me to survive and indeed flourish in these trying days and months and years. Always aware that God made everything and nothing is impossible through God. I would value the gift of this book.

  30. Katie says

    I send my husband Tiny Buddha quotes from Twitter every single day to give him a pick me up. His response, “It is like they are telling me something, the way they align with my life!” We are all writing a story about life and these Tiny Buddha quotes are just reminders to keep on living!

  31. Ale says

    My first step was to Simplify. I think I’m ready to take the second step. Find joy everyday. What a nice and unknown concept for me. Always used to just doing. I love this. :-)

  32. cat the great says

    I found you from a twitter friend…. i love the idea of this book and the practical advice/information that you have shared here! i hope to read it soon. thanks for the inspiration

  33. Chris says

    This book sounds like a must read for me. And thanks to Tiny Buddha, I now know about More with Less!

  34. Genia says

    Part of my mini mission is to allow myself some time every day to read. The book would be a great way to motivate me to accomplish this part of my mini mission!
    Thank you.

  35. says

    Such a great idea! I’m still trying to figure out what I actually enjoy doing. Just getting by each day with the simplest of tasks (like eating) are stressful enough, so trying to fit something in feels overwhelming! For my list, all I can think of is dance & animals. I always dance when I get a chance, but I usually end up carrying a child or tripping over one. Maybe I could try doing it in the evening after they go to bed (and hope the music doesn’t wake them). As for animals, hopefully, I can find a time to get to a shelter and hang out with some. I dream of fostering kittens again, but know realistically, that all of my other responsibilities would be put on the back burner if tiny kittens entered my house! Thanks for the encouragement to find even a tidbit of joy in the day :)

  36. Joan Ferrell says

    This concept makes it seem more realistic for those who seem to have a difficult time finding their way to grasp the simple pleasures that make life beautiful.

  37. sumarie says

    Thank you both for this post. The ideas expressed are so relevant,
    and so universal, and, as you say, hopeful & do-able.
    Thank you!

  38. says

    last week I got early a couple of mornings and went outside to do some exercise while kids were still sleeping. My mini-mission is to do it again this week (so far the fatigue has been getting the better of me).

  39. lisa overby-blosser says

    Oh I would love a copy of Tiny Buddah. Thank you so much for featuring it on your site!

  40. Sandy Shaner says

    I’m in a reading group that is reading the Dalai Lama’s Art of Happiness and, as a result, I’ve been focusing on what really makes me happy now that I’m retired. This blog and the Little Buddha site and book sound like excellent additions. Thanks!

  41. pamela joy says

    This reminds me of a quote “Never sacrifice the important for the urgent.” I need to learn to live by that and to take on this mini-mission. So often things that just “have” to get done now crowd out things that bring joy. Would love to win this book!

  42. says

    I’m an avid follower of Tiny Buddha – I look forward to new tweets, and am eager to share it with my friends. I was curious to check out the latest tweet, and I must admit that I really love the mini-lesson above. It’s really important to remember the little things in life.

    This concept of re-connecting with the little things in life is something that I’ve reintroduced into my daily routine, and I’m certainly glad I have done it. As part of my path toward discovery and inner-peace, I have engaged on a year-long journey of creativity. As something that I thought I never had time for, I chose to make time for it. Back in April of this year, I decided to write a poem a day until I graduate from undergrad. At press time, I am on Day 245, and my project will conclude on May 13th, 2012 (totaling at 389 poems).

    Though it’s just one particular step, I am concentrating on staying committed to several other ways of relishing the smaller joys of life. These include cooking (over going out to eat), exercising on a regular basis, and conceptualizing new projects every now and then.

    I am eager to learn about more ways to rediscover self-love and patience. Thanks for sharing!

  43. Lois says

    Tiny Buddha always gives me a lot to think about and another great benefit is providing links to other sites, such as this one.

  44. Candyce C. Fleming says

    Tiny Buddha is a perfect book to be reviewing on BEMOREWITHLESS. So often we see pages and pages of words and words and words to say something so very simple. This book and the integrity of the page keeping the words to just the amount they need to be work beautifully.

    ….and quite simply.. I love inspiring words, and a great book. So the page, the book, and me… good fit!

  45. says

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m a new reader and will definitely be subscribing! This is such a useful prompt. I plan to spend some time over the next couple of days using it to help me regain focus for the New Year so that I can spend 2012 wisely. 😀

  46. David says

    I’m a book junkies. I’ll be glad to have a free book especially a good one! But I guess it will be a tough decision for you to make who to give the book to. J

  47. anne says

    I think I’m doing a pretty good job of finding meaning through joy with my solo activities, but it’s time to work harder on the family activities. Thank you for the nudge.

  48. Paula says

    Great post! i would love to get a copy of “Tiny Budha”. Will def pass it on to all my friends after reading it!

  49. Sarah H says

    The mini mission is a good wellbeing checkup! We sometimes power through everything all the time that we forget to slow down and review if we’re doing what ultimately makes us happy. Thanks for the reminder!

  50. Lisa says

    I am currently on a mission of self improvement and awakening. My world has changed an incredible amount over the last couple of years and I have been soaking up as much information as I can. So far I have found everything incredibly helpful in finding my true spirit and happiness. To be honest I don’t know how I came across your site but am so happy that I did and look forward to continuing my journey with you!

  51. says

    I’ve long lived by the old saying “The reason most people fail instead of succeed is because they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment.” At first, this statement would seem to be almost the polar opposite of what you have written here…after all, a statement like that can sound like work is the most important thing, not finding extra time out of your day to do what you want.

    But I think it strongly applies here for one simple reason. What you are speaking of seems to be getting the most of out each moment of the day that you can. Doing those 3-7 things that truly show what life is, rather than just spending that time sulking. There are times when people (strange though it may be) actually seem to prefer to be depressed and sad rather than doing those things that bring them joy. But tis little more than a momentary and painful trade.

    Those things that make one feel alive and grand…those are the things that most of us want throughout our lives. Tis just a matter of choosing to enjoy them rather than choosing to wallow in a void of sorrow.

  52. says

    I was just telling myself the other day that I needed more joy in my life. This was such synchronistic timing. I can’t wait to read this book either. It’s exactly what I need to hear right now.

  53. Chris says

    Coming up with a list was easy. Thanks for the inspiration. I will start implementing the everyday stuff right away. I’m also motivated to find time to go on a camping/hiking trip as soon as possible. Thanks again.

  54. Alicia says

    In trying to complete the mini-mission I found myself on another mission. . .just trying to come up with 3-7 things that I enjoy most in life. Hmmmm. The first thing I thought of was that I enjoy entertaining others. I like having people over my house and watching them have a good time for example laughing while playing a game. I enjoy reading and journaling. But that’s all I could think of. First, I have to find out what I enjoy then try to make time for it. Thanks for the insightful post.

  55. Courtney Carver says

    Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments! I’ll be choosing 2 winners on Friday but just wanted to drop in and say welcome and thank you. xoxo – Courtney

  56. kim says

    Tiny Buddah; even the names makes me think that perhaps the smallest change will make a difference. Thanks!

  57. says

    Thanks for the mini-mission to remind me to find that 20 minutes or hour or day to do the things that make me feel alive. This is one of the hardest steps for me…to break away from the daily grind. I need someone to push me off the treadmill.

    Walking on a brisk winter day
    Feeling the sweat pour after an exhilarating workout
    Cleaning out a closet and parting with the clutter
    Sitting in a peaceful sanctuary listening to piano music
    Singing Christmas carols
    Hiking to the top of a mountain
    Sharing the world with kids that I love
    Waking up early (I am NOT a morning person)

    I would love to start 2012 out by reading Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom For Life’s Hard Questions. Maybe it would provide that push I need.

    Also…I would have loved to have been at Nostalgia Coffee tonight but I was celebrating an early Christmas with my son.


  58. Elaine says

    We were discussing what the term quality of life means and I think that your blog brought up two very important ideas that I was having trouble putting into words. I think that quality of life changes over time and means different things to different people, but at the root it is ultimately happiness. I think that the ideas in your blog to “Create meaning through joy” and to add “A little activity (every day) that makes you feel alive and connected to something larger than yourself” support this and are lovely ways of expressing QOL. Looking forward to reading more. Thank you! :)

  59. Jane says

    Reading is one activity that has always given me great pleasure. This book sounds like the perfect excuse to do just that!

  60. Emily says

    I’m new to Tiny Buddha, but I look forward to reading more in the coming year. This an d “The Happiness Project” are on my to read list. Hope to win a copy!

  61. Susan says

    rock climbing today! thanks for the mini mission:) can’t wait to get my hands on this book, i love tiny buddah.

  62. Maria says

    This couldn’t be more timely. I’ve been reading information on how to be happier on a daily basis and one of the best ways is to do things, no matter how small, such as reading, walking – whatever brings you joy. Just as you mention in the section Creating Meaning Through Joy. I have been reading Tiny Buddha off and on for about 6 months and find it very uplifting. I would love a copy of the book and read more Wisdom from Lori.

  63. Janet says

    Oddly enough, I was discussing life’s “intention” with some co-workers recently. And we did all agree, that life has a different “intention” for each person. I cannot say that I have found my purpose or intention, but I am always seeking more and striving to align my life more with my passions.

    Though this book will not answer the riddle of life, it sounds like it will definitely inspire me to look more inside myself.


  64. Melanie says

    I love how simple these questions are… I can re-think them often to better work towards centering my life & helping make others more positive. To help remember to let out the inner child. This book I’m sure will be amazing! Thank you, Lori!

  65. Lily says

    Reading through your blog is so inspiring. I am 16 and have recently become aware of my need to “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify”, as Thoreau said. I find it difficult to decide what to simply– I have many interests in the arts, nature, and yoga. However, these activities occupy a considerable amount of time, on top of schoolwork. I am lost on how to balance all of this.

  66. says

    The tb book would complement my path in figuring out how to balance being a textile artist and a new homeschooling parent. Thank you for the opportunity to be hopeful :)

  67. Melody says

    I love…
    1. Patting my pet
    2. Cooking something delicious
    3. Talking with the elderly
    4. Steno
    5. Ping pong

  68. Courtney Carver says

    Thanks everyone for commenting to win a copy of the Tiny Buddha book. I’ve just emailed the 2 winners.

    • says

      Sorry I didn’t win! Can’t afford it right now so I’ll have to wait to be able to add it to my “to do” list. Hope the winners enjoy their copies! Best, Cathy

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