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The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living
by Mari Ruti
Should we feel inadequate for failing to be healthy, balanced, and well-adjusted? Is such an existential equilibrium realistic or even desirable? Condemning our cultural obsession with cheerfulness and "positive thinking," Mari Ruti calls for a resurrection of character that honors our more eccentric frequencies, arguing that sometimes the most tormented and anxiety-ridden ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Columbia University Press
(first published November 12th 2013)
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This book is a great critique not only on our western culture but the medical model and how it has overwhelmed good psychology with a need to fix. Loving my symptoms is completely antithetical to the modern belief of health, but it is the only thing that can bring us to a new place. Exploring and embracing our madness is what redeems it and makes it beautiful. The title of this book made it sound like a self-help book, but the help in this book comes from deep in the soul, not cosmetic change.
I need to ruminate on this one. My three star rating isn't an indication that I don't think that this book I worthwhile. Quite the contrary. But I am not sure that it is necessary. Read Csikszentmihalyi; read Nietzsche; read Freud. But then again, if you can't quite determine why you are compelled to read this book in the first place (assuming you are), you could certainly do worse. Following that desire half of what Ruti means by living a life worth living.
This book is really well written and accessible without becoming meaningless. It's structured pretty good and I must say that this is one of the most helpful books I've read in a while. Although there are some thoughts in the book that could be emphasized a bit more, the excellent endnotes make it a good starting point for more research.