"Remember to pay attention to the spirit's first command — to be good at life," writes Robert Lawrence Smith, former headmaster of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. In this warm, wise, and eminently readable work, he ponders the essence of Quaker thought and practice. Here you will find a mix of memoir, history, and sagacious commentary on the values that give life meaning.

Smith explains how the Quakers use shared silence as a medium for group discovery in their meetings. He hails simplicity as a cornerstone of this faith where plain speech, frugality, and few possessions are honored. Smith reveals how founder George Fox's belief that "there is that of God in each of us" leads to nonviolence and a confidence that good can overcome evil once men and women heed the call of conscience. Equally important is following William Penn's vision of service of others — "Let us then try what love will do."

A Quaker Book of Wisdom accentuates this religion's unique contributions to America and to the world. By looking for the light of God in every person, these serious, sober, and diligent folk have made the planet a better place. We can all benefit from their immense reservoir of spiritual wisdom.