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Why Our Decisions Don't Matter

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Vital insights and wisdom on the perennial question of why our decisions don't matter

This book explores how some of the greatest minds of civilization have tackled a question that continues to play a vital part in our lives today. In Why Our Decisions Don't Matter, Simon Van Booy curates an enlightening collection of excerpts, passages, and paintings, presenting works by
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Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Harper Perennial
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Esteban del Mal
Napoleon: "M. Laplace, they tell me that you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never mentioned its Creator."

Laplace: "I have no need of that hypothesis."
J.E. Glaze
This is an excellent overview of writings throughout history, from Sophocles and Plato, Rembrandt and Blake, to Emily Dickinson and Albert Camus, intended to cause one to take a different view of life and of the importance (lack of importance) of our decisions.

I can use it as a bibliographical reference for future reading.

j.
Amari
The title implies that the author will offer some answer to the question posed therein -- but he doesn't appear to do anything of the sort. The literary excerpts, reproductions of paintings, etc. are worthy and of interest to anyone with any sense of esthetics, letters, or history, but the message of the collection seems to be simply that we should put things in perspective because we'll all die anyway. This is a fine enough theme for a collection, I suppose, but it doesn't stand up to what the ...more
Lisa
This is a fun series -- not heavy, each following kind of a philosophical arc within the topic, a little tasting menu of thoughtful stuff. Nothing you haven't heard before, but if you were to give any of them to, say, a smart kid heading to college, they could lead to some interesting reading or discussion if he or she was so inclined. And I'm having a good time revisiting some of what he has here. I'd forgotten, for instance, how much I liked Jude the Obscure. And it's reassuring to see that I ...more
G
Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter totally inspires philosophical debate. These collected works talk about fate, God, and how we will all find death in the end. Each one has some reason on why our decisions, in the end, don’t matter, and how that might be a good thing. Let me try to push this book on you in s simple, pop culture way–If you loved the tv show Lost, (which of course, I did) then you’ll love this book. In this book, you will find works from Homer, Sophocles, Horac, Shakespeare, Rembrand ...more
Dennis
Important: 1
Well-written: 3
Kept Attention: 1
Must Read: 1
Accessible: 5
KW Wong
A little anthology which contains some important ideas.
Jim
While I rather like the idea of this book -- a kind of philosophical vade mecum with selections from literature and philosophy. Some of the selections made more sense than others: While I did not care for the long Wittgenstein quote from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which struck me as being cluelessly exclusionary, I liked the material from Homer, Shakespeare, Borges, Horace, and Emily Dickinson. I rather suspect I will continue to make decisions as if they mattered; and I probably won't ...more
Aaron Terrazas
This was a big disappointment. I expected an original reflection given the provocative title -- similar to the better of the recent pop philosophy wave à la Alain de Botton. However, this book is little more than a (often cliche) compilation of excerpts of others' works. Any moderately well-read individual will be familiar with the vast majority of the cited material and the "editor" adds little original thought or value.
Sara Habein
In essence, the book argues that, while we may be able to control our reaction to the world, we cannot control the world itself. Like the rest of the WHY series, it's thought-provoking and covers a wide range of source material. Good stuff.

(Full review can be found on Glorified Love Letters.)
Kyle Cameron Studstill
Expected thinking on why our cognitive processes matter less in reality than they do by our perception, though the collection is mainly comprised of items that illustrate the idea that "we're all going to die anyway so the things we do in life may not matter." So, it's an interesting read on long LONG term thinking, though not necessarily and interesting read on long-term thinking.
Brendan
I thought this was a pretty good collection of famous lit. While the author didn't really head-on tackle exactly "WHY Our Decisions Don't Matter", the excerpts he included were pretty interesting.
Vanessa Schulz
An interesting little collection of art, fictional and non-fictional writings exploring this topic.
daniel hughes
for me, the essay on hamlet was staggering
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Simon Van Booy was born in London and grew up in rural Wales and Oxford. After playing football in Kentucky, he lived in Paris and Athens. In 2002 he was awarded an MFA and won the H.R. Hays Poetry Prize. His journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times and the New York Post. Van Booy is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, now translated into sever ...more
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