A really nice set of book reviews for some texts I would recommend myself. Along with Pierre Hadot’s Philosohpy as a Way of Life, these are the kinds of texts people should be looking into for changing themselves. As the reviewer states, all this talk about “changing the world” is easy to do; a truly engaged attempt to change your own being, that is the real challenge of philosophizing. Many of the worldview issues I critiqued recently (the Booster Spirit, the magical attitudes about the Power of Positive Thinking, and monetary incentives to foster creativity) would find real corrections through engagement with texts such as these.
A QUIET REVOLUTION may have taken place over the last three decades in our understanding of the history of Western philosophy. So quiet, in fact, that few have noticed it. Three recent books give us a sense of the significance and extent of this paradigm shift: Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche, by James Miller; How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, by Sarah Bakewell; and The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, by Bettany Hughes. What has this revolution brought forth? The realization that some of the most influential Western philosophers (primarily the ancient philosophers, but also Montaigne, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and others) intended their philosophy to be not just a body of doctrines, of pure intellectual content, but to be above all an “art of living.” It is immediately obvious that, like most revolutions, this one, too, is about how we relate to the past.
Read all the reviews @ Los Angeles Review of Books – Philosophy As An Art Of Living.