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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 August 2011
In his 1995 book, "The Search for a Perfect Language", Eco stated that he had too much material for one book and, although (from previous reading) I do not think of brevity when I think of his books, he decided some had to be omitted; that was the beginnings of "Serendipities". In most of his books, he betrays (or, as he does in here readily) admits his main interest in language and semiotics: "In short, all these erudite excursions of mine are concerned with a linguistics that I would call 'lunatic' ... even the most humble experiments can produce strange side effects, stimulating research ..." (P viii)
And so begins a very enjoyable journey with one of the most encyclopaedic minds writing today but one which reads like a wide-ranging, after-dinner conversation with some good, well-educated and much-loved friends. From his explanation of how many people knew the earth was round - Ptolemy (of course!), Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon and so on - I was hooked. Journeying through Paradise with Dante, through many cultural misunderstandings rooted in language to the final essay still on the search for the "mother tongue" one is, once again with Eco, amazed by his knowledge and by his abilities to link so many apparently and hitherto unrelated events and ideas. " ... Maistre's Idea of Reason: to reason means to entrust oneself to any analogy that establishes an unbroken network of contacts between every thing and every other thing." (P 115)
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on 27 August 2001
This is an amazing book which tell about more esoteric parts of history. It is brilliant for the interested in the history of Etymology (ie, previous theories and attempts to make perfect language) and unorthodox history
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on 29 July 2013
'Serendipities' felt like little bits left over from the writing of The Search for the Perfect Language, which in a sense is what it is (in the introduction to 'Serendipities' Eco writes 'In the introduction to my "Search for a Perfect Language" (1995), I informed the reader that, bearing in mind the physical limits of a book, I had been forced to omit many curious episodes, and I concluded: "I console myself that I have the material for future excursions in erudition"').

This work, although on one level well-written, has a disjointed feel overall, such that one isn't quite sure of the direction or purpose. Nevertheless, the information it does contain is interesting.
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on 11 December 2013
The book provides historical evidence of how to resolve conflicts by developing a mind-set where opponents/negotiators resolve their differences and find a mutually advantageous solution PEACEFULLY, rather than resolving their differences by going to war. It is important that each side respects the genuine needs of the other and finds a mutually acceptable agreement to the benefit of both sides. "It takes two to tango". Neither side should commit a deliberate "faux pas" that would violate the agreement if both wish to succeed in their agreed objective. No independent subsequent action should be contemplated which would be detrimental to the other party. In short, genuine "Good will" should prevail to preserve Peace in the modern globally trading world.

The writer encourages opponents to adopt an honest approach - this implies for negotiators to be of the highest calibre to achieve the desired objective.

There are very few persons among the world leaders who possesses the qualities needed.
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on 17 February 2016
Very thought provoking.
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on 26 December 2014
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