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كيف يحيا الإنسان: أهمية الحياة

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,200 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Viehättävä kiinalainen filosofi Lin Jutang opastaa meitä kiihkeään elämäntahtiin tottuneita länsimaalaisia nautiskelemaan elämän pienistä, jokapäiväisistä antimista. Hän keskustelee teoksessaan kanssamme kepeästi idän ajattomasta viisaudesta ja valloittaa vastustamattomalla huumorillaan. "Maailma on liian vakava, ja sen vuoksi se tarvitsee viisasta ja iloista filosofiaa", ...more
Paperback, 559 pages
Published 1967 by دار الكتاب العربي (first published 1937)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Diane Barnes
I am going to bail on this book. I have been reading a few pages at a time for about 4 months now, and while it's a nice, calming book about different philosophies in China and other countries around the world, with the view that people should slow down and enjoy their world, apparently this advice is just for men. In his opinion, women MUST be mothers to be happy, because it's their reason for existence. Women MUST be married, to create a family and home to take pressure off the husband trying ...more
Vikram Karve
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, self-help
A book that enriched my life and taught me the art of living

There is one book you will never find in my bookcase – you will always find it by my bedside near my pillow. At night, just before I go to sleep, I open this book to any random page, and read on till I drift off to blissful idyllic sleep.

The name of this book, which has had a profound defining effect on me, maybe even subconsciously shaped my philosophy of life, is called: The Importance of Living wr
Dr X
Sep 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is like sitting around with your grandfather while he shares his thoughts about everything under the sun, so long as your father is a witty, erudite, philosophically inclined Chinese man. I received this book as a gift. It has an irresistible table of contents, with chapter headings like On Having a Stomach, On Being Wayward and Incalculable, The Problem of Happiness, The Cult of the Idle Life, Celibacy a Freak of Civilization, On Lying in Bed, On Sitting in Chairs, On Rocks and Trees, ...more
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished this book, I would say that this is probably one of the most beautiful books I've read. Lin Yutang has the soul of an artist and the taste of a connoisseur and through his strongly subjective, yet entirely 'reasonable' opinions and style of writing, I found myself very easily carried away into his points of view on life, the arts, philosophy and the love of pleasure. I cannot imagine everyone would feel the same way, but I feel that reading this book has greatly benefited an ...more
David Beckwith
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Lin Yutang, Rumi, Martin Buber, Lao T'se, Jesus, Buddha, Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi...these are the words that can heal our troubled world. In a sensationalized world, the reader of Lin Yutang's great classic will learn how to enjoy merely sitting, lying in bed, reading, writing, walking, and nearly everything one can do that harms no other or self.

For my money, the most important part of "The Importance of Living" is where he discusses, at some length, the non-soldier, and all the good and ne
Mary Karpel-Jergic
An interesting and quirky read. I had seen a couple of quotes from this author and this had prompted me to read a book written by him. Written in 1936 it is historically embedded in its time so some of his views appear somewhat anachronistic, especially around women, but that aside the book offers a philosophy of life that is in contrast to the Western way of life which values efficiency, punctuality and a desire for achievement and success. It is a book that extols the Chinese way of life and I ...more
Nick Klagge
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Those who are wise won't be busy, and those who are too busy can't be wise." -Lin Yutang

This is a lovely old book that I discovered due to Robert Wringham quoting it, with high commendation, in his book _Escape Everything!_ Mr. Lin, who was born in China in 1895 and published _The Importance of Living_ in 1937 shortly after moving to America, has an outlook on life that will be familiar to anyone who has read Wringham's publication, The New Escapologist: deeply interested in exploring how we li
Gnuehc Ecnerwal
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book off of the shelf labeled 'Philosophy' at my local bookstore, (where it was correctly placed.)

It seems to me that quite a few people looked at the title on the cover and assumed that it is the kind of book that tells you how to live your life, like so many 'self-help' books and so many 'guru of meaningful living' books. To be honest, if you had to read a book, or have SOMEONE ELSE to tell you, how to live YOUR life, it is rather sad.

This is not that kind of book. It does not giv
Patricia Welker
My first book read after retiring was The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang. I enjoyed the easy going stories in the old Chinese scholar perspective. How to relax, smoke and make a proper pot of tea. I recommend this book for the point in life when slowing down is permissible and possible.
May 31, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rather disappointingly,the majority of this book consisted of sweeping statements, sexist comments and outdated/inaccurate comparisons.
Jul 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read it because of Will Schwalbe’s recommendation in Books for Living. I am glad I read it but it is long and sometimes rambling. However so much of it is timeless and makes you think. It was written in 1937.
Ben Hammond
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd wholly recommend this to anyone who feels like they need direction and quelling of their anxiety about life. The only reason I'm giving this 4 stars is because it is outdated in societal terms, particular in the views of women. As a person of principle I can't 'forgive' these views even if they are of a man of a previous generation. But the prose concerning beauty, nature and religion it is quintessentially Chinese and has really opened my eyes into reading more Chinese/East Asian literature ...more
Sarah Shahid
I didn't like this book
the writer underestimates the human mind
and makes it nothing
he describes us badly and makes us like animals
Aidan Reid
Initially enjoyed this but there was so much meandering about mundane subjects (flowers, rocks, tea...), that it became a slog half-way through. Didn't pick up nearer end. ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat unexpectedly hilarious and thought-provoking. The book begins with a disclaimer that it's not really a book on philosophy, just a collection of the author's thoughts, and it is very true to that disclaimer. Certain parts I completely disregarded because they were outdated or just not relevant to me, but there was a lot of content that I found fascinating and I loved the emphasis on simplicity and not overcomplicating things.

One of my favourite passages in the book:
"But the essential fa
Talbot Hook
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare books which, even though one disagrees with several (if not many) of its constituent parts, triumphs as a unified whole, insofar as one gains an appreciation of the author's peculiar temperament, thoughts, opinions, purposes, and shortcomings. Because it is so wide-ranging, covering everything from paganism to tea-drinking, and from proper chair-sitting to the psychological importance of humor, one is truly able to bask in another person's mind and life. Lin Yutang writ ...more
Erika RS
Dec 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Importance of Living is a number of essays about the importance of enjoying life and ways to do so. In some ways, the author's ideas are kind of silly, but they are presented in such a non-pushy way that they the unpleasant ideas are easy to forget. However, his attitudes towards women are infuriating. At one point the author talks about how it is best for people to be natural... and women require lipstick to be natural. At another point, he makes this statement
Is it merely because woman is
Steven Malone
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I regard the discovery of one’s favorite author as the most critical event in one’s intellectual development.
-Lin Yutang

My exposure to Chinese culture and philosophy comes, these days, through my experiences with Tai Chi Chuan and various other martial arts and Qigong. This study brings me close to many Chinese and Taiwanese people. None are more gracious, accepting, and friendly. I appreciate how their culture blends into ours so seamlessly.

Lin Yutang’s The Importance of Living is, to me, the
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty dated and sexist, but I did enjoy the following:

",,,we sweat and labor and go through life, living not for ourselves in accordance with our true instincts, but for the approval of society, like "old spinsters working with their needles to make wedding dresses for other women," as the Chinese saying goes (pg 105).

The great Taoist philosopher Liehtse gave the famous parable of the Old Man At the Fort:

"An old man was living with his son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill,
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, philosophy
If I had judged this book based on the first three chapters alone, I would have given it a poor rating. But in Chapter 4, the book finally seems to find its way. Chapter 4 is "On Being Human," and it's at this point that Yutang begins to write about the book's overall theme: the importance of living.

Throughout the book I found many sentences and passages worth highlighting and sharing. Some especially so given the book was published in 1937. For example, in Chapter 12-I, Yutang criticizes the st
Lin Yutang's book is slightly hard to classify, if only because, as he admits, he's writing a book about Chinese culture and academic history which he doesn't intend to be taken as especially scholarly or serious in large part. That's not to say it isn't fun, though. The book is an awful lot of fun, even if by the end it starts to run out of interesting things to say. I particularly enjoyed the seventh chapter ("The Art of Loafing"), and highly recommend the entire book on that grounds alone - i ...more
I'm putting this back on my "to read" list because there's just no way I want to read this book in any fly by night way. It's almost 500 pages and has the most wonderfully named chapters--"On Having a Mind" and "Cynicism, Folly and Camouflage" and a whole section on "The Importance of Loafing." This is a book made for long, lazy days, to be savored and read slowly with lots of time in between for contemplation. Maybe when I retire I will buy myself my own copy and settle into a chair on the deck ...more
I'd love to give this a higher review, and objectively I have the date of original publication firmly in my thoughts but for every nuance and charmingly phrased thought and spark there were at least twice the number of sweeping generalisations to the point of xenophobia and misogyny upon occasions, many of which were backed up by repetitive caveats that overshadowed my general enjoyment of the book. That being said I would recommend it to anyone with an open literary mind and there were a number ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up an old edition of this book for £2 at a vintage bookshop in Johannesburg and couldn't put it down for the rest of the holiday.

Someone in the comments described this as listening to the rambling of a grandfather! I thought that was very accurate! Though much like any out of touch grandfather I didn't agreed with all Yutang's ramblings it was nevertheless fascinating. But the stronger appeal for me was with his way of looking at things.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This is one of my favorite books of all time. With chapters titled "on sitting in chairs" and "on having a stomach", there's just something so wonderfully pleasant about wandering through this book, as though you're traveling through a country... it gives you a whole new appreciation and awareness of the simple things in life. ...more
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As others have commented, it's impossible to read this book unless you set aside some of the misogynist and totalizing commentary on race and gender. That said, it's still a hilarious dose of common and not so common sense that hardly seems dated although it was written in 1937. In particular, the advice on reading, writing, and traveling is not to be missed. I found it incredibly fun, myself. ...more
I could not get into this book. I started reading straight through. Then I tried reading sections that seemed interesting. I suppose my western mind is missing a necessary component.
Some parts I liked, others I didn't. Worth a glance but not much more. ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was first published in 1937 but, unlike fiction from that long ago -- which can often use language and set-ups that could seem stilted to the "modern mind" -- this is essentially a wisdom book and, hence, timeless, as his observations about the oddities (and lunacies) of human nature remain as thoughtful and relevant to us today as do the biblical books of Proverbs, Wisdom, and Ecclesiastes.

Lin Yutang was clearly a brilliant, multi-culture embracing, humorous man, one of those persons
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quoting, Lin Yutang, "there are no books in this world that everybody must read, but only books that a person must read at a certain time in a given place under given circumstances and at a given period of his life."

As all these special circumstances have been coming together every now and then, in a span of near four years, this book became somehow suited for me.

I picked it up after reading "The Tao is Silent", and decided to read another one "Tao for Dummies" just to get a little more from Yut
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Chinese traditional culture 2 25 Feb 21, 2012 04:52AM  

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Prolific writer of a wide variety of works in Chinese and English; in the 1930s he founded several Chinese magazines specializing in social satire and Western-style journalism.

Lin, the son of a Chinese Presbyterian minister, was educated for the ministry but renounced Christianity in his early 20s and became a professor of English. He traveled to the United States and Europe for advanced study; on

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