Parker J. Palmer
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About Parker J. Palmer
PARKER J. PALMER is a writer, teacher, and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. Author of ten books—including several best-selling and award-winning titles—that have sold nearly two million copies, Palmer is the Founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as thirteen honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named him one of the 30 most influential senior leaders in higher education and one of the 10 key agenda-setters of the past decade. In 2010, he was given the William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mead, Marshall McLuhan, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel). In 2011, the Utne Reader named him as one of "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” In 2021, the Freedom of Spirit Fund, a UK-based foundation, gave him their "Lifetime Achievement Award” in honor of work that promotes and protects spiritual freedom. For 20-plus years, the Accrediting Commission for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has given annual Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” and “Courage to Lead” Awards to directors of exemplary medical residency programs. "Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer," was published in 2005. Born and raised in the Chicago area, he has lived in NYC, Berkeley, CA, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, PA. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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PLEASE NOTE: Some recent copies of Let Your Life Speak included printing errors. These issues have been corrected, but if you purchased a defective copy between September and December 2019, please send proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a replacement copy.
Dear Friends: I'm sorry that after 20 years of happy traveling, Let Your Life Speak hit a big pothole involving printing errors that resulted in an unreadable book. But I'm very grateful to my publisher for moving quickly to see that people who received a defective copy have a way to receive a good copy without going through the return process. We're all doing everything we can to make things right, and I'm grateful for your patience. Thank you, Parker J. Palmer
With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and follow its leadings toward a sense of meaning and purpose. Telling stories from his own life and the lives of others who have made a difference, he shares insights gained from darkness and depression as well as fulfillment and joy, illuminating a pathway toward vocation for all who seek the true calling of their lives.
2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medalist in the Aging/Death & Dying Category
From bestselling author Parker J. Palmer comes a brave and beautiful book for all who want to age reflectively, seeking new insights and life-giving ways to engage in the world. “Age itself,” he says, “is no excuse to wade in the shallows. It’s a reason to dive deep and take creative risks.”
Looking back on eight decades of life—and on his work as a writer, teacher, and activist—Palmer explores what he’s learning about self and world, inviting readers to explore their own experience. In prose and poetry—and three downloadable songs written for the book by the gifted Carrie Newcomer—he meditates on the meanings of life, past, present, and future.
With compassion and chutzpah, gravitas and levity, Palmer writes about cultivating a vital inner and outer life, finding meaning in suffering and joy, and forming friendships across the generations that bring new life to young and old alike.
“This book is a companion for not merely surviving a fractured world, but embodying—like Parker—the fiercely honest and gracious wholeness that is ours to claim at every stage of life.” —Krista Tippett, New York Times-bestselling author of Becoming Wise
“A wondrously rich mix of reality and possibility, comfort and story, helpful counsel and poetry, in the voice of a friend . . . This is a book of immense gratitude, consolation, and praise.” —Naomi Shihab Nye, National Book Award finalist
Enriched by a new Foreword from Diana Chapman Walsh, the book builds on a simple premise: good teaching can never be reduced to technique. Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher, that core of self where intellect, emotion, and spirit converge--enabling 'live encounters' between teachers, students, and subjects that are the key to deep and lasting learning.
Good teachers love learners, learning, and the teaching life in a way that builds trust with students and colleagues, animates their daily practice, and keeps them coming back tomorrow.
- Reclaim your own vision and purpose against the threat of burn-out
- Understand why good teaching cannot be reduced to technique alone
- Explore and practice the relational traits that good teachers have in common
- Learn how to forge learning connections with your students and "teach across the gap"
This primer on authentic education explores how mind and heart can work together in the learning process. Moving beyond the bankruptcy of our current model of education, Parker Palmer finds the soul of education through a lifelong cultivation of the wisdom each of us possesses and can share to benefit others.
In Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker J. Palmer quickens our instinct to seek the common good and gives us the tools to do it. This timely, courageous and practical work—intensely personal as well as political—is not about them, "those people" in Washington D.C., or in our state capitals, on whom we blame our political problems. It's about us, "We the People," and what we can do in everyday settings like families, neighborhoods, classrooms, congregations and workplaces to resist divide-and-conquer politics and restore a government "of the people, by the people, for the people."
In the same compelling, inspiring prose that has made him a bestselling author, Palmer explores five "habits of the heart" that can help us restore democracy's foundations as we nurture them in ourselves and each other:
- An understanding that we are all in this together
- An appreciation of the value of "otherness"
- An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways
- A sense of personal voice and agency
- A capacity to create community
Healing the Heart of Democracy is an eloquent and empowering call for "We the People" to reclaim our democracy. The online journal Democracy & Education called it "one of the most important books of the early 21st Century." And Publishers Weekly, in a Starred Review, said "This beautifully written book deserves a wide audience that will benefit from discussing it."
- Parker J. Palmer [from the Introduction]
Teachers choose their vocation for reasons of the heart, because they care deeply about their students and about their subject. But the demands of teaching cause too many educators to lose heart. Is it possible to take heart in teaching once more so that we can continue to do what good teachers always do -- give heart to our students?
In The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer takes teachers on an inner journey toward reconnecting with their vocation and their students -- and recovering their passion for one of the most difficult and important of human endeavors.
From Parker Palmer, best-selling author of The Courage to Teach, and Arthur Zajonc, professor of physics at Amherst College and director of the academic program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, comes this call to revisit the roots and reclaim the vision of higher education. The Heart of Higher Education proposes an approach to teaching and learning that honors the whole human being—mind, heart, and spirit—an essential integration if we hope to address the complex issues of our time. The book offers a rich interplay of analysis, theory, and proposals for action from two educators and writers who have contributed to developing the field of integrative education over the past few decades.
- Presents Parker Palmer’s powerful response to critics of holistic learning and Arthur Zajonc’s elucidation of the relationship between science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions
- Explores ways to take steps toward making colleges and universities places that awaken the deepest potential in students, faculty, and staff
- Offers a practical approach to fostering renewal in higher education through collegiality and conversation
The Heart of Higher Education is for all who are new to the field of holistic education, all who want to deepen their understanding of its challenges, and all who want to practice and promote this vital approach to teaching and learning on their campuses.
20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
The Courage to Teach Guide for Reflection & Renewal is a helpful companion to Parker J. Palmer's classic work on restoring identity and integrity to professional life. A superb resource for those who wish to extend their exploration of the ideas in The Courage to Teach, as individuals or part of a study group, the Guide provides practical ways to create "safe space" for honest reflection and probing conversations and offers chapter-by-chapter questions and exercises to further explore the many insights in The Courage to Teach.
The bonus online content includes a 70-minute interview with Parker Palmer, in which Palmer reflects on a wide range of subjects including the heart of the teacher, the crisis in education, diverse ways of knowing, relationships in teaching and learning, approaches to institutional transformation, and teachers as "culture heroes." Discussion questions related to the topics explored in the interview have been integrated into the Guide, giving individuals and study groups a chance to have "a conversation with the author" as well as an engagement with the text.
Parker must have loved Merton as much as he studied him, and must have understood Merton long before he had worked his way through Merton’s bibliography. This essay is short, fresh, and obviously written with a twinkle in the eye. And the greatest surprise of all is that it not only leads us closer to the spirit of Merton, but closer to Him in whose service Merton juggled contradiction and paradox.
The Active Life is Parker J. Palmer's deep and graceful exploration of a spirituality for the busy, sometimes frenetic lives many of us lead. Telling evocative stories from a variety of religious traditions, including Taoist, Jewish, and Christian, Palmer shows that the spiritual life does not mean abandoning the world but engaging it more deeply through life-giving action. He celebrates both the problems and potentials of the active life, revealing how much they have to teach us about ourselves, the world, and God.