- Hardcover: 136 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury 3PL (2 Sept. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1441188436
- ISBN-13: 978-1441188434
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 720,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
How to Be an Existentialist Hardcover – 2 Sep 2009
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'According to existentialists, selecting this book is an active choice for which the reader is responsible. Cox, who earned his doctorate in philosophy in the UK writing on Sartre, presents an accessible overview of this philosophical worldview, its path to living an authentic life, and existential counseling (which sounds akin to cognitive behavioral therapy) as a means to this end. The book includes suggested further reading.' --Eithne, O'Leyne, BOOK NEWS, Inc.
'I have recommended How to be an Existentialist to many people and all have gained a clearer understanding of Sartre than they had before... Cox has achieved something extremely impressive here. He has written something short and simple while not losing any of the depth and subtlety.' --Existential Analysis
About the Author
Gary Cox has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Birmingham, UK. He lives in Somerset where he teaches and writes philosophy.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overly complex. Padding could be removed then the book would be less than 25 pages. A strict copy editor was needed here...
Still interesting though :)
A good test of whether an author understands his or her subject is whether they can write a valuable and succinct SHORT book on their subject. Read morePublished 21 months ago by C. Owen
It's hard to be honest about a book like this. Either you're interested in the topic, and therefore willing to take the time to go into some depth, or you approach it with, as the... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Kirk McElhearn
Precise and concise introduction into Existentialism written with humour, gravity and forthright authenticity , clarity. Read morePublished on 22 Nov. 2014 by barcress
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!Published on 1 July 2013 by EA Thomas
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, recommendedPublished on 23 May 2013 by Roy Barrett
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... Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2013 by patmac