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Nothing Matters: A Book About Nothing Paperback – 26 Aug 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Iff Books (26 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846947073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846947070
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.7 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ronald Green, philosopher, linguist, university lecturer and ESL teacher, with 13 ESL books published, has lectured and given workshops in Europe, North and South America and the Middle East on linguistics, ESL and the use of the Internet in education. His short stories have been published in Nuvein magazine, Tryst, Aesthetica, the Sink and Unholy Biscuit. He has completed a philosophical novel and co-authored a psychological thriller with strong philosophical underpinnings. For the past five years he has been thinking seriously about nothing, culminating in the just-published book "Nothing Matters - a book about nothing" (iff-Books).

Product Description

About the Author

Born in London, teacher, lecturer and writer, with postgraduate studies in linguistics and philosophy, Ronald is the ultimate researcher. His short stories have been published widely. He lives in Israel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hande Z TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
"Nothing is not, in fact, a problem. Nothing isn't anything. Nothing just isn't" Robert Green writes. In his wickedly funny and enlightening book, Nothing Matters, he traces the birth of nothing from the concept of zero until the Arab numerals with its zero replaced the Roman numerals without it. Lively outlining the Church's opposition to the idea of zero (for it equates the heresy of nothingness) and how Pacioli (a humorless Franciscan monk) and his friend Leonardo da Vinci, slipped the idea of nothing into an acceptable legitimacy. After expounding the problems zero caused the Church, and vice versa - note that after 1 BC was 1 AD (no "0") Green discusses how zero was separated from nothing, and then proceeds to discuss how nothing works - in the arts, in religion, and finally, in philosophy. Quoting Pirsig from his "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance": If you talk about it you are always lying, and if you don't talk about it no one knows it is there." Nothing spread all over art world. Yves Klein held an exhibition of nothing -that was in 1958 - it consisted of an empty gallery. He was quoted, arrogantly stating, "I have discovered the void." In 2001, Martin Creed added lights that flashed on and off in an empty room - and won the Turner Prize. John Turner, whose abstract paintings such as "The Scarlet Sunset" was described by William Hazlitt as "All is without form and void. Someone said of his landscapes that they were pictures of nothing, and very like." Indeed, minimalism as an art form was a way in which artists had hoped to achieve nothingness. After the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, more people rushed to see the empty space where the painting used to be than the painting when it was there.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Franklin Shapiro on 23 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Simply fascinating! Every now and again one comes across a book which leaves a lasting impression and Nothing Matters does just this. I couldn't put Nothing Matters down. Who would believe that a narrative entailing `nothing' contains virtually everything? Surprisingly and rather paradoxically every theme and essence is shown to be inextricably tied in with nothing: religion, philosophy, history, art and psychology. The entire world is Ronald Green's oyster as he thrashes his way up and down the chronological scale in his pursuit of the intrigues of `nothing' and `nothingness'. This extraordinary - yet very readable book - navigates you through a historical and psychological journey across the western medieval world's fear of the association of zero with nothing, through to the informative and fascinating insights on abstract art and nothing, the enigmas and paradoxes in nothing and religion, as well as philosophy's approach to nothing. So much is covered in a relatively small and brilliantly crafted work; no stone is left unturned in the quest to unravel the centrality of nothing in the human tapestry. In an informative and often humorous style Green keeps you breathless as he contrasts western and eastern thought, medieval and modern world outlooks, Plato and Fawlty Towers, and through it all reveals the common thread of nothing. This is no one-off read; you'll find that Nothing Matters is such a wealthy resource of quotes, references, facts and ideas that it instantly sparks off any discussion. I dare anyone to purchase this book and prove me wrong!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Stabler on 26 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
A thoroughly good read that helps challenge whatever you may think about "nothing", especially considering the real difficulty with conceptualising it!

My favourite part of the book deals with the abusive relationship between nothing and religion. To have created something out of nothing is the most impressive feat for a deity, until of course you realise the absurdity of the claim and the contradictions that arise. I'm also in agreement with Green on the question of What Is Art?

The book should be of interest to everyone. For what is a philosophical work, there is very little jargon, and it is a very accessible. I found it very easy to dip in and out and it'll be top of my holiday reading list so I can absorb it cover-to-cover once more.

I was fortunate enough to pick up my copy of the book at a Skeptics In The Pub meeting in Cardiff where Ronald Green was giving a talk. He was a pleasure to meet to and I look forward to his next book.
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By Bizee on 22 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good reading
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Matters offers Everything 23 Sept. 2011
By Franklin Shapiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Simply fascinating! Every now and again one comes across a book which leaves a lasting impression and Nothing Matters does just this. I couldn't put Nothing Matters down. Who would believe that a narrative entailing `nothing' contains virtually everything? Surprisingly and rather paradoxically every theme and essence is shown to be inextricably tied in with nothing: religion, philosophy, history, art and psychology. The entire world is Ronald Green's oyster as he thrashes his way up and down the chronological scale in his pursuit of the intrigues of `nothing' and `nothingness'. This extraordinary - yet very readable book - navigates you through a historical and psychological journey across the western medieval world's fear of the association of zero with nothing, through to the informative and fascinating insights on abstract art and nothing, the enigmas and paradoxes in nothing and religion, as well as philosophy's approach to nothing. So much is covered in a relatively small and brilliantly crafted work; no stone is left unturned in the quest to unravel the centrality of nothing in the human tapestry. In an informative and often humorous style Green keeps you breathless as he contrasts western and eastern thought, medieval and modern world outlooks, Plato and Fawlty Towers, and through it all reveals the common thread of nothing. This is no one-off read; you'll find that Nothing Matters is such a wealthy resource of quotes, references, facts and ideas that it instantly sparks off any discussion. I dare anyone to purchase this book and prove me wrong!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If Nothing matters, Nothing is vital. 28 Dec. 2011
By Hande Z - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Nothing is not, in fact, a problem. Nothing isn't anything. Nothing just isn't" Robert Green writes. In his wickedly funny and enlightening book, Nothing Matters, he traces the birth of nothing from the concept of zero until the Arab numerals with its zero replaced the Roman numerals without it. Lively outlining the Church's opposition to the idea of zero (for it equates the heresy of nothingness) and how Pacioli (a humorless Franciscan monk) and his friend Leonardo da Vinci, slipped the idea of nothing into an acceptable legitimacy. After expounding the problems zero caused the Church, and vice versa - note that after 1 BC was 1 AD (no "0") Green discusses how zero was separated from nothing, and then proceeds to discuss how nothing works - in the arts, in religion, and finally, in philosophy. Quoting Pirsig from his "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance": If you talk about it you are always lying, and if you don't talk about it no one knows it is there." Nothing spread all over art world. Yves Klein held an exhibition of nothing -that was in 1958 - it consisted of an empty gallery. He was quoted, arrogantly stating, "I have discovered the void." In 2001, Martin Creed added lights that flashed on and off in an empty room - and won the Turner Prize. John Turner, whose abstract paintings such as "The Scarlet Sunset" was described by William Hazlitt as "All is without form and void. Someone said of his landscapes that they were pictures of nothing, and very like." Indeed, minimalism as an art form was a way in which artists had hoped to achieve nothingness. After the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, more people rushed to see the empty space where the painting used to be than the painting when it was there.

We are regaled with story after story about nothing in art when Green switches back to religion. With the thousands of religions, Green tells us, they all have nothing in common - literally. For faiths, "nothing is from where everything began." And so, Green tells us, Pope Pius XII opened a scientific conference in 1951 by declaring that the "Big Bang" theory bore witness to the existence of God describing (the Pope, that is) that from nothingness burst forth light - as God had said (as the Bible says) "Let there be light". Green believed that the scientific audience probably kept a discreet silence for he assumed that they would have realized as Green does, that the Papal pronouncement assumed that God existed. From Christianity to Buddhism, to Pantheism, and Hinduism, nothing works. He discusses the paradox in the Protestant work ethic - the closer we get to God the smaller, and closer we get to God; yet we are told that it is from nothing that everything becomes, and in this way, coming from nothing, we get closer to God the more we know and understand God. Life, it seems, is nothing without death. So Green has a lot to talk about death and nothingness.

That brings us to the closing chapter in which Green discusses how philosophers - from Parmenides and Aristotle to Descartes and Berkeley - struggle with emptiness and vacuum. Here Green had fun with the Berkeley tree-in-the-forest. George Berkeley posed this question: "If a tree fell in the forest and no one heard it, did the tree make a sound?" Sensing annoyance to the un-philosophical minds amongst us, Green poked further, "If a tree fell in the forest and no one knew about it, did the tree fall?" Well, as Green writes at the end of his book, "Nothing is impossible." Green attempts to draw a distinction between "Nothing" (absence of everything) and "Nothingness" (absence of something) and concludes that "since 'nothingness' is the absence of something, it is not absolute...Silence is an example of nothingness." The problem he says, is with "nothing". It's impossible to talk about or show. After he explains the mysteries of religious actions arising from the fear of "nothing" and the exasperations of philosophers over the same, he leaves his readers, panting, and full of nothing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nothing really does matter 28 Sept. 2011
By Cally2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Who would have thought that a discussion about nothing could pull in ideas from Plato to Monty Python? Or mention most of the central figures in religion, art and philosophy from the last few millennia? That Green can do so and approach the very of core of human existence and still produce a very readable book is a tribute to his writing skills. This book is thought provoking and entertaining at the same time. I'll be dipping into it again and again.
The high marks are because of how I became engage with the book and no other great merit. One more criticism is his handling of 7 Feb. 2015
By Steven Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I gave the book high marks in general, I had a number of issues with it . The first of which is that it was on the repetitive side. Other than that, I had no real problem with the first three parts. There was some interesting things in them. The real difficulty I had was with his philosophical exploration. For one, I found his separation of “nothingness” from “nothing” to be rather over emphasized. He also seemed to ignore “nothing”'s language use in general. While not necessarily, an advance on understanding the concept, there are lots of usages that seem important. One is it's role as in “oh, it's nothing.” For the conceptualization of “nothing” I think Green got hung up it trying to compare it to something else. The high marks are because of how I became engage with the book and no other great merit. One more criticism is his handling of infinity. While he spends a little bit of time on Hilbert's Hotel, Cantor was speechless.
The Unseen Side of Nothing 23 April 2012
By Victor Selby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The idea that 'nothing' could be something leads us into a journey that touches the core of consciousness. This quest, taking us through thousands of years of history, enlightens and tantalizes as it gives us a multitude of connections to who we are and what we mean by 'humanity'. The deep connection to the logical conundrums of Russell,s paradox and Gödel's Incompleteness Proof ties together the linguistic and mathematical symbol systems in convincing fashion. This is a stunning reference book along with being a great read.
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