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$34.06 $25.57
121. How to Think About Weird Things:Critical
$9.71 $6.63 list($12.95)
122. The Doors of Perception and Heaven
$78.26 $60.00 list($89.95)
123. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics
$13.57 $13.16 list($19.95)
124. The Art of War, Special Edition
$7.19 $2.50 list($7.99)
125. The Greatest Miracle in the World
$9.71 $6.99 list($12.95)
126. The Myth of Sisyphus : And Other
$16.50 $15.32 list($25.00)
127. Open to Desire : Embracing a Lust
$29.95 $28.69 list()
128. Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism
$83.95 $58.39
129. Applying Ethics : A Text with
$9.95 $6.25
130. Meditations (Modern Library Classics)
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131. Wherever You Go, There You Are:
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132. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
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133. More Than Human : Embracing the
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134. Buddhism Plain and Simple
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135. A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma:
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136. The Perennial Philosophy
$75.95 $30.00
137. Roots of Wisdom (with InfoTrac)
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138. The Art of Living: The Classic
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139. Morals, Marriage, and Parenthood:
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140. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism

121. How to Think About Weird Things:Critical Thinking for a New Age
by TheodoreSchick, LewisVaughn
list price: $34.06
our price: $34.06
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Asin: 0767420489
Catlog: Book (2001-08-09)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 209160
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This brief, inexpensive text helps students think critically, using examples from the weird claims and beliefs that abound in our culture to demonstrate the sound evaluation of any claim. The authors focus on types of logical arguments and proofs, making How to Think about Weird Things a versatile supplement for logic, critical thinking, philosophy of science, or any other science appreciation courses. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for all college freshmen...
This book is readable, concise and full of excellent examples of the application of critical thinking to real-world examples of pseudoscience. I think the book should be taught early in college, to perhaps innoculate people against fuzzy thinking. Since it is concerned with issues relevant to nonscientists, it may well be a better introduction to scientific method than a freshman chemistry or biology class, where methodology and application of said methodology gets drowned in a sea of facts most students will soon forget.

One reviewer complained that the examples are "straw men" set up to be decimated by application of the theory set forth in the book. I think that this misses the point. The examples are simple enough to demonstrate the power of the method and illustrate its use on real, current problems.

I think anyone interested in understanding "wierd things" should buy and read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
This is an EXCELLENT book on critical thinking; I think that a critical thinking class (perhaps with this book or something like it as text) should be mandatory from grade-school on up.

I find it interesting that one reader chastised this book for its "pro-science" viewpoint, without ever bothering to explain WHY "pro-science" is BAD? I'm also curious as to whether that reader actually READ the book; if so he'd note that Schick and Vaughn are very careful to give balanced treatment to all paranormal claims. They make certain to point out, for instance, that "this doesn't mean ESP doesn't exist, of course..." merely that a particular claim doesn't validate our belief in it. Throughout the book, Schick and Vaughn are very gentle in their handling of paranormal claims. And yet the reviewer claims that Schick and Vaughn "don't take [them] seriously" or ridicule claims they don't like. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In addition, the poster tried to draw a distinction between ontological and epistemic relativism, without noting that when considering a philosophy like realism (the view that there is a real, measurable, consensual reality -- a prerequisite for being a skeptic) the ontological relativism IS the epistemic relativism. Being IS the basis of our belief system -- if there's no "out there" out there, realism is a baseless philosophy. Schick and Vaughn do a VERY good job of dissecting and laying to rest the relativistic and solipsistic claims that are so popular today (IE, "there's no such thing as reality" or "whatever's true for you..."). And again, they are relatively gentle (for a less gentle treatment of the fad of social constructivism, see some of Sokal's books, for example).

All in all this is an EXCELLENT, clear, well-rounded, and balanced look at critical thinking in an age of bizarre claims.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read for any free thinker
This is a useful and informative read for anyone with an open mind who is willing to possibly rethink some of their erroneous beliefs...Interesting and informative overall, with great examples regarding almost every topic..I would only subtract a star only because at times the book is repetitive, as the authors tend to beat some of their logic concepts over the readers' heads to ensure the reader understands the points they are trying to make..

1-0 out of 5 stars Aptly named, unfortunately.
Take "Weird Things" out of the title and that's what this book is all about. How to think. "What you think is wrong. This is right." That's how the book was like for some 300 pages.
I actually had to read this for a class. If you have to read this for a class, I suggest you drop it as soon as possible. The class I took that required this book was intensely boring. I'm not sure because of the book or the elderly prof. Probably both.
While the books does give you the impression of knowing a fraud when you see one, it does not encourage free thinking. Not so much as "how to think" but "what to think".
For a scholarly book the Index totaly lacks contents. It has about 1/10th of the terms that were used in the book. I'd get a homework assignement and wouldn't be able to find the word in the index at all. I'd have to scan the entire chapter. Very frustrating.
To sum it all up- do NOT buy this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars What is left to believe in? Not an awful lot.
The art of critical thinking has almost disappeared from the western world. Largely I think this is so because our society is constructed on the fact that most people are trained to not think for themselves. The last thing anyone wants is for the population to start asking questions about religion, economics, and our political system. If one starts asking questions one could find that the answers we have been fed may not have been entirely true.

Rather than address specific paranormal or strange ideas the authors present a formula for the reader to assess the ideas for themselves. There are, of course, entire books devoted to assessing the value of pseudoscience, paranormal phenomena and similar things in which the basic principles of skeptical thought has been tossed out the window.

What the author's have done that is most unusual is the way the concepts in this book are brought together.

This is not to say this is a perfect book. I noted several times where the author's ignored their own rational system to arrive at conclusions. The conclusions arrived at are universally in the realm of hard science triumphing over anything remotely paranormal. The author's bias in favor of rationalism and against anything resembling spirituality is very evident.

Read this book, but do so with a critical mind. ... Read more


122. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell (Perennial Classics)
by Aldous Huxley
list price: $12.95
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Asin: 0060595183
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Sales Rank: 9806
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Book Description

Two classic complete books -- The Doors of Perception (originally published in 1954) and Heaven and Hell (originally published in 1956) -- in which Aldous Huxley, author of the bestselling Brave New World, explores, as only he can, the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. These two astounding essays are among the most profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs written in the twentieth century. These two books became essential for the counterculture during the 1960s and influenced a generation's perception of life.

... Read more

123. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics (with InfoTrac)
by Tom L. Beauchamp, LeRoy Walters
list price: $89.95
our price: $78.26
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Asin: 0534584411
Catlog: Book (2002-08-08)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 182685
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Book Description

This anthology represents all of the most important points of view on the most pressing topics in bioethics. Containing current essays and actual medical and legal cases written by outstanding scholars from around the globe, this book provides readers with diverse range of standpoints, including those of medical researchers and practitioners, legal exerts, and philosophers. ... Read more


124. The Art of War, Special Edition
by Sun Tzu
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0976072696
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: El Paso Norte Press
Sales Rank: 4078
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


This Special Edition of The Art of War by Sun Tzu presents this timeless classic in two forms:

Section I contains the complete thirteen chapters of Sun Tzu's masterpiece in Chinese together with the English translation of Lionel Giles without notes or commentary. This presentation avoids the objection that commentary tends to clutter and obscure the clarity of thought of the ancient military genius.

Section II contains the complete translation by Lionel Giles including his extensive introduction and the fully annotated text with explanatory notes and critical commentary. His Introduction includes an historical account of Sun Tzu's work, evaluations by and of early Chinese commentators, an essay examining the traditional Chinese attitudes toward war and a bibliography that details Giles' source materials. The text in this section includes critical commentary and notes by both the Chinese historians as well as by Giles himself.

Lionel Giles, as the Keeper of the Department of Oriental printed Books and Manuscripts of the British Museum, was uniquely qualified to translate and explain this great classic Chinese work to Western readers. First published in 1910, Giles' translation is widely considered to be the definitive English version.

Other Special Editions in this series which deal with the subject of warfare and strategy include:
The Art of War By Mao Tse-tung – Special Edition.
The Art of War By Baron De Jomini – Special Edition.
The Art of War & The Prince By Machiavelli - Special Edition
... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic

Sun Tzu's great classic work has been read, re-read and appreciated in China and the East for about 2,500 years.Even today, major Japanese corporations are said to require their executives to be intimately familiar with "The Art of War" for its value as a source of strategy.Napoleon was said to have been influenced by this book - as was Karl von Clausewitz and most modern day military planners around the world.

For an ancient work to have had and still have such a following is ample evidence of its importance.Its current day applications range from military strategy to business philosophy to sales training to computer games.More important than the information contained in "The Art of War" is the logical mindset, the rational point of view that Sun Tzu presents, that contributes to the timelessness of the great book.

Of the numerous editions of "The Art of War" that are available, this Special Edition that contains the Chinese characters, an uncommented English translation, and the full Giles translation with an introduction and annotation is undoubtedly the pick of the litter.It has been said of the Giles translation that it is "somewhat dated".The same could be said of Sun Tzu's great classic itself.Yet it stands, unequaled.

5-0 out of 5 stars This edition has both impact and insight.

Of the several available editions of "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, the Giles translation is clearly the best.This edition, which contains two separate versions of the Giles translation, one with and one without commentary, resolves the main sticking point with other editions.They either just give the stripped down version or the fully annotated version.

When I first discovered "The Art of War", it was the full Giles translation.As most students of philosophy do, I found it fascinating.After reading it several times, and appreciating the explanations in the running commentary, I began to think that I really understood what Sun Tzu was saying and began to feel that the commentary had become cumbersome.Consequently, I obtained a different translation, with no notes or commentary - a booklet really - which simply didn't have the flavor of the Giles Translation.Finally I found a copy of the Giles translation, without the notes and commentary,which I could read and enjoy without being put off by the interspersed commentary that I had begun to find distracting.

Needless to say, I ultimately found it difficult to read the uncommented version without feeling a need to refer to Giles' notes in the full version, which I had given away.When I discovered this edition, I immediately understood that I wasn't the only one who appreciated not only Giles' scholarly translation but also his insight.

This version: "The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Special Edition" is the one you want.Otherwise, you will be missing out on the impact of the unadorned translation or the insight of one of the world's great oriental scholars. ... Read more


125. The Greatest Miracle in the World
by OG MANDINO
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0553279726
Catlog: Book (1983-01-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 7787
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"A work that will lift the mind and heart of every reader." --Dr. Norman Vincent Peale ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes you rethink your life and life goals
I read this wise book a couple times several years ago. I still have the copy, all marked up where I found useful thoughts and quotations. The story of Simon the Ragpicker and the writer could be made into an Academy Award winning movie, if some producer would do it right -- it's that moving.

The God Memorandum, at the end, is like a modern day book of the Bible, entirely positive and profound. However, I don't think it's necessary to do the little piece of cloth ritual!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the greatest book in the world!
It is best if you read "The Greatest Salesman in the World" first as this book carries on with the story in that book. It's not of upmost importance - just gives you a little background. The most important thing in the world is that you read this book above all else. When I read it for the first time in 1986 I had just been told I had Cancer and wasn't expected to live too long and I was 25 years old. This book gave me the will to fight for my life, which I did and won! I cryed so hard for days after finishing this book - it touched me so deeply and continues to each time I re-read it. I have given copies to many people who have also found it a life changing experience like none other. What can I say - I love Og Mandino with all my heart and am eternally grateful for his gifts.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Winner of a Book
Mandino has contributed another masterpiece to the success/motivation literature. A quote attributed to Seneca helps sum up this book's theme, "soil, no matter how rich, could not be productive without cultivation and neither could our minds." This book provides the proper nourishment for the productive mind. The familiar aphorism "you are what you think" is developed in compelling fashion. Mandino is skilled in maintaining a bit of mystery as he expands upon principles familiar to readers of this genre. He holds his readers captive by the storytelling talent few possess to the degree of a few masters. Pathos is built by the characters and the situations painted in the mind's eye as the plot develops. There are some powerful insights that will motivate any reader with an open mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ride your sunbeam !
The God Memorandum was introduced to me by Dr. Tom Costa, Pastor of Religious Science Church of the Desert ... near Palm Springs, California when it was incorporated into one of his many superb humorous sermons. The story itself is intriguing and I found that I couldn't put it down. After reading the "God Memorandum" chapter, I decided to do the 100 days as instructed. It wasn't easy but with each day I found it brought new positive thinking leading to new and positive decision making which created new positive experiences. It is now over a year since my 100 days. I can attest to a wonderfully changed life. A life that seems to continue to grow in love. Personally, I feel everyone should have the experience of this marvelous little book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Good, but was it Really?
I enjoyed the book very much until I read the letter in Chap. VIII. It mentions an amulet. An amulet is of the occult.This disturbed me very much. ... Read more


126. The Myth of Sisyphus : And Other Essays (Vintage International)
by ALBERT CAMUS
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0679733736
Catlog: Book (1991-05-07)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 6074
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and compelling work--an invitation to discomfort
It is interesting to note that, in spite of the gorgeous way in which Camus describes the joy that is the physical, immanent world, what Camus insists of the reader is no more than a challenge to what, for many people, are core notions about sadi world and its worth (or lack thereof). This book, when read closely, clears up many misconceptions held about existentialist or "absurd" thought, namely that, from an exceedingly nihilistic standpoint, the world and, by extension, life is utterly meaningless and altogether a futile endeavor devoid of hope. What Camus argues for is, contrary to uninformed assumptions, the beauty and joy inherent in the struggle of life (particularly against the notion of some ultimate/transcendent meaning that is applicable to all, and, perhaps more so, some sort of "next life" that ultimately bestows meaning on "this" life). In spite of Camus arguments, which are beautiful and compelling, I find his conflicting points regarding the inherent joy and meaning within life and the utter, ultimate hopelessness and futility which stems from its finite nature difficult to balance. Camus would, however, argue that this is as it should be, and that this contradiction is precisely what he talks about throughout the primary essay--the "absurd" (the divergence between the true and the expected/assumed/presumed) Though much of what Camus argues for is difficult and, at times, unpleasant to digest (considering their full assault on many preconcieved notions operating within the West/Christendom), I cannot help but admit that they are true. It is this criterion, whether or not something is evidently true, which serves as the impetus for his analysis; one cannot help but admire the ruthless inquisitiveness and honesty with which he asks and answers such questions of himself and of us. Strongly recommended. Camus, in addition to his evident passion for man and for life, writes gorgeous, aphoristic prose--which, I feel, is the best (or at least most pleasant) way for a philosopher to write.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!!
In this series of essays Camus, the giant of literature, confronts the most vexing question of our times. In a world stripped away from the illusions of religion, where man must face life as it is without the obscuring veil of fantasies, is life worth living? Camus combining a poetic literary style and exceptional philosophic genius shows that in fact life has no meaning. But far from a reason for despair, this realization "restores the majesty to life". For Camus one evades life when one hides behinds religious dogma or in the midst of some untenable philosophical system, for reason can bring us no closer to the truth than blind faith. We must, for Camus, accept that we can find no truth, and live life as it is; a life without answers, without meaning, without purpose. Other books I liked were Paul Omeziri's Descent into Illusions and Heiddeger's Being and Time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A few words about reading a book like this
Seriously folks, I have never read such horrible reviews on amazon.com ever. The people who are supposed to be "reviewing" this book have launched into diatribes about why Camus' philosophy is "wrong" or why they dont agree with it. This is simply ludicrous.
Camus was a brilliant Nobel winning author. To know Camus, one must read this book, along with The Stranger and The Plague. I for one will be the first to admit that I do not understand all of Camus. I do not know enough to "criticize" Camus' philosophy. The reviewers here who have tried to do so have simply shown their ignorance.

Bottom line, read this book if you would like to read Camus. O'Brien's translation is managable, if not a little choppy. Nonetheless, these are the standards of Camus that we all still read. They are the hallmarks that we use to justify Camus' brilliance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleased
This book was more philosophical than expected. I didn't know what to expect while going into this book, but I came out of it with a better understanding of Camus and his life at the time the book was written. Is Mr. Camus referring to himself in his writing of this book? Perhaps. That is just something that is unclear in his writing. I'm on neutral grounds on that issue, but you may come out without a doubt certain he is referring to himself or the complete opposite. A great read, but not an easy read. Nothing that can be superficially read in a night. His thoughts and perspectives need to be understood a little deeper.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening subject and an enlightened finding
The Myth of Sisyphus gets right to the point. The problem is is suicide the answer to the absurd. If you are not familiar with Camus' definition of the absurd you will have to work a little harder to understand the problem and why the answer is no, suicide is not an answer. I am not giving away anything here as Camus gives the answer right in the preface. Read the preface. Read the book. If you are not sure, read it again. Camus presents evidence as he sees fit and writes lyrically, thus the book is dense and meandering at times. It is worth the trouble. ... Read more


127. Open to Desire : Embracing a Lust for Life Insights from Buddhism and Psychotherapy
by MarkEpstein
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 1592401082
Catlog: Book (2005-01-13)
Publisher: Gotham
Sales Rank: 18113
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Bringing wisdom to a fresh and compelling topic, Mark Epstein shows how desirecan be a teacher in its own right, helping us to reconcile our conflicting thoughts about itfrom both a Buddhist and a psychological point of view.

It is common in both Buddhism and Freudian psychoanalysis to treat desire as the root ofall suffering and problems, but psychiatrist Mark Epstein believes this to be a gravemisunderstanding.In his defense of desire, he makes clear that it is the key to deepeningintimacy with ourselves, one another, and our world.An enlightening tapestry ofpsychotherapeutic practice, contemporary case studies, Buddhist insight, and narrativesas diverse as the Ramayana and Sufi parables, Open to Desire brings a refreshingnew perspective to humanity’s most paradoxical emotion.

Proposing that spiritual attainment does not have to be detached from intimacy oreroticism, Open to Desire begins with an exploration of the dissatisfaction thatcauses us to both cling to, and fear, desire.Offering a new path for traversing thisambivalence, Dr. Epstein shows us how we can overcome these obstacles, not byindulgence or suppression, but by learning a new way to be with desire. Full of practicaladvice, this is a lasting guide for finding peace both in ourselves and in our most highlycharged interactions. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A daring contradiction of Buddhist anti-life teachings
I am a meditation teacher (since 1968), and I am really enjoying this book. It is brave of Mark to go against the doctrine of Buddhists to complain bitterly and mindlessly against desire. I find his writing enriching, for he is speaking as a meditator, a lover, a father, an analyst, and a wonderer - someone who is willing to just LOOK at what is going on. And opening to desire makes meditation juicier and more electrifying.

Since the late 60's, most of my friends have been Buddhists or Yogis, and in the early 70's I noticed how deadened many of them were becoming, as they worked inwardly to kill their desires. You can watch over the years as meditators lose vitality as they cultivate a detached, dissociated, suspicious attitude toward the flow of life. Then they become fascinated by and dependent upon authoritarian "masters" to tell them what to do.

Lorin Roche, author of Meditation Secrets for Women and Meditation 24/7.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Review in Response
This is one of the greatest books I have ever read but it is evident how it migt not appeal to some.In a sense, this book is like a poem.Poems are just a jumble of words and if the meaning is not found, one could easily walk away.Do not be persuaded not to read this because of a bad review because the person who wrote that review, clearly is clearly not Open to Desire.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Failure
This book failed on a number of levels.

If you are already studying Buddhism, you might find this topic of reconciling worldly desire with "The Path" to be interesting and possibly useful. While this topic is a good one, this particular book is a flop.

First of all, the message of the book was ambiguous.But the most interpretation I have of it is this:Use desire to gain insight; the insight you gain gives you an orgasmic level of bliss, yada yada yada. This is great - but it's already been said elsewhere!(and more elegantly!)
This book contained nothing new related to Buddhism, except a sexy repackaging.The book is completely redundant insofar as learning more about The Practice. It gives no clear advice on how to further one's practice.(aside from having Tantric sex with someone (assuming you can find a partner)... in which case there are plenty of other books on that topic. )

If you know very little about Theravada Buddhism, you still might think Epstein's take on desire is interesting.However, like I said above, you can just read any other book about mindfulness, insight meditation, or Theravada Buddhism, and you will find that material much more clear and useful.Suggestions to you are "Mindfulness in Plain English" (which you can cut-and-paste for free off the Internet!) and "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness."

In short, it's an interesting topic but a bad book.Epstein is vague, rambling, seemingly contradictory, and, if my interpretation is correct, completely redundant.He does not build on Buddhism, nor does he challenge it:He simply sexes it up, "eclecticizes" it, and resells it in a diluted and confusing form.(I think Epstein had good intentions, but I think he was just thinking out loud in this particular book.)

If you think I've missed the point of the book, I would REALLY like to know what I missed.I had high hopes going in! What is the thesis?How does it differ from or improve existing Theravada instruction?

5-0 out of 5 stars I've been waiting for a book like this
As a western buddhist, I have been intrigued about how Buddhism works with or teaches us how to understand our pruriant desires.However, aside from Tantra, there is a very limited amount of Buddhist material concerning how the mind deals with sexuality and our desires.Mark Epstein has done an amazing job in bringing these two areas together.The book uses the Buddha's Four Noble Truths as a vehicle to explain in detail how our desires and cravings become toxic to our relationships, and the ways to end this pattern.Written from a therapuetic and spiritual point of view, the book is neither dogmatic, nor self-help. As a lazy reader, I know when I found an enoyable book and an easy read when I spend more time reading than usual.This book fits the bill as easy to read, chock full of important insights, and truly a gift. I hope there will be a workbook of exercises or meditations that will follow. ... Read more


128. Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault

our price: $29.95
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Asin: 1592476465
Catlog: Book (2004)
Publisher: Scholargy Publishing, Inc.
Sales Rank: 62796
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tracing Postmodernism from its rootes in Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant to their development in thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Richard Rorty, philosopher Stephen Hicks provides a provocative account of why postmodernism has been the most vigorous intellectual movement of the late 20th century. Why do skeptical and relativistic arguments have such power in the contemporary intellectual world? Why do they have that power in the humanities but not in the sciences? Why has a significant portion of the political Left - the same Left that traditionally promoted reason, science, equality for all, and optimism - now switched to themes of anti-reason, anti-science, double standards, and cynicism? Explaining Postmodernism is intellectual history with a polemical twist, providing fresh insights into the debates underlying the furor over political correctness, multiculturalism, and the future of liberal democracy. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
When speaking with a colleague about this book, he was surprised to find out that Postmodernism has such a storied history including the likes of Immanuel Kant and Bertrand Russell. And many readers also will be surprised to see the intellectual pedigree that Postmodernism boasts. Of course, Dr. Hicks isn't arguing that Kant or Russell were Postmodernists--but what he does in this quick and highly readable book is to show how Postmodernism evolved out of the ideas and historical trends of the last few hundred years in philosophy. Tracing the development of various ideas in epistemology and politics, Hicks finds the roots of Postmodernism in Kant, Rousseau, and other Counter-Enlightenment thinkers. The primary thesis of this book is that "the failure of epistemology made postmodernism possible, and the failure of socialism made postmodernism necessary." The history of modern epistemology has, by and large, failed at defending reason as one's means of knowing the world. The failure of socialism, both economically and morally, lead to, as Hicks calls it, a "crisis of faith" among many in the Left. In order to maintain their belief in the superiority of socialism over capitalism, many theorists used the failures of epistemology to eschew reason, reality, and truth. One now no longer has to deal with the evidence that shows the superiority of capitalism. Thus, we end up with the nihilistic, skeptical, and relativistic Postmodernism dominating much of academia and the political left.

Dr. Hicks is able to condense abstract and complicated ideas for a non-philosopher to understand without losing the essence of the ideas. He competently and clearly presents the ideas and positions without ever degenerating into ad hominem or resorting to polemics. As such, I highly recommend this wonderfully written and highly readable work to anyone--philosopher or not--with an interest in the history of ideas or an interest in understanding postmodernism. ... Read more


129. Applying Ethics : A Text with Readings (with InfoTrac)
by Jeffrey Olen, Julie C. Van Camp, Vincent Barry
list price: $83.95
our price: $83.95
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Asin: 0534626580
Catlog: Book (2004-05-04)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 200663
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A perennial bestseller, APPLYING ETHICS introduces students to ethics via a well-proven formula of engaging commentary, seminal readings, and thought-provoking cases drawn from a wide range of contemporary social debates. Providing readers with a basic overview of the most important ethical theories in chapter one, each subsequent chapter takes a contemporary ethical issue as its focus. Guided by the authors' extensive introductions, and readings exhibiting divergent positions, and particularly timely cases, APPLYING ETHICS provides students with a model for considering critically many of the ethical dilemmas that abound in contemporary life. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars introduction with depth
Applying Ethics is a wonderful introductory text.My freshmen enjoy it as compared to other books because of its readable essays, helpful outlines, and current examples; while I appreciate its logical depth and comprehensiveness.Excerpts of major philosophers were selected carefully to provide a representative glimpse of a theory without overwhelming the new student.The editors were wisely unafraid to select topical essays which sometimes take a more unusual and philosophically solid position on a 'popular' issue.Topical overviews are concise and precise, while outlining all major positions.My only criticism is that Olen fails to present Rawls himself before providing Bayer's critique (which is, by the way, sufficient reason in itself to buy the book). ... Read more


130. Meditations (Modern Library Classics)
by MARCUS AURELIUS
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 0812968255
Catlog: Book (2003-05-06)
Publisher: Modern Library
Sales Rank: 18986
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style.

In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in a generation—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy: never before have they been so directly and powerfully presented.
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Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Ancient Roman Amazingly Up To Date!
As you read the words of Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, you'll find advice and help that is as helpful now, in the 21st century as it was in his lifetime.

I am a voracious reader of self-help books, and I see a lot of the essence of them summed up in Aurelius' MEDITATIONS.

Aurelius is a Stoic, which is not to be confused with an unfeeling view of life. He is concerned with living a life of integrity and adopting principles of self discipline, especially in the face of impulse and action. His goal was to be just, self-disciplined, courageous and independent, and to live in the present.

The book is divided into sections and the paragraphs are numbered. The style of writing is easy to understand, but it isn't "fast" reading -- sometimes it's possible to read two or three sentences and think deeply.

It's a good book to carry with you and read in odd moments -- or when you have a lot of time to read. It will make you think and contemplate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Way, way before its time
Meditations is the kind of book you can just open up to any page and learn from, a still-relevant lesson about how to set priorities in what Socrates called the examined life. It is also a fascinating tour of the mind of Marcus Aurelius, the military leader, emperor, educator, philanthropist, and philosopher who remains one of history's most noble protagonists, and whose writings reveal the loneliness of his soul without being bitter.

This is a must-have book for the nightstand of anyone living a contemplative life, a profound precursor to modern self-help books written by a Renaissance man who lived centuries before the Renaissance.

There is no plot to summarize here, no accurate generalizations to be made. One gets the idea that these are thoughts the author jotted down, sometimes between appointments and sometimes after months of contemplation. Often they are obvious, sometimes they are obscure. They can seem rooted in history, and at times based on today's current events. They can be funny, surprising, or sad. But they are almost always worthwhile.

A final note: I have two editions of this book, and while I think both this one and the Hicks' translation are very good, I prefer this by a small degree.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best translation of this classic
This is my favorite translation of the meditations, an opinion further solidified yesterday when I went to the book store to get a last-minute graduation gift for a young man, and all they had was "The Emperor's Handbook" by the Hicks brothers. It was good, but I think it lacked the manliness and concise clarity of the Hays translation. I have not read the original Greek, (trying to learn some now!), so I'm no authority, but I imagine this is how a man like Marcus Aurelius might write to himself in this circumstance.

As for the greatness of the original work itself, all I can add to the other fine reviews here are two quotes I have always loved from Clifton Fadiman's "The Lifetime Reading Plan":

". . . during the last ten years of his life, by the light of a campfire, resting by the remote Danube after a wearisome day of marching or battle, he set down in Greek his Meditations, addressed only to himself but by good fortune now the property of us all," and, "Through the years The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius, as it has been called, has been read by vast numbers of men and women. They have thought of it not as a classic but as a well spring of consolation and inspiration. It is one of the few books that seem to have helped men directly and immediately to live better, to bear with greater dignity and fortitude the burden of being merely human. Aristotle one studies. Marcus Aurelius men take to their hearts."

4-0 out of 5 stars I love M. A. Antonio 's Spiritual Execises
This translation may not be perfect, but it is a good resource for wise choice making. Although, Marcus Aurelius persecuted Christians (a sect in his time) his virtues and stoic philosophy grant him the ability to be a distinct spiritual artist. I prefer to replace his "gods" with God and his force against Christians as a force against sects or being part of bad crowds or better yet ignored. There is no substitute for the bible, but his spiritual exercises should be recognized as good.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4* Read this one and avoid any inferior translations
There's some confusion over the editorial & reviews. This edition is translated by Staniforth, and that is the one to read. Some postings suggest they are describing the Hays translation, which this is not.

I picked up the Hays translation of this work, and phrases like 'junk' and 'if you keep putting things off' leapt out of the text. Consternation - did the Greek original actually have words like that? It was a 'modern translation - modern as in 'dumbing down'.

So I went looking for this Staniforth translation, only 40 years old, but more faithful to the original, as in 'think of your many years of procrastination' rather than 'if you keep putting things off'. I'm sorry, but if you can't handle good English, and need the 'dumber' versions, then you're probably too dumb to appreciate the finer points of the work in the first place. Both versions were the same price, so that didn't influence my decision.

Then you can sit back and invest your time in enjoying the thoughts & the musings of this interesting man, who although Roman, was able to make his records in Greek. ... Read more


131. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.47
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Asin: 1401307787
Catlog: Book (2005-01-05)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 2357
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In his follow-up to Full Catastrophe Living--a book in which he presented basic meditation techniques as a way of reducing stress and healing from illness--here Jon Kabat-Zinn goes much more deeply into the practice of meditation for its own sake. To Kabat-Zinn, meditation is important because it brings about a state of "mindfulness," a condition of "being" rather than "doing" during which you pay attention to the moment rather than the past, the future, or the multitudinous distractions of modern life. In brief, rather poetic chapters, he describes different meditative practices and what they can do for the practitioner. The idea that meditation is "spiritual" is often confusing to people, Kabat-Zinn writes; he prefers to think of it as what you might call a workout for your consciousness. This book makes learning meditation remarkably easy (although practicing it is not). But it also makes it seem infinitely appealing. --Ben Kallen ... Read more

Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Meditation
I've been looking for information on meditating for quite some time and thankfully I finally found this book. I can't believe it took me as long as it did since this book is a classic.

The book is broken up into three parts. The first part explains what mediation is, and what it isn't. The second part describes how to go about meditating. Finally the third part describe what you can expect to get out of meditation, and what you can't.

This is one of the most insightful books I've read on just about any subject. If you are just looking into mediation or have been doing it for years, I'd highly recommend this book

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Book
I recommend this reading to anyone.It is absolutely a phenomenol book that could quite possibly give you an entire new outlook on life.The most inspiring book I've ever read.

Why not give it a try?

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
The messages in this book, the significancy of mindfulness, resonated so strongly in me it is as if the author wrote it specifically to me. Kabat-Zinn's writing style, knowledge and common sense attitude were refreshing in a world that often to me seems full of New Age mysticism. His advice that it is "best to meditate without advertising it" made me holler, "Hallelujah!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Practical, friendly and incredibly Mindful.
I was introduced to this book while learning Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder. I have found this book to be extremely practical, friendly and understandable for those who may have difficulty reading this genre of book. I highly recommend this book to others as well as professionals teaching DBT mindfulness skills in clinical therapy settings. I am using these practical 'tips' in my clinical practice and find that my clients seem to enjoy learning new mindfulness techniques.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Mindfulness should be an exercise all beings participate in practicing, not simply exclusive to our Buddhist traditions; a point Kabat-Zinn makes in this wonderful book. What it truly encompasses is a kind of awakening (yes, cliché) where we begin living in accord with not just all people but, also with ourselves.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, a clinic which likely has helped innumerable beings. Mindful meditation is a letting go practice, a practice of non contriving and ultimately - endurance. It is an acknowledgement of who we already are, beneath the layers of attachments and aversion; that is of course that we are loving and generous people.

This book offers a plethora of meditative exercises and mindfulness applications to employ in our daily routines. Zinn suggests utilizing sitting, walking, and even "on your feet" meditation. Metaphors of mindful actions are here using topics like parenting or even washing the dishes. This work will hopefully motivate all who read it. Great book. ... Read more


132. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
list price: $60.00
our price: $37.80
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Asin: 0199264791
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 2749
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Offering clear and reliable guidance to the ideas of philosophers from antiquity to the present day and to the major philosophical systems around the globe, he Oxford Companion to Philosophy is the definitive philosophical reference work for readers at all levels. For ten years the original volume has served as a stimulating introduction for general readers and as an indispensable guide for students and scholars. A distinguished international assembly of 249 philosophers contributed almost 2,000 entries, and many of these have now been considerably revised and updated in this major new edition; to these are added over 300 brand-new pieces on a fascinating range of current topics such as animal consciousness, cloning, corporate responsibility, the family, globalization, terrorism . Here is, indeed, a world of thought, with entries on idealism and empiricism, epicureanism and stoicism, passion and emotion, deism and pantheism. The contributors represent a veritable who's who of modern philosophy, including such eminent figures as Isaiah Berlin, Sissela Bok, Ronald Dworkin, John Searle, Michael Walzer, and W. V. Quine. We meet the great thinkers--from Aristotle and Plato, to Augustine and Aquinas, to Descartes and Kant, to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, right up to contemporary thinkers such as Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, Luce Iragaray, and Noam Chomsky. There are short entries on key concepts such as personal identity and the mind-body problem, major doctrines from utilitarianism to Marxism, schools of thought such as the Heidelberg School or the Vienna Circle, and contentious public issues such as abortion, capital punishment, and welfare. In addition, the book offers short explanations of philosophical terms (qualia, supervenience, iff), puzzles (the Achilles paradox, the prisoner's dilemma), and curiosities (the philosopher's stone, slime). Almost every entry is accompanied by suggestions for further reading, and the book includes both a chronological chart of the history of philosophy and a gallery of portraits of eighty eminent philosophers. An indispensable guide and a constant source of stimulation and enlightenment, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy will appeal to everyone interested in abstract thought, the eternal questions, and the foundations of human understanding. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars a good introduction, but be wary of the assumptions
Although I agree that there is much valuable information in this work, it should also be noted that this reference work is an artifact and an outgrowth of the context from which it arose. Specifically, this work is the result of the type of philosophical inquiry promulgated by those who contributed to it (see partial list above), and thus, many of the entries found in this work can be traced to the now receding tradition of Oxford philosopy that rested on the foundations of logical positivism and linguistic analysis. As a result definitions such as the one for "synthetic a priori judgements" traced back to Kant is treated from a perspective endemic to analytic philosophy in which the idea is treated as if it were put forth as a proposition when, in reality, Kant made no such appeal to propositional values in and of themselves, but was concerned with the nature of human knowledge and reality itself. Being cognizant of the analytic bent of this reference source reveals that the source of this error lies in the fundamental misunderstanding of philosophers enamored by linguistic analysis who imposed this interpretation on the work of Kant to support their own (philosophers such as J.L Austin, Wittgenstein, Gilbert Ryle and Geoffrey Warnock) common point of view.
Another telling example of the inherent philosophical bias presented in this work can be found in the definition of philosophy itself. In the opening paragraph of this entry philosophy is defined as "thinking about thinking," which follows that way that Oxford philosophers had attempted to define it, despite a tradition of over 2,000 years in which understanding the nature of reality--in all of its variated and complex ways--was viewed as the underlying philosophical problem pursued by the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and the British Empiricists to Hegel, Heidegger, Nietzsche and Sartre, representing an unbroken tradition of thought to this day.
Being aware of the subjective nature of a text such as this illustrates the truism that all texts are inherently and necessarily products of the minds that create them, and even texts that purport to be merely informational and introductory carry within them certain prescribed ways of presenting knowledge, which can have serious ramifications on the understanding of knowledge itself. Thus as it is with this work, like all philosophical texts, one should not merely accept the statements presented within this work as objectiviely true, but use them as fertile points of departure for critical thinking, meditation and further investigation; that is where the true value of this work lies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent thumbnail sketches of most philosophers
I would recommend this book for thereader who wants to have a ready source of information available to him about topics in philosophy and particular philosophers that he may encounter in his general reading of books dealing with history ,social science and biography.Some of the thumbnail sketches are too brief and a few contain incorrect information.For instance,the discussion of the principle of indifference(POI) references chapter 9 of J M Keynes's A Treatise on Probability.This chapter includes a brief summary of the POI.However,the main discussion of the POI occurs in chapter 4,not chapter 9(See p.410).The discussion of John Maynard Keynes contains an error.Nowhere in the General Theory(1936) does Keynes suggest or recommend a countercyclical fiscal policy based on deficit finance.In the period 1942-1944,Keynes did analyse and support the concept of a capital account ,separated from the rest of the government budget,that would deal with the financing of long lived infrastructure( public sector) projects that wouldpay for themselves over the life time of the project.Only these types of projects would be initially funded by government borrowing.(See p.442).

5-0 out of 5 stars A good resource for both layperson & academic

Speaking as a layperson I found this book gave an extremely wide coverage of recent, & past, philosophy. The varied entries are easy enough for an intelligent layperson to understand, yet they had the depth that would be useful for undergrad philosophy students.

As well as covering the greats, and different branches of philosophy, there was good coverage of contemporary philosophers - something lacking other encyclopaedias/Dictionaries. Also, an eye-opener,was the coverage of some [possibly] curious problems [e.g. death] which, again, are not found in many other works of reference.

In contrast to another recent popular tome [the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy] this book is definitely NOT dry and boring. This is important, as it combats the image of the philosopher as a dull academic with nothing of interest to say about life.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Thinker's best friend
If there's one volume on philosophy to own, it is this one. Its entries on the canonical philosophers are in-depth and first-rate distillations. All the most famous thought experiments are summarized, and many of the more esoteric philosophical concepts explained. It is heavy on logical concepts; indeed, there's a decided Anglo-American Analytic bent.
Which leads to my problem. One thing for which the volume can be criticized is the lack of strong representation of contemporary Continental (post-structuralist or deconstructionist) thought. When it does appear, it is sometimes given a dressing-down of sorts. Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Chomsky, Irigaray, Foucault etc. are given short shrift--and I myself am rather partisan to the analytic-pragmatic tradition, but I see no reason to virtually ignore these very important developments in critical fields. Otherwise, this is the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best General Book on Philosophy, with a qualification
If there's one volume on philosophy to own, it is this one. Its entries on the canonical philosophers are in-depth and first-rate distillations. All the most famous thought experiments are summarized, and many of the more esoteric philosophical concepts explained. It is heavy on logical concepts; indeed, there's a decided Anglo-American Analytic bent.

Which leads to my one problem with it. One thing for which the volume can be criticized is the lack of strong representation of contemporary Continental (post-structuralist or deconstructionist) thought. When it does appear, it is sometimes given a dressing-down of sorts. Thinkers like Foucault, Derrida, Jameson, Deleuze, Chomsky, Irigaray, etc. are given short shrift--and I myself am rather partisan to the analytic-pragmatic tradition, but I see no reason to virtually ignore these very important developments in critical fields. ... Read more


133. More Than Human : Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement
by Ramez Naam
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0767918436
Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 12069
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Realistic and optimistic
In the last few years there have been a number of books that have served as excellent apologies for the ongoing and very rapid technological developments. The authors of these books have their own beliefs as to the actual rate of technological progress, but they are uniform in their unrelenting optimism about this progress. This is indeed refreshing, considering that most authors that discuss scientific and technological development seem to have one singular goal: to instill anxiety and foreboding in their readers. The author of this book will have none of that, and has written a book that projects a future that is both believable and scientifically realistic. In addition, the author does not hesitate to speculate, but is always careful to note when his speculations begin and end. He also points out the risks that are involved in human modification, and exhibits caution when it is appropriate.

One particular topic that the author addresses early on is gene therapy, and considering the hit that gene therapy has taken in the press recently, this is an appropriate choice of topics. It would be unwise to dismiss the viability of gene therapy so early in the game, and the biotech industry needs to be more aggressive in its development. The author discusses some of the applications of gene therapy, including that of the isolation of the growth hormone erythropoietin (EPO) in order to treat anemia. EPO gene therapy could be used by athletes to boost performance, but the author cautions that EPO is probably responsible for the deaths of several athletes in the early 1990's. He also describes alternative strategies using gene promoters, that will allow the control of the EPO levels, and also "hybrid" approaches that involve both the taking of pills and gene therapy. Also discussed are gene therapies for cosmetic enhancement, for curing baldness, and for curing Alzheimer's disease. Gene therapy for the latter involves the modification of neurons in order that they have extra copies of the gene responsible for production of NGF (nerve growth factor).

Some laboratory evidence involving laboratory mice indicates that NGF gene therapy could improve their learning and memory. The author points out one experiment where extra levels of NGF enabled mice to navigate a maze about 60 percent faster than normal mice. He also discusses research where mice were genetically engineered to have extra copies of the NR2B gene, which produces proteins that are needed for the NMDA receptors in the hippocampus. These mice learned things more quickly at any age than normal mice. The downside of this genetic engineering is that the mice also "unlearned" more quickly, and seemed to be more susceptible to pain than ordinary mice.

Another unique feature of this book that sets it apart from other apologies for enhancement technologies is the inclusion of statistical evidence for many of its assertions. The reader will find bar graphs, references to pertinent statistical studies in the literature, and other graphs as appropriate. Particularly interesting is the graph on worldwide life expectancy, since it indicates that life expectancy at later age has not risen much in the last one hundred years. The author then proceeds to give a fascinating account of the research that has been done in life extension in the last few years. Some of this research involved the changing of a single gene, which for the case of the nematode worm resulted in the tripling of its life span. Even though his discussion is fairly short, the author gives enough to motivate the reader to search for more in-depth discussion of the research in this very exciting area. The possibility of increasing human life spans by decades or more will of course raise the interest of the majority of people. The author believes that therapies that can increase human life span will enter into human trials within the next decade. This is a very optimistic projection considering the current perceptions of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

Readers who are impatient to get on with the genetic engineering of humans will have to wait a little longer. As the author reminds us, the germline genetic engineering of a human embryo has not been attempted as of yet. The gene therapy for Ashanti DeSilva was `somatic' gene therapy, and could not be passed on to her children. The author though mentions a procedure that would blur the distinction between germline genetic engineering and somatic gene therapy. It involves in utero gene therapy, and is done while the fetus is still in the mother's womb. Such a technique was never carried out, due to regulatory restrictions, but the author gives several reasons why it could be viable. Genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart problems could be eliminated he says by this technique. The author points out, interestingly, that 59 percent of the American population approves of the use of genetic engineering to eliminate disease from the unborn. It is actually surprising, at least to this reviewer, that this figure is so high, given the anxiety about genetic engineering in general, even in areas as "trivial" ethically as genetically modified crops. In addition, and this is most refreshing to read, the number of Americans who approve of genetic engineering to create desired traits in children went from 10 percent in 1994 to 20 percent in 2002, according to a study quoted in the book. This is a promising trend, and gives one hope that the population as a whole will eventually appreciate the ethical soundness of using genetic engineering.

The author also addresses the controversy on human reproductive cloning, noting correctly that it is not safe to perform today, but supporting its use when safety concerns have been overcome. Reproductive cloning will hopefully become routine in this century, and human clones will enjoy the rights that all humans have. Banning reproductive cloning is not necessary, the author argues. Clones will be ordinary people, like the rest of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lucid and wonder inducing, M.T.H. is a must read!
In More Than Human, Naam's writing is a compelling look at our probable future. Through genetic techniques, drugs, computer and robotic technology, we will have many avenues to enhance our minds and bodies.

Naam presents a wonderful and engaging survey of current, cutting-edge scientific research across various fields including medicine, genetics, biology, robotics, and computers. The central theme, of course, is that all of these endeavors involve improving the human body and/or mind.

Unfortunately, many oppose the idea of enhancing our minds and bettering our bodies. They argue that such desires are "unnatural" and go against what it means to be human. They further believe that decisions on the future technologies of bio-enhancement should be made by a select few. Naam convincingly argues that the desire to improve and enhance ourselves is in fact a central trait that defines our humanity. Indeed, nothing could be more "natural" than the interest in improving ones abilities, including the ability to have better, longer, and healthier lives. Naam also demonstrates how the governance of these issues by an elite cadre of political appointees is ultimately more harmful than allowing the billions of inviduals who will make use of these bio-enhancements to choose for themselves.

In sum, Naam writes clearly and with infectious excitementabout topics that could easily be confused as science fiction. The great wonder however, as Naam is able to show us, is that these topics are very much science fact. We can not avoid what bio-enhancement will do to us as individuals and to our society. We should allow our enthusiasm and optimism to fully accept the inevitable changes that are coming, so that with full understanding we can properly integrate them into our lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars A rare voice: rigorous and accessible
Naam describes recent scientific advances with the rigor of an academic researcher, but in terms that you don't need a PhD to understand.He also does an insightful job of relating recent breakthroughs to historic scientific firsts.For example, he makes a credible case that someday choosing the genes of your children will be just as common and non-creepy as in-vitro fertilization is today.He covers a wide range of topics, describing science that could lead to 150 year lifespans or being able to google things just by thinking about them.I was hoping for a bit more about nanotechnology, but maybe it's still a bit early for that.;)

He explains how these technologies can be helpful to society if embraced.The more compelling argument is how frightening they could be if restricted.He draws astute connections to the rise of already common technologies like reading or antibiotics.Even if you don't agree with everything he believes, his position is well argued, and insightful.

Most importantly, from a crowd screaming in panic about a changing world, Naam's perspective stands out as calm, optimistic, logical and caring.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why I Wrote This Book
In 1999, a friend suggested to me that within a few decades we'd have Matrix-esque implants in our brains that would, among other things, allow us to interact in a completely believable virtual reality and beam our thoughts instantly to one another.I pooh-pooh'ed the idea.The brain and body are much too complex to manipulate in that way, or so I thought.

That same year a scientist named Phil Kennedy in Atlanta implanted an electrode into the brain of a paralyzed patient named Johnny Ray - a stroke victim who was completely unable to move, speak, or feed himself.The electrode monitored the activity of just a few neurons inside the patients brain. But through it Johnny was able to learn to control a computer - moving a cursor around on a screen and typing out messages.

Later that year, Joe Tsien at Princeton made the cover of Time Magazine with his Doogie mice - genetically engineered mice that could learn at astounding speeds, up to five times as fast as genetically normal mice.

And that year is also when I learned of the pioneering longevity research of scientists like Tom Johnston at Colorado, who had genetically altered nematode worms to more than double their lifespan and preserve youthful health into old age.

Suddenly, it seemed, science was resembling science fiction.

At the same time, there are a number of voices raised in concern over these technologies.What does it mean to extend our lives, boost our mental abilities, or integrate our minds with computers?Would we still be human?What would happen to society?To equality?To the meaning of life?

I wrote this book to cover these two, interrelated topics:

1)The science of human enhancement - what's actually happening in the labs and what that could lead to in the near future.

2)The ethics, social consequences, and policy challenges of human enhancement.Basically, what we should or shouldn't do with this technology.

More Than Human is an optimistic book, but it's a cautious optimism.Along the way it looks at issues like the effect of longer lives on overpopulation, on socio-economic stratification and whether these technologies would help the rich pull further away from the poor, and at issues like human identity, and whether we could even call ourselves human after changing ourselves in such ways.

It's not a utopian book.There can be no doubt that using biotechnology to alter the human mind, body, and lifespan will lead to problems.But the conclusion I come to in the book is that these technologies will solve more problems than they create.And that the alternative - to prohibit their use - will create many more problems than it will solve.

You can read more at http://www.morethanhuman.org/

I hope you enjoy the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent though too optimistic account of humanity's future
Naam touches on many of the most crucial milestones in the most optimistic visions of humanity's future: genetic medicine, drug therapies, human cloning, and cybernetic enhancement to name a few. He does so in a way that is scientifically rigorous without becoming mired in the details in a way that would make the account difficult to read for those without a scientific background.

Some readers may be put off by the directness with which he approaches issues which are very controversial, but these technologies are already in use and Naam makes a persuasive argument that, like it or not, the rest of them will be in regular use sooner or later.

While I am personally skeptical of the rose colored glasses through which Naam looks at the future, this book is an undeniably excellent introduction to our technological future and is an enjoyable read at that. ... Read more


134. Buddhism Plain and Simple
by STEVE HAGEN
list price: $10.00
our price: $7.50
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Asin: 0767903323
Catlog: Book (1998-12-29)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 4240
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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You might want to digest this book slowly, a few pages at a time. Although Zen teacher Steve Hagen has a knack for putting the philosophy of Buddhism in a "plain and simple" package, it may take a while to sink in. There is so much there. Seeing reality, realizing the wisdom of the self, breaking free of dualistic thinking--this is pretty heady stuff. Thankfully, Hagen passes it along in the form of examples from life, psychological tidbits, and stories from Buddhist teachers past and present. And when it clicks in, it can be life-transforming. Hagen explains this shift in outlook and how the fundamental way we look at the world affects everything we do. As an outline, Hagen follows the basic teachings of the Buddha, and we see that, rather than dogmatic truths, they are reminders for us as we reconsider the life we have taken for granted for so long. As it turns out, Buddhism is life, plain and simple. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (88)

2-0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING BOOK...BUT PLAIN AND "SIMPLE"?
Buddhism is no stranger to me since I have followed its philosophies for many, many years; however, the mere words contained in the title of this book (plain and simple)indicate it might be particularly insightful to those who are novices or beginners to Buddhism. While this book certainly contains basic knowledge, I question if someone who has little or no prior understanding of the subject could fully comprehend the rather complex philosophies of Buddhism as explained by Mr. Hagen. It is one thing to know the subject, it is quite another matter to be able to explain it in laymen's terms. Through its 159 pages, the book says a lot, but its explanation is often confusing. On the other hand, if you are an experienced follower of these principles, you will probably find the material very elementary indeed, lacking any in-depth substance and extremely repetitious of other similar books.

For those who are just beginning their insightful journey to Buddhism and enlightenment, I highly recommend you begin with the book, "Awakening the Buddha Within," by Lama Surya Das. It is easily understood with Buddhist philosophies adapted to the Western World, and well written in laymen's terms. The book is lengthier and far more complete in subject matter than "Buddhism Plain and Simple". May you find the Buddha within and the spiritual path to enlightenment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple in nature, complex in context
What an insight!

The title, "Buddhism Plain and Simple," serves a-perhaps unintended-double meaning. First the content of the book itself is, for such a difficult subject to the 'western' mind, simplifying to the nature of Buddhism. In most of the so-called western world, Buddhism is another religion a kin to Hinduism and a slew of unnamed cast based worldviews. Hagen skillfully and logically reduces the original concepts preached by the Buddha as a way of seeing the world, a philosophy of sorts, and strips off the many colorful layers of lore and culture acquired through the religion's sweep into Indo-Tibet, thus presenting the most simplified form of Buddhist teaching available. The alternate understanding of the book's title is that Buddhism itself is, by nature, the idea of life as simplicity applied. While this concept may be difficult to grasp (especially for those who have not been raised with eastern philosophy) it is, nonetheless, simple. Get it?

Anyone (really, anyone) desiring to gain an applicable understanding of "Buddhist philosophy" (for lack of a better term) should start with this book. Take the time to read it carefully, reread it, mull it, and then see how it affects you. The least you can expect to gain from Hagen's work, is a better understanding of the simplicity that life has to offer to those willing to let go.

2-0 out of 5 stars Inaccessible
I have to agree with petersmaclean. I have no prior knowledge of Buddhism and picked up this book out of intellectual curiosity. I finished it, after having forced myself to get through it all. The book is written in a fluffy and nebulous way. The author talks of "seeing" (if I see that word in italics again I'm going to puke), and his explanations build off of weak analogies. When I put the book down, I felt I had no substantial knowledge of Buddhism, aside from some foggy notion of enlightenment. Towards the end, the book reads like a cult handbook. I got the feeling that it only makes sense once you've bought into it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books
This book cuts to the chase. Its not page after page of fluff and abstract as many Buddist books are. This book goes straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught and not all the "extras" that have been tacked on by various sects. Mr. Hagen has an excellent straight forward writing style and he doesnt complicate the teachings. I have read over 30 books on Buddism and this book is light years ahead of the rest. For those who need a lot of airy-fairy gobbly gook type stuff, this is not your book. For those who take being AWAKE seriously..you wont find a better guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment without trying
I've read a number of books about Zen and Buddhism, and feel that this is about the best. Especially for someone like me with a basic understanding this was very helpful. Hagen sets out the history of Buddhism and with few words spells out how you and I can find peace of mind and gain wisdom through simple practices, and without the need of a "guru", "teacher", or "spiritual guide". The author has a clear writing style that gets directly to the point without trying to be too cute or complex. I would recommend this book to any friend. ... Read more


135. A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Acariya Anuruddha (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings)
by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bodhi, Anuruddha
list price: $24.00
our price: $24.00
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Asin: 1928706029
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: Pariyatti Press
Sales Rank: 94697
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars All you ever wanted to learn about the Theravada Abhidhamma
I heard that this book is supposed to be an *introduction* to the Abhidhamma. I heard that in Burma, this text must be memorized before one will have the opportunity to study from the Abhidhamma masters. The original canonical Abhidhamma is supposed to go into thousands of pages, with the commentaries adding more pages. However, Acariya Anuruddha managed to squeeze practically ALL of the accumulated and developed Abhidhamma doctrine from the time of Emperor Asoka (3rd century BCE) to the 12th century CE (1500 years!) into about 50 pages!!!

Needless to say, this text was renowned for being not only extremely comprehensive, but incredibly concise (perhaps "compressed" is a better word). Various English translations, most notably the Ven. Narada version came and went. Bhikkhu Bodhi had outdone himself in this translation, since he included extensive diagrams of the matika (matrix) and was also supported by two Burmese monks. His own commentary was extremely helpful in deciphering this heavy, difficult (but not impossible) text.

I don't think there was any topic of the Abhidhamma which was missed in this text. It's all here! Not only are there the categories of consciousness, mental factors, matter, etc., but there are two extremely interesting chapters on the cognitive and rebirth processes. There are also sections on karma, pannati (concepts), and the Unconditioned Itself (Nibbana). Anyone reading this will walk away knowing more about the Abhidhamma than most other people. If you're a meditator, then this book is a MUST because it provides a general framework of study, as well as potential meditation objects.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great buy for meditators
Though the advice of Achaan Chah about studying one's own heart rather than Abhidhamma should be kept in mind like a shining star when tackling anything regarding it, still the reading of this book may provide a framework for one's own mind where to insert experiences: one in which conventional items may not be needed for their comprehension.
A final line: of course meditate, let go of the unwholesome factors, cultivate the wholesome ones and purificate you mind, but also consider buying this book and dedicate the high degree of attention it needs to be understood and perhaps the world will look even a little more different than usual afterwards :-) ... Read more


136. The Perennial Philosophy
by Aldous Huxley
list price: $14.00
our price: $14.00
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Asin: 0060901918
Catlog: Book (1990-07-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 15929
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Both an anthology and an interpretation of the supreme mystics, East and West. . . . A magnificent achievement."--Rufus M. Jones "In his absorption and other-worldliness, he soars clear out of sight."--The New Yorker ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Father and I are One.
One reason Huxley titled this anthology The Perennial "Philosophy" was out of respect for the various religious traditions of the world. To suggest, as some of my fellow reviewers have, that Huxley had something up his metaphysical sleeve is to fail to see the forest for the trees. Philosophy is nothing if it is not the right to question anything. You and I have a right to our opinion, a keystone of Freedom-Religious, and otherwise. Huxley respected personal freedom. If you don't like his book, fine. To suggest Huxley had some sinister motive here is, in my opinion, a mistake. What Huxley was trying to do, and quite admirably I might add, was to share with the reader the fact that the mystic tradition is fundamental within all of the world's great religions. That there is a universal mystical experience that transcends the differences we might otherwise have. That our religious founders had more in common than we might suppose. That we have more in common than we might suppose. That we should cherish the essential while respecting our differences. One caveat. I am not preaching toleration for tolerations sake here. Nor do I believe was Huxley. We each need to make our stand. Some choose to make a stand for universal brotherhood. Some choose to stand for a chosen few. Some choose to stand alone. We can make such a personal choice without demonizing others, for it does not matter what we believe if we do not have love in our heart. I believe, as I believe did Huxley, that we are all God's children, made in the image of God. That we are both physical and spiritual beings. That God is Love. That is my kind of Philosophia Perennis.

5-0 out of 5 stars The answer!...for this reader, at least!
I am ordering this book again after losing my first copy on the bus. Whoever picked it up is welcome to it; I'm happy for anyone whose life this book is lucky enough to enrich. One reviewer picked on the fact that Eastern & Western religions are totally incompatible & have nothing in common. This misses the point of the book; the DOGMA of Eastern & Western religion are indeed incompatible, which (as Huxley aptly demonstrates) is exactly the problem with organized religion. In fact, the dogma of nearly all religions tend to exclude each other, making religion just another worldly argument. Worldly arguments are not supposed to be the point of religion; the point of religion is to enlighten (or "save") the faithful. No dogma or beliefs can do this; however, all religions have an element that touches on how it may be done. Huxley ties these common threads together into an elegant tapestry for the dogma-weary seeker after truth to contemplate. To use myself as an example, I am not interested in achieving full enlightenment just yet; there are many worldly things I wish to do yet. One can become as balanced as one wishes to be. For those interested in such things, I recommend this book very highly. Also, I recommend "Island", a Huxley novel I regularly buy used copies of & give away for free!

5-0 out of 5 stars I can't think of a title
Some reviews on this book come from people who are not informed about the context, to the modern day teenager (I'm a teenager but I'm just better) who has such a "modern" view of life (close minded view of life) that they do not get a chance to fully appreciate the "Perennial philosophy", maybe it's because I'm a literature and philosophy person that I enjoyed this book, but I let my friend Julie read it and I hate to say this but I must, she isn't exactly the brightest spot on the wall and me and her sat at Starbucks and talked about this book for hours on end, after that, we went and had dinner and after that I am sitting at this computer and reviewing this book because I have a physics exam tomorrow and I am not studying for it because I am an idiot, oh and on top of that, I have a six page essay on Hamlet due tomorrow, I think it is my time to leave. Give the book a chance even if it is just to able to say that you have read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Partisan Beliefs
This classic compendium of cross-cultural mystical references, entertainingly and informatively fleshed out by the author of Brave New World and Doors of Perception, is a welcome reference for anyone curious about serious, accessible literature on the nature of the eternal, the timeless, and the one--mysticism in a positive sense. It is peculiar in some respects: Huxley believes in the efficacy of magic (~morphic resonance); he is convinced that Hinduism and Buddhism are intrinsically less violent world views than the great monotheisms (based on their history); and he uses some strange, and slightly fuddy-duddy phrases, such as "poverty of spirit" to designate a positive condition. He emphasizes the necessity of including spirit along with body and mind in any complete description of humanity. Some of the strangeness of this work to the modern reader owes to its datedness; it was written in 1944, and Huxley is clearly hugely disenchanted with the nationalistic politics that have been tearing the world apart. Some of the strangeness owes to Huxley's vocabulary which, like any mystical vocabulary, must be oblique. Nonetheless, it would be difficult to imagine a more useful, diverse, or erudite compendium of mysticism in a work of this size. I was delighted and surprised to see that he even referenced Alan Watts, who only came into his own as a writer decades later, but was already analyzing, in more technical works, eastern philosophy such as Zen. The basic idea of the philosophia perennis, or perennial philosophy, is that nirvana and samsara, time and eternity, the individual and the cosmos are one. This insight is described as advaita in Hinduism, annata in Buddhism, and (though perhaps less clearly) the union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Christianity. Islamic mystic Jallaludin Rumi wrote poems about it, and Zen banned reading of sacred works to foment it. Huxley, like Watts, thinks Jesus was a misunderstood mystic; J.C.'s main difference seems to be that he staked his life on the essential nonduality of himself and the universe, barely flinching along the way. Huxley would no doubt be thrilled to see the veritable scientific proofs of the cross-cultural insights collectively termed the perennial philosophy in experiments such as those by Alain Aspect, explained by "ontological" quantum theories such as those of David Bohm. He would not, however, be happy to see the present slide back toward medieval-style religionizing in the name of partisan beliefs and blood politics.

5-0 out of 5 stars "We read to know that we are not alone" (C.S. Lewis)
This is a good anthology of the perennial philosophy. The design is easy to follow and too interesting to put aside. The excerpts from many sources are organized in such subjects as "Good and Evil" and "Time and Eternity." He specifically chose people that experienced what they are talking about as apposed to philosophers that take educated guesses at Reality. Some individual reader may come to different conclusions. But at least what is presented here is a concept not to be missed.
This book makes a great stepping stone to all the other writings and a good starting place for ones personal quest. There is a pretty comprehensive list of recommended books.
The excerpts are encapsulated with a clear definition and other examples of what is being expressed. It is always better to have someone tell you what you already know but in a different way. This allows for different insights. More then that it lets us know that "We are not alone." ... Read more


137. Roots of Wisdom (with InfoTrac)
by Helen Buss Mitchell
list price: $75.95
our price: $75.95
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Asin: 0534552994
Catlog: Book (2001-03-14)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 452895
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Focusing on universal, current issues of concern to all people, ROOTS OF WISDOM leads students to the understanding that philosophical inquiry can provide. The chapters are framed by issues, but move chronologically using the canon of traditional philosophy as the thread. Women philosophers and non-western philosophies are integrated throughout as they relate to the canon. Mitchell uses popular culture to illustrate timeless philosophical problems. Her examples of cartoons, poetry, movies, and references to popular music bring the issues of philosophy to life for the student. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Philosophy
Helen Buss Mitchell does a great job at introducing the reader to philosophical topics and concepts through this book and its accompanying "reader" with excerpts from essays by astute philosophical authors. I am currently enrolled in a philosophy telecourse and these are the required books for the class along with two videotapes. IF you can get the videotapes, they help a great deal as well. Mitchell has poets and authors reading some of their work as she discusses how it relates to the topic at hand. Even if you are not enrolled in school but want a solid grounding in philosophy, I highly recommend these books. ... Read more


138. The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
by Epictetus, Sharon Lebell
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0062513222
Catlog: Book (1995-10-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 59684
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can't control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible." The Stoic philosopher Epictetus was born on the eastern edges of the Roman Empire in A.D. 55, but The Art of Living is still perfectly suited for any contemporary self-help or recovery program. To prove the point, this modern interpretation by Sharon Lebell casts the teachings in up-to-date language, with phrases like "power broker" and "casual sex" popping up intermittently. But the core is still the same: Epictetus keeps the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished and abandoning unproductive worry over what cannot. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars It makes we stop to rethink our lives
Epictetus, in the stoic tradition, faces life in such an open-hearted way, that by the first pages we are already totally shocked.

Those short sentences and simple thoughts pack such "weight" and truth in them, that in a matter of minutes you are already questioning all the important decisions you took in the past and start to ask yourself where the heck you thought you were heading... :-)

The worst thing: Even if you don't like what he writes, it totally makes sense and you can feel it inside you... It's terrifying! :-)

As it was supposed to be, this short book is an invaluable manual for good living and peace of mind. It makes all those important "truths" you were taught for years and years, suddenly seem so small, that the phrase "rethink your life" had to be associated to this book.

By teaching us to face life in a different way, this book simply makes us better human beings. The so-called big problems suddenly become small and the otherwise "small things" are turned into a font of happiness.

And the best of all, this book is so cheap and thin, that is hard to find an excuse not to read it! I am sure we all can take at least something of great value to our lives by reading this book.

It is amazing that after thousands of years, nobody can know, explain and understand human nature so well as those ancient Greeks(or Greecians, as some might say...).

Also, if you like this book, check the works of Seneca because they are very, very interesting too!

4-0 out of 5 stars Getting it right. [Epictetus DID address casual sex!]
This book is inspiring, but perhaps confusing from a historical standpoint, given that Lebell doesn't tell us when she's embellishing on the original. Some reviewers have been speculating on what Epictetus did and did not write about. Example: some have complained that he couldn't possibly have addressed "casual sex". A reviewer named "Strict Evaluation" poo-poos Lebell's use of Epictetus's name and skeptically asks "what's the Greek for 'casual sex'?" -- implying that Lebell's book has little relation to Epictetus. I can assure you that that reviewer is uninformed and overdramatic. Case in point:

Lebell writes:

"Abstain from casual sex and particularly avoid sexual intercourse before you get married." ... "If, however, you know someone who has had casual sex, don't self-righteously try to win them over to your own views."

Arrian (Epictetus's sole recorder) writes in the Enchiridion:

"As to pleasure with women, abstain as far as you can before marriage: but if you do indulge in it, do it in the way which is conformable to custom. Do not, however be disagreeable to those who indulge in these pleasures, or reprove them; and do not often boast that you do not indulge in them yourself."

I'd say that Lebell has done a good job of capturing the spirit of what Arrian reported of Epictetus teachings (in this case). She often adds her own extrapolations and interpretations based on (1) her own understanding of the philosophy, and (2) a desire to make the reading more accessible and compelling to her audience. I agree that it would be awfully nice to have references to the original texts for comparison -- or perhaps an original+commentary format -- but before you indict her for complete fabrication, please, at least take a look at the original!

5-0 out of 5 stars My gift to graduates
This book makes a wonderful gift for a new graduate. How many high schools teach philosophy these days? The sensible advice and direction that this modern interpretation provides can be an excellent introduction to philosophy and perhaps widen the scope of thought for young people beyond what 'popular entertainment' offers. I've given this book for several years now and although a graduate may not initially appreciate the ideas presented, eventually it gets picked up and enjoyed.

1-0 out of 5 stars Midadvertised, Diluted, Mistranslated -- But Still Edifying!
Sharon Lebell's "translation" (or should I say more accurately, "rewriting") is worth reading. The advice still makes sense, even though you are reading a greatly DILUTED, MISTRANSLATED, CREATIVELY EDITED, AND WHOLLY "NON-CLASSICAL" alleged translation. A hint that something's amiss is the juxtaposition of Sharon Lebell's name next to Epictetus's. Since when does a translator of a classical author place her name so prominently next to the real author? Answer. When the translations are so different from the original that the juxtaposition of names "Epictetus, Sharon Lebell" accurately portrays the authorship of THIS pseudo-translation of a great classic text. Per the advice of a few previous reviewers, I DID DO SOMETHING SOME PEOPLE MAY CHOOSE TO BYPASS: I consulted a hardcover edition of Epictetus's DISCOURSES and ENCHIRIDION based on the translation of Thomas Wentworth Higginson. It was a worthwhile experience of textual comparison. Take Chapter Thirteen of Epictetus's Discourses: "To Those Who Talk Too Much About Their Own Affairs." Higginson's translation, though somewhat stilted, presents three full pages (328-330) of advice on avoiding gossip, both as a speaker and listener. Lebell's "translation" pares down three dense pages of tiny single space writing into less than one full page of alleged translation. What authority has granted Lebell permission to chop out three-fourths of what Epictetus says on the topic, and so loosely translate whatever remains? Since when is such a divorce from a responsible rendering a "translation?" And can someone clarify this question? Did Epictetus ever write such a puny text called "The Art of Living"? The aforementioned passage contained in Higginson's translation is contained in the Discourses (I saw no mention of "The Art of Living" anywhere. Was that perhaps in a Dalai Lama book? Did the author creatively merge Tibetan Buddhism with Stoic philosophy? That would explain how Lebell could have taken the 330 densely compacted pages of the Discourses, and turned them into a couple of dozen big-lettered paragraphs, most of them failing to amount to a quarter of a page.). No, Lebell's "The Art of Living" is not a translation of Epictetus. But is it useful? Yes. Is it worth reading? Yes, especially if a genuine translation is NOT available. And that's the problem. Few legitimate translations are available. But they are available. This points to another misrepresentation by Lebell and/or her publishers/editors. By calling excerpts from Epictetus "Discourses" (and possible Enchiridion) "The Art of Living" Lebell makes a reader feel that she is providing the reader with a hitherfore untranslated work. Well, gottcha! No such untranslated work. The readers is reading a few creatively translated (mistranslated) snippets from a much larger body of work. So, I can't dare to call Lebell's highly abridged and creatively edition "a translation." It's not. What can I compare it to? Well, there's a wonderful little book called "I Ching Wisdom" written by Wu Wei. It's great. It's worth reading. But when you actually read the new definitive Alfred Huang translation of the I-Ching, you know you are reading a useful, yet greatly altered "Cliff Notes/Fortune Cookie" version of the original. Does this disparage Lebell's contribution? Well, no. Read on their own merits -- not as a translation of Epictetus, but solely as Lebell's "brainstorming" after reading a few of Epictetus's Discourses, etc. -- the book is very good. But the real great tragedy and endictment here points to the irresponsible publishers/editors who saw fit to allow Lebell to abridge and mistranslate excerpts from Epictetus's works, and then try to pass it on to unsuspecting readers as: "The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectivenss." If the source of Lebell's pseudo-translation is Epictetus, then where is her original source? And why didn't the irresponsible publishers/editors ensure that Lebell provided readers with an accurate and complete translation of the Discourses and Enchiridion? As a piece of scholarship, Lebell's pseudo-translation is inexusably irresponsible and shallow. As a valuable contribution to "self help" literature, it's a good quick read for even a 45-minute commuter flight. You can probably read and reread the book in that time. Why even buy it? You can read it while standing at the airport magazine store in less time than it takes to get through airport security. So...if you're interested in Epictetus, go elsewhere. If you want an overpriced misrepresentation of Epictetus with a nice hardcover, then you'll get exactly just that. I only wish Lebell had been ethical enough as an author to have excised Epictetus's name out of the book, in addition to the other 300 or so pages she left out and/or changed beyond recognition. What's the sense of starting to translate a work when you can't get through one-thirtieth of the work? "Buyer Beware!"

5-0 out of 5 stars the wisdom missing from self-help books
This is one of the rare books that doesn't just provide advice on how to make relationships better, better your career, etc. It is not a self-help book! It is a book of wisdom based on the reflections and teachings of a great philosopher. I was impressed. ... Read more


139. Morals, Marriage, and Parenthood: An Introduction to Family Ethics
by Laurence D. Houlgate
list price: $70.95
our price: $70.95
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Asin: 0534551572
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 433369
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Book Description

This ground-breaking text is the first anthology of essays entirely devoted to ethical problems in marriage and family relationships. This collection of classical and contemporary sources brings together a wide range of ethical issues including family ethics, children's rights, and parental responsibilities. ... Read more


140. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
by Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Brian Massumi
list price: $19.95
our price: $17.95
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Asin: 0816614024
Catlog: Book (1987-12-01)
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Sales Rank: 13983
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars mad creation
In their final work together, "What is Philosophy?" Guattari and Deleuze envision philosophy as moving at infinite speeds in a mad creation of concepts. This formula is expressed marvelously in "A Thousand Plateaus". In roughly each "plateau", the authors explore a different opposition, although always in relation to the previous concepts, as well as those that are yet to be fully elaborated. Some of these oppositions include smooth/ Striated, rhizome/ tree, war machine/ State, etc. Each one loosely overlaps with the others, although by no means are they synonymous. However, because a similar formula is used to explore each of these oppositions, this greatly facilitates understanding the book, especially since the authors aren't always the clearest writers. However, because many of the central themes (including the fundamental opposition between creative forces and those forces which attempt to halt creation or bring it under control) are repeated, even if confusing at first, this book eventually starts to make sense. The ideas expressed in it are applicable to countless aspects of society and life (and even inorganic structures), such as the rhizome, which desribes a system in which elements interact horizontally, maintaining their heterogeneity (a prime example of this is the internet). My only complaint about "A Thousand Plateaus" is that the authors, despite their rigorous defining of various concepts, often present examples of these concepts poorly, assuming that the reader has knowledge of the examples, introducing them without preparation and then leaving them behind. For example, in plateau 3, "the geology of morals", i was able to understand the basic "abstract machine" described but unable to understand how the given examples fit into the plateau without resorting to an outside source. Of course, why use Guattari and Deleuze's examples when there are numerous instances of these "abstract machine" all around us?

5-0 out of 5 stars The masterpiece of modern French philosophy.
Anti-Oedipus, the first collaboration by Deleuze and Guattari, is more famous than a Thousand Plateaus, but this is their masterpiece. It takes a while to get used to their strange terms and phrases, and an English-schooled "analytical" philosopher would probably find their work to be nonsense, but D & G work differently. They are creators of concepts, and A Thousand Plateaus is overflowing with them. The book moves from meditations on the face, to nomads, to courtly love, to geology, to, well, a thousand other things . . . you name it. A reader who is willing to be led where they will take him is in for quite a trip.

Philosophically, D & G seem to be proponants of a dynamic, highly charged, pre-conventional world, in which even individual identity is not yet a given. They do not suppose that we can live in this world and function normally, but we can tap into it, so to speak, and thereby harness energy for more creative living in the "normal" world, the world of conventional ideas, personal identities, etc. (and to some extent transform the "normal" world). But to paraphrase their ideas in this way is to lose the excitement they generate as they dive into specific topics--the musical refrain, schizophrenia, rhizomes, laws, and so on and so on--ever coming up with new and surpising interpretations. This book has endless riches for the reader to discover.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Crunched for time on an English essay, and because ILL'ing the book would have taken too long, I was forced to buy this book. So I figured I would review it.

While overall it is very interesting, and the style matches the nature of the content (postmodernism discussed in fragmented chps, props to the authors), this book is dense as hell, often very pretentious; you can't read this while listening to music, trust me.

5-0 out of 5 stars my endless book
I have been reading this book for about 10 years. Evertime I look at it I get something new from it. D&G offer the most brilliant analysis of capitalism and modernity that I know of, and I am extremely well read on these subjects. They explain the relationship between not only such negatives as exploitation on the one hand and capitalism or "development" on the other, as Marx did. They also show how capital accumulation is dependent upon such things as sadnness and resentment.

In a way consistent with Marx, D&G celebrate the creative "deterritorialization" (everything that is solid melting into air, in other words) that comes with captalism. Their solution to the devaluation of life (as evidenced by the relationship between capitalism and war, hot or cold, on Communism, drugs, crime or terror) that also characterizes our situation is to push that deterritorialization further (to reject reterritorialization). My one main criticism of them is that this is an inadequate solution. Nobody else has much of an answer either, however.

To read this book it is nice if you are familiar with Nietzsche, Marx and Freud (especially Nietzsche), but almost noone will be familiar with everything they reference. The best advice is to not get bogged down in what you don't "get" right away. Give the book time. It can be worth it. As Massumi the translator says, reading this book can be a lot of fun, but if it doesn't work for you go buy a new CD or something and enjoy that instead. Lastly, this is not a "postmodern" book, despite what some of your professors might tell you. It is staunchly in a Marxist tradition (see some of Guattari's solo work on this) and it is in the lineage of a Nietzschian sort of antinomian philosophy that Deleuze would actually trace back to Spinoza and the Medeival theologian, Duns Scotus.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be challenged
This is an amazing book to shake some cobwebs out of your mind,
and a bargain.

It's in a word, bizarre, and even makes Habermas much easier to read.

I can see why (taken at face value) most people would consider this to be nonsense. OK maybe God is not a lobster, but you deserve to figure it out for yourself one way or another.

If one confronts the difficulty of talking about anything without imposing some sort of fixed view that's simply personal and limited, they give it a shot here. They back up far beyond the horizon to attempt to give some scope.

Whether they accomplish this is up to you.

I found the book to be very useful in making connections "lines of flight", while also at the same time understanding local hierarchies.

To use consultant jargon, there are lots of "take aways" from this book but it certainly doesn't require that you take anything at face value, consider it more of a way to crowbar some fixed concepts out of the way and consider alternatives. ... Read more


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