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The Good Book

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  592 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Few, if any, thinkers and writers today would have the imagination, the breadth of knowledge, the literary skill, and-yes-the audacity to conceive of a powerful, secular alternative to the Bible. But that is exactly what A.C. Grayling has done by creating a non-religious Bible, drawn from the wealth of secular literature and philosophy in both Western and Eastern tradition ...more
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Published April 2011 by Walker Books Ltd
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rinda Elwakil
Jul 22, 2016 Rinda Elwakil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pdf_ebub_tablet
This is going to be a long long read..

Day 1

أصبح من عاداتي الصباحية قراءة القليل من هذا الكتاب
الإنسانية لا دين لها
أن تكون ذا خلق اختيارك وحدك

Preston Page
Apr 15, 2011 Preston Page is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This 700 page book is written in the same format as the Bible with the modern numbering of sections of the bible. While the title listed in the add is "The Good Book: A Secular Bible," The title appearing on my copies are, "The Good Book: A Humanist Bible." The author states his reasons for the book in the first section of the book entitled, ‘Epistle to the Reader.” He states in this epistle that the reader, “becomes more than they were before,” and that none should come to harm.

The books chapt
Al Bità
Dec 12, 2015 Al Bità rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a sense this book is a kind of benchmark. It encapsulates many excellent examples of secular norms and values which could very well stand for true and excellent human values suitable for any walk of life, without succumbing to the usually more punitive values espoused by many religions. Graylings sources are many and varied, and global in their extent. There are no gods here, nor angels and/or demons: just human beings, offering advice and interpretations about our human existence and how to ...more
Collin Duncan
Aug 03, 2013 Collin Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book off and on for the past 6 months I decided to start my first read through of it. I have to say that this book is one of the few that has gotten me incredibly exited and profoundly changed my outlook on life for the better.

I am forever the cynic, a complete pessimist. I often tend to gravitate toward literature, statistics, and news that just reinforces my belief that humanity is utterly flawed and completely horrible to the core. Consequently, it was refreshing to read t
Jennifer Johnson
As the book is structured like The Bible, this may take me a while to read, but I'm enjoying the eloquent language and mediations on life and wisdom I have read thus far. A couple verses I particularly appreciated are:

"The wise would rather be least among the best than first among the worst: As they have said, be rather a tail to a lion than a head to a jackal."

"Passion may offer a quickened sense of life, may give the ecstasy and the sorrow of love...Of such wisdom, the poetic passion, the de
Mar 31, 2013 Denise is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A philosophy mash up. I don't mind the scripture feel, however, not knowing who said what, when, and under what historical context, is slightly annoying. Also happens to be one of my complaints about religious scripture.

Thus far, at Lamentations. I am enjoying the writing with one caveat. From my personal point of view, with a rewrite, it would be nice to have less male centric vocabulary. It is already being taken out of context and distanced from its authors, why not update the language to be
May 12, 2016 Kerrie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-library, atheism
I didn't know what to expect with this book, and don't know what to think of it. I've gathered that it's a conglomeration of various schools of thought, Eastern wisdom, Roman and Greek philosophy, and I'm sure there's some Ben Franklin paraphrasing in there. After 15 minutes of flipping through it, I checked it back in. I'm not sure why he felt Humanists/Secularists needed a bible of their own, and if we did want a compendium of this sort of wisdom, it would be much more valuable to footnote the ...more
May 07, 2012 Shaeda rated it it was amazing
I've only read the first few pages so far (Genesis) and the description of how things began (scientifically) is awesome. Highly recommended.
Bastiaan Koster
Aug 19, 2016 Bastiaan Koster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The current meaning of a "Bible" is "the handbook of life". Your life would change for the better after reading and studying the Bible. At many points, the Tenach and Christian scriptures have failed at being a Bible. Therefore, I think a new version is needed.

Compared to the original Bible, this book is a serious upgrade. I'm glad I bought it.

However, The Good Book isn't perfect. There are issues with it.

It is written in the style of the Bible and other classical texts. This is a style no
Thomas Quinn
Apr 15, 2013 Thomas Quinn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A.C. Grayling tries exhaustively to bring biblical richness to the cause of secular philosophy--a laudable goal. But even to this skeptic, his book is dry and sleep-inducing. It's too self-consciously biblical in flavor and structure, and it uses tales from ancient Athens as moral fables akin to those in the Old Testament. Even chapter headings have names like "Genesis, Wisdom, Parables, Lamentations, Proverbs", etc. I liked perusing through the Proverbs. But the overall project, despite it's wi ...more
Jun 27, 2011 abughat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read all of it but skipped around and read a ton on my roadtrip this weekend. Loving it a lot. The parables are fantastic, as are the proverbs.
Jan 10, 2012 Clare rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A rather bland compendium of decontextualised and deliberately unreferenced quotations and platitudes with pretentions to providing a kind of alternative 'bible' for atheists of the British liberal ilk. As a collection of what the author claims to be great 'non-religious' wisdom of the ages (with a strong preponderance of Ancient Greek and Roman material) it is pretty dull and ordinary. A demonstration that historical context is of the essence.
Oct 02, 2011 Sherry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was indeed a good book. As with the Bible, I read it in stages. I now keep it nearby for reference. It has much to offer for words on any subject, with an ethos that I can embrace.
Feb 03, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
A great book to read for a mediation. Grayling is considered the velvet atheist.
Oct 04, 2011 Mediocrates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful resource. I'll be returning to it again and again.
Onyango Makagutu
Aug 25, 2013 Onyango Makagutu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book indeed
Hiram Crespo
Jun 03, 2014 Hiram Crespo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers
It’s difficult to do a fair and complete review of a book that will likely take a lifetime to read and is not meant to be read in one sitting or within one week or one month even. But the Good Book deserves some attention, as it constitutes a modern attempt to produce a scripture that fits within naturalist philosophy and, in some ways, continues the work of Epicurus, Lucretius and other great philosophers of antiquity.

The basic idea of the Good Book is that it celebrates the format of scripture
Jun 02, 2011 Ernest is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to have on your bedside table. It'll probably take me a long time to finish this as I rather prefer to jump around different parts of it every now and then. I found a number of editing errors too (e.g. spelling, numbering), which I hope would be corrected in future editions.

During one Q&A session (here:, a guy asked whether he could read the Christian bible side-by-side along with this book... Well, of course you can! While we'r
The Good Book: a secular Bible

AC Grayling

Reviewed By Lloyd Geering | Published NZ Listener on June 27, 2011

By accident, I recently heard AC Grayling being interviewed on Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning with Kim Hill. Grayling holds a chair of philosophy at Birkbeck College in London and is president of the British Humanist Association. I warmed to what he said because I agree with his assertion that the humanist tradition has a long, widespread and noble history. To demonstrate th
Eric Wurm
I expected this book to be a humanist book that provided a guide for living. It is that, but in Biblical form. It has parables and historical narratives like the Bible. If you're looking for a book in Biblical form, this is for you.

This book is exactly what it says it is, a Humanist bible. A.C.Grayling has produced much better works and I view him as a great philosophical writer. This book mirrors in form the writing in the Bible, and it drones on as such. I would rather have the author have off
Ambrose Miles
Aug 02, 2016 Ambrose Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Histories and the Proverbs are the best part of the book. Really.
Ian Pollock
Jan 29, 2014 Ian Pollock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been pecking away at this for some time. It's certainly polarizing for its intended audience, but I liked it a great deal. Essentially, it presents lessons from the ancient world woven together by theme. The readings are heavy on Greece, China & Rome. For those who enjoy such an aesthetic, a marvelous book.
Oct 09, 2011 Saniac rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I heard an interview with Grayling on the radio and the book sounded great. Was disappointed to find that it's not an anthology of the sources but essentially a ground up rewrite, with no references back to the originals. Sorry I didn't get it out from the library first before buying it.
Andrew Smith
A flawed book. My first warning bell went off when I turned to the back of the book and went through the list of authors used as source texts. I noted there are one, maybe two, women listed. Women and their writing lie outside of the human experience expressed in this book. If there were fewer women allowed to write in earlier generations then what has been preserved of their writings should be valued with greater weight.

Looking through it I find little about sexuality, whether erotica or identi
Paulo Reimann
Sep 14, 2014 Paulo Reimann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Feels like the book has no continuance. Boring, complex, unexplained, cocky. I am not criticizing if it is all about atheist or not. The book is boring. Period.
Jan 14, 2016 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like what it has to say but not how it says it. The format, which as others have pointed out mirrors the layout of the Christian Bible, is simply an affectation. It's not necessary to the book and it's distracting to me. Not to mention, that one of the perks of being an atheist is NOT having to read the Bible or go to church on Sunday. With this book and Sunday Assembly, atheism is creeping into organized religion territory, which is definitely not for me.
JD Quenzer
I've added this book as "read" but admittedly I have not finished it -that is, not read it cover to cover. 'The Good Book" is a good book, but I think it is an unnecessary book. Why would any humanist / atheist require anything akin to a bible, in other words? They have rejected such on the road to arriving at their conclusions, why take what feels very much like a step back, all be it with the embrace of a tome based on reason and naturalist philosophy? Nevertheless, I did enjoy what I have rea ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Nico rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grayling's attempt at a secular bible. It excludes a lot of religious material so can't claim to be
comprehensive. I found the book pretty full when I tried to read it, but there's an excellent selection of quotations here:
Apr 03, 2014 Robin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The first third of the book was basically hovering just above a zero. The second two thirds improved but only managed to get my score up to a 1.4 or so and I've chosen to not give it any benefit.

I think A.C. Grayling may have books written that I'd enjoy and I appreciate what he was trying to do in this book. I think he is a thoughtful guy and wish him the best of luck in the future.
Alexandra Cook
Dec 14, 2013 Alexandra Cook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I normally really enjoy books by A.C. Grayling. I've got few complaints about this one. I don't know if it's only fault of the audio book but I found it frustrating that I didn't know from where the quotes were. Although I did really enjoyed the verses chapter. It was great to recognise a piece of poetry I've learned at school in another language! On the whole I think the book should not had "Bible" in the title and somehow influencing its structure. Bible is not a greatest of our ancient texts ...more
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Anthony Clifford "A. C." Grayling is a British philosopher. In 2011 he founded and became the first Master of New College of the Humanities, an independent undergraduate college in London. Until June 2011, he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, where he taught from 1991. He is also a supernumerary fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.

He is a director and contributor at Pr
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“The wise say that our failure is to form habits: for habit is the mark of a stereotyped world,” 6 likes
“1. Those who first set themselves to discover nature’s secrets and designs, fearlessly opposing mankind’s early ignorance, deserve our praise;   2. For they began the quest to measure what once was unmeasurable, to discern its laws, and conquer time itself by understanding.   3. New eyes were needed to see what lay hidden in ignorance, new language to express the unknown,   4. New hope that the world would reveal itself to inquiry and investigation.   5. They sought to unfold the world’s primordial sources, asking how nature yields its abundance and fosters it,   6. And where in its course everything goes when it ends, either to change or cease.   7. The first inquirers named nature’s elements atoms, matter, seeds, primal bodies, and understood that they are coeval with the world;   8. They saw that nothing comes from nothing, so that discovering the elements reveals how the things of nature exist and evolve.   9. Fear holds dominion over people when they understand little, and need simple stories and legends to comfort and explain; 10. But legends and the ignorance that give them birth are a house of limitations and darkness. 11. Knowledge is freedom, freedom from ignorance and its offspring fear; knowledge is light and liberation, 12. Knowledge that the world contains itself, and its origins, and the mind of man, 13. From which comes more know­ledge, and hope of knowledge again. 14. Dare to know: that is the motto of enlightenment.  ” 1 likes
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