Book reviews

This category contains 6 posts

Better Angels

A review of ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’ by Steven Pinker – Amazon link The facts seem clear. Our lives are enormously safer than they used to be. Compared to prehistoric or medieval times the violence in modern society is a tiny proportion, and even in the past generation the overall violence created by both war and crime continues … Continue reading

Religion is not just for atheists

I picked up Alain de Botton’s recent book Religion for Atheists with a certain amount of curiosity, though not with very high expectations. In some ways it exceeds those expectations, and in others my misgivings are confirmed. I am glad that this kind of thinking is going on, and de Botton does it with creativity … Continue reading

Waiting for the Barbarians

‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ was first written by J.M. Coetzee in 1980, but it is only in recent years that I have started to read Coetzee. Most of Coetzee’s books that I have read so far are searingly honest explorations of self-identity, but this earlier book is quite different. Often described as an ‘allegory’, it … Continue reading

Quiet up!

I’ve just finished reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet, which is deservedly popular,  personally engaging, and full of interesting links to Middle Way Philosophy. It is a book about introversion which points out the way that Western (especially American) culture is especially dominated by extroversion. It also points out the value of introverted traits, and the ways that … Continue reading

Now published: The Integration of Desire

The second volume of the Middle Way Philosophy series, The Integration of Desire, is now published. Click here for more details and to purchase. An ebook will also be available soon. Also see my previous blog post on this book. We like to think of ourselves as single selves, but when we examine our experience, it … Continue reading

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman: Penguin 2011. What does it mean to face up to illusion? What does it mean to try to overcome illusion? Daniel Kahneman cannot quite give us a complete answer to these questions, but he offers many insights. All of these insights are expressed with a good deal of scientific caution … Continue reading