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Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  189 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Dale Ahlquist, the President of the American Chesterton Society, and author of G. K. Chesterton - The Apostel of Common Sense, presents a book of wonderful insights on how to look at the whole world through the eyes of Chesterton. Since, as he says, Chesterton wrote about everything, there is an ocean of his material to benefit from GKC's insights on a kaleidascpoe of many ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Ignatius Press (first published March 31st 2006)
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Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul IIStory of a Soul by Thérèse de LisieuxThe Confessions by Augustine of HippoThe New American Bible by AnonymousDark Night of the Soul by Juan de la Cruz
Roman Catholic Reading
51st out of 330 books — 187 voters
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87th out of 141 books — 13 voters

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Douglas Wilson
Mar 10, 2014 Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it
Nancy and I read this book aloud together, really enjoying it. Chesterton is just a delight, even when he is exasperatingly wrong. Some of those areas are unintentionally brought out by the author, who beats the Catholic drum a little too loudly. But even that didn't wreck a delightful book.
Clare Cannon
Jul 13, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults & Young Adults
Shelves: non-fiction

As Ahlquist says, this is not a book about Chesterton, but a book about everything else from a Chestertonian perspective. It takes key Chestertonian explanations and groups them under subject headings, sets them in context, and explains their relevance to the issues (intellectual, academic, philosophical, ideological, moral) of our time. Thus it introduces a new audience to Chesterton's wisdom, perhaps in a way that younger readers and non-philosophers could understand more easily.

Some pearls:
Jan 15, 2009 Karina rated it really liked it
This is good. Ahlquist is more readable than Chesterton. I can see that what he is saying is leading up to something, whereas when I read Chesteron directly, I sometimes have to re-read paragraphs because I don't get his train of thought; he always is running away from me, or meandering here and there. Good stuff:

"The key to happiness and the key to wonder is humility. [...:] Humility means being small enough to see the greatness of something and to feel unworthy of it, and privileged to be able
Sep 12, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it
Chock-full of philosophical critiques, shorts bits of wisdom, cheesy wit, and common sense. It was surprisingly a much faster read than I thought it'd be, but every sentence held something valuable. Even if you don't care to learn anything about Chesterton, this book is precious and useful simply for the way it could enlighten the ignorant masses of today.

Ahlquist is in love with Chesterton, but being president of the society devoted to the man, I don't see why he shouldn't be. He also ardently
Jason Leonard
May 28, 2013 Jason Leonard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is wonderful. It is strange to think that I would recommend a book not written by Chesterton as an introduction to Chesterton, but Ahlquist is remarkable at letting Chesterton speak. Given that Chesterton wrote 100 books and 4000 essays, along with hundreds of other things, it can be difficult to know where to begin. I say begin here. Ahlquist will help you navigate the major arguments and thrusts of Gilbert without it feeling like cliff notes. On the contrary, this will make you want to pi ...more
Jan 16, 2009 John rated it liked it
Mr. Ahlquist tends to make leaps in some of his statements that one that isn't overly familiar with Chesterton would not intuitively make, creating sometimes frustrating read. Nonetheless, it is informative and makes you want to learn more about Chesterton.
Jul 10, 2008 Laurie rated it it was amazing
This is what is lacking in today's world.
Jun 28, 2010 Jesse rated it really liked it
So Kate and I have been reading selections from this book about G.K. Chesterton. The author has grouped Chesterton into various topics and then written a sort of narrative which borrows heavily from Chesterton and then inserts direct quotes from him. It's a great collection to have if you want to be introduced to the great man by reading simple snippets and summaries from him. Here are some of our favorites from the last few reads:

In a letter to his future wife: "He wanted to have a simple hous
Carol Barnier
"Why do you carry a knife in your walking stick?" the man asks of Chesterton. "I like things that comes to a point," comes the quintessential Chesterton response. This man's faith is one of the most fun and infectious I've ever witnessed. This book was a great introduction to Chesterton. And frankly, I became a fan of Ahlquist's writing in the process.
Charlie Byers
I'd been looking for a starting point with Chesterton for a while, and a friend pointed me at Ahlquist. Not sure how to review this, exactly. I think it is the survey of Chesterton I'd been looking for, and I'm also pretty confident that Chesterton's work doesn't speak to me. Recommended if you're in the same boat, I suppose.
Ali M.
Mar 18, 2010 Ali M. rated it liked it
While it's nice to get a proper overview of all the different subjects Chesterton spoke on in his time, I don't always appreciate Ahlquist's commentary. He jumps to a lot of conclusions with far less finesse and insight than G.K. himself, and sets up a definitive political stance by the book's end that disservices Chesterton's own comments about how conservatives and liberals are BOTH missing the point. ("The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Susanne rated it it was amazing
Here is a book that was thoroughly enjoyable to read. It provides great insight into the thought life of Chesterton, especially his amazingly well rounded Christian world view. There seems to have been hardly a subject on which he did not have an opinion, typically an opinion exclusively informed by his deep love for the Lord as well as his thorough understanding of history. He was a prophet not only of his time but ours. To top off the enjoyable experience he has an uncanny way of expressing hi ...more
Hilary Williamson
Oh Chesterton.... How wise and wonderful you are.
Sep 27, 2010 Lizzy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, faith
Uncommonly good! I love GK Chesterton. This was written by a man who used GKC's insights as a way to view the world today. It's amazing how contemporary his writings still are. He used paradoxes to point out great truths.

an adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.

The test of all happiness is gratitude.

The purpose of compulsory education is to deprive the common people of their common sense.

Just a few of the many quotes I love.
The last third of the book dwells on Catholicism and how
Oct 23, 2013 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic, edification
Ahlquist truly is a GKC devotee. In 10 or so chapters, each centering on a theme (politics, art, poetry, biographies, seeing wonder in the world, etc.) he lovingly presents the great writer's views with loads of quotes and indeed whole passages from his writings. This is a good introduction to who GKC is. Do not expect a review of his prodigious canon, but the surfaces of many works are scratched as he pulls ideas together to paint a picture of what went on in GKC's mind.
Diane Kennicker
May 06, 2011 Diane Kennicker rated it really liked it
This has been my introduction to G.K. Chesterton. This is a well written book and provides insight into Chesterton and his beliefs. I find Chesterton to be quite the character. Ahlquist seems to have made Chesterton come alive, so to speak, in this book. Ahlquist cited many of Chesterton's writings and I have purchased the book, "The Man Who Was Thursday", so that I may enjoy more than a simple passage.
Mike Pace
May 25, 2015 Mike Pace rated it really liked it
Some great insight on select Chesterton from the modern day Chestertonian expert himself, Dale Ahlquist. Although a fairly small book in page count, this is one that takes a while to get through as there is much to reflect on in each chapter.
Dec 01, 2010 Jerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, philosophy
Ahlquist does a great job of capturing, in very Chestertonian writing of his own, GK Chesterton's thought. Like GKC, he has a terrible understanding of the Protestant/Catholic divide, so those chapters aside, a fantastic book.
Dec 10, 2015 Dayna rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
Author Dale Alquist does a generous job of dissecting the intelligent ideas of G.K. Chesterton at a pace more digestible to the "common man." Neatly ordered, well paced, and excellently applied to modern society.
May 15, 2013 Luke rated it really liked it
The only thing this book needs is to be longer, or just compose an entire annotated collection of Chesterton.
Ben Nesvig
Aug 31, 2013 Ben Nesvig added it
Shelves: 2013-reads
“The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their common sense.”
Arturo Linares
Jun 07, 2012 Arturo Linares rated it really liked it
Buena introducción al pensamiento de Chesterton.
Jul 10, 2009 Suz rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
A tremendous introduction to G.K. Chesterton.
Kevin Loker
Kathryn rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2016
Ramona Evans
Ramona Evans marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2016
Marty Falukos
Marty Falukos marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2016
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Apr 27, 2016
Richard rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2016
Joanie Brown
Joanie Brown marked it as to-read
Apr 22, 2016
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One of the most respected G.K. Chesterton scholars in the world, Dale Ahlquist is President of the American Chesterton Society, and publisher of its flagship publication, GILBERT. Dale is also the creator and host of the popular EWTN series The Apostle of Common Sense, and he is the author of three books on Chesterton including G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, Common Sense 101: Lesson ...more
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“He seems so frivolous and so careless, but he gives money to beggars, not frivolously or carelessly, but because he believes in giving money to beggars, and giving it to them “where they stand”.

He says he knows perfectly well all the arguments against giving money to beggars. But he finds those to be precisely the arguments for giving money to them. If beggars are lazy or deceptive or wanting a drink, he knows only too well his own lack of motivation, his own dishonesty, his own thirst.

He doesn’t believe in “scientific charity” because that is too easy, as easy as writing a check. He believes in “promiscuous charity” because that is really difficult. “It means the most dark and terrible of all human actions—talking to a man. In fact, I know of nothing more difficult than really talking to the poor men we meet.” (pp. 13-14)”
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