Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age” as Want to Read:
The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  56 reviews
“When it comes to living, there’s no getting out alive. But books can help us survive, so to speak, by passing on what is most important about being human before we perish. In The Existentialist’s Survival Guide, Marino has produced an honest and moving book of self-help for readers generally disposed to loathe the genre.” —The Wall Street Journal

Sophisticated self-help
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by HarperOne
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 The Existentialist's Survival Guide, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Existentialist's Survival Guide

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  310 ratings  ·  56 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I’ll say at the start that I enjoyed reading this book, partly because I’m an easy sell for the intellectual self-help genre –the book could easily be called “How Kierkegaard and the Existentialists Can Save Your Life”—and also because the author (for the most part) deftly navigates around the perils that this literary form presents. The author, Gordon Marino, a philosophy professor at St. Olaf College, has clearly engaged with the texts at the heart of the book for decades, and is evidently wel ...more
Jim Razinha
This was a challenging read for me, evidenced by the length of time it took. I kept reading a few pages, setting it aside, digesting, reading a few more... The Existentialists were obscurants; I needed some help (I started listening to The Teaching Company's Great Courses lecture series "No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life".) Disclosure: I was given a review copy of an Uncorrected e-proof from the publisher, Harper-Collins, through Edelweiss+. My copy had place-holders for, but no ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Marino summarizes the classic philosophical works with utmost ease. Reading his book made me want to sit in on his lectures. This is not so much a self help book, as it is a summary and reflection on the existential thinkers of our time. I couldn't put the book down and the bibliography has inspired me to read many more of the classics from Satre, Kierkegaard, Camus and others.
Donald Schopflocher
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
A highly personal introduction to existentialism with a primary focus on the works of Kierkegaard..
Billie Pritchett
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: existentialism
Author Gordon Marino seems like a nice, sincere guy. His book, The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age, is both a survey of existentialist approaches to various topics, anxiety, authenticity, death, and a personal account of how the philosophy of existentialism has worked for him. So what is existentialism? Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre says it can be summed up in the following obscure sentence: Existence precedes essence. You become what you are in th ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A catchy title, but if you're looking for an instruction manual you will be disappointed. But the good news is that the book is an interesting survey and discussion of some of the major aspects of Existentialism, an ism which it seems to me is about as hard to pin down as any I have seen, and consequently is misunderstood, or at least understood differently, by a large number of otherwise knowledgeable people. In his summary of Existentialism, Mr. Marino calls upon some of the titans of the subj ...more
Mark Jurgensen
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In their blurb on the back this book, Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein claim that Gordon Marino’s The Existentialist’s Survival Guide is “a remarkable book.” I heartily agree. While there are many books on the existentialists out there, with some notable exceptions most are written by academics for academics. This one is of an entirely different ilk. Not only does Dr. Marino elucidate complex ideas so that a nonspecialist like myself can get the gist of them, but more importantly he shows how vi ...more
Leslie Camacho
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the break down in sections. Great book, a philosophy class in college I think helped me appreciate this book a little more and I am grateful for that, it is an interesting one. Psych lovers would love this too.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A decent memoir and survey of existensialism, but not really an "instruction manual" or guide of any sort.

In this way it's a disappointment. However, Marino's life is pretty interesting for a philosophy professor.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Full disclosure I didn't finish this book. I guess I was looking for some practical information gleaned from the great existential thinkers of the past on how to live in our current times (I mean that is what the title implied) but it was pretty standard issue in terms of existential books. Firstly, man do existentialists like the sounds of their own voices. It might be me but I often was fidgeting waiting for Marino to get to the point and all to often the "point" was a well worn quote from Kie ...more
Wally Wood
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It sounds like an interesting and practical book: The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age. The author, Gordon Marino, PhD, "is a professor of philosophy and the director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College" in Minnesota. He's written and edited a number of books about Kierkegaard and is also "an award-winning boxing writer for The Wall Street Journal and other outlets."

I'm not sure what I expected, but this isn't it. Start with the ti
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I was lucky enough to be one of Professor Marino's students a decade ago, and I took his Kierkegaard class. I had no experience reading existentialist authors before the semester, and I'll admit that some of the characteristic existentialist writing (sentence structure, syntax, vocabulary etc.) was pretty intimidating. Aside from being translated from other languages, the concepts
Jeff Chen
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have a hard time following the book. Perhaps the content is too difficult for me. The highest frequency word must have been “Kierkegaard”.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Whoever studied philosophy can imagine how depressive a book about existentialism could be, but now this one, in the end I think I enjoyed this book thoroughly because it was funny in a bitter sweet sort of way, but I haven't appreciate the fact that there is no epilogue in the ARC!!!

Chiunque abbia studiato un minimo di filosofia puó aspettarsi che un libro sull'esistenzialismo sia quanto meno deprimente, ma non questo, l'autore riesce ad essere divertente in modo agrodolce. Peccato che nella mi
Benjamin Barnes
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The First few Chapters are Great than it Just seems to Slouch off and Fall of a Cliff. It's Great when he is discussing Kierkegard but as Soon as He Tries To Blind them together it's Like Staring into abyss boring and lacking in self reflection! Some of the Authors personal Stories are Grams Others are just Dull!
Michael Gannon
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
nice quick intro to philosophy for the uninitiated, but not much to be had in the way of depth. if philosophy were a menu at a restaraunt, this book would be appetizer sampler.
Tommy Kiedis
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
"Personal meaning is the bull's eye of existentialist investigation," writes Gordon Marino in The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age. Marino's text was, for me, a reading and thinking treat.

Gordon Marino is a veteran boxing trainer, an award-winning boxing writer for the Wall Street Journal, an author, and professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College. He is also a Kierkegaard scholar. Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), the Danish philosopher, was also a
Tim Elston
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Reader beware: this book amounts to a thinly veiled apology for Christian faith. It is well-written, the author Gordon Marino having both evident expertise and a fluid writing style, but its content boils down to the promotion of a person's relationship to God, defined in Christian terms, as being the key factor of living an authentic human life. This take is, no doubt, comforting and self-confirming to Christians, especially to those who value framing their faith within a respected intellectual ...more
B. Rule
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is basically "Your Dad Explains Kierkegaard to You After a Couple Beers". It's a genial, plain-spoken, kinda corny and soul-baring description of Marino's interactions with SK and other existentialists over the course of his lifetime, from his rough-and-tumble youth up to his present occupation as director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf (the role in which I am familiar with him and the reason I picked this up). The result is somewhere between self-help book and bull session dur ...more
Joel Sullivan
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very accessible considering the subject,,,, ,__

For those of us who consider ourselves existentialists, particularly in the tradition of Kierkegaard (i.e., Christian existentialists), Marino 's tome is refreshing in that it offers an application of existentialism to life. While still objective enough to be descriptive (philosophy of religion) the book provides enough personal anecdotes to reveal the author's application to his life (religious philosophy), giving the reader a sort of template for
Ruri Gokou
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
So since playing Nier Automata I've been interested in Existentialist viewpoint. I've read a few introduction books. When I saw Gordon Marino's book show up in my Amazon recommendation, I was excited. Existentialist Survival Guide? So it must be about using the Existentialist viewpoint in everyday life?

Sadly this book wasn't so. It's hardly a guide book in any way. It was still kinda interesting but I am disappointed because that wasn't the reason I purchased it.

The author does tend to talk abo
“Existentially” appealing.

I am an existentialist myself and discard most of the beliefs that life was given us by the omnipotent God that’s got superpowers to rule everything that moves and what not. However, I do not position myself as a nihilist which is a tiny bit different from what I incline to believe in.

There is a certain meaning in life, but we, humans, cannot see it on the surface as we are blinded by our simplistic vision that is governed by neediness of power, money, “good life” and
Warren Paris
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Giving it 2 stars because some of the books that are quoted in this are worth reading.

The overall idea is dull. It hardly expresses what is inauthentic and authentic.
Authenticity is living your life.
The importance of not having purpose in life is what is freeing. Looking at these ideological connections and then drawing on what other people have written is weird.
Why keep citing sources? I get the goal of proliferating the academic market. If you didn't, no one would buy this stuff... but stil
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
"Your hunger for truth ought to be a hunger for truths that build you up, that make you a better human being."

"There are questions of identity that blacks and yes women have to grapple with that white men of particular economic class can simply and safely ignore. Being free of the task of fending off other people's stereotypes is a t the core of white privilege. Those of us who enjoy the liberty of not having to ask ourselves about the borderline between our skin color and our core identity some
Linden Smith
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In "The Existentialist's Survival Guide," Dr. Gordon Marino deftly synthesizes heady philosophical insight with unflinchingly honest accounts of his life experience. The book is equal parts philosophy, memoir, and self-help. He covers the usual Existentialist topics (anxiety, despair, death, and authenticity), but continues onward to more hopeful, less examined aspects of existential thought: faith, morality, and love. Each topic gets its own chapter, in which Marino weaves between memoirish vig ...more
Tom Walsh
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-books
I wish he had taken his own advice:

In his epilogue Marino writes that perhaps great philosophy should not be committed to paper citing the example of Jesus, Buddha and Plato. I wish he had listened to himself instead of wasting our time with this tome. This book can only be described as an autobiography of an immature college professor so enamored of his Ph.D that he published his dissertation on Kierkegaard and peppered it with quotations from some philosophers and novelists to impress his hear
Derek Baker
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard, and thought (based on the publisher’s description) this would be a good place to start. It was better even than I expected. While it is a general introduction to what existentialism has to say about our current, personal challenges — it does tease out some ethical teachings, as well, but Marino freely admits that the existentialists have been slim on the rights and responsibilities of societies and of indivi ...more
Emily Bassett
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jay Hennessey
Recommended to Emily by: John
This book reads like going for a walk with a philosopher friend, discussing the meaning of life! A short read--three hours and two glasses of wine. This book was a great evening with Kierkegaard, Nietzshe, Jesus, Frankl, Spinoza, Confucius, Socrates, Euripides, Marino and others, reflecting on Anxiety, Depression, Death, Authenticity, Faith, Morality, and Love.

This book encouraged me to be courageous and creative. To reflect on my death. To be aware that happiness is a great place to hide despai
Glen Sharp
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Existentialist’s Survival Guide” is perfect for someone like me who is interested in what the existential thinkers have to say but has some difficulty in reading them directly. I admire Walker Percy’s novels, which Percy admitted are influenced by Kierkegaard, and have tried to trace some of the connections myself. But reading this philosopher has proven overwhelming for me. Fortunately, Marino’s professional life as a philosophy professor has prepared him well for explaining abstract ideas ...more
Michael Graham
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the philosopher in all of us

This is a thoughtful, honest, and highly readable excursion through some of the core issues confronting individual existence. Marino drops the pretension of the professional philosopher and offers a jargon free reading experience certain to awaken the philosopher in one's everyday choices, thoughts, and actions. It is also the author's defense of the consolation of philosophy in a society which increasingly seems not to value reflective thought. It is this persona
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Valve: Handbook for New Employees
  • Languages of Art
  • The Power Tactics of Jesus Christ and Other Essays
  • Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience
  • Learn to Program
  • Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal: A Creative Way to Let Go of Anxiety and Find Peace
  • Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul: Consumer-tested Ways to Overhaul Your Finances, Increase Your Savings, and Get Your Life Back on Track
  • Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
  • The Manual: A Philosopher's Guide to Life (Stoic Philosophy Book 1)
  • Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • American Philosophy: A Love Story
  • The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary
  • Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence
  • Homer and Classical Philology
  • Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code
  • The Power of Style: Everything You Need to Know Before You Get Dressed Tomorrow
  • Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media
See similar books…
Gordon Marino is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Professor Marino took his doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago. Before coming to St. Olaf in 1995, he taught at Harvard, Yale, and Virginia Military Institute.

A recipient of the Richard J. Davis Ethics Award for excellence in writing
“human being is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation’s relating itself to itself in the relation. For those who do not immediately pitch the book across the room, Kierkegaard continues, “A human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity.” 0 likes
“The self is a relation that relates itself to itself.” 0 likes
More quotes…