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Cover for How to Be Sick

How to Be Sick

Your Pocket Companion

Toni Bernhard


List Price: 12.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/14/2010)


The must-have guide to the practices of the bestselling classic to help you cope with the pain and uncertainty of illness and navigate your relationships with family, friends, and medical professionals.

You won’t be alone when you have this pocket-sized treasure of transformative practices, written by beloved bestselling author Toni Bernhard.

In 2001, Toni got sick and never recovered. As she faced the confusion, frustration, and despair of a life that was suddenly severely limited, Toni had to learn how to be sick.

In this easy-to-use, easy-to-carry book, Toni shares practices from her bestselling classic How to Be Sick and also offers new suggestions and strategies for coping with a life impacted by chronic pain and illness. Because the book is organized by specific challenges, you can immediately find practices that can help when they’re needed most.

With this book in hand, you will discover the experiential wisdom that has helped Toni live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy, despite her physical and energetic restrictions (and, sometimes, because of them). In the pages of this loyal companion, you’ll find help, solace, and inspiration, no matter what life challenge you’re facing.

Praise For How to Be Sick: Your Pocket Companion

"Beautiful, heartfelt, and immensely courageous. Truly worth reading."
— Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

“This book can bring you more fully alive by healing your spirit.”
— Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance

“This is a book for all of us.”
— Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job

“Practical, wise, and full of heart.”
— James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy

“Told with relentless honesty and clarity.”
— Stephen Batchelor, author of Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Wisdom Publications, 9781614296768, 104pp.

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

About the Author

Toni Bernhard fell ill on a trip to Paris in 2001 with what doctors initially diagnosed as an acute viral infection. She has not recovered.

In 1982, she’d received a J.D. from the School of Law at the University of California, Davis, and immediately joined the faculty where she stayed until chronic illness forced her to retire. During her twenty-two years on the faculty, she served for six years as dean of students.

In 1992, she began to study and practice Buddhism. Before becoming ill, she attended many meditation retreats and led a meditation group in Davis with her husband.

She lives in Davis with her husband, Tony, and their hound dog, Rusty.

Toni can be found online at