Customer Review

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For what it is worth..., 1 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to life (Paperback)
I will begin this review by stating that this is not something that I normally do, though I am aware that this is similar to a Daily Mail reader saying 'Now, I am not a racist but...'. Though there are parts of this book which are enjoyable and I by no means wish to take anything away from those who found it helpful, either as comfort or enlightenment, I feel it has several fatal flaws which any prospective reader should be made aware of. The first is that its subtitle - Applying Philosophy to Life - is misleading, as Grayling seems content to rely heavily on his own ideas rather than other thinkers' and as an attempt to apply philosophy to everyday life it is far the inferior of Alain de Botton's Consolations of Philiosophy. This brings me to my second point: the book is heavily coloured by Grayling's own personal opinions and sections such as the one on Religion - of which he is not a fan - will be offensive and unhelpful to those individuals whose views he contradicts. One final flaw, which I have noticed in several books I have read recently, is that Grayling begins each chapter with a quote taken from a well thought of individual. This is no doubt intended to highlight how well read, and therefore suited, Grayling is for the role of the author of this book, but anyone who knows how to use a search engine will know that a quick search for a topic (e.g. Love) followed by the word quote will deliver several websites that contain famous quotations relating to that topic.

In summary, though Grayling's ideas are by no means to be dismissed, and I would recommend reading this book out of curiosity if nothing else, it is advisable not to take it as doctrine. As an act of hypocrisy, in words attributed to the Buddha: "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Sep 2010 10:56:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Sep 2010 10:58:22 BDT
Agnes Giles says:
Very well put. I agree with everything you say, but I did find this book gave me a better understanding of the issues Grayling covers. It does contain the vagaries of topics discussed in a highly commercialised and biased way, but it's relatively honest. Albeit, something of a rant in parts, but, as a reader I found I could benefit from Grayling's viewpoint (without having to agree with him) and found it an excellent read.
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