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A humorous and philosophical trip through life, from the New York Times–bestselling coauthor of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .   Daniel Klein’s fans have fallen in love with the warm, humorous, and thoughtful way he shows how philosophy resonates in everyday life. Readers of his popular books Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . and Travels with Epicurus co A humorous and philosophical trip through life, from the New York Times–bestselling coauthor of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .   Daniel Klein’s fans have fallen in love with the warm, humorous, and thoughtful way he shows how philosophy resonates in everyday life. Readers of his popular books Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . and Travels with Epicurus come for enlightenment and stay for the entertainment. As a young college student studying philosophy, Klein filled a notebook with short quotes from the world’s greatest thinkers, hoping to find some guidance on how to live the best life he could. Now, from the vantage point of his eighth decade, Klein revisits the wisdom he relished in his youth with this collection of philosophical gems, adding new ones that strike a chord with him at the end of his life. From Epicurus to Emerson and Camus to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr—whose words provided the title of this book—each pithy extract is annotated with Klein’s inimitable charm and insights. In these pages, our favorite jokester–philosopher tackles life’s biggest questions, leaving us chuckling and enlightened. 


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A humorous and philosophical trip through life, from the New York Times–bestselling coauthor of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .   Daniel Klein’s fans have fallen in love with the warm, humorous, and thoughtful way he shows how philosophy resonates in everyday life. Readers of his popular books Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . and Travels with Epicurus co A humorous and philosophical trip through life, from the New York Times–bestselling coauthor of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .   Daniel Klein’s fans have fallen in love with the warm, humorous, and thoughtful way he shows how philosophy resonates in everyday life. Readers of his popular books Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . and Travels with Epicurus come for enlightenment and stay for the entertainment. As a young college student studying philosophy, Klein filled a notebook with short quotes from the world’s greatest thinkers, hoping to find some guidance on how to live the best life he could. Now, from the vantage point of his eighth decade, Klein revisits the wisdom he relished in his youth with this collection of philosophical gems, adding new ones that strike a chord with him at the end of his life. From Epicurus to Emerson and Camus to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr—whose words provided the title of this book—each pithy extract is annotated with Klein’s inimitable charm and insights. In these pages, our favorite jokester–philosopher tackles life’s biggest questions, leaving us chuckling and enlightened. 

30 review for Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It: Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “I am fascinated by the questions philosophers raise and the answers that they offer. They bewitch me. But at the same time, I am skeptical of any philosopher who thinks he knows any absolute answer. I gather that this sequence – question, answer, skeptical response to answer….next question, please – is what professional philosophers do full time. It is like taking a hair-raising spin in a racing car only to discover that the roadway is a Mobuis strip” Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They “I am fascinated by the questions philosophers raise and the answers that they offer. They bewitch me. But at the same time, I am skeptical of any philosopher who thinks he knows any absolute answer. I gather that this sequence – question, answer, skeptical response to answer….next question, please – is what professional philosophers do full time. It is like taking a hair-raising spin in a racing car only to discover that the roadway is a Mobuis strip” Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It is the sixth non-fiction book by American author, Daniel Klein. Now in his seventies, Klein examines and comments on the philosophical quotes and aphorisms he wrote in his “Pithies” notebook during his twenties and thirties, when he was searching for guidance on how to live his life. At this stage of his life, however, “I have to admit that in the past few decades, I don’t seem to have much interest in ferreting out my deepest self…..I know that Nietzsche would admonish me to deal with it, to keep wrestling with this endless regression of internal contradictions, but these days I would rather spend my time making peace with who, for better and for worse, I have become. In the end, instead of aspiring to be an ubermensch, I simply aspire to be a mensch” Klein wrote the words of many men in his notebook of Pithies: philosophers, but also those better known for other roles in life. His list includes Epicurus, Aristippus, David Pearce, Schopenhauer, Camus, William James, Sartre, Nietzsche, Leopardi, Bertrand Russell, Emerson, Paul Tillich, Aristotle, David Hume, Gorgias of Leontini, Samuel Beckett, Aldous Huxley, John Barth, John Stuart Mill, Peter Singer, Machiavelli, Joshua Greene, Derek Parfit, George Santayana, Ecclesiastes, Sam Harris, Francis Bacon, A.J.Ayer, Thomas Nagel, Isaiah, Blaise Pascal, Frank Close, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Viktor Frankl, Adam Phillips, Marcus Aurelius, and finally, Reinhold Niebuhr (author of the book’s title quote). A self-admitted agnostic, on religion, Klein tells us: “I know a great number of very bright and knowledgeable people who are believers. It sometimes makes me wonder if the skeptics have it backward: maybe I am just not wise enough to be a believer”. And that a friend once reminded him that “when an agnostic dies, he goes to the Great Perhaps”. He shares some of the mental challenges he has faced: “Being a hedonist with a conscience can be demoralizing. It turns out that this business of feeling good often comes at the price of somebody else’s deprivation, and then I have to consider which is more important to me: feeling good or being good?” On being present in the moment, he tells us: “…one way we pursue the goal of feeling intensely alive is by tempting death. We jump off cliffs to go hang gliding; we race cars at dangerous speeds; some apparently indulge in the extreme sport of volcano surfing……The payoff of these mortal risks is that they rivet us to the here and now. Facing death, we become supremely alive. Many Existentialist thinkers believe that squarely facing our mortality is the only sure way to become fully alive in the present, although I am pretty sure that Jean-Paul Sartre, with his thick glasses and frail physique, did not have volcano surfing in mind”. Klein’s commentary touches on a myriad of subjects: happiness, free will, suicide, pessimism, friendship, humour, altruism, the herd mentality, absolute belief systems and intolerance. You would, of course, expect a book on philosophy to be filled with wise words, and this one is, but it also contains plenty of laugh-out-loud observations (even the glossary, which ought to be read at the beginning, is amusing), as well as the odd lump-in-the-throat moment. A very enjoyable read. 4.5★s

  2. 5 out of 5

    Corbin

    I was excited by the premise of this book: a collection of epithets and quotes from the history of philosophy that examines the meaning of life. This hodgepodge, associative use of philosophy is my milieu, and I looked forward to reading the commentary by an experienced academic philosopher of these suited-for-popularization quotes. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It took me a while to figure out why I didn't like the book, but I sorted it out only a few pages before the author told me: the c I was excited by the premise of this book: a collection of epithets and quotes from the history of philosophy that examines the meaning of life. This hodgepodge, associative use of philosophy is my milieu, and I looked forward to reading the commentary by an experienced academic philosopher of these suited-for-popularization quotes. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It took me a while to figure out why I didn't like the book, but I sorted it out only a few pages before the author told me: the commentary is full of "herd mentality," repeated popular "wisdom" as espoused by many academics and public figures who offer feel-good messages of empowerment and self-determination. The commentary rarely offered more than a superficial rendering of the quote, presented anecdotes and folksy tales, and bounced back and forth between nihilism and existentialism, as if these were our only two options. At one point, Klein tried to temper his proclivity toward speculation by sharing that his wife, a Dutch Calvinist, reminded him about free will! (Free will is not the first doctrine a Calvinist might advance...) Overall, I found this to reinforce the positive messaging of life as a choose your own adventure story offered on talk shows and self-help manuals, rather than the substantive wisdom of the many philosophical traditions available to us.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Haider Hussain

    Me: How I should live my life? Epicurus: Just be happy with what you have instead of ruining it by desiring what you don’t. Just remember, what you have today was something you used to desire. Aristippus: I second you Epicurus. I would add that we’d be better off if we only indulge in bodily pleasures and completely sidestepping morality. Hedonism is the way to go. David Pearce: Very well said Aristippus. In fact, we should strive to eliminate pain from and implant happiness in human mind with t Me: How I should live my life? Epicurus: Just be happy with what you have instead of ruining it by desiring what you don’t. Just remember, what you have today was something you used to desire. Aristippus: I second you Epicurus. I would add that we’d be better off if we only indulge in bodily pleasures and completely sidestepping morality. Hedonism is the way to go. David Pearce: Very well said Aristippus. In fact, we should strive to eliminate pain from and implant happiness in human mind with the help of genetic engineering. Not just hedonism, but high-tech hedonism! Pleasure is all we live for. Arthur Schopenhauer: Before deciding what we live for, we should decide what life really is. Sure, happiness is life’s ultimate goal, but we can’t get there. All we do is keep oscillating between boredom and pain. Albert Camus: Good point Arthur. Meaning of life is the first (and hardest) question of philosophy. Everything is secondary. Until we find the meaning of life, we are unable to find the meaning of anything associated with life. The worst part? We don’t know if life has any meaning. Meaning of life is something to create, not to look for. William James: Just an auxiliary point Camus. Before we can talk about the meaning of life itself, or the exploration of it, or creation of it, we should first ask whether we have the free will to do it. I believe we do. Because although it is hard to prove the existence of free will, the moment we choose something, it means we are acting on free will. Jean-Paul Sartre: Well, whatever William. Coming back to Camus’ point, I must say that existence precedes essence. In order for us to talk about our essence or meaning, we first have to exist. Unlike objects of the world, which have predefined objectives, humans do not. There is no way to prove that we have predefined objectives. Objectives are something we should define for ourselves. The moment we believe that we are working on premeditated plans, we reduce ourselves to worldly objects like toasters and knives. Friedrich Nietzsche: I think we can agree that essence follows existence, but the question remains: how should we live? I’d say that the best way to live is to live dangerously. Why live an ordinary life when we can live extraordinarily? True act of free will is to break all chains of predetermined moralities, dogmas and beliefs, and to deny every authority who give us not only rules, but also false comforts. Giacomo Leopardi: What’s point in all that? We can’t learn how to live until the reason for living is taken from us. We cannot truly please ourselves until we become incapable of vivid pleasure. I’d say Schopenhauer is right. Happiness is unattainable. Once we realize that we’ll meet with disappointment every time, we can live freely. Free from the burden to attain happiness. Just live in the present, do whatever you want to for temporary pleasures and die. That’s it. Jean-Paul Sartre: I think you’re right Giacomo. Look at this world. Nothing changes, days turn into nights and nights into days. People come and go. It’s all monotonous. It’s all meaningless. David Hume: Who cares what we think or feel? Our lives are no more important than that of an oyster. Gorgias of Leontini: Screw it all man! Nothing is important; nothing exists; it’s all meaningless. Samuel Beckett: Yet, we always find something to live for, some impression to make us believe that we exist. We are magicians! Aldous Huxley: By the way, come to think of it, Absurd is not a metaphysical problem. In fact, it is not a problem at all. It is liberation. When you come to believe that life’s meaning can’t be found, every choice is as good as the other. Do whatever you want to. John Barth: Speaking of choices, don’t you ever wonder how difficult it is to make a choice. Every choice seems inferior when it’s compared with the aggregate desirability of all the rest! Bertrand Russell: Well, before this discourse turns into utter pessimism, allow me to change course. I’d say that bodily pleasures is not the only thing to live for. Pleasure of mind, of intellect are as important as bodily pleasures if not more. I find extreme pleasures in trying to solve the riddles of philosophy even if I know I won’t be able to actually solve them. Ralph Waldo Emerson: Ah! Some optimism at least. Talking of pleasure, I find immense pleasure in the companionship of old friends. Paul Tillich: But being alone has its merits too. You can enjoy your own company. Don’t call it loneliness, for loneliness is the pain of being alone. Call it solitude, for it is the pleasure of being alone. Me: This is all so confusing. What about morality? I mean, how about thinking of life as nothing but making moral choices all the time? John Stuart Mill: The Golden Rule “to do as you would be done by” is nothing but a utilitarian concept. If everyone follow the Golden Rule, it will promote the greatest good for greatest number of people. Peter Singer: These are just empty words unless one transforms them into actions. There is no point in pondering about the state of the world if you can’t do anything to improve it. Niccolo Machiavelli: “Doing good” is overrated. A man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good. Joshua Greene: Before talking about good and bad, and about how people ought to behave, we first need to determine how people usually do behave when making moral decisions. Like physical characteristics, psychological also evolved on the basis of survival of the fittest. And perhaps altruism also evolved as the survival characteristic for our species. For survival reason, we have evolved to look after our own, and to fear and fight the others. But in today’s world we cannot fight with other tribes, because we encounter others in almost every walk of life. Therefore, what we usually do is to apply instinctive moral reasoning while dealing with our own, and apply careful thinking when dealing with others. This is how it is. This is how we are. Therefore, Mr. Singer’s argument that we should give our money for foreign aid, though sounds wonderful, is counterintuitive. Me: Shouldn’t I seek religion’s help to understand the meaning of life? Sam Harris: Religion is bad. It brought so many sufferings. Daniel Klein: well, so did nationalism, racism and political ideologies. All of these work on law of non-contradiction: my view is correct, so yours cannot be. Reinhold Niebuhr: We can’t contemplate transcendence, because we remain stuck with a finite mind. A. J. Ayer: My venture into logical positivism shows me that no every philosophical problem can be solved by logic, only the empirical propositions about existence, properties, movements of things etc. Logic cannot solve ethical, aesthetical or metaphysical propositions (including questions about God). Therefore, saying something is “bad”, or saying “life is meaningful” cannot be verified by logic. They simply portray what the speaker is feeling. Ludwig Wittgenstein: We all know that time is infinite. But what does it really mean? To me, the infinite temporal duration of time means timelessness. When time becomes immeasurable, it ceases to exist. There only remains now; an infinite steam of now. Just live in now. Embrace it and do something worthy in it. Viktor Frankl: “Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time”. Despite bad experiences and events you can’t control, find a meaning to live your life. This freedom to choose the meaning of life is something that nobody can take away from you. Adam Phillips: Modern man is so preoccupied with the lives he has not lived that he misses out on appreciating the one life he actually has. Why live like you’re living for the second time? Why not living as though you are living for the first time? Reinhold Niebuhr: Why can’t man rid himself of sin if he has the radical freedom to create himself and his values? This is because we have a finite mind that can never comprehensively understand transcendent values. We possess the ability to ponder our morality and the meaning of life, but we are unable to really see the big picture. We just don’t have the equipment for it. Me: My head is spinning! This is all so confusing. One simple question, so many answers. Can somebody please sum it up? Reinhold Niebuhr: You are confused because you can’t see the big picture. You see, we possess the ability to ponder about the meaning of life but what we do not possess is the equipment to solve the mystery. Daniel Klein: Forget it all mate. Existential hedonism. That’s the way to live. Everything starts from you. So, live in the present. Create your own meaning. And have fun!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    Daniel Klein sounds like the sort of guy I would want to have long conversations with and discuss the deepest crappiest parts of life with. Don't get me wrong - Klein is over 80 and happily married! But in writing this book with such wry humor, Daniel Klein has managed to do something that is considered well nigh impossible - make philosophy readable and accessible to the 'common' reader who doesn't have a Doctorate in Philosophy. 'Every Time I Find The Meaning Of Life, They Change It' is a colle Daniel Klein sounds like the sort of guy I would want to have long conversations with and discuss the deepest crappiest parts of life with. Don't get me wrong - Klein is over 80 and happily married! But in writing this book with such wry humor, Daniel Klein has managed to do something that is considered well nigh impossible - make philosophy readable and accessible to the 'common' reader who doesn't have a Doctorate in Philosophy. 'Every Time I Find The Meaning Of Life, They Change It' is a collection of quotes that Daniel Klein wrote down at an earlier stage in his life. Accompanying these quotes are Klein's own observations. Together, they serve to make us think, ponder, wonder, and mull about life. Not in my melancholic 'What's the point of it all?' way, but in a 'Let's wonder about life, shall we?' way. That makes this fun. That makes this illuminating. That makes us think. A book that does all this is a treasure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melania Marianu

    Wow! What a rollercoaster ride it has been. Not only I walked trough various philosophical concepts (like ethics, religion, personal identity) and various terms (like hedonism, existentialism, utilitarianism), trough the quotes selected by the authour, but also found the inside story of the people who uttered them, getting a feel of the person behind it or the time of age. All of this sprinkled with Daniel Klein's personal interpretation, which I found really interesting by the way he leaves an Wow! What a rollercoaster ride it has been. Not only I walked trough various philosophical concepts (like ethics, religion, personal identity) and various terms (like hedonism, existentialism, utilitarianism), trough the quotes selected by the authour, but also found the inside story of the people who uttered them, getting a feel of the person behind it or the time of age. All of this sprinkled with Daniel Klein's personal interpretation, which I found really interesting by the way he leaves an open space to make room for your own interpretation, while his is heartening, humurous and most of the times just.. kind. My best friend said that we tend to agree with the author's arguments or point of view when we read a book, but I don't think that this general ideea is the case here. What I particularly liked reading this book, was that at no time I felt the author was trying to sell an idea or favour a view. It just gives you the humble feeling that a lot has been said about life.. ideas and views of how to best live your life come and go.. and in all this mess and chaos, you get to choose the meaning. Before they change it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Po Po

    You may ask yourself: "What's this book about?!" ALL THE -isms! Existentialism, nihilism, absurdism, rationalism, utilitarianism, empiricism, humanism, logical positivism, hedonism, and more. Lots of breadth, but not much depth. Skims the surface. Easy, breezy, highly accessible material. Klein presents his favorite philosophical quotations and discusses each in turn. Klein's furtherance of the spurious opinion that "atheism is a religion" prompted me to deduct a star. You may ask yourself: "What's this book about?!" ALL THE -isms! Existentialism, nihilism, absurdism, rationalism, utilitarianism, empiricism, humanism, logical positivism, hedonism, and more. Lots of breadth, but not much depth. Skims the surface. Easy, breezy, highly accessible material. Klein presents his favorite philosophical quotations and discusses each in turn. Klein's furtherance of the spurious opinion that "atheism is a religion" prompted me to deduct a star.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mihai Rosca

    Ever wondered on how you can learn about all of the philosophical currents in a small, accessible and easy to breeze through book? Well, now's you chance. Buy it now with just 4,99! Link in the description. :))))) Just having fun, this is actually a serious review. And getting to the serious part, philosophy really is something else. True, you will find a lot of isms (humanism, hedonism, utilitarianism, etc) that contradict each other, but still, it helps you think. I tend to look at the philosop Ever wondered on how you can learn about all of the philosophical currents in a small, accessible and easy to breeze through book? Well, now's you chance. Buy it now with just 4,99! Link in the description. :))))) Just having fun, this is actually a serious review. And getting to the serious part, philosophy really is something else. True, you will find a lot of isms (humanism, hedonism, utilitarianism, etc) that contradict each other, but still, it helps you think. I tend to look at the philosophical currents much at the like artistic ones and how they employ different principles to achieve greatness. True, the end result looks different. The sharpness of The Scream, for instance, couldn't be more opposing to the charm of the Mona Lisa. Nonetheless, they are both marvelous works of art. As such, the great philosophers of the world have created brilliant perspectives with their minds and simply knowing that those perspectives exist can help you create new ones of your own. In this respect, Daniel Klein has published a neat and easy to read book. With fine humor, witty remarks and great personal insights, he wrote a happy book for philosophy amateurs everywhere. Klein goes through pretty much all of the great philosophers out there. You'll find quotes from Epicurus, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Beckett, Waldo Emerson, Machiavelli and the list does go on a lot. Most of them are gathered when Klein was but a mere student trying to understand the world. He makes a remarks that he didn't exactly do a good job, but his comments and insights beg to differ quite a lot. I greatly enjoyed this book while reading through one or two section before bedtime and I recommend reading it at pace, letting the questions soak in.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kshitij Chaurel

    Reading a philosophy book always provides tremendous pleasure to the mind. The book we need to read for the clear understanding of different school of thoughts and their perspective towards life. The more you understand, more you get confused in a positive way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amber Garabrandt

    I am very glad that I chose this book from First To Read. I have never actually studied philosophy, I have been interested but always felt that it might be, well, above me. Daniel Kline seems to have taken all his favorite bits from years and years of studying into... let's call them Kline Notes. It makes it easier, more accessible to the masses. I already have several names that I will be looking into for further information. That said, it may be misleading to label this as humor. Many of the p I am very glad that I chose this book from First To Read. I have never actually studied philosophy, I have been interested but always felt that it might be, well, above me. Daniel Kline seems to have taken all his favorite bits from years and years of studying into... let's call them Kline Notes. It makes it easier, more accessible to the masses. I already have several names that I will be looking into for further information. That said, it may be misleading to label this as humor. Many of the philosophers are down right depressing. ( I read several using Eeyore's voice.) All that said, I highly enjoyed it and will most likely buy the book when it comes out so that I can revisit parts.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Damon Gubler

    This book gave me a lot of different ideas to think on without having to think on what the author is trying to say. I like my philosophy spoon-fed to me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laurent Franckx

    Well, who needs another self-help book recycling simplified ideas of ancient philosophers, I hear some people asking. But the specificity of this charming little book is precisely that it is not conceived as a self-help book at all, at least not as most people would interpret the concept. No one-size-fits-all recommendations on how Socrates can help you deal with you mortgage and Spinoza solves your relational issues. Klein has just collected a series of quotes from great philosophers, discusses Well, who needs another self-help book recycling simplified ideas of ancient philosophers, I hear some people asking. But the specificity of this charming little book is precisely that it is not conceived as a self-help book at all, at least not as most people would interpret the concept. No one-size-fits-all recommendations on how Socrates can help you deal with you mortgage and Spinoza solves your relational issues. Klein has just collected a series of quotes from great philosophers, discusses his own personal interpretation (and what it has meant to him at specific stages in his live) and leaves it to the reader to decide what to do with it. A book to put under your pillow. Just read one chapter before going to sleep. And start all over again when you have finished.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mina Abolhassani

    I started reading this book when I was feeling particularly lost and had no idea what I was doing with my life. His humorous approach to philosophical doctrines makes the book easy to read, you can easily relate and often it makes you question some of your life choices or decisions. A must read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter Upton

    As someone who has lost their son I nearly threw this book away after the second line of page one when I read there, 'remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.' I am glad I didn't. I am now reading this for the second time and had to stop to give it 5 stars from my earlier miserly 4 stars. This is an exquisitely written book that I want to copy pages of quotes from but I will resist and leave you to read my earlier review below. This is a thought provoking book As someone who has lost their son I nearly threw this book away after the second line of page one when I read there, 'remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.' I am glad I didn't. I am now reading this for the second time and had to stop to give it 5 stars from my earlier miserly 4 stars. This is an exquisitely written book that I want to copy pages of quotes from but I will resist and leave you to read my earlier review below. This is a thought provoking book looking at many different philosophical viewpoints led by the dancing, weaving mind of a mental gymnast. I didn't agree with all of it but it did make me think and throughout it all the the gentle humour and kindness of the author shone through. Whenever I read different philosophical theories it always occurs to me that we all live in our own realities otherwise such clever people would all end up agreeing but it is an act of arrogance to insist your viewpoint is the only correct one. I also remember once talking to a very old Oxford Don a Professor of Philosophy and I mentioned that many philosophers were atheists to which he smiled and said that he personally knew practically all the philosophers of the 20th century and that almost all of them turned to God at the end of their lives or when the going got tough. So is atheism a result of youthful arrogance, perhaps the young, powerful, muscular ego screaming out "There is no God but me!" ?

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Fredrickson

    This book explores different philosophies of living based on favorite philosophical quotes the author captured in a journal when he was a younger man. Each quote from a different philosopher prompts a short exploration of how that philosopher related to living, and also an exploration of the reactions of the author to those same ideas now. The early parts of the book feels very 'informative' in that the book focuses on the particular philosopher's outlook and context, while the later sections of This book explores different philosophies of living based on favorite philosophical quotes the author captured in a journal when he was a younger man. Each quote from a different philosopher prompts a short exploration of how that philosopher related to living, and also an exploration of the reactions of the author to those same ideas now. The early parts of the book feels very 'informative' in that the book focuses on the particular philosopher's outlook and context, while the later sections of the book feel much more like a memoir that focuses on the feelings and ruminations of the author himself.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    Not often can a single quote incapsulate an entire book. "the man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no question, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected... Not often can a single quote incapsulate an entire book. "the man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no question, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected... but philosophy keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect" - Bertrand russell

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I have rated this middle of the road because I'm not sure if I enjoyed it or not ! At times I was overwhelmed by it, almost swamped by the content. But I was fascinated and kept coming back to it.. Having no formal background to the world of philosophy it stretched my reading and thinking capacity and that is a good thing . I have rated this middle of the road because I'm not sure if I enjoyed it or not ! At times I was overwhelmed by it, almost swamped by the content. But I was fascinated and kept coming back to it.. Having no formal background to the world of philosophy it stretched my reading and thinking capacity and that is a good thing .

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    This is a nice, easy philosophy book for a broad audience. There are little chapters which start with short quotes from various philosophers followed by thoughts on the topics. I was introduced to a couple of writers I want to check out and reminded of some others I need to revisit. I recommend it for those who don't know yet that they like philosophy. This is a nice, easy philosophy book for a broad audience. There are little chapters which start with short quotes from various philosophers followed by thoughts on the topics. I was introduced to a couple of writers I want to check out and reminded of some others I need to revisit. I recommend it for those who don't know yet that they like philosophy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    More amusing than profound. Full of great quotes, though!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Realini

    Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It by Daniel Klein 8 out of 10 Although this book that purports to impart from the Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live is very good, there are some aspects that for this reader make it less than perfect. Take this passage where the author talks about psychology- well, there are quite a few, but one in particular appears odd - and the tendency we have to return to a base line of happiness, which Daniel Klein seems to doubt. He asks what m Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It by Daniel Klein 8 out of 10 Although this book that purports to impart from the Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live is very good, there are some aspects that for this reader make it less than perfect. Take this passage where the author talks about psychology- well, there are quite a few, but one in particular appears odd - and the tendency we have to return to a base line of happiness, which Daniel Klein seems to doubt. He asks what makes one's baseline different from another's and the answer is simple - genetics account for about 50% of our perceived level of wellbeing, 10% depends on geography and circumstances and we can work on the remaining 40%. Daniel Klein - coauthor of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, reviewed at realini.blogspot.com - further explores differences between the happiness of those living in Scandinavia and that of those who enjoy the long siestas, the dolce far niente of the South. Alas, his perspective is wrong, for he writes about the Italians who listen to music for more than one hour per day and take things easy as being happier, like others in the South of Europe than the hard working Northerners. The Finnish, Dannish and the other Scandinavians top for years the charts for happiest countries. When the author mentions Daniel Gilbert and his astonishing Stumbling Upon Happiness, the message is accurate, for we have very little, if any, idea about what will make us happy. Camus is quoted with his assertion that "there is only one fundamental philosophical question, that of suicide" In fact, the book looks like a collection of quotes and stories - which in a way is suggested in the subtitle Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live - that are commented on by the author, often in a jocular tone. That light, mirthful approach seems such a splendid idea at times, but for me it somewhat dilutes the message of some chapters, creating a feeling that this is not the most serious book we can read and that it is a game and the similarity with self help books, philosophy for dummies and the like can be uncomfortable. That was the impression, very likely wrong, given by sections - just as the aforementioned look at happiness at different latitudes gave the false idea on the subject. To add to this there is the comment on religion, atheism and feminism. Daniel Klein gives the example of someone he knows, who went to an Orthodox- was it? - Jewish wedding, where women were separated from men, dancing and entertaining themselves in different places from the men. That friend did not like this and criticized what he saw as discrimination and a religious imposition. The writer seems to think that this is exaggerated and there are fundamentalists on both sides, for the atheists tend to promote their own "faith" and show extreme intolerance for religious men and women. Daniel Klein is equally appalled by religious zealots and their nemesis. But I think he is wrong. Yes, it is not nice - maybe - to talk about religion as "the opium of the masses", of believers as simple minded, evangelicals as less intelligent...but then look at how they voted in America! They did not even choose one who honors their precepts. Trump lies even about evident, absolute facts. Yesterday, he bragged about his father being born in a wonderful town in Germany- just to sustain his theory that he has no grudge with this country - when that man was born in... New York! Daniel Klein gives the example of an esteemed philosopher that has seen God in a near death experience. That has changed his course and the author seems to suggest that we may all have this surprise, or some of us anyway. He then maintains that the dream, the hope of all of "us, agnostics" is to find that God exists. Again, that looks like an uncalled for exaggeration and an unphilosophical thing to do... How do you all agnostics or even in general feel the same way. To this reader, it feels like Klein favors the theological explanations and is biased, even if he maintains he is not, as in the case of the wedding, where the guest was right to express his view. I share the opinion that many, if not most religious restrictions originate from many centuries ago, they are not appropriate anymore and in many cases, they are simply barbaric. Take the example of rich Brunei. Yesterday, they announced that they will kill with stones homosexuals and adulterous people, cut limbs off thieves in the name of shariah and Islam. Just like in the Bill Maher joke..."Islam is a religion of peace...there's a piece of you here, a piece of you there..." In conclusion, this treaties is impressive, covering a comprehensive panel of subjects, sources, from Maimonides to Machiavelli- with his insistence that we have to do whatever it takes for our goal, for it justifies the means - from Beckett to Abraham Maslow to Fanny and Alexander of the divine Ingmar Bergman to Woody Allen.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Soheil

    Every time I listened to this audiobook, I changed my mind back and forth regarding whether I liked it or not! This book is a venture into philosophical literature with the aim of finding the meaning of life. While in the end the author confesses that no one can in fact find a definite meaning for life. The book is well-written with an interesting structure. The author used to keep a notebook of his favorite philosophy quotes and now after 40 years, he reopens this notebook and starts contemplatin Every time I listened to this audiobook, I changed my mind back and forth regarding whether I liked it or not! This book is a venture into philosophical literature with the aim of finding the meaning of life. While in the end the author confesses that no one can in fact find a definite meaning for life. The book is well-written with an interesting structure. The author used to keep a notebook of his favorite philosophy quotes and now after 40 years, he reopens this notebook and starts contemplating the meaning behind each quote. If you are not already a professional philosophy reader, you will get to know many philosophers and their philosophies. Some are interesting to hear, some are best left in the notebook in a locked chest. The book is aimed at intermediate to advanced philosophy aficionados. In the glossary section at the end of the book (which I believe was included reluctantly by the author), it is well stated that anyone who reads this book is presumed to have majored in philosophy out of college. Hence, if you are a novice philosophy reader (like me), you will have a hard time catching up unless you do some side reading on the schools of philosophy and some other terms and facts. One of the major problems I faced, was getting some of the jokes the author makes, due to my lack of knowledge in philosophy. In the end, I believe this book is a love affair with between the author and philosophy. One that collects a lot of good and worthy ideas and crams them into a reasonable length. I recommend this to people who have read a book or two on philosophy. For the rest of us, this book should be lower in priority of philosophy category due to the sometimes difficult learning curves.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jaivignesh Venugopal

    This book served as my first informal introduction to Philosophy. The National Library Board had this eBook on their shelves and that allowed me to borrow the book for a reasonable number of days. I lazily started on it on a night when I could not sleep and found myself flipping pages after pages, but with a virtual dictionary by my side of course. It took me around 20 days to finish it. I have always believed that it was important to look back. Not look back on our lives but to look back across This book served as my first informal introduction to Philosophy. The National Library Board had this eBook on their shelves and that allowed me to borrow the book for a reasonable number of days. I lazily started on it on a night when I could not sleep and found myself flipping pages after pages, but with a virtual dictionary by my side of course. It took me around 20 days to finish it. I have always believed that it was important to look back. Not look back on our lives but to look back across centuries to comprehend how humans have lived so far. We always face problems someone in the past has faced, don't we agree? Sure, we have problems in a different context but the basic essence of problems is no way novel. At least, that is what I believe. Should we uphold virtues all the time? When is there an exception? How we do we define a situation as an exception in the first place? Most importantly, how should we live our lives and why would that be the best way possible? The last question should have been the question most of us have had all these years. I found my answer to this question before reading this book - which was that there is universally no right or wrong way because there is no point or purpose to life in the first place, so live it whatever way you want. However, I felt that it was necessary to understand what philosophers across time have established the meaning of life. And this book gave exactly that. It was amazing to see how different yet in-depth these views were. Most importantly, I felt really happy to know people have put in so much effort and thought to understand the philosophical essence of life. It truly was interesting to understand the extent of human ponderment.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pavel

    There are books out there that the moment you see them, it is much like love from first sight. As much as I never like to judge a book by its cover, when I do get this feeling – I have yet to find myself disappointed. I met this book a year ago and my only regret is that I did not trust my instinct and read it immediately. It managed to communicate with me on a level that I have rarely been lucky enough to experience with a human being. It is as if those kinds of books speak to you. As if all unan There are books out there that the moment you see them, it is much like love from first sight. As much as I never like to judge a book by its cover, when I do get this feeling – I have yet to find myself disappointed. I met this book a year ago and my only regret is that I did not trust my instinct and read it immediately. It managed to communicate with me on a level that I have rarely been lucky enough to experience with a human being. It is as if those kinds of books speak to you. As if all unanswered questions that’s been quietly bouncing around in your head for years have been manifesting slowly into some kind of energy that guides you towards the right book. The one that finally solves your existential puzzles (which obviously will be replaced by new ones), some of which you probably did not even know you had. Anyone that has had a similar experience knows just what a blissful feeling it is… to read one of those books. I’ve had met a couple of books that have had a tremendous impact on my understanding of life and its’ ever slipping existential purpose. However, never have I ever read a book that answers so many questions at once. From understanding and perceiving the purpose of life to understanding what love stands for and what does it mean to me. From developing new values to emphasizing old ones, like family, friends, overall goodness, honesty, loyalty, and integrity. This book helped me not only redefine some of my understandings of life but at the same time helped me emphasize the paths that I believed were right for me, but somewhere along the way, I started slipping and being unsure whether or not they actually were. It also provided me with a whole new set of questions that will probably amuse me for years if not forever. “Тrue-self analysis is the greatest art of progress” (a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda) and this book helped me get myself up-to-date with Who I am, Why I am, and What I want my progress to look like.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alice Pickersgill

    A truly fantastic book! Perfect if you want to dip your toe into philosophy and feel (like me) incredibly overwhelmed by knowing where to start, whether to bother, and what all the big technical words even mean. (This book even has a glossary of terms in the back - big bonus points there for its accessibility!) The book is part history of philosophy part autobiography; Klein reflects on a personal notebook of "Pithies" he kept adding to in his youth as he picked up quotes and ideas from various p A truly fantastic book! Perfect if you want to dip your toe into philosophy and feel (like me) incredibly overwhelmed by knowing where to start, whether to bother, and what all the big technical words even mean. (This book even has a glossary of terms in the back - big bonus points there for its accessibility!) The book is part history of philosophy part autobiography; Klein reflects on a personal notebook of "Pithies" he kept adding to in his youth as he picked up quotes and ideas from various philosophers, having since abandoned this notebook he picked it up again as an old man ready to reflect. Klein really seems to enjoy the mental challenge that philosophy presents and his friendly prose style really invites the reader to share this feeling. It feels at times as though he is introducing the philosophers as friends, people who dropped in and out of his life as his circumstances changed and he developed as a thinker. It made me feel nostalgic for the uni days of discussing deep holes of every topic into the wee hours and simultaneously excited for the future where I, like he, may have the opportunity to reflect on it all and feel the richness of my own life built of layers of influences to that point.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    This book is an entertaining walk through the axioms and quotes that this philosopher gleaned along his career, including what they meant to him at the time and how those thoughts and philosophies developed over time and experience. It is a fun sort of primer for the many philosophical approaches in the field and how one's life may determine its efficacy and applicability in one's world view. The style of the writing is almost stream of consciousness, hitting on themes that struck his fancy over This book is an entertaining walk through the axioms and quotes that this philosopher gleaned along his career, including what they meant to him at the time and how those thoughts and philosophies developed over time and experience. It is a fun sort of primer for the many philosophical approaches in the field and how one's life may determine its efficacy and applicability in one's world view. The style of the writing is almost stream of consciousness, hitting on themes that struck his fancy over his life as a philosopher: hedonism, marriage, larger purposes, and the like.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Remi Highton

    A crash course in philosophy which doesn’t make you pull your hairs out. Very introspective book whose reviews of the great philosophers’ aphorisms did infact make me think I’d found the meaning of life, in basically every chapter, only for it to be invalidated by another philosophy in the following chapter. Fun roller coaster leading to a sense of absurdism.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Catriona

    An extremely accessible introduction to a variety of philosophical ideas. Klein relates each quote to his own life and attempts to explain them as he has come to understand them...even admitting that some philosophical concepts are over his head! I enjoyed learning about these famous thinkers and how a combination of their ideas can inform my way of living.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I really enjoyed Klein's style and humour but this sagged for me when it got into religion but I fear that it's not the authors fault but the field of philosophy itself so obsessed with good vs evil and the existence of god. I really enjoyed Klein's style and humour but this sagged for me when it got into religion but I fear that it's not the authors fault but the field of philosophy itself so obsessed with good vs evil and the existence of god.

  28. 4 out of 5

    William Cranshaw

    Very fun book for one that is on philosophy. The author draws very interesting insight from his own life and from the lives of the philosopher’s he talks about. A really good way to get an intro to most schools of thoughts in philosophy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    C

    https://clavie.co/2019/03/13/book-rev... LOVED IT! Very inspirational Full review on link above 😊 https://clavie.co/2019/03/13/book-rev... LOVED IT! Very inspirational Full review on link above 😊

  30. 5 out of 5

    Murali Veeraiyan

    Great intro into the various philosophies on the meaning of life and how to live a good life. Very engaging and thoughtful read!

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