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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Harold S. Kushner

Narrated By: Harold S. Kushner

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: July 2000

Duration: 0 hours 36 minutes


As a young theology student, Harold Kushner puzzled over the Book of Job. As a small-town rabbi he counseled other people through pain and grief. But not until he learned that his three-year-old son, Aaron, would die in his early teens of a rare disease did he confront one of life's most difficult questions: Where do we find the resources to cope when tragedy strikes?

"I knew that one day I would write this book," says Rabbi Kushner. "I would write it out of my own need to put into words some of the most important things I have come to believe and know. And I would write it to help other people who might one day find themselves in a similar predicament. I am fundamentally a religious man who has been hurt by life, and I wanted to write a book that could be given to the person who has been hurt by life, and who knows in his heart that if there is justice in the world, he deserved better. . . . If you are such a person, if you want to believe in God's goodness and fairness but find it hard because of the things that have happened to you and to people you care about, and if this book helps you do that, then I will have succeeded in distilling some blessing out of Aaron's pain and tears."

Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions. In his new preface to this anniversary edition, Rabbi Kushner relates the heartwarming responses he has received over the last two decades from people who have found inspiration and comfort within these pages.

From the Hardcover edition.


  • Denise Perez

    Very good book. Seems like the most realistic explanation on this subject.

  • Brett

    I liked this book so much that I passed it around to friends, started reading more about Rabbi Kushner and have added a few more of his books to my queue. I listened to the abridged version which was fast moving and essentially grabs you from the start until the end. I listened to this CD four times and then asked friends to listen to it as well. I found his personal tragedy to be moving, and his search for meaning to be thought provoking and righteous. Having experienced personal tragedy as well I have a sense of why this book was a best seller and how it can bring sense when things don't make sense. I highly recommend this book to people who are willing to listen with an open mind and an open heart.

  • Anonymous

    I was disappointed because the author does not believe God is all-powerful. The author feels that bad things happen to good people because God is not powerful in controlling acts of nature and that He is not in control of a few other things. My belief is that God is all powerful and even though He allows bad things to happen, He is not a bad God. There are just some things that we will never understand until we get to Heaven and receive the ultimate understanding. In the meantime, my feeling is that we should just ask God to grant us with peace in our lives, the ability to accept bad things that happen and of which we cannot do nothing about, and ask God to grant us with the ability to forgive. I didn't order this audio book to get answers to something, I ordered it to simply see what this author had to say on the subject. Again, I was disappointed to find that the author does not feel God is all powerful. I will pray for him.

  • Paul Schott

    Excellent book - well written and well presented by the author. A good perspective on life for those facing challenges or know someone who is.

  • Anonymous

    This was ok. I would not mind listening to it again, if I am bored or something

  • Melissa Jones

    Whether you are trying to deal with a personal tragedy or are trying to figure out why a supreme being would let the Holocaust, September 11, or the tsunami happen, this book is for you. Rabbi Kushner looks at tragedy in a new light. He examines the feelings one experiences when faced with a tremondous loss. But he doesn't gloss over the question of "why did this happen?" He faces it head on and gives an explanation that's so profound it is worth a listen.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

by Harold S. Kushner

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold S. Kushner