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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose to read this book...
I have long described myself as an existentialist. I still do. Existentialism indirectly informs my approach to coaching and my development work with managers, leaders and executive teams. Here at last is a book explaining, even to me, what I have always meant! Often mistakenly thought to be pessimistic or even negative (perhaps because of the central notion that to...
Published on 7 Jun 2010 by Roger Fielding

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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AUTHENTICITY AND BAD FAITH
This could have been a truly uplifting, intriguing and informative book. It isn't simply because the author cannot make up his mind what sort of a book it should be: an explication of the fundamental tenets and implications of existentialism, a DIY manual of self-improvement or a comic look at the lighter side of existentialism - one of those 'Beginner's Guides' kinds...
Published on 6 Nov 2009 by Dr. J. Gold


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose to read this book..., 7 Jun 2010
By 
Roger Fielding (Ilkley, Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have long described myself as an existentialist. I still do. Existentialism indirectly informs my approach to coaching and my development work with managers, leaders and executive teams. Here at last is a book explaining, even to me, what I have always meant! Often mistakenly thought to be pessimistic or even negative (perhaps because of the central notion that to continue to live is seen as a choice not to end it all), existentialism is in fact a liberating and positive philosophy which informs self development, choice and individual freedom. Instead of a 'handful of certainty', Nietzsche argues that existentialism offers a 'cartful of beautiful possibilities'. Adversity is also seen in a positive light, sustaining action, as Simone de Beauvoir says, 'like air sustains the flight of the dove'. Death is only the ultimate destination because there is no more 'future' to strive toward, and striving toward the future we currently lack is imperative to life. (Although one needn't be an atheist; neither Dostoevsky or Kierkegaard were). The existential truth is that we must all continually create ourselves through choice and action. Put simply, the authentic existentialist must want to be what they make themselves by how they choose to act, rather than make excuses for the way they act and regretting it. How's that for a guiding mantra of self development? Or, as the subtitle to the book puts it, existentialism shows the way to get real, get a grip and stop making excuses. Gary Cox has written the book I'd have loved to have written. But I have no regrets, after all, I chose not to write a book on existentialism! Instead I chose to read Gary Cox's book and wholeheartedly recommend you do the same...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fascinating book!, 8 Nov 2010
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Roding (Gloucestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I received my copy of this book about four weeks ago and have just finished reading it for the second time. I'm not normally a philosophy buff, nor has it inspired me to start wading into the works of Sartre, Nietzsche, Camus and the others, but this is certainly a very accessible introduction to existentialism. Having said that some of it took a bit of careful reading before I started to understand and some of it I am still struggling with.

I didn't know what existentialism was, but as I read I realised that it struck a chord with me. In fact I found it to be in line with a lot of present day attitudes. It seems that Bugs Bunny and the humour of Monty Python are essentially existentialist!

Such ideas also seem, however unintentionally, to form the basis of many of the `self help' books you see around, such as the need to choose your response to situations (rather than just reacting) and taking responsibility for those choices.

The only downside is that I found some of the sentences a bit difficult to interpret in the sense that I couldn't immediately see what the author was trying to say. Nevertheless, I've put Gary Cox's other book "How to be a Philosopher" on my Christmas list.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AUTHENTICITY AND BAD FAITH, 6 Nov 2009
By 
Dr. J. Gold (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This could have been a truly uplifting, intriguing and informative book. It isn't simply because the author cannot make up his mind what sort of a book it should be: an explication of the fundamental tenets and implications of existentialism, a DIY manual of self-improvement or a comic look at the lighter side of existentialism - one of those 'Beginner's Guides' kinds without the graphics.
In this context, the long and rather crass title and subtitle does not help. Indeed, in view of the superior academic quality of some of the text, it is clearly misleading.
The book reviews existentialism, its theories, its origins, its authors - and it does this, for the most part in the first half of the book, in an exemplary manner with scholarship and reasonably good concision.
However, after halfway through the book, there is a dramatic change in style and the author starts to ramble with no good reason and then plunges into what becomes almost an impenetrable text. He does not fully explain the technical terms he uses but, instead, repeats and re-repeats these somewhat clichéd phrases, perhaps in the hope that if he repeats them enough, their meanings will be revealed. They aren't.
This is a hopelessly verbose book written in a circumlocutory style with good intentions and sufficient knowledge but it urgently requires a valiant and committed editor.
Perhaps, the author should identify what sort of readership he is addressing. Or would that limit his choice and thus open him up to critical opinions of bad faith?
The book is definitely worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to be an Existentialist: or How to Get Real, Get a Grip and Stop Making Excuses, 28 Jun 2012
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As life gets tougher, choices get fewer and harder we must prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.
Today, too many of us choose to sell-out because its "too hard"...."Not Fair"

Well this books makes you understand and cope with the challenges modern life throws, you smile, keep calm and carry on. Learn to see an opportunity when an unexpected incident happens!

Good read easy read and (for me) in plain easy language.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What does it want to Be?, 7 May 2012
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Cox shoehorns a lot of learning into this book (his PhD was on Sartre), but it comes at a price. There's too much crammed into too small a space, which doesn't have room to clearly illustrate the concepts he explains. Instead, there are some rather corny asides, delivered a faux-matey tone (e.g 'the Ancient Greeks, guys like Socrates...' or Bush and Blair suffering from 'Iraqnophobia'). Ultimately, neither writer nor publisher has decided whether this is an introduction to a philosophical movement or a self-help book, so it ends up being both and neither.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a guide for living, 9 Nov 2009
By 
Gavin T. Smith (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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I was alerted to this book following its excellent review in The Guardian, and was keen to get hold of a copy, as I'd read and enjoyed Cox's earlier book on Sartre (the Guide for the Perplexed). As its title suggests, this new work is wider in its remit, drawing on a wealth of philosophical ideas, and offering the reader a witty and thoughtful consideration of how 'doing philosophy' ought to be much more than an academic exercise. He reveals to us what the great philosophers always intended: that philosophy is a guide to living a full and meaningful life. Cox's strength lies in his deep knowledge of his subject, which gives him the license to be amusing, and the ability to engage with the reader, without ever compromising the promise of the book, which is to make us see that philosophy can help us really deal with life's challenges. Unlike the previous reviewer, I found that this excellently written book was a model of coherence and clarity throughout, and I would not hesitate to put it in the hands of anyone who wanted to learn how philosophy in general and existentialism in particular really can make a difference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 1 July 2013
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I haven't finished this book yet... But what I have read is great... I'm dipping in and out of it! It was recommended to me... So glad I bought it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I am not authentic, 23 May 2013
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This review is from: How to Be an Existentialist (Kindle Edition)
I like the humour, I've read this book twice and will read it again in the future.......take responsibility for your life and get a grip, recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant little text, 20 Jan 2013
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A brilliant little text on the philosophy of our times, now that God is definitively dead! The book opens with a crystal clear overveiw of Existentialism, its themes,its personalities, and its conclusions. If you want to live 'in the moment' this book will introduce you to ways of approaching real life, and avoiding errors induced by, for instance, religion! Excellent throughout, and well recommended. Go to it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 7 Dec 2012
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Mrs. N. Hawkins (Solihull, England) - See all my reviews
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Brilliantly written by a very talented author, would throughly recommend, look out for more of his books also brilliantly written
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