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The Examined Life [Kindle Edition]

Theodore Dalrymple
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

The unexamined life is not worth living, said Socrates. But one can take things too far.

'Why are you wearing that face mask?' asked one of the security guards.
'Germs, of course,' I said. 'Ubiquitous - they're everywhere.'
'They are for us, too,' he said, 'and we're not wearing masks.'
This was exactly the same argument as the doctor uses.
'What consolation was it to the victims of the Black Death that there were millions of other victims?' I said.
'The Black Death?' said the security guard to his colleague. 'What's he on about?'

A brief and witty satire on contemporary health and safety culture by world-renowned doctor-writer Theodore Dalrymple. The unnamed anti-hero is a man who takes to heart every tabloid newspaper health scare, guards himself against every conceivable illness and worries endlessly about his mortality. He wears protective clothing to go shopping when he can't shop on-line and every inch of unprotected skin is smeared in various creams and lotions. Unfortunately, his caution is his eventual undoing as this elegantly written and amusing novella reaches its climax.

The Examined Life is a satire on our obsession with health, safety and peanuts.

'I promise you'll enjoy his books' - Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 375 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Monday Books (4 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZH3CUE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,537 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satire At Its Finest 28 Oct. 2010
Satire has been around a long time. Juvenal observed that "It is difficult not to write satire." But it is difficult to write great satire. Most modern satire seems to me like a sermon by one of the Knox brothers...all preachy and exhorting, like recent politicians who tell us how and what to eat. Satire done right requires a keen sense of observation, wisdom, and wit. The Examined Life is outright hilarious.
Theodore Dalrymple's decades long documentation of societal ills pays off again in a novella filled with facetiousness as he follows a health addict through his daily ritual of protecting himself from life. Living life long or well is not the same thing as living long and well. We all know people like this (including, perhaps, a bit of ourselves) and it is fun to see the whole show. This is life lived in a health food store in the vitamin section. Nothing is safe from concern as the hero calls his local community council to ask about searching for radon in his apartment: "...after a long message telling me that the department was there to make life safe for everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or disability...I spoke to someone with a disability, namely an inability to follow a logical argument." This is a belly bouncing, tear producing, hysterically funny book.
As a physician, I have had many discussions with my patients when they ask about the most recent vitamin du jour or over-the-counter cure for what ails you. When I tell them that vitamin X has been shown not only not to help what they are taking if for but, in fact, makes it worse, their frequent response is, "Well, they must not have taken enough."
Well, one can never get enough of Theodore Dalrymple. Improve your health and read The Examined Life. The fact that one also gets his excellent comedy, So Little Done, makes this book a steal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky deadpan humour 11 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved the first story, 5 stars definitely ... the 'writer' is such a pompous, self-righteous, rigid, dogmatic, self-obsessed, un-self-aware (I'm censoring myself here). It's a glorious telling of an obsessive life. From the first sentence I was grinning inanely, with the occasional unrestrainable giggle... A joy, tho' perhaps not one to read on the train if you're traveling alone?
Sadly, the second story didn't work as well for me, which is why the book only gets 4 stars. Buy it for the first story tho - it's worth it
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good concept, but.... 14 Nov. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
....Anthony Daniels should have written this in co-authorship with a practiced novelist.

I am a "Dalrymple" fan, but this doesn't compare to his empirical essays. It's the story of a man who is so obssessed by Health and Safety, that he cannot lead a conventional life.

This short story is crying out for adaptation for the cinema or for TV as a comedy series. If you're reading this Anthony, please take your book to a scriptwriter!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Examined 22 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I almost believed the cover story for a whole page.... Very amusing if you're not a Guardian reader or social worker or GP.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such fun 24 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What an excellent book. Side split-tingly funny in places with good digs at fat unhealthy smokers and those of limited intellect that blight all our lives from time to time.
The ending is great and let me tell you not as far fetched as you might think!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a street near you. 3 Dec. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The madman in 'The Examined Life' is reminiscent of those found in the works of Thomas Bernhard whose works I recommend if you haven't read them. This story is also strangely reminiscent of Dostoyevsky's 'Notes From Underground'. The abject hero is comedic, grotesque, monstrous, laughable and pathetic by turns. His monomaniacal obsession can only end in disaster. Good riddance I say.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, it's tedious, Theodore 23 Sept. 2013
By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Luckily this is a short book, as takes a jolly good idea by the throat and unfortunately then hammers it to death.

An Examined Life tells the increasingly monotonous tale of a hypochondriac who examines every risk and researches every medical diagnosis, ending up living without being alive.

It is sometimes funny, which lifts the spirits, and is in the end ironic, but somehow the yes, highly medically informed, banging on becomes unreadable.

Nice try, I often enjoy 'Theodore Dalrymple's' contributions to the media, however with this he is flogging a dead horse, after first few chapters.
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