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on 30 May 2011
I have been reading Richard Wisemans good book '59 seconds' in which he advises , p280, that it is better to praise the effort your child has made than that they got good results. So taking that on board I will note that AC Grayling has put a lot of effort into this book. It is going to take me alot of effort to work out why he made it like this.[actually the more I read the more I find to like in it]
Some bits I liked so far
p 360 Anger is never without a reason but seldom has a good one
p 391 The noblest vengeance is to forgive
Those who meditate revenge keep their wounds green
Living well is the best revenge
Without a rich heart wealth is an ugly beggar
Like other reviews have said, if you trawlled through the Good book you'd find some thought provoking ideas, not just ????
Why on earth did he not include references telling where the quotes originate? Is it meant to be like the Bible where ideas have been plagiarised from many surrounding cultures. I suppose no one was sure where the ideas came from
I haven't found the good quote "Greatness lies in the detail"
I was hoping AC Graylings book would have ideas like, be specific, judge the action/concept in relative terms of how you felt about it, not the whole person. E.g I strongly disagree with the opinion you propose. As Robert M Price says in ' The Reason driven life' p 187 in debates "you are batting the ball around, not the players on the other team"
However I like the honesty of the front cover, "Made by AC Grayling" and I think that the folk whose writings are in the Bible should have emulated him. The priests who wrote what is in the Bible were only recording their own thoughts and had the cheek to attribute it to a God. This was especially poor since they claimed their guess at what God was like was good but then went on to write that God as authorising many bad and mad ideas.
My own guess at what a good, loving, caring God would be like is that such a God would either allow everyone to cease to exist at death or take everyone to a happy afterlife. Such a God would intervene to stop murder etc from happening. I see no evidence of a God at work, and to quote Nietzsche ,it appears 'God is dead'.
If you want a super book try any books by Robert M Price e.g 'The Reason driven life' or Victor J Stenger ,'God the failed hypothesis' & 'The New Atheism' or Valerie Tarico, 'Trusting doubt', Dan Barker, 'The good atheist'
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on 21 July 2011
As a child like many others I was indoctrinated with Christianity through Catholicism. Also like many others I began to have grave doubts about deity and biblical guidance, in my case before the age of twelve. I tried very hard to be a good Christian as I believe in truth and fair play for all. I also believe it is helpful for the development of young people to be able think about all things natural and human without fear.
A big debate now rages on whether science is able to provide moral guidance. Having seriously looked at biblical standpoints where guidance is given in non negotiable terms I side with science. Particularly, when mystery is allowed to benchmark and outstrip intellect, irrespective of rationality. Where truth and proof is concerned, I believe scientific minds will provide a way forward in offering debatable alternatives to non-debatable theologies. The more our children have the right to participate in understanding a world based on proven method the better it must surely be. Only then can we begin to provide a clearer outlook on reality and so prevent disillusionment of the human spirit. Honesty starts with beginnings and I believe A C Graylings `The Good Book - A Secular Bible' is a first class submission to the debate on all things natural.

The Good Book: A Secular Bible
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
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on 23 April 2011
Having heard a recent radio interview by the author, I eagerly awaited the arrival of 'The Good Book'.

From the moment I first flicked through its pages I knew I was going to be disappointed. What had been described on the radio as a collection of wisdom from mankind's greatest thinkers appeared in reality to be an unstructured mess of seemingly unrelated ramblings.

Sure there are some philosophic diamonds in there but for my part, it's simply not worth the effort of trawling through the chaos in order to harvest them.

With a slightly different approach, I think the author could have made much more of this opportunity.
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on 4 May 2015
A must read for any 21st c thinker.
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on 12 June 2015
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on 12 May 2016
No Problem
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on 17 April 2011
I thought the concept was a stroke of genius and I was really prepared to like this book. Unfortunately, I really don't. The comparison with the Bible is an apt one: I found both books very boring, and written in a rather annoying style. And so, as it happened with the Bible when I tried to read it a couple of decades ago, I just couldn't bring myself to read Grayling's book from cover to cover. I begun earnestly with the Genesis, but then started skipping pages, trying - and failing - to find something that would hook me.

Now, I realise that in the same way that millions of people find the Bible inspiring and a literary masterpiece, there is likely to be a readership that will enjoy this book. But I won't be among them.
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on 8 April 2011
I really like AC Grayling. I saw him speak in a debate with Zizek last year and fell in love with his silly hair and his kindly civility. I was really rather looking forward to his book. I'd pre-ordered it several weeks before it was published, and I was rooting for it, I really was.

The aim of the book - compiling a 'greatest hits' of atheist ethics into an alternative Bible - is a brilliant and extremely necessary idea. Grayling, with his poplar touch and his knack for simplicity, should have produced something wonderful.

But he didn't. This book is astonishingly terrible. It's awful. It's almost hilariously bad. He's written it in an ersatz, highfalutin King James register that's so horribly tone deaf and leaden that several times I actually gasped reading it. It reads like a schoolboy parody, or maybe like one of those BBC costume dramas where they try and sound Serious and Olde Worlde by putting in lots of thines and thithers and stuff. In choosing this ridiculous voice throughout he's mashed up some of the greatest thoughts in the history of the world into a ludicrously banal gruel. Apart from that it's riddled with self-contradicton, it's full of heavy handed cliche, and (especially given what it sets itself up to be) it's totally unambitious and shockingly trite.

I was expecting a majestic edifice, a guide for life, a way of being a better man. But no. It's a terrible shame that he's cocked it up so badly, but he has. What should have been one of the best books I've ever read is absolutely the worst.
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on 19 March 2016
talk about hubris ... it takes quite an ego to pull together a book like this and then publish it as a "secular bible". Go and read Shakespeare or Dante or Homer or some other author who has huge, infinite perception of what it is to be a reflective human being, and not this piece of self-important egotism.
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on 6 June 2011
What a lovely book!! So sensible, logical, interesting. Wish I had the time to sit and read it from beginning to end in one sitting; as it is, I am "treating" myself to a few pages each day. No home should be without this book.
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