Indulge in some serious existential questioning, or find great guides to that philosophical theory you've always intended to get a grasp on.
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The Challenge of Things
A. C. Grayling's lucid and stimulating books, based on the idea that philosophy should engage with the world and make itself useful, are immensely popular. The Challenge of Things joins earlier collections like The Reason of Things and Thinking of Answers, but this time to collect Grayling's recent writings on the world in a time of war and conflict. In describing and exposing the dark side of things, he also explores ways out of the habits and prejudices of mind that would otherwise trap us forever in the deadly impasses of conflicts of all kinds. Whether he is writing about the First World War and its legacy, free speech, the advantages of an atheist prime minister or the role of science in the arts, his essays are always enlightening, enlivening and hopeful.
The concern for the well-being of others could be the saving grace of the 21st century. Matthieu Ricard's Altruism, an erudite, brilliantly ranging synthesis of philosophy, psychology and ages old wisdom, is a radical call to kindness, which has the potential as a new global movement to answer the biggest problems of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and the environment in the long term. As the faultlines of inequality and nationalism leave us ever more divided, Ricard challenges us to be better people - and in the process, make the world a better place.
Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions. A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live. Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.
In Status Anxiety, bestselling author Alain de Botton sets out to understand our universal fear of failure - and how we might change. We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer - to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment - from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to this universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art and politics - and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries. The result is a book that is not only entertaining and thought-provoking - but genuinely wise and helpful as well.
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