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A collection of essays by 15 philosophers presenting a thoughtful, introductory guide to choosing a philosophy for living an examined and meaningful life. A Vintage original
Socrates famously said "the unexamined life is not worth living," but what does it mean to truly live philosophically?
This thought-provoking, wide-ranging collection brings together essays by 15 leading philosophers reflecting on what it means to live according to a philosophy of life. From Eastern philosophies (Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism) and classical Western philosophies (such as Aristotelianism and Stoicism), to the four major religions, as well as contemporary philosophies (such as existentialism and effective altruism), each contributor offers a lively, personal account of how they find meaning in the practice of their chosen philosophical tradition.
Together, the pieces in How to Live a Good Life provide not only a beginner's guide to choosing a life philosophy but also a timely portrait of what it means to live an examined life in the 21st century.
"An anthology of philosophical and religious approaches to the question ‘How ought I to live?’ may sound like heavy going, but the editors have chosen contributors who are able to present the views they favor in a style that is not only clear and informative, but in many cases, entertaining as well. This is an excellent introduction to the field of ‘philosophies of life.'" (Peter Singer, author of The Most Good You Can Do)
"Philosophy professors Pigliucci, Cleary, and Kaufman deliver on their goal of providing a ‘glimpse of how the world looks through [the] respective lenses’ of 15 major philosophies in this anthology featuring an impressive array of contributors.... Readers interested in thinking more about their life-choices and options for change will be grateful for this practical guide to, as the authors write in their conclusion, the ‘possibilities to learn from, ponder, and perhaps adopt.’" (Publishers Weekly)
"How to Live a Good Life is a fantastic book. I dare anyone not to do something differently in their daily life at least once after reading it.... It’s a wonderful summary of the collected wisdom of humanity in a highly readable book of less than 300 pages. You can dip in and out of it when the mood takes you. Also, it’s written by scholars, so while these are obviously summaries, none offer glib advice on how [insert philosophy] can change your life, though I expect some of them maybe can.” (Sophie Roelle, "Best Nonfiction Books of 2020", FiveBooks.com)
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I'm on my 2nd listen. It's a wonderful book, beautifully narrated and with all of the content that appeals to the philosophical mind. Quite firmly added to my favourites.
hit and miss
at face value, this book would have strongly appealed to me years ago, before i decided i was most like an epicurean, but i decided to check it out now as a refresher.
i felt the content was hit and miss. early chapters were all right. i appreciated the overall casual tone of the book given how arcane some of the subjects (like taoism) can be. to be completely honest, i spaced on most of the religion section, which was not of interest to me. the secular section was a bit of a let down. i appreciated skye cleary's personal take on her subject of existentialism, but this made the dry and biographical chapter on pragmatism stick out to me as uninteresting. if you've never heard of effective altruism, the relevant chapter might be of interest to you, but if you even know a little, you can basically guess everything important. if you're not prepared for the granularity of identity and infighting among "secularists", the secular humanism chapter might cross your eyes.
on the bright side, the narration by the main speaker was expert. great voice, great intonation, and she bothered to try to pronounce everything well. (hers is the preview clip.) the book editors narrated the general introduction (pigliucci), section introductions (cleary), and the conclusion (kaufman). i wish they didn't do that. pigliucci has a rather thick accent, skye cleary has an annoying voice much like an australian ash ketchum, and while kaufman's voice is unremarkable, so is his conclusion. if you don't really want to listen to these, i recommend you skip. they're not very informative anyway.
audible says two stars is "it's okay", so two stars it is.
6 people found this helpful
- Bob Swain
this book wasn't bad in parts. But some of it ruined the rest. the Chapter on Progressive Islam was self congratulatory and just plain dumb. the little chapter on Judaism was good as we're the chapters on Stoicism and Confucianism. progressive Islam was evil and stupid. I am sorry I read this book because of that chapter. it was one vacuous generality after another.
- Kindle Customer
Lots of food for thought here -- a feast. The chapter on Pragmatism seemed to me to have missed a great opportunity to comment on Dewey's "Democracy and Education" or how Democracy and Education fit into "How to live a good Life".