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This book is the first serious consideration of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama's work and ideas as a politician, scientist, and philosopher. Author Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father's) for three decades--an ongoing exploration of his message and its effectiveness. Now, Iyer captures the paradoxes of the Dalai Lama's position: though he has brought the ideas of Tibet to world attention, Tibet itself is being remade as a Chinese province; though he was born in one of the remotest, least developed places on earth, he has become a champion of globalism and technology. He is a religious leader who warns against being distracted by religion; a Tibetan head of state who suggests that exile from Tibet can be an opportunity; an incarnation of a Tibetan god who stresses his humanity. Iyer illuminates the hidden life, the transforming ideas, and the daily challenges of a global icon.--From publisher description.