Written by Damien Keown (the version which came out in May 2000, not the one written by M. Carrithers), A very short introduction to Buddhism is one of the best "short-form" books on Buddhism I have read. It has clarity and it is enlightening. The author makes a complex subject easily understandable for readers who may not have much knowledge of Buddhism. Even for advanced readers of Buddhism, the book was v enjoyable. That is why I have given away over 20 copies of this book, and keep finding myself buying more as gifts. I have never written a book rec until now, because I believe this book truly deserves one. It spreads lots of good karma!
This is not only an accessible volume, but also a very insightful one. Damien Keown has a good understanding of Buddhism and presented it in a short and simple format. Yet within its simplicity lies many valuable pearls and insights that are rarely seen in books of this size. There is the brief discussion on what is suffering in which he explain to great clarity why certain terms were used and what they mean. His dicussion on ethics is excellent. I would strongly recommend it to any reader, be it those only seeking a brief introduction or those who are already very well read on Buddhism.