Don’t think about why you’re applying. Select a topic for entirely strategic reasons. Choose the coolest supervisor. Write only to deadlines. Expect people to hold your hand. Become “that” student.
When it comes to a masters or PhD program, most graduate students don’t deliberately set out to fail. Yet, of the nearly 500,000 people who start a graduate program each year, up to half will never complete their degree. Books abound on acing the admissions process, but there is little on what to do once the acceptance letter arrives. Veteran graduate directors Kevin D. Haggerty and Aaron Doyle have set out to demystify the world of advanced education. Taking a wry, frank approach, they explain the common mistakes that can trip up a new graduate student and lay out practical advice about how to avoid the pitfalls. Along the way they relate stories from their decades of mentorship and even share some slip-ups from their own grad experiences.
The litany of foul-ups is organized by theme and covers the grad school experience from beginning to end: selecting the university and program, interacting with advisors and fellow students, balancing personal and scholarly lives, navigating a thesis, and creating a life after academia. Although the tone is engagingly tongue-in-cheek, the lessons are crucial to anyone attending or contemplating grad school. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School allows you to learn from others’ mistakes rather than making them yourself.
Altruism in World Religions
Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton, Editors Georgetown University Press, 2005 Library of Congress BJ1474.A475 2005 | Dewey Decimal 205
In 1830 philosopher Auguste Comte coined the term altruism to provide a general definition for the act of selflessly caring for others. But does this modern conception of sacrificing one's own interests for the well-being of others apply to the charitable behaviors encouraged by all world religions? In Altruism in World Religionsprominent scholars from an array of religious perspectives probe the definition of altruism to determine whether it is a category that serves to advance the study of religion.
Exploring a range of philosophical and religious thought from Greco-Roman philia to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from Hinduism in India to Buddhism and the religions of China and Japan, the authors find that altruism becomes problematic when applied to religious studies because it is, in fact, a concept absent from religion. Chapters on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam reveal that followers of these religions cannot genuinely perform self-sacrificing acts because God has promised to reward every good deed. Moreover, the separation between the self and the other that self-sacrifice necessarily implies, runs counter to Buddhist thought, which makes no such distinction.
By challenging our assumptions about the act of self-sacrifice as it relates to religious teachings, the authors have shown altruism to be more of a secular than religious notion. At the same time, their findings highlight how charitable acts operate with the values and structures of the religions studied.
Between 1996 and 2014, Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church multiplied from its base in Seattle into fifteen facilities spread across five states with 13,000 attendees. When it closed, the church was beset by scandal, with former attendees testifying to spiritual abuse, emotional manipulation, and financial exploitation. In Biblical Porn Jessica Johnson examines how Mars Hill's congregants became entangled in processes of religious conviction. Johnson shows how they were affectively recruited into sexualized and militarized dynamics of power through the mobilization of what she calls "biblical porn"—the affective labor of communicating, promoting, and embodying Driscoll's teaching on biblical masculinity, femininity, and sexuality, which simultaneously worked as a marketing strategy, social imaginary, and biopolitical instrument. Johnson theorizes religious conviction as a social process through which Mars Hill's congregants circulated and amplified feelings of hope, joy, shame, and paranoia as affective value that the church capitalized on to grow at all costs.
The views generally held about the rise of the factory system in Britain derive from highly distorted accounts of the social consequences of that system—so say the distinguished economic historians whose papers make up this book. The authors offer documentary evidence to support their conclusion that under capitalism the workers, despite long hours and other hardships of factory life, were better off financially, had more opportunities, and led a better life than had been the case before the Industrial Revolution.
For the Anishinaabeg people, who span a vast geographic region from the Great Lakes to the Plains and beyond, stories are vessels of knowledge. They are bagijiganan, offerings of the possibilities within Anishinaabeg life. Existing along a broad narrative spectrum, from aadizookaanag (traditional or sacred narratives) to dibaajimowinan (histories and news)—as well as everything in between—storytelling is one of the central practices and methods of individual and community existence. Stories create and understand, survive and endure, revitalize and persist. They honor the past, recognize the present, and provide visions of the future. In remembering, (re)making, and (re)writing stories, Anishinaabeg storytellers have forged a well-traveled path of agency, resistance, and resurgence. Respecting this tradition, this groundbreaking anthology features twenty-four contributors who utilize creative and critical approaches to propose that this people’s stories carry dynamic answers to questions posed within Anishinaabeg communities, nations, and the world at large. Examining a range of stories and storytellers across time and space, each contributor explores how narratives form a cultural, political, and historical foundation for Anishinaabeg Studies. Written by Anishinaabeg and non-Anishinaabeg scholars, storytellers, and activists, these essays draw upon the power of cultural expression to illustrate active and ongoing senses of Anishinaabeg life. They are new and dynamic bagijiganan, revealing a viable and sustainable center for Anishinaabeg Studies, what it has been, what it is, what it can be.
In Creating a Human World, Trappist monk and scholar Ernest Daniel Carrere explores what it means to be fully human, to live in a shared world, and to resist the easy tendency to flee reality and seek pleasure in material pursuits. To do so he examines the writings of three great modern thinkers—Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, and Søren Kierkegaard—and proposes a new reading of their work in light of his own understanding of New Testament teachings.
Carrere elucidates the paradoxical spiritual truth that salvation lies not in an escape from humanity, but in embracing it. An interdisciplinary tour de force, this book will appeal to anyone interested in philosophy, psychology, religion, or cultural anthropology.
The eighteenth century's critique of privilege and its commitment to the idea of advancement by merit are widely regarded as sources of modernity. But if meritocratic values were indeed the product of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, how do we explain earlier attention to merit--especially the nobility whose values the Revolution rejected? The Culture of Merit probes this paradox by analyzing changing perceptions of merit among the old nobility from the age of Louis XIII to the eve of the French Revolution.
Jay M. Smith argues that the early modern nobility instinctively drew a correlation between the meaning of merit and an image of the "sovereign's gaze." In the early seventeenth century, merit meant the qualities traditionally associated with aristocratic values: generosity, fidelity, and honor. Nobles sought to display those qualities before the appreciative gaze of the king himself. But the expansion of the monarchy forced the routinization of the sovereign's gaze, and Louis XIV began to affirm and reward new qualities--talent and application--besides those thought innately noble.
The contradictions implicit within the absolute monarchy's culture of merit are demonstrated by the eighteenth-century French army, which was dominated by the nobility, but also committed to efficiency and expertise. Smith shows that the army's continuous efforts to encourage and reward "merit" led to a clash of principles. The ever-growing emphasis on talent and discipline led reformers--the great majority of them noble--to attack the most egregious examples of privilege and favoritism in the army. Smith's analysis of the long-term evolution in conceptions of royal service suggests a new explanation for the shift in values signified by the French Revolution. The transition away from the "personal" gaze of the king toward the "public" gaze of the monarchy and nation foretold the triumph of a new culture of merit in which noble birth would have no meaning.
The Culture of Merit will interest historians and other social scientists concerned with issues of aristocratic identity, state formation, professionalization, and the changing political culture of pre-Revolutionary France.
Jay M. Smith is Assistant Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
From the all-star cast who brought you The Seven Deadly Virtues comes a book with a look at the good life… or the crazy-stressful-overwhelmed life… of a father.
The Dadly Virtues is a tongue-in-cheek collection of encouragement and guidance for any stage of fatherhood, from pacifying babies to prepping for senior prom, from cutting the cord to getting the first, “Best Grandpa” t-shirt. P.J. O’Rourke sets the stage with the chapter, “What Do Men Get from Fatherhood? Besides What They Put In …” and then is followed by:
•Matthew Continetti’s, “Newborn Terror: The Moment You Realize that ‘Bundle of Joy’ Is a Euphemism for Something Very Different.”
•Stephen F. Hayes’ “Siblings: The Best Gift You’ll Ever Give Your Kids.”
•Jonah Goldberg’s “Get Your Kid a Dog: The Moral Case for Pets.”
•Tucker Carlson’s “In Praise of Adventure: How to Fill a Child’s Life with Excitement and Danger (without Getting Them Killed).”
•Michael Graham’s, “Dating: Enjoy the Movie and Please Keep the Impregnation to a Minimum.”
•Christopher Caldwell’s “College: It’s Not as Bad as You Think; It’s Worse.”
•Andrew Ferguson’s “Emerging Adults and Empty Nesters: Just When You Had Fatherhood All Figured Out.”
•Toby Young’s “The Dark Side: Bad Parenting and the Things We Think, but Do Not Say.”
•Joseph Epstein’s “Thanks, Grandpa: Grandfatherhood and the Spirit of the Age.”
Father-to-be, two-time-dad, or granddad, each essay will make you laugh and, at the same time, reinforce your commitment to the virtuous—the dadly—life.
You’re probably never going to be a saint. Even so, let’s face it: you could be a better person. We all could. But what does that mean for you?
In a world full of suffering and deprivation, it’s easy to despair—and it’s also easy to judge ourselves for not doing more. Even if we gave away everything we own and devoted ourselves to good works, it wouldn’t solve all the world’s problems. It would make them better, though. So is that what we have to do? Is anything less a moral failure? Can we lead a fundamentally decent life without taking such drastic steps?
Todd May has answers. He’s not the sort of philosopher who tells us we have to be model citizens who display perfect ethics in every decision we make. He’s realistic: he understands that living up to ideals is a constant struggle. In A Decent Life, May leads readers through the traditional philosophical bases of a number of arguments about what ethics asks of us, then he develops a more reasonable and achievable way of thinking about them, one that shows us how we can use philosophical insights to participate in the complicated world around us. He explores how we should approach the many relationships in our lives—with friends, family, animals, people in need—through the use of a more forgiving, if no less fundamentally serious, moral compass. With humor, insight, and a lively and accessible style, May opens a discussion about how we can, realistically, lead the good life that we aspire to.
A philosophy of goodness that leaves it all but unattainable is ultimately self-defeating. Instead, Todd May stands at the forefront of a new wave of philosophy that sensibly reframes our morals and redefines what it means to live a decent life.
Dialogues and Addresses
Madame de Maintenon University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress LC1422.M27513 2004 | Dewey Decimal 370.82
Born Françoise d'Aubigné, a criminal's daughter reduced to street begging as a child, Madame de Maintenon (1653-1719) made an improbable rise from impoverished beginnings to the summit of power as the second, secret wife of Louis XIV. An educational reformer, Maintenon founded and directed the celebrated academy for aristocratic women at Saint-Cyr. This volume presents the dialogues and addresses in which Maintenon explains her controversial philosophy of education for women.
Denounced by her contemporaries as a political schemer and religious fanatic, Maintenon has long been criticized as an opponent of gender equality. The writings in this volume faithfully reflect Maintenon's respect for social hierarchy and her stoic call for women to accept the duties of their state in life. But the writings also echo Maintenon's more feminist concerns: the need to redefine the virtues in the light of women's experience, the importance of naming the constraints on women's freedom, and the urgent need to remedy the scandalous neglect of the education of women.
In her writings as well as in her own model school at Saint-Cyr, Maintenon embodies the demand for educational reform as the key to the empowerment of women at the dawn of modernity.
Different Drummers explores the disjunction between organizational solidarity and individual pushback in military organizations, examining how members of the armed forces express ambivalent attitudes about their service. The volume focuses not on antimilitary sentiment but on psychological complexity within a loyal opposition, considering examples of creative insubordination and analyzing the “oppositional positioning” of individuals whose military identity is conflicted.
This multidisciplinary collection brings in the perspectives of scholars from folklore, literary studies, psychology, and media studies, as well as the first-person perspectives of veterans. It includes chapters on the vernacular genres of bodylore, folksong, personal narrative, and legend; literary items like soldiers’ memoirs and poetry; the artwork of soldier cartoonists; and accounts of defying the chain of command in the field. Ideally, the goal of military basic training is to replace recruits’ focus on their own individuality with an unquestioned devotion to group solidarity. In reality, unit cohesion is constantly challenged by humans clinging obstinately to their non-collective personalities. Different Drummers focuses on those in uniform who feel themselves to be both of the military culture and at odds with it. It shows how these loyal “discontents” find ways of communicating and interacting with others that sometimes defy institutional expectations.
Ron Ben-Tovim, Carol Burke, Richard Allen Burns, Catherine Calloway, James I. Deutsch, Ronald Fry, Angus Kress Gillespie, Christina M. Knopf, Jay Mechling, Matthew David Perry, Mark C. Russell, John Paul Wallis
When eleven-year-old Lavinia Guasca began her new life as a lady-in-waiting at the court of Turin, she brought with her a parting gift from her father Annibal (1540-1619): a detailed guidebook he wrote to help steer her through the many pitfalls of court life. Lavinia had her father's Discourse published in 1586; this English translation is the first version published in any form since that time.
The Discourse displays an incredibly far-sighted view of women's education. Annibal thought gifted young girls should develop their talents and apply them to careers outside the home. In the Discourse, he details the unique and extremely rigorous educational program to which he had subjected Lavinia almost from the cradle with this end in mind. To complete Lavinia's education, Annibal filled the Discourse with advice on spirituality and morality, health and beauty, and how to behave at court—everything a well-bred lady-in-waiting would need to know. This edition also includes an appendix that traces the later events of Lavinia's life through excerpts from her father's letters.
“Truly a legend in our time, John Templeton understands that the real measure of a person's success in life is not financial accomplishment but moral integrity and inner character.” —Billy Graham
“This is a book that belongs to the list of seminal publications of the twentieth century. How grateful the world will be that John Templeton has shared his secret openly, forthrightly, packed with integrity and healing powers.” —Robert Schuller
"From meetings and conversation with men, love affairs arise. In the midst of pleasures, banquets, dances, laughter, and self-indulgence, Venus and her son Cupid reign supreme. . . . Poor young girl, if you emerge from these encounters a captive prey! How much better it would have been to remain at home or to have broken a leg of the body rather than of the mind!" So wrote the sixteenth-century Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives in a famous work dedicated to Henry VIII's daughter, Princess Mary, but intended for a wider audience interested in the education of women.
Praised by Erasmus and Thomas More, Vives advocated education for all women, regardless of social class and ability. From childhood through adolescence to marriage and widowhood, this manual offers practical advice as well as philosophical meditation and was recognized soon after publication in 1524 as the most authoritative pronouncement on the universal education of women. Arguing that women were intellectually equal if not superior to men, Vives stressed intellectual companionship in marriage over procreation, and moved beyond the private sphere to show how women's progress was essential for the good of society and state.
Stephanie Mills Island Press, 2003 Library of Congress QH104.5.M47M56 2002 | Dewey Decimal 508.77
"In this book, I relate the pleasures, as well as the virtues and difficulties of a perhaps simpler than average North American life." So begins ecological thinker and writer Stephanie Mills's Epicurean Simplicity, a thoughtful paean to living, like Thoreau, a deliberate life.Mills's account of the simple life reaches deep into classical sources of pleasure -- good food, good health, good friends, and particularly the endless delights of the natural world. Her musings about the life she desires -- and the life she has created -- ultimately led her to the third century Greek philosopher Epicurus, whose philosophy was premised on the trustworthiness of the senses, a philosophy that Mills wholeheartedly embraces. While later centuries have come to associate Epicurus's name with hedonism, Mills discovered that he extolled simplicity and prudence as the surest means to pleasure, and his thinking offers an important philosophical touchstone for the book.As the author explains, one of the primary motivations for her pursuit of simplicity is her concern about the impacts of a consumerist lifestyle on the natural world. Mills touches on broad range of topics relating to that issue -- social justice, biological extinctions, the global economy, and also more personal aspects such as friendship, the process of country living, the joys of physical exertion, the challenges of a writer's life, and the natural history and seasonal delights of a life lived close to nature. An overarching theme is the destructiveness of consumerism, and how even a simple life affects a wide range of organisms and adds strain to the earth's systems. The author uses her own experience as an entry point to the discussion with a self-effacing humor and lyrical prose that bring big topics to a personal level.Epicurean Simplicity is beautifully crafted, fluid, inspiring, and enlightening, examining topics of critical importance that affect us all. It celebrates the pleasures, beauty, and fulfillment of a simple life, a goal being sought by Americans from all walks of life, from harried single parents to corporate CEOs. For fans of natural history or personal narrative, for those concerned about social justice and the environment, and for those who have come to know and love Stephanie Mills through her speaking and writing, Epicurean Simplicity is a rare treasure.
The major scriptures of the world, various schools of philosophical thought, storytellers, scientists, artists, and historians have all offered answers to this question. Surprisingly, these answers are common among nearly all sources. Famed investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton called these commonalities the “laws of life.”
Templeton gathers the best of these teachings in The Essential Worldwide Laws of Life. This handsome volume shows readers of all ages, from all parts of the world, how to make their lives more joyous and useful by learning the universal truths that transcend time and culture.
Each law is presented in an essay format, with stories, commentary, and quotations to illustrate its importance. The material is designed to inspire the reader to put these laws into practice and to enjoy the rewarding life that will result.
Proponents of professional ethics recognize the importance of theory but also know that the field of ethics is best understood through real-world applications. This book introduces students and practitioners to important ethical concepts through the lives of major thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Ayn Rand, John Stuart Mill to the Dalai Lama.
Some two dozen contributors approach media ethics from five perspectives—altruistic, egoistic, autonomous, legalist, and communitarian—and use real people as examples to convey ethical concepts as something more than mere abstractions. Readers see how Confucius represents group loyalty; Gandhi, nonviolent action; Mother Teresa, the spirit of sacrifice. Each profile provides biographical material, the individual’s basic ethical position and contribution, and insight into how his or her moral teachings can help the modern communicator. The roster of thinkers is gender inclusive, ethnically diverse, and spans a broad range of time and geography to challenge the misperception that moral theory is dominated by Western males.
These profiles challenge us not to give up on moral thinking in our day but to take seriously the abundance of good ideas in ethics that the human race provides. They speak to real-life struggles by applying to such trials the lasting quality of foundational thought. Many of the root values to which they appeal are cross-cultural, even universal.
Exemplifying these five ethical perspectives through more than two dozen mentors provides today’s communicators with a solid grounding of key ideas for improving discussion and attaining social progress in their lives and work. These profiles convey the diversity of means to personal and social betterment through worthwhile ideas that truly make ethics come alive.
Why do some people achieve ethical excellence while others fail? For example, how did Gloria Lewis overcome a lifetime of difficulty and go on to found a non-profit focused on feeding the homeless while Danny Starrett, despite a seemingly ideal childhood, became a rapist and murderer? Why did some Germans rescue their Jewish neighbors while others stood by?
One recent study found that four personal variables, taken together, differentiated Nazi-era bystanders from rescuers with startling 96.1% accuracy: social responsibility, altruistic moral reasoning, empathic concern, and risk-taking—traits related to ethical excellences (virtues) like justice, benevolence, and courage. Drawing from the combined wisdom of classical Socratic and Confucian philosophy, recent work in psychology, and the lived experience of recognized moral heroes, the book focuses on how each of us can work toward ethical excellence, becoming more like Lewis and neighbor-rescuers than like Starrett and Nazi-era bystanders.
The ancient Socratic and Confucian philosophical traditions offer surprisingly sophisticated advice regarding moral education. Because research in psychology helps us assess the feasibility of cultivating virtue in ourselves and those we influence, Ethical Excellence focuses on combining sound philosophical analysis of ethical virtue and related concepts with relevant empirical research on how these concepts are manifested and developed in everyday practice. Willpower, for example, contributes to development of temperance or moderation, grit relates to perseverance, and empathy is connected to benevolence.
Finally, the study of ethically exceptional people—moral heroes or exemplars—serves as living proof that ethical excellence is possible, and exemplars can provide inspiration to attempt it ourselves and guidance regarding how to do so successfully. Relevant stories and excerpts from the author’s own interviews with award-winning ethical exemplars complement the use of philosophical virtue theory and psychological research on virtue-relevant practice. Together, these three approaches—philosophy, psychology, and biography—help to triangulate” ethical excellence and its achievement, presenting a much clearer and more complete picture than we can get from any one of these methods alone.
Everything to Gain, first published in 1987, is the warm account of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s life after their years in the White House. They discuss their marriage and health issues, their work with Habitat for Humanity and the Carter Center, and much more.
Teenage life is tough. You’re at the mercy of parents, teachers, and siblings, all of whom insist on continuing to treat you like a kid and refuse to leave you alone. So what do you do when it all gets to be too much? You retreat to your room (and maybe slam the door).
Even in our era of Snapchat and hoverboards, bedrooms remain a key part of teenage life, one of the only areas where a teen can exert control and find some privacy. And while these separate bedrooms only became commonplace after World War II, the idea of the teen bedroom has been around for a long time. With Get Out of My Room!, Jason Reid digs into the deep historical roots of the teen bedroom and its surprising cultural power. He starts in the first half of the nineteenth century, when urban-dwelling middle-class families began to consider offering teens their own spaces in the home, and he traces that concept through subsequent decades, as social, economic, cultural, and demographic changes caused it to become more widespread. Along the way, Reid shows us how the teen bedroom, with its stuffed animals, movie posters, AM radios, and other trappings of youthful identity, reflected the growing involvement of young people in American popular culture, and also how teens and parents, in the shadow of ongoing social changes, continually negotiated the boundaries of this intensely personal space.
Richly detailed and full of surprising stories and insights, Get Out of My Room! is sure to offer insight and entertainment to anyone with wistful memories of their teenage years. (But little brothers should definitely keep out.)
Golden Nuggets: Tfp
John Marks Templeton Templeton Press, 1997 Library of Congress PN6084.C556T45 1997 | Dewey Decimal 170.44
This inspiring collection of sayings by Sir John Templeton provides a welcoming book for a person seeking deeper meaning in life. Practical and uplifting advice, based on a lifetime of experience, is gathered in an attractive package for one's personal use or as a perfect gift.
Juxtaposed to his sayings are short essays that elaborate on the ideas and make them easier to understand and apply. The thoughts are arranged by themes such as thanksgiving, forgiveness, positive thinking, love, humility, and happiness.
For young or old, rich or poor, this wisdom will find many applications in people's lives. Some samples of the sayings arre:
•An attitude of gratitude creates blessings.
•Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth.
•Joy is not in things, but in you.
•Happiness is always a by-product.
The timeless wisdom of Sir John Templeton presented in a beautiful gift book
The Good Life
Yi-Fu Tuan University of Wisconsin Press, 1986 Library of Congress BJ1481.T83 1986 | Dewey Decimal 170
“[Tuan] explores answers to an old and unanswerable question: how should we live? . . . The Good Life is a little anthology of good feeling, touchstones of joy . . . These pleasures make the book a pleasure, not of conviction or belief, but of conversation’s meandering exploration.”—New York Times Book Review
“Tuan, after all, is one of the few geographers who can be read for pleasure, and by the public as well as by the professional. But read not merely for pleasure, nor yet to mark, learn, and inwardly digest. Rather, consider Tuan’s challenge to identify your concept of the good life, and then try to construct that life.”—Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Hardship and Happiness
Lucius Annaeus Seneca University of Chicago Press, 2014 Library of Congress B615.E5 2014 | Dewey Decimal 188
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman, and advisor to the emperor Nero, all during the Silver Age of Latin literature. The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a fresh and compelling series of new English-language translations of his works in eight accessible volumes. Edited by Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this engaging collection helps restore Seneca—whose works have been highly praised by modern authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to his rightful place among the classical writers most widely studied in the humanities.
Hardship and Happiness collects a range of essays intended to instruct, from consolations—works that offer comfort to someone who has suffered a personal loss—to pieces on how to achieve happiness or tranquility in the face of a difficult world. Expertly translated, the essays will be read and used by undergraduate philosophy students and experienced scholars alike.
How Girls Achieve
Sally A. Nuamah Harvard University Press, 2019 Library of Congress LC1481.N83 2019 | Dewey Decimal 371.82
This bold and necessary book points out a simple and overlooked truth: most schools never had girls in mind to begin with. That is why the world needs what Sally Nuamah calls feminist schools, deliberately designed to provide girls with achievement-oriented identities. And she shows why doing so would help all students, regardless of their gender.
What is your highest ideal? What code do you live by? We all know that these differ from person to person. Artists, scientists, social activists, farmers, executives, and athletes are guided by very different ideals. Nonetheless for hundreds of years philosophers have sought a single, overriding ideal that should guide everyone, always, everywhere, and after centuries of debate we’re no closer to an answer. In How Should We Live?, John Kekes offers a refreshing alternative, one in which we eschew absolute ideals and instead consider our lives as they really are, day by day, subject to countless vicissitudes and unforeseen obstacles.
Kekes argues that ideal theories are abstractions from the realities of everyday life and its problems. The well-known arenas where absolute ideals conflict—dramatic moral controversies about complex problems involved in abortion, euthanasia, plea bargaining, privacy, and other hotly debated topics—should not be the primary concerns of moral thinking. Instead, he focuses on the simpler problems of ordinary lives in ordinary circumstances. In each chapter he presents the conflicts that a real person—a schoolteacher, lawyer, father, or nurse, for example—is likely to face. He then uses their situations to shed light on the mundane issues we all must deal with in everyday life, such as how we use our limited time, energy, or money; how we balance short- and long-term satisfactions; how we deal with conflicting loyalties; how we control our emotions; how we deal with people we dislike; and so on. Along the way he engages some of our most important theorists, including Donald Davidson, Thomas Nagel, Christine Korsgaard, Harry Frankfurt, Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Bernard Williams, ultimately showing that no ideal—whether autonomy, love, duty, happiness, or truthfulness—trumps any other. No single ideal can always guide how we overcome the many different problems that stand in the way of living as we should. Rather than rejecting such ideals, How Should We Live? offers a way of balancing them by a practical and pluralistic approach—rather than a theory—that helps us cope with our problems and come closer to what our lives should be.
How to Do It shows us sixteenth-century Italy from an entirely new perspective: through manuals which were staples in the households of middlebrow Italians merely trying to lead better lives. Addressing challenges such as how to conceive a boy, the manuals offered suggestions such as tying a tourniquet around your husband's left testicle. Or should you want to goad female desires, throw 90 grubs in a liter of olive oil, let steep in the sun for a week and apply liberally on the male anatomy. Bell's journey through booklets long dismissed by scholars as being of little literary value gives us a refreshing and surprisingly fun social history.
"Lively and curious reading, particularly in its cascade of anecdote, offered in a breezy, cozy, journalistic style." —Lauro Martines, Times Literary Supplement
"[Bell's] fascinating book is a window on a lost world far nearer to our own than we might imagine. . . . How pleasant to read his delightful, informative and often hilarious book." —Kate Saunders, The Independent
"An extraordinary work which blends the learned with the frankly bizarre." —The Economist
"Professor Bell has a sly sense of humor and an enviably strong stomach. . . . He wants to know how people actually behaved, not how the Church or philosophers or earnest humanists thought they should behave. I loved this book." —Christopher Stace, Daily Telegraph
Tuan, Yi-Fu University of Wisconsin Press, 2008 Library of Congress BJ1531.T83 2008 | Dewey Decimal 170.44
In his many best-selling books, Yi-Fu Tuan seizes big, metaphysical issues and considers them in uniquely accessible ways. Human Goodness is evidence of this talent and is both as simple, and as epic, as it sounds.
Genuinely good people and their actions, Tuan contends, are far from boring, naive, and trite; they are complex, varied, and enormously exciting. In a refreshing antidote to skeptical times, he writes of ordinary human courtesies, as simple as busing your dishes after eating, that make society functional and livable. And he writes of extraordinary courage and inventiveness under the weight of adversity and evil. He considers the impact of communal goodness over time, and his sketches of six very different individuals—Confucius, Socrates, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Keats, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, and Simone Weil—confirm that there are human lives that can encourage and lead us to our better selves.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association
If contemporary culture were a school, with all the tasks and expectations meted out by modern life as its curriculum, would anyone graduate? In the spirit of a sympathetic teacher, Robert Kegan guides us through this tricky curriculum, assessing the fit between its complex demands and our mental capacities, and showing what happens when we find ourselves, as we so often do, in over our heads. In this dazzling intellectual tour, he completely reintroduces us to the psychological landscape of our private and public lives.
A decade ago in The Evolving Self, Kegan presented a dynamic view of the development of human consciousness. Here he applies this widely acclaimed theory to the mental complexity of adulthood. As parents and partners, employees and bosses, citizens and leaders, we constantly confront a bewildering array of expectations, prescriptions, claims, and demands, as well as an equally confusing assortment of expert opinions that tell us what each of these roles entails. Surveying the disparate expert “literatures,” which normally take no account of each other, Kegan brings them together to reveal, for the first time, what these many demands have in common. Our frequent frustration in trying to meet these complex and often conflicting claims results, he shows us, from a mismatch between the way we ordinarily know the world and the way we are unwittingly expected to understand it.
In Over Our Heads provides us entirely fresh perspectives on a number of cultural controversies—the “abstinence vs. safe sex” debate, the diversity movement, communication across genders, the meaning of postmodernism. What emerges in these pages is a theory of evolving ways of knowing that allows us to view adult development much as we view child development, as an open-ended process born of the dynamic interaction of cultural demands and emerging mental capabilities. If our culture is to be a good “school,” as Kegan suggests, it must offer, along with a challenging curriculum, the guidance and support that we clearly need to master this course—a need that this lucid and richly argued book begins to meet.
Boyarin, Jonathan Rutgers University Press, 2013 Library of Congress DS143.B785 2013 | Dewey Decimal 305.8924
From stories of biblical patriarchs and matriarchs and their children, through the Gospel’s Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and to modern Jewish families in fiction, film, and everyday life, the family has been considered key to transmitting Jewish identity. Current discussions about the Jewish family’s supposed traditional character and its alleged contemporary crisis tend to assume that the dynamics of Jewish family life have remained constant from the days of Abraham and Sarah to those of Tevye and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and on to Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.
Jonathan Boyarin explores a wide range of scholarship in Jewish studies to argue instead that Jewish family forms and ideologies have varied greatly throughout the times and places where Jewish families have found themselves. He considers a range of family configurations from biblical times to the twenty-first century, including strictly Orthodox communities and new forms of family, including same-sex parents. The book shows the vast canvas of history and culture as well as the social pressures and strategies that have helped shape Jewish families, and suggests productive ways to think about possible futures for Jewish family forms.
Frank Rose and Bob Maginel provide people seeking spiritual growth and recovery a practical handbook for accomplishing their goals. Recognizing that spiritual growth can be stymied by materialism and external preoccupations, the authors offer tasks and exercises that can be used repeatedly to help tame the "wild beasts," the negative emotions that can control our lives and destroy our relationships with others.
A special feature of the book is the "Reporting on the Task" section at the end of each of the twelve tasks, in which participants who were enrolled in a real-life twelve-week seminar share their struggles in their own words. Their successes and setbacks in applying the tasks to daily life underscore the ongoing nature of the recovery process and remind us that the joy of spiritual growth is linked to enjoying the journey.
How do memoirists make their work interesting, daring, exciting, and unorthodox enough so that they attract an audience, yet not so heinous and scandalous that their readers are unable to empathize or identify with them? In Justifiable Conduct, renowned sociologist Erich Goode explores the different strategies memoirists use to "neutralize" their alleged wrongdoing and fashion a more positive image of themselves for audiences. He examines how writers, including James Frey, Susan Cheever, Roman Polanski, Charles Van Doren and Elia Kazan, explain, justify, contextualize, excuse, or warrant their participation in activities such as criminal behavior, substance abuse, sexual transgressions, and political radicalism.
Using a theory of deviance neutralization, Goode assesses the types of behavior exhibited by these memoirists to draw out generic narratives that are most effective in attempting to absolve the actor-author. Despite the highly individualistic and variable lives of these writers, Goode demonstrates that memoirists use a conventional vocabulary for their unconventional behavior.
It doesn’t take a trip to the doctor to know that the bond between physicians and patients isn’t what it used to be. Specialization, rising costs, managed care, the insurance industry, the shadow of litigation—so many factors have changed what was once a traditional relationship grounded in respect and caring.
In light of the altered climate in health care, this thoughtful book deals with the way that today’s doctors and patients view themselves and one another. Allen Weisse has observed the changing medical scene during half a century of treating patients and training future physicians, and he writes frankly here about how doctors and patients have come to deal with illness in the twenty-first century.
Weisse first recalls his own brush with death as a young man diagnosed with testicular cancer—a time when one thinks of God and Death and little else. He then shares true stories of how different people have dealt with cancer, heart disease, stroke, infectious disease, AIDS, and other dire diagnoses—narratives enhanced by professional savvy and enriched by the kind of empathy that the survivor of such a calamity can provide.
Drawing from a storehouse of experiences shared by colleagues, patients, and friends, Weisse writes with passion, conviction, and clarity to encourage a renewal of the openness and trust that seem to be lacking in today’s doctor-patient relationships. These are accounts both uplifting and disturbing—some sad, others tinged with humor—intended to make doctors and patients alike come to a fuller realization that we are all together in this delicate but crucial business of staying alive.
While not quite foreseeing a return to the Norman Rockwell image of the family physician, Weisse urges the kind of care and compassion that patients often feel is lacking from their doctors, and he reassures victims of seemingly hopeless conditions that, despite the obstacles they often face, there are still health care professionals who truly have their patients’ welfare foremost in mind. Lessons in Mortality is just what the doctor ordered for a health care system in crisis: an honest look at the medical profession that encourages greater understanding on the part of both physicians and patients, reminding us that what we most need is one another.
Any sound practical philosophy must be clear on practical concepts—concepts, in particular, of life, action, and practice. This clarity is Michael Thompson’s aim in his ambitious work. In Thompson’s view, failure to comprehend the structures of thought and judgment expressed in these concepts has disfigured modern moral philosophy, rendering it incapable of addressing the larger questions that should be its focus.
In three investigations, Thompson considers life, action, and practice successively, attempting to exhibit these interrelated concepts as pure categories of thought, and to show how a proper exposition of them must be Aristotelian in character. He contends that the pure character of these categories, and the Aristotelian forms of reflection necessary to grasp them, are systematically obscured by modern theoretical philosophy, which thus blocks the way to the renewal of practical philosophy. His work recovers the possibility, within the tradition of analytic philosophy, of hazarding powerful generalities, and of focusing on the larger issues—like “life”—that have the power to revive philosophy.
As an attempt to relocate crucial concepts from moral philosophy and the theory of action into what might be called the metaphysics of life, this original work promises to reconfigure a whole sector of philosophy. It is a work that any student of contemporary philosophy must grapple with.
Exploring themes that preoccupied Albert Camus--absurdity, silence, revolt, fidelity, and moderation--Robert Zaretsky portrays a moralist who refused to be fooled by the nobler names we assign to our actions, and who pushed himself, and those about him, to challenge the status quo. For Camus, rebellion against injustice is the human condition.
This landmark work by George L. Mosse, first published in 1985, examines the history of sexuality through the lens of bourgeois respectability and nationalism. Using a daring breadth of German and English sources, Nationalism and Sexuality pioneered the use of gender stereotypes as a methodology for studying the history of sexuality in mainstream European history. Mosse’s innovative inquiries on gender remain central to discussions about modern constructions of national belonging and the workings of the state. This edition of Mosse’s classic volume includes a new critical introduction by Mary Louise Roberts, whose books include What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France.
Urban schools are often associated with violence, chaos, and youth aggression. But is this reputation really the whole picture? In Navigating Conflict, Calvin Morrill and Michael Musheno challenge the violence-centered conventional wisdom of urban youth studies, revealing instead the social ingenuity with which teens informally and peacefully navigate strife-ridden peer trouble. Taking as their focus a multi-ethnic, high-poverty school in the American southwest, the authors complicate our vision of urban youth, along the way revealing the resilience of students in the face of carceral disciplinary tactics.
Grounded in sixteen years of ethnographic fieldwork, Navigating Conflict draws on archival and institutional evidence to locate urban schools in more than a century of local, state, and national change. Morrill and Musheno make the case for schools that work, where negative externalities are buffered and policies are adapted to ever-evolving student populations. They argue that these kinds of schools require meaningful, inclusive student organizations for sustaining social trust and collective peer dignity alongside responsive administrative leadership. Further, students must be given the freedom to associate and move among their peers, all while in the vicinity of watchful, but not intrusive adults. Morrill and Musheno make a compelling case for these foundational conditions, arguing that only through them can schools enable a rich climate for learning, achievement, and social advancement.
The Ninth Decade is a path-breaking and timely book on aging: the first to focus explicitly and at length on eighty-somethings, the fastest-growing demographic in the industrialized world. Covering eight years in lively six-month installments, Klaus tells a vivid story not only of his own ninth decade and survival routines, but also of his loving companion, Jackie, who is strikingly different from him in her physical well-being, practical outlook, sociable temperament, and vigorous workouts. Cameos of their octogenarian friends and relatives near and far add to a wide-ranging and revelatory portrayal of advanced aging, as do bios of notable octogenarians.
The multi-year scope of his chronicle reveals the numerous physical and mental problems that arise during octogenarian life and how eighty-year-olds have dealt with those challenges. The Ninth Decade is a unique, first-hand source of information for anyone in their sixties, seventies, or eighties, as well as for persons devoted to care of the aged. Though the challenges of octogenarian life often require specialized care, The Ninth Decade also shows the pleasures of it to be so special as to have inspired Lillian Hellman’s paradoxical description of “longer life” as “the happy problem of our time.”
This book describes the personal and spiritual benefits of living life in a way that matters, with an awareness that one's life can reflect a sense of higher purpose no matter what the circumstances. The book draws upon religious, philosophical, and literary writings to show how humans in many cultures and historical epochs have pursued noble purposes by answering God's call as each hears it.
Noble purpose can be pursued both in heroic acts and in everyday behavior. The book shows how ordinary people—teachers, business professionals, parents, citizens—can ennoble what they do by being mindful of its deepest meaning. It also points out that humility is a necessary virtue for those who pursue a noble purpose. Great heroes are bold, courageous, and sometimes audacious in their determination to succeed; but they are also humble in their awareness of their own limitations. Moreover, a person must never violate basic moral laws while pursuing a noble purpose—the means must be as moral as the ends.
Purpose brings coherence and satisfaction to people's lives, producing joy in good times and resilience in hard times. It also presents a paradox: hard work in service of noble purpose that transcends personal gain is a surer path to happiness than the self-indulgent pursuit of happiness for its own sake. The closer we come to God's purpose for us, the more satisfied our lives become.
From the inspiration and examples conveyed in this book, we learn that all individuals have the capacity to discover their own God-given abilities, to learn the world's need for the services they can provide, and to experience joy in serving society and God in their special ways. As theologian Frederick Buechner writes, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Toby Litt is one of that rare breed of fiction writers who never writes the same book twice: every time out, he takes an unexpected new tack—and his readers happily follow.
Told in the form of the pithy, even lyrical advice a young soldier leaves behind after a mission gone wrong, Notes for a Young Gentleman is no exception. Its brilliantly creative form, and the epigrammatic genius Litt displays in its creation, nonetheless can’t hide the powerful, emotional story at its heart: of a young soldier parachuting toward a beautiful, moonlit country house on a mission . . . of betrayal. The house? Marlborough. The target? Winston Churchill, an old friend of his father. A brilliant, at times dizzying but always heartfelt exploration of love, revenge, and the essence of a gentleman, Notes for a Young Gentleman is classic Toby Litt: wholly new and wholly unforgettable.
Witchcraft. Arson. Going AWOL. Some nuns in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy strayed far from the paradigms of monastic life. Cloistered in convents, subjected to stifling hierarchy, repressed, and occasionally persecuted by their male superiors, these women circumvented authority in sometimes extraordinary ways. But tales of their transgressions have long been buried in the Vatican Secret Archive. That is, until now.
In Nuns Behaving Badly, Craig A. Monson resurrects forgotten tales and restores to life the long-silent voices of these cloistered heroines. Here we meet nuns who dared speak out about physical assault and sexual impropriety (some real, some imagined). Others were only guilty of misjudgment or defacing valuable artwork that offended their sensibilities. But what unites the women and their stories is the challenges they faced: these were women trying to find their way within the Catholicism of their day and through the strict limits it imposed on them. Monson introduces us to women who were occasionally desperate to flee cloistered life, as when an entire community conspired to torch their convent and be set free. But more often, he shows us nuns just trying to live their lives. When they were crossed—by powerful priests who claimed to know what was best for them—bad behavior could escalate from mere troublemaking to open confrontation.
In resurrecting these long-forgotten tales and trials, Monson also draws attention to the predicament of modern religious women, whose “misbehavior”—seeking ordination as priests or refusing to give up their endowments to pay for priestly wrongdoing in their own archdioceses—continues even today. The nuns of early modern Italy, Monson shows, set the standard for religious transgression in their own age—and beyond.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress PA6661.D213 2011 | Dewey Decimal 177.7
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman, and advisor to the emperor Nero, all during the Silver Age of Latin literature. The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a fresh and compelling series of new English-language translations of his works in eight accessible volumes. Edited by world-renowned classicists Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this engaging collection restores Seneca—whose works have been highly praised by modern authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to his rightful place among the classical writers most widely studied in the humanities.
On Benefits, written between 56 and 64 CE, is a treatise addressed to Seneca’s close friend Aebutius Liberalis. The longest of Seneca’s works dealing with a single subject—how to give and receive benefits and how to express gratitude appropriately—On Benefits is the only complete work on what we now call “gift exchange” to survive from antiquity. Benefits were of great personal significance to Seneca, who remarked in one of his later letters that philosophy teaches, above all else, to owe and repay benefits well.
How did the 1950s become "The Sixties"? This is the question at the heart of Daniel Horowitz's On the Cusp. Part personal memoir, part collective biography, and part cultural history, the book illuminates the dynamics of social and political change through the experiences of a small, and admittedly privileged, generational cohort.
A Jewish "townie" from New Haven when he entered Yale College in fall 1956, Horowitz reconstructs the undergraduate career of the class of 1960 and follows its story into the next decade. He begins by looking at curricular and extracurricular life on the all-male campus, then ranges beyond the confines of Yale to larger contexts, including the local drama of urban renewal, the lingering shadow of McCarthyism, and decolonization movements around the world. He ponders the role of the university in protecting the prerogatives of class while fostering social mobility, and examines the growing significance of race and gender in American politics and culture, spurred by a convergence of the personal and the political. Along the way he traces the political evolution of his classmates, left and right, as Cold War imperatives lose force and public attention shifts to the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam.
Throughout Horowitz draws on a broad range of sources, including personal interviews, writings by classmates, reunion books, issues of the Yale Daily News, and other undergraduate publications, as well as his own letters and college papers. The end product is a work consistent with much of Horowitz's previously published scholarship on postwar America, further exposing the undercurrent of discontent and dissent that ran just beneath the surface of the so-called Cold War consensus.
Can people ever really change? Do they ever become more ethical, and if so, how? Overcoming Our Evil focuses on the way ethical and religious commitments are conceived and nurtured through the methodical practices that Pierre Hadot has called "spiritual exercises." These practices engage thought, imagination, and sensibility, and have a significant ethical component, yet aim for a broader transformation of the whole personality. Going beyond recent philosophical and historical work that has focused on ancient Greco-Roman philosophy, Stalnaker broadens ethical inquiry into spiritual exercises by examining East Asian as well as classical Christian sources, and taking religious and seemingly "aesthetic" practices such as prayer, ritual, and music more seriously as objects of study.
More specifically, Overcoming Our Evil examines and compares the thought and practice of the early Christian Augustine of Hippo, and the early Confucian Xunzi. Both have sophisticated and insightful accounts of spiritual exercises, and both make such ethical work central to their religious thought and practice. Yet to understand the two thinkers' recommendations for cultivating virtue we must first understand some important differences. Here Stalnaker disentangles the competing aspects of Augustine and Xunxi's ideas of "human nature." His groundbreaking comparison of their ethical vocabularies also drives a substantive analysis of fundamental issues in moral psychology, especially regarding emotion and the complex idea of "the will," to examine how our dispositions to feel, think, and act might be slowly transformed over time. The comparison meticulously constructs vivid portraits of both thinkers demonstrating where they connect and where they diverge, making the case that both have been misunderstood and misinterpreted. In throwing light on these seemingly disparate ancient figures in unexpected ways, Stalnaker redirects recent debate regarding practices of personal formation, and more clearly exposes the intellectual and political issues involved in the retrieval of "classic" ethical sources in diverse contemporary societies, illuminating a path toward a contemporary understanding of difference.
The history of higher education in the 20th-century South, like the history of the region, both mirrors and diverges from the national pattern. Not surprisingly the region’s demographic, economic, social, political, and cultural characteristics have accounted for many of the variations between the education of southern women and women in the rest of the nation.
Southern students, McCandless finds, have generally been more Protestant, more rural, more conservative, and less affluent than their northern and western counterparts. Southern institutions have been slower to raise matriculation and graduation standards and to revise the classical curriculum. Southern administrators and legislators have opposed coeducation and integration longer and harder than college officials elsewhere. Certain types of institutions, such as all-black colleges, public women’s colleges, and separate agricultural colleges, have been more prevalent in the South. Although many of these differences are not gender-specific, all have contributed to the distinctive educational experience of women in this region.
Much has been written on the distinctiveness of this region, but virtually nothing has been published on the education of women in the South. By focusing on both black and white women at a wide variety of institutions and drawing on oral interviews and campus publications as well as traditional histories, McCandless is able to construct a more detailed picture of women’s collegiate experiences in the 20th-century South than those provided by general studies that rely primarily on materials from the North and Midwest.
The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited, heralding the end of a repressive era. Now, more than 120 years after Wilde handed it over to his publisher, Wilde’s uncensored typescript is published here for the first time, in an annotated, extensively illustrated edition.
For many Westerners, the veil is the ultimate sign of women’s oppression. But Elizabeth Bucar’s take on Muslim women’s clothing is a far cry from this attitude. She invites readers to join her in three Muslim-majority nations as she surveys pious fashion from head to toe and shows how Muslim women approach the question “What to wear?” with style.
David Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought to show how new ideas about politics, ethics, and economics stepped into a gap opened up by religious conflict and the Scientific Revolution. As ideas about godliness and Aristotelian virtue faded, theories about the rational pursuit of power, pleasure, and profit moved to the fore.
The Pursuit of Justice is the first book to examine three separate instances of soldiers risking their lives during wartime to protest injustices being perpetrated by military authorities: within the United States Army during the American Civil War, the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, and the British Army during World War II. Nathan Wise explores the three events in detail and reveals how-despite the vast differences in military forces, wars, regions of the world, and eras-the soldiers involved all shared a common sense of justice and responded in remarkably similar ways.
By the early ninth century, the responsibility for a series of social, religious and political transformations had become an integral part of running the Carolingian empire. This became especially clear when, in 813/4, Louis the Pious and his court seized the momentum generated by their predecessors and broadened the scope of these reforms ever further. These reformers knew they represented a movement greater than the sum of its parts; the interdependence between those wielding imperial authority and those bearing responsibility for ecclesiastical reforms was driven by comprehensive, yet still surprisingly diverse expectations.Taking this diversity as a starting point, this book takes a fresh look at the optimistic first decades of the ninth century. Extrapolating from a series of detailed case studies rather than presenting a new grand narrative, it offers new interpretations of contemporary theories of personal improvement and institutional correctio, and shows the self-awareness of its main instigators as they pondered what it meant to be a good Christian in a good Christian empire.
This book contains a collection of John Templeton's favorite inspirational passages.
“From the Bible, from philosophers and poets, and from other writers, we begin to form a clear understanding of the spiritual and ethical laws of life. The world's literature teaches us valuable lessons that no amount of money can buy. Those lessonsare there for everyone. They are free and they are priceless.”—John Marks Templeton
To dive deep into your inner life. To navigate its complexity and explore your story in depth. To discover who you are exactly—the courage you have when life breaks apart, how conscious you become in that process, and how rich you feel learning the meaning of your life. On a search for wholeness, Bobbe Tyler delves deep to find and tell her story—the trauma of familial mental illness, marriage and divorce, spiritual despair, accountability, addiction and the joy of recovery, surviving loss, and finally that which matters most: love in all its ways. The rewards of her wisdom belong not to her alone but, by way of her unflinching examination of life’s many paths, to all who have a story of their own to tell—who have faced a life-choice gone wrong, or met the peace that had always seemed just out of reach. This searing self-appraisal provides a model for those who seek to know themselves better and are willing to sound their depths to find their story in full.
An ARTery Best Book of the Year
An Art of Manliness Best Book of the Year
In a culture that has become progressively more skeptical and materialistic, the desires of the individual self stand supreme, Mark Edmundson says. We spare little thought for the great ideals that once gave life meaning and worth. Self and Soul is an impassioned effort to defend the values of the Soul.
“An impassioned critique of Western society, a relentless assault on contemporary complacency, shallowness, competitiveness and self-regard…Throughout Self and Soul, Edmundson writes with a Thoreau-like incisiveness and fervor…[A] powerful, heartfelt book.”
—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
“[Edmundson’s] bold and ambitious new book is partly a demonstration of what a ‘real education’ in the humanities, inspired by the goal of ‘human transformation’ and devoted to taking writers seriously, might look like…[It] quietly sets out to challenge many educational pieties, most of the assumptions of recent literary studies—and his own chosen lifestyle.”
—Mathew Reisz, Times Higher Education
“Edmundson delivers a welcome championing of humanistic ways of thinking and living.”
An all-star team of eighteen conservative writers offers a hilarious, insightful, sanctimony-free remix of William Bennett’s The Book of Virtues—without parental controls. The Seven Deadly Virtues sits down next to readers at the bar, buys them a drink, and an hour or three later, ushers them into the revival tent without them even realizing it.
The book’s contributors include Sonny Bunch, Christopher Buckley, David “Iowahawk” Burge, Christopher Caldwell, Andrew Ferguson, Jonah Goldberg, Michael Graham, Mollie Hemingway, Rita Koganzon, Matt Labash, James Lileks, Rob Long, Larry Miller, P. J. O’Rourke, Joe Queenan, Christine Rosen, and Andrew Stiles. Jonathan V. Last, senior writer at the Weekly Standard, editor of the collection, is also a contributor. All eighteen essays in this book are appearing for the first time anywhere.
In the book’s opening essay, P. J. O’Rourke observes: “Virtue has by no means disappeared. It’s as much in public view as ever. But it’s been strung up by the heels. Virtue is upside down. Virtue is uncomfortable. Virtue looks ridiculous. All the change and the house keys are falling out of Virtue’s pants pockets.”
Here are the virtues everyone (including the book’s contributors) was taught in Sunday school but have totally forgotten about until this very moment. In this sanctimony-free zone:
• Joe Queenan observes: “In essence, thrift is a virtue that resembles being very good at Mahjong. You’ve heard about people who can do it, but you’ve never actually met any of them.”
• P. J. O’Rourke notes: “Fortitude is quaint. We praise the greatest generation for having it, but they had aluminum siding, church on Sunday, and jobs that required them to wear neckties or nylons (but never at the same time). We don’t want those either.”
• Christine Rosen writes: “A fellowship grounded in sociality means enjoying the company of those with whom you actually share physical space rather than those with whom you regularly and enthusiastically exchange cat videos.”
• Rob Long offers his version of modern day justice: if you sleep late on the weekend, you are forced to wait thirty minutes in line at Costco.
• Jonah Goldberg offers: “There was a time when this desire-to-do-good-in-all-things was considered the only kind of integrity: ‘Angels are better than mortals. They’re always certain about what is right because, by definition, they’re doing God’s will.’ Gabriel knew when it was okay to remove a mattress tag and Sandalphon always tipped the correct amount.”
• Sonny Bunch dissects forbearance, observing that the fictional Two Minutes Hate of George Orwell’s 1984 is now actually a reality directed at living, breathing people. Thanks, in part, to the Internet, “Its targets are designated by a spontaneously created mob—one that, due to its hive-mind nature—is virtually impossible to call off.”
By the time readers have completed The Seven Deadly Virtues, they won’t even realize that they’ve just been catechized into an entirely different—and better—moral universe.
Now in paperback, The Shadow of Things to Come and its catastrophic and carnivalesque dreamscape speak out against political rhetoric and the destruction of meaning by government.
In an unnamed African nation, the people are subject to a state of perpetual warfare and to an Orwellian abuse of language that strips from language its meaning and renders life senseless. And in a bare room lit only by moonlight, a young man hides, waiting for the mysterious crocodile-men to come and help him escape from the violent tyranny of the state. While he waits, he tells his story.
This is Kossi Efoui’s catastrophic and carnivalesque dreamscape, the dark setting of The Shadow of Things to Come. Here, men and women are taken in the night, spirited away from their families, and sent to plantation penal colonies to be worked to the edge of madness. When they return, they are empty shells, their lost time referred to as the “Time of Annexation.” But though his parents were taken, our protagonist survived, first in the care of a quirky benefactress named Mama Maize, then under the wing of the state itself, as a student at one of its elite schools. When he meets a bookseller named Axis Kemal, however, he has found a surrogate father, an eccentric and wise man who can bring him out of the meaningless confusion and tell him the truth about the society he lives in.
Through his characters, Efoui speaks out against atrocity and the abuse of power, but more, he writes against political rhetoric and the destruction of meaning by government. This novel is a love letter to language and, in Chris Turner’s dazzling translation, it becomes a stunning introduction for English-language readers to an exciting new talent.
What makes for a good life, or a beautiful one, or, perhaps most important, a meaningful one? Throughout history most of us have looked to our faith, our relationships, or our deeds for the answer. But in A Significant Life, philosopher Todd May offers an exhilarating new way of thinking about these questions, one deeply attuned to life as it actually is: a work in progress, a journey—and often a narrative. Offering moving accounts of his own life and memories alongside rich engagements with philosophers from Aristotle to Heidegger, he shows us where to find the significance of our lives: in the way we live them.
May starts by looking at the fundamental fact that life unfolds over time, and as it does so, it begins to develop certain qualities, certain themes. Our lives can be marked by intensity, curiosity, perseverance, or many other qualities that become guiding narrative values. These values lend meanings to our lives that are distinct from—but also interact with—the universal values we are taught to cultivate, such as goodness or happiness. Offering a fascinating examination of a broad range of figures—from music icon Jimi Hendrix to civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, from cyclist Lance Armstrong to The Portrait of a Lady’s Ralph Touchett to Claus von Stauffenberg, a German officer who tried to assassinate Hitler—May shows that narrative values offer a rich variety of criteria by which to assess a life, specific to each of us and yet widely available. They offer us a way of reading ourselves, who we are, and who we might like to be.
Clearly and eloquently written, A Significant Life is a recognition and a comfort, a celebration of the deeply human narrative impulse by which we make—even if we don’t realize it—meaning for ourselves. It offers a refreshing way to think of an age-old question, of quite simply, what makes a life worth living.
HE MADE HISTORY. HE TELLS THE TRUTHS HE KNOWS.
LEAD TITLE/Our National Conversation Series
"Terrence Roberts is in the truest sense an upstander - an individual whose voice and actions compel us to explore difficult topics and challenge us to face our shared history, honestly. His words and reflections celebrate the notion of difference, model socially responsible behavior and promote tolerance in our daily lives. Reading this book, you will be inspired, in Dr. Roberts's words, to 'think beyond the ordinary."
----Margot Stern Strom, Executive Director, Facing History and Ourselves, Inc.
"Terrence Roberts challenges all of us to make the world more inclusive by adjusting our 'mental maps.' He reminds us that we will not achieve that long-sought beloved community until we recognize the value of each individual-until we affirm each other. Simple, NotEasy is one trailblazer's mingling of history and contemporary mattersto engage a new conversations on community, social responsibility and tolerance. A powerful book by a civil rights legend."
--- Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr., Ed.D.,
In Sport Is Life with the Volume Turned Up, Joan Cronan offers a refreshing and innovative perspective on strengthening performance and achieving success in both the business world and everyday life. During her twenty-eight years as Women’s Athletics Director for the University of Tennessee, Cronan built one of the most prominent and respected women’s athletics programs in the nation, resulting in ten NCAA titles and twenty-four SEC Tournament Championships for the Lady Vols during her tenure. She reveals in her book what happened behind the scenes in constructing a successful, nationally renowned women’s athletics program—and it turns out that game days were only part of the story.
Cronan’s lighthearted stories and succinct business tips will draw you in until you feel like you are present for every victory she describes on the court and in the workplace. Cronan’s business acumen and passionate approach to positive change will arm you with the outlook and the tools you need to revolutionize the professional and personal spheres in your life.
Modern Japan offers us a view of a highly developed society with its own internal logic. Eiko Ikegami makes this logic accessible to us through a sweeping investigation into the roots of Japanese organizational structures. She accomplishes this by focusing on the diverse roles that the samurai have played in Japanese history. From their rise in ancient Japan, through their dominance as warrior lords in the medieval period, and their subsequent transformation to quasi-bureaucrats at the beginning of the Tokugawa era, the samurai held center stage in Japan until their abolishment after the opening up of Japan in the mid-nineteenth century.
This book demonstrates how Japan’s so-called harmonious collective culture is paradoxically connected with a history of conflict. Ikegami contends that contemporary Japanese culture is based upon two remarkably complementary ingredients, honorable competition and honorable collaboration. The historical roots of this situation can be found in the process of state formation, along very different lines from that seen in Europe at around the same time. The solution that emerged out of the turbulent beginnings of the Tokugawa state was a transformation of the samurai into a hereditary class of vassal-bureaucrats, a solution that would have many unexpected ramifications for subsequent centuries.
Ikegami’s approach, while sociological, draws on anthropological and historical methods to provide an answer to the question of how the Japanese managed to achieve modernity without traveling the route taken by Western countries. The result is a work of enormous depth and sensitivity that will facilitate a better understanding of, and appreciation for, Japanese society.
Each fall, thousands of eager freshmen descend on college and university campuses expecting the best education imaginable: inspiring classes taught by top-ranked professors, academic advisors who will guide them to a prestigious job or graduate school, and an environment where learning flourishes outside the classroom as much as it does in lecture halls. Unfortunately, most of these freshmen soon learn that academic life is not what they imagined. Classes are taught by overworked graduate students and adjuncts rather than seasoned faculty members, undergrads receive minimal attention from advisors or administrators, and potentially valuable campus resources remain outside their grasp.
Andrew Roberts’ Thinking Student’s Guide to College helps students take charge of their university experience by providing a blueprint they can follow to achieve their educational goals—whether at public or private schools, large research universities or small liberal arts colleges. An inside look penned by a professor at Northwestern University, this book offers concrete tips on choosing a college, selecting classes, deciding on a major, interacting with faculty, and applying to graduate school. Here, Roberts exposes the secrets of the ivory tower to reveal what motivates professors, where to find loopholes in university bureaucracy, and most importantly, how to get a personalized education. Based on interviews with faculty and cutting-edge educational research, The Thinking Student’s Guide to College is a necessary handbook for students striving to excel academically, creatively, and personally during their undergraduate years.
The Thinking Woman
Julienne van Loon Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress HQ1397.V35 2020 | Dewey Decimal 305.4
While women have struggled to gain recognition in the discipline of philosophy, there is no shortage of brilliant female thinkers. What can these women teach us about ethics, politics, and the nature of existence, and how might we relate these big ideas back to the smaller everyday concerns of domestic life, work, play, love, and relationships?
Australian novelist Julienne van Loon goes on a worldwide quest to answer these questions, by engaging with eight world-renowned thinkers who have deep insights on humanity and society: media scholar Laura Kipnis, novelist Siri Hustvedt, political philosopher Nancy Holmstrom, psychoanalytic theorist Julia Kristeva, domestic violence reformer Rosie Batty, peace activist Helen Caldicott, historian Marina Warner, and feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti. As she speaks to these women, she reflects on her own experiences. Combining the intimacy of a memoir with the intellectual stimulation of a theoretical text, The Thinking Woman draws novel connections between the philosophical, personal, and political. Giving readers a new appreciation for both the ethical complexities and wonder of everyday life, this book is inspiration to all thinking people.
In this autobiographical volume, the remarkable Helen Bevington looks for answers to the question of how to live or, more specifically, how to confront growing older. A familiar face on the literary landscape since the mid-1940s, Bevington contemplates the course of her own life in view of the suicide of her father, the final years her mother spent in unwilling solitude, and the tragic suicide of her son following a crippling automobile accident from which he could never recover. How is one to face the inevitability of death? What is the third alternative? How to persevere in life? The unique Bevington way of autobiography recreates lessons and insights of other lives, historical figures, and compelling incidents, and combines them in a narrative that follows the emotional currents of her life. Evoking a wide range of historical and literary figures, including Chekhov, Marcus Aurelius, Flannery O’Connor, Simone de Beauvoir, Thoreau, Beatrix Potter, Sappho, Yeats, Alexander the Great, Montaigne, Saint Cecilia, Virginia Woolf, Liv Ullmann, and many others, Bevington finds in these lives a path that has guided her search away from solitude. Through her reflections on the ten years that followed her son’s death, we become aware of how far she has traveled, how the search has brightened, how she has eloquently evolved into old age. In the end she is sitting, like the Buddha, under her own fig tree, waiting not for death but for further illumination. An original contemplation of the universal dilemmas and tragedies of existence, The Third and Only Way is at once warm, funny, and inspiring—full of learning and wisdom.
Thrift: A Cyclopedia
David Blankenhorn Templeton Press, 2008 Library of Congress HC110.C6B57 2008 | Dewey Decimal 332.0240097303
In today's consumer-driven society, extolling the virtues of thrift might seem like a quaint relic of a bygone era. Americans have embraced the ideas of easy credit, instant gratification, and spending as a tool to combat everything from recessions to the effects of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. In David Blankenhorn's new compendium, Thrift: A Cyclopedia, he reminds readers of a time when thrift was one of America's most cherished cultural values.
Gathering hundreds of quotes, sayings, proverbs, and photographs of Blankenhorn's vast personal collection of thrift memorabilia, this handsome book is a treasure trove of wisdom from around the world and throughout the ages. Readers will find insights from such varied sources as the Bible, the Qur'an, William Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, J. C. Penney, and Warren Buffett. Entries are serious, inspiring, occasionally humorous, and they will go a great way toward expanding the narrow perception of thrift as simple penny pinching; replacing that myopic view with one of a broader thrift—one that, as William H. Kniffen puts it, "earns largely and spends wisely" and leads to a life of independence and comfort well into old age.
Educators and parents will find ample wisdom to pass on to the next generation about the value of hard work, saving for the future, and generosity. Historians will delight in the glimpses into the U.S. thrift movement of the 1920s. Those seeking encouragement and inspiration will find much material here for reflection on the ideals of good stewardship, diligence, and sound financial planning. As our society ails from wastefulness, growing economic inequality, indebtedness, and runaway consumerism, there could be no stronger cure than this powerful little word, "thrift", which finds its root meaning in the word "thrive."
"A brilliant mixture of story, philosophy, humor and wisdom, this book reminds us that---if we are open to story, dreams, imagination, and myth---we can open doors within our soul."
—Jay O’Callahan, author, storyteller, and NPR commentator
A lifetime collection of stories, wise words, assembled musings and quotations about overcoming hurdles, elusive enlightenment, personal evolution, persistence in the face of discouragement, this pastiche is designed to encourage the downhearted, lift up the strivers, and add wings to the heels of spiritual seekers.
Over 120 years after Oscar Wilde submitted The Picture of Dorian Gray for publication, the uncensored version of his novel appears here for the first time in a paperback edition. This volume restores material, including instances of graphic homosexual content, removed by the novel’s first editor, who feared it would be “offensive” to Victorians.
“What the women I write about have in common is that they are all rebels with a cause, and I see myself represented in their mirror,” asserts Alicia Gaspar de Alba. Looking back across a career in which she has written novels, poems, and scholarly works about Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, la Malinche, Coyolxauhqui, the murdered women of Juárez, the Salem witches, and Chicana lesbian feminists, Gaspar de Alba realized that what links these historically and socially diverse figures is that they all fall into the category of “bad women,” as defined by their place, culture, and time, and all have been punished as well as remembered for rebelling against the “frames” imposed on them by capitalist patriarchal discourses. In [Un]Framing the “Bad Woman,” Gaspar de Alba revisits and expands several of her published articles and presents three new essays to analyze how specific brown/female bodies have been framed by racial, social, cultural, sexual, national/regional, historical, and religious discourses of identity—as well as how Chicanas can be liberated from these frames. Employing interdisciplinary methodologies of activist scholarship that draw from art, literature, history, politics, popular culture, and feminist theory, she shows how the “bad women” who interest her are transgressive bodies that refuse to cooperate with patriarchal dictates about what constitutes a “good woman” and that queer/alter the male-centric and heteronormative history, politics, and consciousness of Chicano/Mexicano culture. By “unframing” these bad women and rewriting their stories within a revolutionary frame, Gaspar de Alba offers her compañeras and fellow luchadoras empowering models of struggle, resistance, and rebirth.
While many scholars find the early modern triad of virtues for women—silence, chastity, and obedience—to be straightforward and nonnegotiable, Jessica C. Murphy demonstrates that these virtues were by no means as direct and inflexible as they might seem. Drawing on the literature of the period—from the plays of Shakespeare to a conduct manual written for a princess to letters from a wife to her husband—as well as contemporary gender theory and philosophy, she uncovers the multiple meanings of behavioral expectations for sixteenth- and seventeenth-century women. Through her renegotiation of cultural ideals as presented in both literary and nonliterary texts of early modern England, Murphy presents models for “acceptable” women’s conduct that lie outside of the rigid prescriptions of the time.
Virtuous Necessity will appeal to readers interested in early modern English literature, including canonical authors such as Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton, as well as their female contemporaries such as Amelia Lanyer and Elizabeth Cary. It will also appeal to scholars of conduct literature; of early modern drama, popular literature, poetry, and prose; of women’s history; and of gender theory.
What Is the Good Life?
Luc Ferry University of Chicago Press, 2005 Library of Congress BJ1612.F4713 2005 | Dewey Decimal 170
Has inquiry into the meaning of life become outmoded in a universe where the other-worldiness of religion no longer speaks to us as it once did, or, as Nietzsche proposed, where we are now the creators of our own value? Has the ancient question of the "good life" disappeared, another victim of the technological world? For Luc Ferry, the answer to both questions is a resounding no.
In What Is the Good Life? Ferry argues that the question of the meaning of life, on which much philosophical debate throughout the centuries has rested, has not vanished, but at the very least the question is posed differently today. Ferry points out the pressures in our secularized world that tend to reduce the idea of a successful life or "good life" to one of wealth, career satisfaction, and prestige. Without deserting the secular presuppositions of our world, he shows that we can give ourselves a richer sense of life's possibilities. The "good life" consists of harmonizing life's different forces in a way that enables one to achieve a sense of personal satisfaction in the realization of one's creative abilities.
Despite what would seem some apparent likenesses, single men and single women are perceived in very different ways. Bachelors are rarely considered "lonely" or aberrant. They are not pitied. Rather, they are seen as having chosen to be "footloose and fancy free" to have sports cars, boats, and enjoy a series of unrestrictive relationships. Single women, however, do not enjoy such an esteemed reputation. Instead they have been viewed as abnormal, neurotic, or simply undesirable-attitudes that result in part from the long-standing belief that single women would not have chosen her life. Even the single career-woman is seldom viewed as enjoying the success she has achieved. No one believes she is truly fulfilled.
Modern American culture has raised generations of women who believed that their true and most important role in society was to get married and have children. Anything short of this role was considered abnormal, unfulfilling, and suspect. This female stereotype has been exploited and perpetuated by some key films in the late 40's and early 50's. But more recently we have seen a shift in the cultural view of the spinster. The erosion of the traditional nuclear family, as well as a larger range of acceptable life choices, has caused our perceptions of unmarried women to change. The film industry has reflected this shift with updated stereotypes that depict this cultural trend. The shift in the way we perceive spinsters is the subject of current academic research which shows that a person's perception of particular societal roles influences the amount of stress or depression they experience when in that specific role. Further, although the way our culture perceives spinsters and the way the film industry portrays them may be evolving, we still are still left with a negative stereotype.
Themes of choice and power have informed the lives of single women in all times and places. When considered at all in a scholarly context, single women have often been portrayed as victims, unhappily subjected to forces beyond their control. This collection of essays about "women on their own" attempts to correct that bias, by presenting a more complex view of single women in nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States and Europe.
Topics covered in this book include the complex and ambiguous roles that society assigns to widows, and the greater social and financial independence that widows have often enjoyed; widow culture after major wars; the plight of homeless, middle-class single women during the Great Depression; and comparative sociological studies of contemporary single women in the United States, Britain, Ireland, and Cuba.
Composed of papers presented to the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis project on single women, this collection incorporates the work of specialists in anthropology, art history, history, and sociology. It is deeply connected with the emerging field of singleness studies (to which the RCHA has contributed an Internet-based bibliography of more than 800 items). All of the essays are new and have not been previously published.
Words Of Common Sense
Brother David Steindl-Rast Templeton Press, 2002 Library of Congress BJ1595.S764 2002 | Dewey Decimal 170.44
Brother David Steindl-Rast takes us on a journey to discover the wisdom preserved in common sense sayings that have been passed down through generations. These timeless words reflect the shared values cherished by people all over the world.
"When you drink from a stream,” says one Chinese proverb, “remember the spring." From these simple words we are reminded to be grateful for even the smallest graces that we receive. Another homespun phrase tells us that "a contented heart is a continual feast," reminding us to look within, rather than without, for the source of our happiness.
Words of Common Sense reveals the thread of human experience expressed in the world’s proverbs and sayings. It helps us connect with cultures other than our own and recognize our shared humanity. These words resonate around the world because they are timeless reflections on how to cultivate a life of love, gratitude, and meaning.
Writing from the Heart offers us a unique window into what young people have learned about life. This collection of essays captures the values that matter most to teens—values such as love, perseverance, family, and helping others—in their own words. As the young writers reflect on their own experience, readers of all ages will be inspired by their wisdom and hope.
From Chattanooga to China, these essays are all extraordinary. They not only celebrate the accomplishments of the young writers, but also offer an opportunity to peer into the hearts and minds of young people around the world. Readers may be amazed at some of the hardships that these teens have faced, but will have a deep sense of optimism for our future. In addition, they inspire us to make the most of our lives as well.