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How to Think About Exercise (School of Life) [Paperback]

Damon Young , The School of Life
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jan 2014 School of Life

It can often seem as though existence is split in two: body and mind, flesh and spirit, moving and thinking. In the office or at study we are 'mind workers', with superfluous bodies. In the gym we stretch, run and lift, but our minds are idle. Damon Young challenges this idea, revealing how fitness can develop our bodies and minds as one. Exploring exercises and sports with the help of ancient and modern philosophy, he uncovers the pleasures, virtues and big ideas of fitness. By exercising intelligently, we are committing to wholeness: enjoying and enhancing our full humanity.

One in the new series of books from The School of Life, launched January 2014:

How to Age by Anne Karpf

How to Develop Emotional Health by Oliver James

How to Be Alone by Sara Maitland

How to Deal with Adversity by Christopher Hamilton

How to Think About Exercise by Damon Young

How to Connect with Nature by Tristan Gooley

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (2 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230767761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230767768
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This new series of The School of Life's self-help books build on the strengths of the first, tackling some of the hardest issues of our lives in a way that is genuinely informative, helpful and consoling. Here are books that prove that the term "self-help" doesn't have to be either shallow or naive (Alain de Botton, Founder of The School of Life)

The School of Life offers radical ways to help us raid the treasure trove of human knowledge (Independent on Sunday)

About the Author

Damon Young is an Australian philosopher, author and commentator. He is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and the author of several books including Voltaire's Vine and Other Philosophies. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, son and daughter. Visit his website

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We are bombarded by health, nutrition and exercise in the media, what we should do and how to do it. Damon Young's approach to exercise begins with philosophical viewpoints. They emphasise the concept of 'Dualism', the split between mind and body. Plato's idea was the mind as 'his true self', whilst Nietzsche exclaimed 'Body I am entirely and nothing more'. Please do not be put off by these names. They are examples for the purpose of the book. Where does this relate to exercise? It goes on to describe the basic approaches to working out and the pitfalls, attractions, motives, and achievements. Action, desire, thought and will power are fundamental. I have always believed the hardest part of exercise is actually putting your training kit on. This action cannot be achieved without the later three motives.

Damon Young uses a philosophical background to explain the reasons why we try to improve our health, physical appearance and all of the feel-good factors and why we may quit. It is full of useful advice that may be sourced elsewhere, but this novel historical approach, however stimulating, may provide the added drive to understand what our personal goals are and why. Exercise, psychology and medicine are interrelated in that isolation of one problem is undoubtedly related to another, often unconsidered. The achievements of successful supreme sports athletes, their preparation, backup support, the look on their faces when they compete. This is mind and body, dualism becoming united. On a recreational, realistic approach, is it so difficult to pull on your training gear and set aside time? Maybe. The key points for me are how much do you want it, motivation and dedication and this book provides an interesting, useful and hopefully productive read and outcome. The conclusion, I interpret, is that mind and body have to be together. Dualism is for the philosophers. Realism is for the reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Muscle 5 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very good read that is profound without taking itself too seriously. There is comment on all the main forms of everyday health related exercise, including walking, weightlifting, running, swimming and yoga. A common theme is oneness, uniting mind and body with neither dominating the other. Recommended for doers and thinkers alike.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational and fascinating read 17 Jan 2014
By L H F
I'm always trying to start new exercise regimes and failing, but this philosophical investigation into exercise really highlights where I've been going wrong all this time. Revealing the various links between strong bodies and strong minds, this fascinating book explores how exercise can be of benefit to every aspect of life. Whether you choose to improve your reflection skills with long walks, like Darwin, or achieve yogic 'oneness', this book shows how to exercise for the pleasure in the act itself and to improve your mind as well as your body, rather than just considering the calories burnt. Well worth a read for anyone interested in exercise - or in the link between the mind and body.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing 22 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book that I have no hesitation in recommending really put a different perspective on not only exercise but life.
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