Enjoyed this book of essays about living a more meaningful life. Coworkers who judged this book by its cover thought it was a book about attaining mor...moreEnjoyed this book of essays about living a more meaningful life. Coworkers who judged this book by its cover thought it was a book about attaining more material wealth but this was more about spiritual wealth. Essays were complied from his column, Spiritual Wealth.(less)
I enjoy pop psychology and "brain books" and this was a nice wide review with a lot of citations from books on my to-read list or my read list. I read...moreI enjoy pop psychology and "brain books" and this was a nice wide review with a lot of citations from books on my to-read list or my read list. I read this the same time I read Jonah Lehrer's Imagine and it was kind of trippy to not only see overlap but a good number of references to Lehrer's works.
I feel a bit nerdy typing this up at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday night so I can return this book tomorrow on my way to babysitting. They're 8 days overdue...moreI feel a bit nerdy typing this up at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday night so I can return this book tomorrow on my way to babysitting. They're 8 days overdue at the library.
My favorite philosophy professor reviewed this book and half way through the book I noticed his quip on the back of the book
"William B. Irvine has written a disarmingly seductive and easily readable treatise on the origins, nature, vicissitudes, and 'crises' of desire. He simply and clearly discusses biologically incentive systems, the rich psychological research on the peculiarities of our motivation, and the wisdom of various religious and spiritual traditions. It is a well-informed, wise, informed interdisciplinary book that is highly recommended for the general reader." - Solomn I've copied that only because Solomon died early this year and it's just one more thing to hold on to besides his books and my class notes.
Initially,I was very excited to read this book. I was browsing the philosophy section in the library idly when I came upon this book. Was going through some conflicting desires at the time (they're still unresolved actually) and I thought hmm perhaps this book will enlighten me. Initially after the introduction and the first two chapters, my excitement waned. I was dedicated and read through the end. Towards the end, I got bored and was skimming through the last few chapters. I did jot down a few excerpts. It is a great book if you want a crash course on all the different philosophical teachings... Crash course on Stoics, Skeptics, Eccentrics. Irvine also did a lot of philosophical name dropping which I'd admit I like in my books only to keep me fresh.. Hume, Schophenhauer, Aristotle, etc etc. Many got mentions. Irvine touched on the evolutionary proposes of desires, different types of desires, religious advice on how to deal with desire and, philosophical advice on how to deal with desire.
So first few chapters peaked my interest. Distinguished the differences between the bandwagon effect (conforming) and the snob effect (not conforming for the sake of not conforming).
"Familiarity breeds envy. A person is more likely to feel envious of his coworkers, neighbors, or relatives than a multibillionaire he has never met." -48
"Other people's heads are a wretched place to be the home of a man's true happiness." - Schopenhauer 36
"We go far less trouble about making ourselves happy than about appearing to be so." - La Rochefoucauld 39
"Intellectually, we know what we need to do with our lives, and we set goals accordingly - to swim ten miles each week, to write a page a day, to learn to play the bango, to terminate a relationship that is causing us grief. But unless our emotions cooperate, unless they commit to the goals our intellect sets, it is unlikely that we will accomplish these goals: our heart won't be in it, and a mind operating without the support of a heart is singularly impotent."
"The intellect's best strategy for dealing with the emotions is to use emotions to fight emotions."
"Adaptation: we tend to get used to what we have and therefore like it less with the passage of time. We grow indifferent to the spouse, home, or car that was once our pride and joy, and because we are no longer satisfied with what we have,w e form new desires in the belief that satisfying them - unlike when we satisfied our previous desires - will lead to lasting happiness."
"Why ignore modern philosophy? Because most modern philosophers are horrified by the thought of giving people advice on how to live better lives." (less)