Finding Our Way to Inner Peace, Love, and Happiness

By Copthorne Macdonald

The Hounslow Press and Hampton Roads editions of Toward Wisdom are now out of print. A new trade paperback edition was published in November 2001 by, and is now available through local book stores (via the book distributor Ingram) or view online purchase options.
ISBN 0-595-20256-X     6" x 9"     $16.95 U.S.

A KINDLE edition of the book is available from's Kindle Store.

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Toward Wisdom eBook

Excerpts from the book:

Table of Contents Preface Chapter 1 --- What is Wisdom?

About Toward Wisdom:

Toward Wisdom addresses the nature of wisdom, humanitys need for it, and ways and means of developing it.

The situation the world faces today is extremely complex. Long-cherished values have begun to conflict with each other: material comfort vs. an uncontaminated world; economic growth now vs. economic well-being for our grandchildren. Toward Wisdom takes the position that the only way to make the world a better place is to make it a wiser place. Wisdom is no longer an option or a frill. We, and the world, need wisdom-based analyses of our problems followed by wisdom-based action.

In the past, becoming wise was left to chance; a few people became wise before they died, but most did not. This lackadaisical approach will no longer do. Wisdom can be developed intentionally, and Toward Wisdom shows us how. The book examines some of the key impediments to wisdom what they are, how they work, how they came to be and introduces us to techniques for getting beyond them.

From reviews of TOWARD WISDOM:

Wisdom is often confused with knowledge (information, data). Copthorne Macdonald began his personal journey as a narrowly focused engineer who understood how "things" work, but not how life "happens". In Toward Wisdom, Macdonald shows the reader the difference between wisdom and knowledge, and in so doing explains how that understanding is critical to our survival. Drawing from a variety of spiritual sources (from Christian mystics to Maslow) and from his own real and inner-world experiences, Macdonald says that we no longer see ourselves as part of one miraculous living process. As a result, we've become need-based exploiters of our own appetites and of the natural world. To become wisdom-oriented, we must begin to see the unity behind the illusions of separateness to "recognize" that we were always "waves in the ocean". We arrive at this point, Macdonald insists, not by acquiring more information but by re-experiencing our place in the greater scheme of things. Toward Wisdom challenges us to move beyond an information-based society to a wisdom-based one. Toward Wisdom is thoughtful, insightful, provocative reading and a significant contribution to the philosophical understanding of our place in the scheme of things.

              Midwest Book Review

It is ever so easy in this technological world to be caught up in the how of things around us and to lose sight of the essential why. Sharing his own journey from the narrow focus of the need-based world toward the limitless realm of true knowing, Macdonald shows how modern society often confuses information with wisdom. He explains the necessity of rediscovering our place in the true scheme of things as part of one miraculous living process, "waves in the ocean." He began as an engineer, and so writes like an engineer -- logically, systemically, and always with his direction in mind -- and for that reason offers a perspective on the process of spiritual development that will speak to many who have difficulty relating to more esoteric writers.

Patricia Monaco, BookWire

I found his book a challenging and rewarding read. [Macdonald] comes across as and intriguing mix of restless tinkerer and synthesizing visionary.

As Copthorne Macdonald sees it, everything constitutes one miraculous living process. Rather than being God the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth, God is the universe and everything in and of it, including us. Instead of hierarchy, oneness.

The wisdom that Macdonald is after differs from knowledge, the acquisition of information. He defines it as a hybrid of deep compassion, "reality seeking," or seeing through delusion and dogma to understand how things really work, the ability to discern unity through separateness (the ocean through the waves), and enough self-awareness to avoid the kind of explosive impulses that produce many of today's headlines. Without a broad cultivation of wisdom, Macdonald argues, we will surely not survive.

Michael Riordan, Globe and Mail

On the path toward becoming a fully aware human being it is delightful to meet others traveling the road toward what Macdonald calls "wisdom." This book describes the author's transformation from a narrowly focused engineer who knew he had all the answers to a more broadly aware human being who advocates the cultivation of widely focused attention and letting go of wanting as a way of achieving contentment. Although the book discusses various practices that can lead to increased wisdom and contentment, there is no evangelizing beyond the author's insistence that, as individuals and a culture, we need to evolve from being need-based to being "wisdom oriented." Macdonald writes well and is able to present ideas from psychology and Eastern thought in a straightforward systems framework. Readers will find in this book many ideas that will assist them on their quest for personal growth.

Canadian Book Review Annual

It is toward wisdom that [Macdonald] urges us, individually and a society. Drawing on a variety of spiritual and psychological sources--from Vipassana meditation to Jung and Maslow--Macdonald defines wisdom and describes some of the common blocks to its development. Then he offers practices for overcoming them.

Small Press Review

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