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The Mystery of Things [Kindle Edition]

A.C. Grayling
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Following the huge success of THE MEANING OF THINGS and THE REASON OF THINGS, a third collection of bestselling essays from Britain's top philosopher.

'Human genius has done much, and promises much, in the way of removing the mystery from many things in our world; at the same time it recognises and honours the mystery in things too.'

In this collection A.C. Grayling extends the range of his previous two books to show how much understanding people can gain about themselves and their world by reflecting on the lessons offered by science, the arts (including literature) and history.

Covering subjects as diverse as Jane Austen's EMMA, the Rosetta Stone, Shakespeare, the Holocaust, quantum physics, Galileo, and even alien abductions, A..C. Grayling's latest collection is a rich source for reflection and contemplation over the mysteries of life.

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Product Description


Here, diverting and diverse as ever, is another platter of intellectual not so dim sum from a master chef... Grayling has three gifts. He roams far beyond his philosophical brief. He is wonderfully prolific. And he writes with a wry, crafted simplicity. (PETER PRESTON OBSERVER)

These essays on science, the arts and history examine what they offer to our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. (NEW SCIENTIST)

You could do far worse than spend an evening or three in the company of this book. Like good conversation, it engages you in a flow of topics without ever pausing long enough to bore. The essays and reviews are succinct, informative and always reasonable... The order of essays parallels the order of evenings and guests - arts, history, science - and with a similar purpose in mind. That purpose is enlightenment. Ignorance must be banished... The aim is laudable." (Lisa Appignanesi THE INDEPENDENT)

This informative, witty collection of essays and reviews is loosely tied together by the idea that reflecting on the inner nature of things, the personal aspect of philosophy, happens most readily in the areas of the arts, history and science. As ever, Grayling, is worth reading, partly for the sheer weight of knowledge he brings to bear... Grayling's is clearly a more intelligent book than 99 per cent of others... A smashing bedside companion. (TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT)

This book is that rare bird, a volume of essays. We all love reading essays. (THE TABLET)

Book Description

The new bestseller from A.C. Grayling

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 330 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0753820196
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New Ed edition (9 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753820196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753820193
  • ASIN: B004H4XAW0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,952 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy and Master of the New College of the Humanities, London. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has written and edited many books, both scholarly and for a general readership, and has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a former Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, Patron of the UK Armed Forces Humanist association, Patron of Dignity in Dying, a former Booker Prize Judge, a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society, a member of the human rights group IHEU represented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva; and much more.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Keith Appleyard VINE VOICE
As with Graylings other collections of thoughts, this is a lovely collection of vignettes.
Most articles run to 2-3 pages, giving enough introduction to understand the topic, and appreciate the observations being presented.
There are 3 themes : Arts (23 articles), History (14 articles) and Science (18 articles)
The topics are many & varied, my favourites ranged across :
Art : from Modern Architecture to Shakespeare;
History : from Heritage to the English Revolution;
Science : from Knowledge to Alien Abductions.
Another cherished volume to join the Grayling collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hours of Grayling fun 14 Aug. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
People who buy this hoping for further Grayling philosophy will be a little disappointed. Divided into three sections: A Miscellany of Arts, Aspects of History and Spectating Science, each with around twelve or thirteen essays varying in length from two pages to ten, it is more an insight into Grayling's varied reading interests.
He brings his encyclopaedic knowledge, clear and "philosophical" style but, most of all, his enthusiasm to each subject, making it a very interesting and varied book to read, easy to dip into and consider in sections. Knowledge for knowledge's sake and curiosity about all things human.
Going to bed with all of Jane Austen, emerging in love with Emma Woodhouse again (57-8), saving Shakespeare from mummification by Jonathan Bloom (46-56), re-living the horrors of the Fall of Berlin (119-122), the Rosetta Stone's enduring magnetism in the British Museum (137-9), Quantum theory (167-170) and whether there is, not just life, but intelligent life in the Universe (201-206), a re-look at Carl Sagan (a scientist I had just read again before finding Grayling's book) - all of these are on AC's menu. (Presumably the stipulation for intelligent life is just in case he meets them!)
I enjoyed it and recommend it. For anyone interested in AC Grayling as a thinker, it is a must; for anyone who is just interested in the world, it is essential.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars, but only just.... 29 April 2004
Alas, not quite up to the excellent standards set by this book's twopredecessors - The Meaning of Things and The Reason of Things. Some ofthe early pieces meander rather, whilst also seeming just a little toorecondite for the general reader. A shame, because one of the bestthings about Grayling's previous books in this series is theiraccessibility.
Nevertheless, the second and third chapters (which make up two thirds ofthe book) - Aspects of History and Spectating Science - are mostlyexcellent, with some particularly good pieces at the end on philosophy'smost fashionable conundrums - consciousness, cosmology and genetics.
All in all, still well worth the price, and Grayling's prose is as tautand incisive as ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 18 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
All Greying's essays are short, readable, interesting, i wish I could express my thoughts so clearly
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1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The mystery is why anyone would buy this 24 July 2008
This book is dull, dull, dull- it is meant to be philosophy but is just editorial instead, nowhere does it explain why his opinions are any more valid than anyone elses. As it droned on I lost interest. Yawnerama.
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