on 6 October 2012
Don't read this book unless you are willing to have to mind changed.
A really original thinker who wears his learning lightly, Tallis explores what it means to be an atheist today but unlike some celebrity authors he aims to persuade rather than bully you into agreement. Passages of his essay, 'Making use of death', would honour the finest secularist funeral.
The greatest complement I can pay is having read this book I immediately rushed off to purchase his previous work 'Aping Mankind'.
Joe Humphreys, journalist and author, Dublin, Ireland.
on 28 April 2013
Tallis is both a philosopher and a former neurosurgeon so one might expect him to be incisive, intelligent, etcetera, as he most certainly is. In addition, he is frequently very funny, and always deeply humane. This is a man who knows pompous balderdash when he sees it and is unafraid to debunk. I particularly enjoyed his refutation of McTaggart's claim that time is unreal, his thoughts as to why Ian McEwan's novel, Saturday, is a "polished failure," and his response to Chekhov's story, Ward 6. At the same time, as the title suggests, Tallis opens up ordinary, habitual parts of life and reminds us how astounding and sometimes utterly mysterious they are. Tallis is a passionate, elegant, and poetic writer. Complex ideas are physicalised and made relatively easy to grasp. Highly recommended!
on 20 September 2013
A series of reflective essays from an acute and informed mind. If, like me, you feel overwhelmed by current claims of scientism that the truth of human existence is to be found in the results of an MRI scan, these essays will reaffirm your faith in your humanity and humanism. the essay on 'Incontinental philosophy' (haven't got the book with me - this might not be an accurate rendition of the title but there's enough info to guide you to it) had me laughing out loud. Highly recommended.