Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Philosophy of Boredom” as Want to Read:
A Philosophy of Boredom
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Philosophy of Boredom

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  15 reviews
It has been described as a "tame longing without any particular object" by Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" by Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your world system" by Joseph Brodsky, but still very few of us today can explain precisely what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of the central preoccupations of our age as it probes the n ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 15th 2005 by Reaktion Books (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Philosophy of Boredom, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Philosophy of Boredom

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 677)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Really great actually. Here are five reasons for five stars:

1) Boredom is not a common topic in philosophy (most books about it are of the "get rid" style, not the "what the hell is it" style.)

2) He looks at boredom with a long historical view, following it's base of a sin in early christianity into pop music.

3) He slaps Heidegger silly in his phenomenology chapter.

4) He wrote a very readable book about an obscure topic that includes a phenomenological bent.

5)He made me understand exactly wh
Still reading the book but I already know my favourite passage :-) [needs to complete the review by adding Kierkegaard's position, for instance:]

"Pascal is the most prominent early theoretician of boredom. For Pascal, man is doomed to boredom without God. In the absence of a relationship to God we turn to pleasures in order to forget our miserable state but, in actual fact, this only has a more destructive effect.

Pascal says " The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and y
a good chapter on Heidegger's exposition on the topic.
An exploration of boredom in a series of sketches which gives me an articulation of this aspect of life. Boredom often coincides with lack of meaning which the modern subject believes achievable, while it turns out otherwise. Personal meaning as something that alone can give my life meaning is unrealizable.

Examination ranging from popular cultures like films and novels as well as works of prominent philosophers presents different aspect of the subject matter. For example, Heidegger imagined tha
Kadi Kolk
An interesting symbiosis of Svendsen's own (rather personal) thoughts about boredom, toned up with theories of different grand masters' (Nietzsche, Foucault, Kierkegaard, Hegel, Kant etc) points of view. Svendsen resourcefully digs out the aspect of boredom in almost every philosophical theory and thereby shows its omnipresence in daily human life throughout centuries. In addition to philosophy, he has dug out colourful examples from fiction and film. It's a book every ''modern man'' should defi ...more
This book led me to ponder on the essence of my own personal meaning, of finding my own mature self-identity. It was a fantastic read, with lots of major philosophic exemplifications. I enjoyed the journey through eras of cultural perception regarding boredom and its related moods. I very much recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a grasp of the relationship between modernity, rush, efficiency and the personal-self.
Finity of our existence makes us feel insignificant and meaningless. Such unbearable lightness of being feeds existential boredom, the very feeling Kundera's two characters, Tomáš and Sabina, have.
Eszter Faatima
I am indebted to this book, as it was the main inspiration for my thesis and a great source of reference. Thank you, Lars Svendsen!
Teerabhat Ruensiri
Oct 17, 2014 Teerabhat Ruensiri rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Student of philosophy, a bored person
While it's not the most amazing philosophy book ever, it's a really good one on the subject that philosophy rarely treats. It's easy to read and quite enjoyable (I've read it twice in a few month!) The author can compose a concise, academic, yet funny prose which is usually a sign of expertise.
It was always going to be the case that a book about boredom would be anything but boring, but I didn't think it would be as riveting as it turned out to be. I absolutely loved the second chapter where the author discussed the books/movies Crash and American Psycho. Reading those books you do understand quickly that the characters act out of a lack of something in their lives, but I never viewed their actions as a type of violence born of boredom and in this way Svendsen's little volume is like ...more
For a book about boredom it was surprisingly engaging. Having said that, it was indeed a book about boredom, and some of the historical sections in particular were a bit dry and longwinded. Svendsen presented his ideas well, however, and I found his thoughts on the matter to be very interesting, even though I'm not sure I agree with all of them.
Armand Cognetta
A bit esoteric, but overall a very interesting read. I particularly enjoyed the American Psycho section in which Patrick Bateman was depicted as the poster child for modern existential boredom taken to an extreme.
Alexandra Bremers
Not finished, halfway and to be continued. But I did really enjoy the first part and the subject matter in this book.
Mar 14, 2009 Yanshi added it
not bad
worth reading
Two-bit critchley
Ronaldo Moreno-aramburú
Ronaldo Moreno-aramburú marked it as to-read
Oct 27, 2014
Yules marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2014
Cody Smith
Cody Smith marked it as to-read
Oct 22, 2014
Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal
Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Momo marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2014
Andorea marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2014
Humaid marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2014
Ana marked it as to-read
Oct 14, 2014
Angelina marked it as to-read
Oct 14, 2014
Sarin marked it as to-read
Oct 14, 2014
Yichen Li
Yichen Li is currently reading it
Oct 12, 2014
Bookman marked it as to-read
Oct 11, 2014
Vivienne Schwab
Vivienne Schwab marked it as to-read
Oct 10, 2014
Zoe marked it as to-read
Oct 10, 2014
Ali marked it as to-read
Oct 10, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 22 23 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
  • I, Phoolan Devi
  • The Ethics of Authenticity
  • Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Studies in Pessimism: The Essays
  • The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in our Times
  • Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction
  • Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque
  • The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life
  • Johnson's Life Of London: The People Who Made The City That Made The World
  • The Trouble With Being Born
  • On Kindness
  • Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust
  • Knowledge and Human Interests
  • Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity
  • How to Change the World
  • Poe: A Life Cut Short
  • Conrad: The Factory-Made Boy
Lars Fredrik Händler Svendsen is a Norwegian author and philosopher who is professor at the University of Bergen. He has published several books translated into 24 languages. He is also engaged as project manager in the think tank Civita. In 2008 he was awarded the Meltzer Prize for outstanding research, and in 2010 he was awarded the prisoners Testament.


2005: A Philosophy of Boredom
More about Lars Fr. H. Svendsen...
A Philosophy of Evil Fashion - A Philosophy A Philosophy of Fear Work Hvad er filosofi?

Share This Book

“In order to live a meaningful life,
humans need answers, i.e., a certain understanding of basic existential questions. These ‘answers’ do not have to be made completely explicit, as a lack of words does not necessarily indicate a lack of understanding, but one has to able to place oneself in the world and build a relatively stable identity. The founding of such an identity is only possible if one can tell a relatively coherent story about who one has been and who one intends to be.”
“Self-identity is inextricably bound up with the identity of the surroundings.” 8 likes
More quotes…