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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alternative Bible
A. C. Grayling is one of the present day's great philosophers. He is also an atheist. His "Good Book" is the result of 30 years of gathering together from over one thousand texts by several hundred of the great thinkers of the past. From these Grayling has selected, redacted, paraphrased,interpolated and arranged into a book that provides inspiration, wisdom, consolation,...
Published on 30 Jun. 2011 by Charles

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
I heard of this book at a humanist funeral and bought it. It was quite different from what I expected. The format is similar to that of the Bible, with books and verses. In place of parables there are tales from classical literature. I had not expected this mirroring of the format and, to me, it makes in difficult to find passages which might be relevant to issues one...
Published 14 months ago by Richard Skipp


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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You miss the point..., 6 Oct. 2011
So many people seem to miss the key points this book is trying to make...

1. Why are the references relevant? If it's sound advice, it matters not who gave it. You can agree or disagree with the point or analogy, but why shoot down Grayling for not telling you who it is you are disagreeing with...

2. Writing it in the format of the Bible is simply a stylistic choice. In the same way that the authors "Meaning of" series rarely has a chapter longer than 4 pages, the Bible-style chapter/verse system allows you to dip in and out of the text for nuggets of thought when you need them. As much as he could have strung the themes into a more obvious narrative, the book needn't be a start to finish thriller. It's a contemplative piece full of millennia old fruits of wisdom, and needed bash from start to finish like a Hollywood thriller.

3. Not everyone will see the significance of every allegory or nugget in the book. Being a compendium, I feel Grayling has been quite broad in his range of sources, and in doing so, was almost bound to find stuff that would be hit and miss for different parts of his audience. I myself have read verses that have seemed more pointless than others, indeed I very much doubt the author himself ranks every tale in his book on par. Just because it went over my head or didn't resonate doesn't make it a pointless entry. It means I'm thinking about it in the wrong way, or I haven't the points of reference to give the idea the right context

Anyway... The book is good. If you want something easier to pin down on it's directive, try his "Meaning of" series. If you want a worldly collection of historically significant ideas on life, but with the authors name referenced, try Alain De Bottons "Consolations Of Philosophy"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so good without a contents page., 8 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Good Book (Kindle Edition)
This is a great book, wonderful full of beautiful words, but as the kindle edition does not have a contents page, a complete waste of time to buy in this format. I thought I was being clever and would be able to use this on a lecture tour wrong, without a way of finding your way round the book its a waste of time and money. I had to go out and track down a hard back copy so ended up paying twice and I can only really use the hardback copy shame!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that raises a Kindle dilemma, 19 April 2011
By 
PB (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Book (Kindle Edition)
I very much appreciate the volume of work that AC Grayling has put into this book. It as a valuable and inspiring collation of secular wisdom through the ages. Unlike some other reviewers, I do not find the 'tone' of the writing in any way odd. Instead, I admire the way that Grayling can smooth out a range of styles into one, coherent, tome.

Nor did I find the lack of references a problem (despite being used to them in my job). It would be unsettling to be interrupted by authors and their dates in a book of this sort. We don't always need to know who said what. Ideas are not copyrightable.

My dilemma is this. Having become a routine Kindle user and having decided that the e-reader is the future of longer written communication, I find myself wanting a hardbound copy of this book. It is the sort of book that I know I will often dip into or read short passages from, in the future. One of the limitations of the Kindle is that it is not so easy to graze in this way. How, then, does one decide whether or not to dowload a book or buy a copy of it? My rough and ready guide, in the future will be to download novels but continue to buy paper copies of 'reference' books of any sort.

This is an inspiring book that has much to say about how to live life. That the book is free of references to a god and is not in the style of a 'self-help' book makes this a wonderful read for those who appreciate rationality. The Good Book, indeed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificent!, 8 April 2012
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Bruno (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful achievement, the most eloquent guide to life we could hope for. This bible makes real sense, unlike the KJV or any other, and is all the best guidance and wisdom that today's world should need. No need for myths and legends and tales of the supernatural. It's all here.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a bible for humans, 30 April 2011
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C. Y. Kwok - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
This is the book to be read and kept on the table just like the king james bible in hotels and homes. If you are an atheist / agnostic or whatever, this book will indeed give you advice, wisdom and consolation via works from human beings rather than a unknown so called God.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but...., 11 Dec. 2014
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M. Cobb "MCN73" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
I do think there is scope for a humanist/secular bible, but I don't think this book is up to the job. I was expecting it to begin with the big bang, go on to summarise how the earth formed and evolution then the spread of humanity - a bit like the bible but based on scientific understanding rather than myth and revelation. This book is a load of prose and philosophy which left me disappointed.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed., 23 May 2011
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M. Jones - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
As a great admirer of Mr. Grayling as heard in various interviews on the radio, and being in general sympathy with his attitudes. I was really looking forward to this, but sadly, I was disappointed. I could see what he was trying to do, and appreciate the work that had gone into the book, but he was aiming at a very difficult target, the original "Good Book". I think the main problem was that the prose seemed stylistically flat, and I just didn't get drawn in. Maybe I should persist, but to me a book should grab you with the way it is written, before the content is appreciated, a bit like the King James Bible. I feel sad to write this, but to be honest, although I have had one or two more stabs at reading bits of it, it just doesn't work, for me, at least.I'll pass it on to someone who may appreciate it more than I do!
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40 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for the next thousand years!, 4 April 2011
This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
This is a fine work and a brilliantly executed idea. I hope it serves to
start a secular resurgence. BTW, I purchased the book in the USA where it's sub-title
is "A Humanist Bible" instead of "A Secular Bible".
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It truly is ....... A Good Book, 19 May 2011
This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
I've been waiting for this book for many years; without even realising that I was. To describe it as an alternative Bible or Khoran or Talmud or Upanishads (or whatever) would be misleading - but it does take up some of the space in the thinking of an atheist that these other works take up for people of religious faith.

With a structure which mirrors many religious texts (the Books, Chapters and verses of, for example, the Bible) The Good Book draws on a wide range of thinkers and philosopies to provide a useful secular commentary on life, the human condition and our response to our journey through the universe. For me, it totally busts criticisms of atheism that it is a barren and wonderless proposition. It provides a guide to a rich varied and ultimately rational natural universe fuller of "magic" than any model yet propounded by religious dogma.

I haven't found it to be a "cover to cover" read. It is, rather, a work to dip into, to pick up in quiet moments when introspection or contemplation are the order of the day. Grayling says, in his opening "Epistle",

"All who read this book may come to be more than they were before. This is not praise for the work itself, but of its attentive readers, for the worth in it will come from their minds".

I found this to be a very refreshing attribute of The Good Book. There is no preaching or judging. Instead there are a succession of thoughts and ideas which might provide support through their rationality, which might be provocative but which help the reader to find their own position.

If I have any criticism of The Good Book, it is that I'd have liked a fuller listing and referencing of the source materials. However, this is a small and carping criticism against A.C. Grayling's very accomplished sorting, ordering and editing of so much great thinking into a single book. Highly engaging and thought provoking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A daily treasure, 12 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
A truly wonderful volume of wisdom, stories and insight. I read from it everyday and never fail to be uplifted and inspired, or consoled or reassured by it. I thoroughly recommend it and always admire the scholarship that has gone into the creation of this wonderful work.
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The Good Book: A Secular Bible
The Good Book: A Secular Bible by Professor A. C. Grayling (Hardcover - 4 April 2011)
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