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Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  744 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In Trouble in Paradise, Slavoj Žižek, one of our most famous, most combative philosophers, explains how by drawing on the ideas of communism, we can find a way out of the crisis of capitalism.

There is obviously trouble in the global capitalist paradise. But why do we find it so difficult to imagine a way out of the crisis we're in? It is as if the trouble feeds on itself:
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 5th 2015 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published January 1st 2014)
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Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
When Thatcher was asked about her greatest achievement, she promptly answered: 'New Labour.'
Risking an air of redundancy, Trouble in Paradise is troubling, concerning, topical and immediate. Cobbled from pieces Žižek wrote for periodicals (largely the Guardian and the LRB -- I had read most of them previously there) I found his arguments much more persuasive presented here, linked arm and arm, even if the repeated jokes do ache a bit after the 5th telling. What I appreciate about the text is how
Will Ansbacher
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: insomniacs
Note to self: Do not read any more Slavoj Zizek! If tempted, repeat the word “transfunctionalization” until comatose.

I forget why I thought I needed to read this, it was something to do with harsh words about globalization and the banking crisis, I think.
Much of what Zizek says may well be sharp and provocative, but he doesn’t take aim so much as fire scattershot; he can’t leave any unrelated topic alone. Worse, it’s wrapped in an unfocussed jumble of pop culture, and disentangling anything
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I’d finally finished the first draft of my PhD thesis, all 79,659 words of it, the first book I decided to read was by Slavoj Žižek. From this I infer that academia has warped my brain, possibly for life. I found 'Trouble in Paradise' a great deal easier to read than Living in the End Times, for several reasons. Firstly it is shorter, secondly it is ostensibly based on a lecture series given in South Korea, and thirdly there is less frequent recourse to Hegel and Kant. The style is much the ...more
Koen Crolla
Feb 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pol-and-soc
Žižek jerks off to words for two hundred pages.
If there was a point he was trying to communicate besides how very clever he is for managing to fit so much vocabulary into a paragraph, I wasn't able (or willing) to extract it.
John DeRosa
To use his own description- a tartle. I can't remember what his point is
Chris Chapman
"if moderate liberal forces continue to ignore the radical left, they will generate an insurmountable fundamentalist wave"
At the time of writing Marianne Williamson, a spiritual self-help author and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, remarked that US politics is gripped by “dark psychic forces” predictably stunning TV audiences and lighting up social media platforms. The unconventional (to say the least) wording resonated with some viewers and mystified pundits who tried to ridicule her afterwards. I believe there’s no other way to explain these reactions with the typical political rhetoric but to bring on ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Slavoj is my very favourite philosopher, and this book did not disappoint.
Unies Ananda Raja
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Žižek for a while I am getting used to with his style of narration; fast, jump around often, name-drop Hegel, Lacan or Marx or other thinkers. His explanations are often repetitive. You can almost find every piece of bit of this books in his other books. However, he always has thougt-provoking ideas. He can give a different perspective on issues so that we can see something from his peculiar eyes. His jokes are excellent. He does not joke just for joking. He used it to explain his ...more
José Toledo
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I like about Zizek, and this book, is that the reader is not taken for granted, his intelligence and capacity to comprehend are never underestimated. Zizek tells it the way he sees it like it is, and does not dispense with the wealth of information and understanding of his mind. The book, in fact, while rich in analysis of diverse cultural and political phenomena, does not offer or propose a clear path of action, a single-minded strategy; but beneath the many topics discussed is the hopeful ...more
Mark Valentine
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading Zizek because of his novelty, his agility, his acuity, and his range. Not everything sticks nor do I agree with everything, but I greatly admire him and I value his insights.

Here, he limits his topics to capitalism and communism and it should be no surprise that he supports the communist but how he supports it is invigorating.

After reading this, I want to read more G. K. Chesteron (he loves to quote from Orthodoxy) and view the Batman trilogy (he deconstructs efficiently).
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an enjoyable dérive from the great entertainer of our time
Stephen Goldenberg
Zizek is an iconoclast whose writing is often impenetrable but can also, at times be thought-provoking and entertaining. The best parts of the book are his analyses of the 2007-2008 banking crisis and the various wars in the middle east. The most difficult parts are his complex analyses of the struggles in Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine, and his general thesis about the need to reformulate communism as a bulwark against the worst excesses of modern-day capitalism.
His writing is most
Joseph Desch
It's an enjoyable read and the points provided are both interesting and insightful. However, the main thrust of the book's message is borderline incoherent and many of the arguments made are very weak.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the literary equivalent of having a discussion about western politics with your well-read, but currently wasted, great-uncle. There are definitely some good insights in here, but it may still leave a sour taste in your mouth because Slavoj will have started rambling about something else entirely in the next sentence and never expand on the original thought.
Michael Baranowski
Aug 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I'm pretty sure there are some truly interesting ideas here, but as with all of Zizek's work, they're buried deep beneath too much turgid prose, immense self-regard, and an almost obsessive need to demonstrate wide-ranging cultural knowledge.
I'm finally finished. What a ride! Zizek is da man.
Emma Roulette
Has Zizek become a parody of himself?
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Žižek's strong point is counter intuitive takes. However, due to his infamous self plagiarising, which this book suffers from, and the fact that I've been familiar with his style for many years this felt rather stale for me.

It does discuss some interesting questions in the usual counterintuitive fashion, questions which I feel the left ought to really deal with before moving forward (Chinese socialism, violence in revolutions, the function of dissidents as pressure relief). As there is no
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With this book, moreso than others I've read of Zizek so far, I found myself disagreeing with mutliple core points but also with some egregious offhanded remarks (Especially his complete misreading and misunderstanding of post-structuralist philosophy) - However despite these setbacks I also found so many poignant analysis, interesting discussions of relatively current political events and some radical political outlooks, which I would love to discuss in a context different from Zizeks marxist ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oft-valid (and sometimes prescient) insights into the paradoxes of neoliberal capitalism and how Marxism just might be the answer to the contradictions of contemporary society. I’d expected less from the overhyped punk icon of Western philosophy before reading this book (cue Žižek’s analysis of German/French/Anglo-Saxon toilet bowls), but was instead thoroughly convinced by his provocative diagnosis of modern-day malaise upon reaching the final page. One advice: look beyond Žižek’s notorious and ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My rating is based on that the book contained multiple viewpoints that I thought were very interesting to contemplate. Had me lost in thought more than in one occasion, thinking the ideas expressed further.
So in appreciation to those points, I can recommend.
Many of the analyses made by Zizek will either feel alarmingly sound or be a good challenge, even if you were to disagree. Quote from the back of the paperback edition sums it all: "...sometimes bonkers but never boring."
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zizek takes on time the global crisis we face- populist racist demagoguery, debt, environmental destruction, Islamist terrorism to name a few , and he explores how these are features of our current state of late capitalism as predicted by Marx. Examining phenomenon ranging from Gangnam Style to the Arab Spring to the cultural predominance of irony, Zizek makes a compelling case for a resurgence of emancipatory politics.
“This can of course be best illustrated in the old Macedonian joke about the Bosnian farmer (it must be remembered that Macedonian perceptions of Bosnians imbue them with an unnatural sexual attraction to turnips): [unintelligible european joke that illustrates nothing]”

Also he spends two full pages recounting the plot of The Dark Knight Rises.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Žižek brings forward many interesting ideas in this very readable book. The analyses are brilliant, even though sometimes hard to follow and seemingly contradictory. I recommend this book to anybody who wants to understand how the current cultural and political quagmire we live in is caused by a problem which nobody is willing to name: late-stage capitalism.

Jung Edda
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Decent in its portrayal of capitalism but weak in its arguments for communism, especially when he recognizes the spiritual factor of capitalism but doesn't see his own bias with liberal fanaticism inherent within communism and of the ideological element which becomes spiritual in the communist rhetoric in their love of everyone and hope that all will fulfill their purpose.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, as always, Žižek is interesting. However, I disagree with him on several points he discusses within this book. I do have to say that I was less impressed with this text than I was with previous works of his. This is either because I've become more critical and analytic in the five or so years since I first read any of his material or because his subject matter has converged to cover a stance I have already formulated.

The author doesn't implicitly state his position on the EU. But from
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A densely packed book with good ideas and good points.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A rambling but entertaining look at modern capitalism and global politics today, through the typical Žižekian cypher of jokes and film theory. Some key passages in amongst a world of waffle.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The immensely quotable Zizek discusses the socio-political zeitgeist with a keen, critical eye. Though this is a couple years old now it feels very current.
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Slavoj Žižek is a Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic.

He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia (then part of SFR Yugoslavia). He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques-Alain Miller and François Regnault. In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for
“Fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization.” 1 likes
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