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The Good Book

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  418 ratings  ·  47 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 1st 2011 by Walker Books Ltd
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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
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
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
Collin Duncan
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
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
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.
I've only read the first few pages so far (Genesis) and the description of how things began (scientifically) is awesome. Highly recommended.
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
Bastiaan Koster
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 at being a Bible. Therefore, I think a new version was needed.

Compared to its original, 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 Ancient texts. This is a style
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.
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.
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.
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
A great book to read for a mediation. Grayling is considered the velvet atheist.
A wonderful resource. I'll be returning to it again and again.
Hiram Crespo
Jun 03, 2014 Hiram Crespo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Thomas Quinn
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
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
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:
Ian Pollock
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.
Paulo Reimann
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.
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
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
Ben Payne
A secular Bible. Probably a bad choice for an audiobook, this is more the kind of book you dip in and out of than listen to in one go. I enjoyed the wise quotes about living life, but I got bored during the long history parts and gave up. So much like the other Bible then.
Lauren Matos
This will be the book my family uses in place of the Christian Bible.
I Love Genesis, Wisdom and Parables.
Michalis Sarigiannidis
Had this book been fictitious, Borges would have written an excellent review of it, and he might have even incorporated it into one of his stories.

Sadly, however, this book is real.

It is more fun, and thought-provoking, to read about the book than to actually read the book. It's completely unreadable.

I like Grayling a lot. I read a number of his books, and they were all great. If this is the first time you've come across his writing, please don't judge the rest of his work by this one misstep.
I really liked this and was surprised. I did not know what to expect. I have just skimmed through and since it is a library book it has to go back. I will probably buy a copy so I can pick it up and read whenever the feeling strikes. It seems to combine many scientific disciplines along with good story-telling in a bible format. I was afraid it would be snide or snarky but, there is none of that.
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Anthony Clifford Grayling, FRSA, FRSL (born 3 April 1949) is a British philosopher and author. He is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London and a supernumerary fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He has an MA and a DPhil from Oxford, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts.
More about A.C. Grayling...
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