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‘Wonderful and timely … Hugely recommended’ STEPHEN FRY
What do you and an ancient philosopher have in common? It turns out much more than you might think…
Aristotle was an extraordinary thinker yet he was preoccupied by an ordinary question: how to be happy. In this handbook to his timeless teachings, Professor Edith Hall shows how ancient thinking is precisely what we need today, even if you don’t know your Odyssey from your Iliad. In ten practical lessons you can learn how to make good decisions, how to ace an interview, how to choose a partner and how to face death. This is advice that won’t go out of fashion.
‘A beguiling cross between Mary Beard and Mary Poppins’ Observer
Hall (Introducing the Ancient Greeks), a professor of classics specializing in ancient Greek literature at King's College, delivers an expansive, practical assessment of Aristotle intended to help readers navigate life. "Wherever you are in life," Hall writes, "Aristotle's ideas can make you happier." Concerns such as living up to one's potential, making important decisions, and assessing another person's intentions as factors in moral responsibility are Hall's main concerns. Aristotle was the first philosopher, in Hall's estimation, to question the traditional notion of happiness as being synonymous with good health, loving family, and freedom from poverty or destitution. Instead, he wondered whether happiness is an internal state that cannot be measured empirically. With reference to modern neuroscience and physiology, Hall applies Aristotle's core ideas to an array of modern situations. She handles weighty, difficult topics such as depression and everyday tasks such as preparing for an important meeting or job interview with the same measured, clear prose. General readers might struggle with Hall's level of philosophical discourse; however, for academics or the philosophically inclined, her book is an engaging, thrilling approach to Aristotle's pragmatic thought. It is a useful introduction to the ideas of one of the most important philosophers in world history.