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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What are Friends for?
No man is an island. We are social beings. It's fashionable in this climate of global pessimism to regard other people as a problem; there are too many of us taking up too much room and using up the earth's resources. Barnard refreshingly bucks the trend and has written a book that celebrates other people in the form of friends. Delving back into philosophy, history,...
Published on 27 Dec 2011 by Eve Kay

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment
I like to think that I'm well read. I'm in my mid 30's and have read all of my life from the classics through to contemporary literature. I have a background in the arts so don't consider myself a philistine. I do however have to disagree with the other reviews on here about this book.
I love the idea of a book giving an account of the joys and pitfalls of...
Published on 31 May 2012 by Rosie Bray


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What are Friends for?, 27 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Book Of Friendship (Hardcover)
No man is an island. We are social beings. It's fashionable in this climate of global pessimism to regard other people as a problem; there are too many of us taking up too much room and using up the earth's resources. Barnard refreshingly bucks the trend and has written a book that celebrates other people in the form of friends. Delving back into philosophy, history, literature and popular culture, she has given us a clear, readable, entertaining, erudite and friendly book about the thing we can't live without - friendship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment, 31 May 2012
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This review is from: The Book Of Friendship (Hardcover)
I like to think that I'm well read. I'm in my mid 30's and have read all of my life from the classics through to contemporary literature. I have a background in the arts so don't consider myself a philistine. I do however have to disagree with the other reviews on here about this book.
I love the idea of a book giving an account of the joys and pitfalls of friendships, relationships, our day to day socialising with other members of the human race. When reading this book however I find my mind wandering off as my eyelids start to droop and yet I try to persevere.
The author seems to just reference from one page to the next friendships from history, literature and film without giving any real thought or insight into friendship and social interaction whatsoever. I'm aware that Harry Potter has some friends, as does Carrie from Sex & the City as she points out one example after the other. Some historical figures also seemed to have some friends as does the author who plays tennis with them and seems to drink a lot of coffee with them too.
This book reads like one long reference or a students essay about friendship rather than the insightful, witty book I was hoping for. Then again I have just read Caitlin Morans hilarious How to Be a Woman and Jonah Lehrers insightful Imagine: How Creativity Works. These are two books where the authors have offered their own experiences and insights into their subjects as well as Jonah Lehrers extensive research and explanations of relevant studies contributing to the subject he's writing about.
All this book does is declare that friendship exists and most people have some friends, it's also extremely boring. I'd much rather go and hang out with my mates!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book and super gift, 2 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Book Of Friendship (Hardcover)
I bought this book for a dear friend.After scanning the bookshop shelves for something appropriate I came
across this beautifully bound book. I was surprised to find that it was quite difficult to find a book for my
well read friend and was pleasantly surprised ,after reading the first page at how well written and engaging this book seemed to me.
My friend read the book and was very effusive about it and has since lent it to me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a good friend or has been a good friend! An informative and stimulative read,
thankyou Ms Barnard.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars lacks a unifying theory, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Book Of Friendship (Hardcover)
There's no doubting the breadth and width of the reading and research that has gone into this book - a good deal of philosophy (Aristotle, Seneca), of literature (Tom Brown's Schooldays, Lord of the Flies, In Memoriam), of contemporary culture (The Simpsons, The Spice Girls, Sex and the City) and contemporary psychology (Winnicott, but also sociological analysis) has gone into this. And it reads smoothly as it takes through friendship in childhood, making and losing friends, and friendship in the internet age.

But what the book does not have is any unifying theory of friendship - any close relationship would seem at some point to have been called friendship by someone or other. (For example, the Quakers are a society of friends.) 'What's the essence here?' - and even 'so what?' were the questions I was left with after working through this literature survey - despite its erudition and its charms.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Book, 1 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Book Of Friendship (Hardcover)
This is a gem of a book. Miss Barnard explores friendship in such a witty comprehensive manner that other writers should be wary of touching the subject. On opening the book, the reader embarks on a fascinating journey through the joys and vicissitudes of friendship from 12th. Century BC Greek poet Homer's 'philia' which meant only extending hospitality and protections to a fellow Greek, to Bart Simpson's bullying friendship with Millhouse, and onward to the changes in friendship brought about by social networking.

The author is erudite without being stuffy. Her sense of humor shines on every page. Opinions of philosophers and sociological studies are cleverly interwoven with amusing gossipy anecdotes about friendships between famous people. This is a page turner and an excellent gift for a 'friend'.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book of friendship, 17 April 2012
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An interesting and richly researched exploration of the complex phenomenon of friendship. I like the way the author brought what could have been a dry and scholarly work to life with revelations about her own authentic experiences.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stimulating read., 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Book Of Friendship (Hardcover)
This book isn't my usual kind of read at all. I am much more at home with a contemporary novel, and I must admit that I initially suspected that this might be one of those 'uplifting' collections of anecdotes and quotations that seem so ubiquitous these days.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I flicked through it and found it to be a stimulating and wide-ranging essay on all aspects of friendship- philosophical, psychological, social and personal. I soon turned back to the start and began to read in earnest. The author's style is witty and enjoyable, which makes the book very easy to read, while also raising some challenges- it certainly made me think about my and my children's friendships in relation to class, race and gender.
I think that one of the best compliments that you can pay to an essay is that it causes a reaction in the reader, and 'The Book of Friendship' certainly did that, leading me to e-mail a couple of 'old friends' and also to look up the works of some of the philosophers mentioned in more detail.
All in all, highly recommended.
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The Book Of Friendship
The Book Of Friendship by Josie Barnard (Hardcover - 3 Nov 2011)
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