The Age of Absurdity and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £8.99
  • You Save: £2.25 (25%)
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Minor scuffing to the corners of the cover - no creasing to spine - pages unmarked
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy Mass Market Paperback – 3 Feb 2011


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
£6.74
£1.43 £0.28

Frequently Bought Together

The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy + Embracing the Ordinary: Lessons From the Champions of Everyday Life + Enough: Breaking Free from the World of Excess
Price For All Three: £22.12

Buy the selected items together


Earn a Free Kindle Book
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Buy a book between now and 31 March and receive a promotional code good for one free Kindle book. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (General list, Trade Division); Reprint edition (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847396275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847396273
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

`My favourite book of 2010...This is a work of admirable scope...energetic, witty and erudite' --Guardian, New Year's Day 2011

'...witty, erudite and provocative. It challenges received wisdom in a way that many people will find compelling' --Scottish Sunday Herald

'Reading Michael Foley's THE AGE OF ABSURDITY. I must be the last person in the world to read this but I'm glad I finally have, as it is fascinating. It looks at the quest for happiness and how we are getting it all wrong' --Jeremy Vine, Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Michael Foley was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, but since 1972 he has lived in London, working as a Lecturer in Information Technology. He has published four novels, four collections of poetry and a collection of translations from French poetry, which have earned impressive reviews from The Guardian, New Statesman and New York Times. The Age of Absurdity is his first non-fiction book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

665 of 673 people found the following review helpful By modern life is rubbish on 11 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
At one point in this book Michael Foley laments his own tendency to buy books and CDs in pursuit of some transcendental experience - the books are going to give him arcane knowledge and explain the meaning of it all. Of course, they stay on the shelf, eventually becoming a source of guilt and stress. This is ironic, because The Age of Absurdity comes as close as anyone ever will to giving you arcane knowledge and explaining the meaning of it all.

I'm simplifying a complex and detailed argument here. But, in brief, Foley argues (or at least I take him to be arguing) that the modern world has placed two major barriers in the path of happiness - the `culture of entitlement' and the worship of potential. (NB: Foley breaks down the analysis into more categories, but I think there's good reason for thinking that these are the main issues). The culture of entitlement is so much part of the zeitgeist that we can hardly see it anymore - it drives the talentless to obsessively seek fame, spawns a million `self esteem' workshops, and ensures that every thug knows his rights without considering that he even has responsibilities. (And if you think it's just thugs, ask yourself when you last concluded a whinge by observing that `someone' - some unnameable `they' - should do something about it). But it also means that when the world fails to notice our talents or respect our rights - which, let's face it, is most of the time - we feel hard done by. We are all poisoning our lives with a terminal feeling of injustice; all have a chip on our shoulder big enough to overbalance us.
Read more ›
44 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
100 of 103 people found the following review helpful By A. Johnston on 24 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
Foley writes lucidly and with much thought on some of the deeper issues facing western (and potentially other) societies, touching on areas such as the impact of advertising, the role of drugs companies in creating new "disorders", and lack of personal responsibility. There are no easy answers, but he does come up with suggestions that can help embrace the absurdity of modern life and use it to your advantage.

Not a self help book, but a mix of social commentary, philosophy, life coaching and other things. It has a serious purpose (or does it?), but uses brevity and wit to get it's point across.

This is the first book by Foley that I've read but it definitely won't be the last!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Fr. Chambers on 19 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very rare book that combines great insight into the modern human condition with incisive and illuminating wit. It draws upon on a wealth of writings from the great historical thinkers to modern day novelists and is delivered in a superbly engaging way. If you aren't that interested in philosophy you should read this becase it's just a very good read. If you are interested in philosophy don't be put off by this book's 'accessibility' because it takes a very well argued and challenging position on modern life. I think I may now have told everyone I know to read this book so for the first time in a long time I am encouraging strangers to do the same by wrting on Amazon!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By That mysterious someone on 28 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are some excellent reviews on here, so I won't rewrite some already well made points. I just want to express my personal gratitude to 'Mike' for providing a sane voice and conceptual framework for understanding the absurdity of much modern life. I found myself nodding sagely on many pages and thanking God/common sense that there are others out there, who can think 'out of the box' and not be completely sucked in by the outrageous conformity of the modern world.

In order to justify this as a review, I offer a few words on the book: It's very well written, with reference to a wide variety of sources ranging from Buddha and Jesus to Marx and Freud. It's split up into clear chapters with each one being dealt with comprehensively. The writing is lively and amusing. And to be frank, if you've arrived at this page because 'The Age of Absurdity' rings a bell, then you're going to like and appreciate this book. A little effort may be required, but the journey will be worth the effort!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Collins on 13 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
A thoroughly enjoyable, thought provoking and amusing book.

Foley weaves together philosophy, psychology, science, religion, popular culture and anecdotes from everyday life to explain the absurdity of the modern world.

The only problem with this book is it's going to make you want to go and read all the other books it references. And hopefully all those books won't end up on your shelf unread!

Ultimatley, Foley makes you realise you are not alone in pondering the absurdity of modern life, and points out that the answers are there, they always have been; though don't confuse simple with easy.

Oh, and I picked this book off the shelf initially because of the picture on the front. I guess marketing does have its uses - damn!
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By christine a on 8 April 2010
Format: Paperback
If the sign of a good book is that it leads you on to many other good books, then The Age of Absurdity wins hands down. I've decided to give Proust and James Joyce a second chance on the author's analysis of why they're important "What makes Proust & Joyce seem hard work is the absence of plot....the pleasure of plot is all expectation and sensation....so plot-driven novels have no residue of beauty." He then goes on to explain the payoff to reading Proust & Joyce - very insightful. The psychologist Barry Schwartz is another recommendation for his work on Choice. I particularly like Foley's observation that faced with a plethora of choice, we are "haunted by the missed opportunities of rejected alternatives" Snappy little summings-up like this stay in the head long after you've read them and are food for rumination (something he say's we're short of). Michael Foley is an astute social commentator able to pinpoint the idiosyncracies of the age in a couple of elegant sentences and then expand with originality on his view. I particularly liked his take on the failure of primary experience and the tyranny of screen life saying that we all become like the inhabitants of Plato's cave "shadowy creatures in a permanent gloom with true perfection online in the bright world on screen." He's also good on the academic studies he quotes from, the intriguingly entitled "The Relationship between television viewing in mid life and the development of Alzheimer's Disease" might be worth a second glance
So what did I find less good? - I think he has a particularly jaundiced view of the work place. And do we really need to know what Mrs Foley thought of the death of Princess Diana?
But overall, as a bracing assault on received wisdom I think it deserves 5 stars.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback