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Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It: Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live

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A humorous and philosophical trip through life, from the New York Times-bestselling coauthor of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . Daniel Klein's fans have fallen in love with the warm, humorous, and thoughtful way he shows how philosophy resonates in everyday life. Readers of his popular books Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . and Travels with Epicurus come for enlightenment and stay for the entertainment. As a young college student studying philosophy, Klein filled a notebook with short quotes from the world's greatest thinkers, hoping to find some guidance on how to live the best life he could. Now, from the vantage point of his eighth decade, Klein revisits the wisdom he relished in his youth with this collection of philosophical gems, adding new ones that strike a chord with him at the end of his life. From Epicurus to Emerson and Camus to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr-whose words provided the title of this book-each pithy extract is annotated with Klein's inimitable charm and insights. In these pages, our favorite jokester-philosopher tackles life's biggest questions, leaving us chuckling and enlightened. Praise for Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It. "A refreshingly spontaneous plunge into deep thought." - Booklist. "While philosophy is often seen as no laughing matter, Klein's book is an argument that it can and should be...It's hard to imagine a better guide." - Matt Staggs, Biographile. "A delightful book that is easily applicable to any stage of life. Even when explaining the underlying theories behind a quote, the author's writing is understandable for readers who have no prior philosophy background. Yet, philosophy students will also enjoy seeing the discipline applied to everyday life." - Library Journal. "Daniel Klein has now gifted up with a compendium of wisdom - quotes from the world's greatest philosophers, often with a light touch." - Ann LaFarge, Hudson Valley News. "This book not only offers a dazzling display of the superlative human thought on issues of human existence but also brings those we are not even consciously aware of into focus." - Business Standard. Praise for Travels with Epicurus. "An insightful meditation." - The New York Times Book Review "Along the way, Klein touches on the ideas of Bertrand Russell, Erik Erikson, Aristotle, and William James. Klein's narrative is a delightful and spirited conversation, offering up the ingredients inherent to the art of living well in old age." - Publisher's Weekly. "Charming and accessible, this philosophical survey simply and accessibly makes academic philosophy relevant to ordinary human emotion." - Kirkus Review. "Witty and wry" - Huffington Post. "A lovely little book with both heart and punch." - Booklist. "A delightful book that is easily applicable to any stage of life. Even when explaining the underlying theories behind a quote, the author's writing is understandable for readers who have no prior philosophy background. Yet, philosophy students will also enjoy seeing the discipline applied to everyday life." - Laura Hiatt-Smith, Library Journal. "A charming meditation on aging. Daniel Klein takes us on a thought-provoking journey." - The Weekly Standard Book Review. "Reading this book after a period of overwork and high stress, I was bowled over by its easy charm and hard-won wisdom. I shall be buying it in bulk as presents for my equally overburdened peers, and I suspect a few older people will enjoy it, too." - Markus Berkmann, The Daily Mail. "If you think philosophy is hard stuff that makes your head spin and possibly hurt, Klein is the perfect guide to deep thinking. Being fully aware and wondering how best to spend our time are useful practices at any age, and this warm, thought-provoking book is a terrific introduction to thinking about life philosophically." - Concord Monitor. http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/solving-life-s-mysteries-with-ancient-and-modern-wisdom-book-review-116113000191_1.html - From the Publisher. 09/01/2015. In his early 20s and 30s, Klein (Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...; Travels with Epicurus) kept a notebook titled "Pithies," containing his favorite philosophical quotes. He hoped that they would become a guide on how to live a meaningful life. However, the notebook was eventually packed away and not consulted again until now, with the author in his eighth decade. This book is Klein's musings upon the quotes he favored in his youth and what they taught, and still have to teach, him and others. The sayings include a wide range of philosophers and philosophical schools of thought while his reflections span the stories behind an entry's inclusion to a thought on a particular quote's logical implication for the individual and, sometimes, society. The chapters are short, making this a book that easily lends itself to brief, meandering reading spurts. The only downside? All the quotes are from authors in the Western philosophical tradition. VERDICT A delightful book that is easily applicable to any stage of life. Even when explaining the underlying theories behind a quote, the author's writing is understandable for readers who have no prior philosophy background. Yet, philosophy students will also enjoy seeing the discipline applied to everyday life.--Laura Hiatt-Smith, Conifer, CO - Library Journal. 2015-06-15. A miscellany of concise advice about life. Like many people in their 20s, Klein (Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life, 2014, etc.) asked himself some age-old questions: what is the meaning of life? How does one live a good life? He sought answers from his readings as a Harvard undergraduate and later as a graduate student in philosophy, jotting down salient quotations in a notebook he called "Pithies." Now, 40 years later, the author offers an expanded collection "of concise philosophical precepts" along with candid personal reflections on each. Among his many sources of inspiration are Pascal and Epicurus, David Hume and John Stuart Mill, William James and Albert Camus. But Klein finds wisdom from such popular sages as Woody Allen, John Barth, and Walker Percy and from contemporary philosophers, such as Oxford-trained "techno-hedonist" David Pearce and analytic moral philosopher Derek Parfit. Klein cites Albert Einstein's praise of solitude ("delicious in the years of maturity") and Emerson on "the blessings of old friends," and he admits that ethicist Peter Singer makes him feel "bad about not being good." Moral philosophy, writes the author, "with its abstract arguments about the principles of right and wrong, is not really that relevant to our lives" but "may only be a luxury for those of us who do not need to struggle simply to stay alive." He reveals that he's had past bouts of depression and times when he felt overwhelmed "by the meaninglessness of it all," but he never lost his conviction that life is worth living. As an agnostic, he agrees with atheist Sam Harris' "crucial distinction between religion and mysticism." Mysticism, as Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, "wonders not how the world is but that the world is." A glossary explains the relatively few philosophical terms Klein sprinkles in this warm, winsome book of eclectic musings. - Kirkus Reviews