THE USES OF PHILOSOPHY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Does philosophy only belong in the halls of academia? Nope. It belongs in the lives of everyone. It helps us solve our problems -mundane or abstract, and it helps us make better decisions by developing our critical thinking (very important in the age of disinformation). But it’s boring, you say. It’s hard to understand, you say. As it turns out, philosophy does not have to be a big snooze-fest. It can actually be stimulating and fun. Check out one of these five titles where authors make Philosophy 101 approachable, interesting, and most importantly, relevant to your life.

BREAKFAST WITH SOCRATES: AN EXTRAORDINARY (PHILOSOPHICAL) JOURNEY THROUGH YOUR ORDINARY DAY by ROBERT ROWLAND SMITH        DB 71181

Former Oxford Fellow posits that the questions raised by renowned philosophers relate directly to daily life. It illustrates by linking influential ideas to mundane activities, such as waking up with Descartes and going to the gym with Heidegger. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2009.

WHAT WOULD ARISTOTLE DO? SELF-CONTROL THROUGH THE POWER OF REASON by ELLIOT D COHEN        DB 58882

Philosophical counselor’s commonsense approach to overcoming self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and actions by harnessing innate powers of reason and critical thinking. Uses real-life scenarios to demonstrate how Aristotelian logic can be used to combat everyday maladies like guilt, loneliness, grief, anger, social anxiety, and depression. 2003

CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY by ALAIN DE BOTTON         DB 51489

University of London philosopher finds practical advice on coping with life’s challenges in the writings of some of the world’s renowned thinkers. Each of the six sections poses a problem and suggests a source of inspiration. For example, Socrates offers consolation for unpopularity, and Epicurus, for poverty. 2000

HEART OF PHILOSOPHY by JACOB NEEDLEMAN            DB 19136

A philosophy professor offers a compelling and thought-provoking study in which he attempts to reconcile philosophical concepts with day-to-day life. Needleman draws upon childhood memories, teaching episodes, and recollections of friends’ deaths to illustrate the relevance of philosophy.

EXAMINED LIFE: PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS by ROBERT NOZICK     DB 30651

A philosophy professor at Harvard University shares his views on the search for understanding and illumination.  He discusses the topics of happiness, dying, immortality, creativity, faith, sexuality, good and evil, wisdom, and the gulf between the ideal and the real. Bestseller. 1989

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BEST TO LAUGH: A NOVEL by Lorna Landvik, DBC 02662

If you like books that have a nostalgic and upbeat tone, similar to FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLESTOP CAFÉ by Fannie Flagg, you may really enjoy BEST TO LAUGH by Lorna Landik.

You can get a sense of Ms. Landvik’s sense of humor and writing style from the Bio and FAQ section on her webpage. She explains how she gets ideas for her books with the following quote: “I buy them from the Idea Man; two for a dollar. Early in my career, he tried to sell me an idea about a girl with a dragon tattoo, but I bought the idea for The Tall Pine Polka instead. When he’s out on the road, selling stuff I declined to J. K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins, I scavenge around and find ideas in roadside cafes, in a whiff of pipe smoke or ripe peaches, in an autumn vista, in a song fading out on the car radio, in the stillness of my monkey mind.”

Ms. Landvik brings this same wit and whimsy to the protagonist in BEST TO LAUGH, Candy, who with the help of an ensemble of zany friends and her personal “life saber”, embraces her new life in 1970s Hollywood.

 

NLS Annotation As a child, Candy Pekkala seemed to get unhappy experiences in Minnesota, so when a cousin called with a Hollywood apartment, Candy jumped at it. Her new fellow tenants include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. Candy figured if she always lived by her wits here, she would have a chance to live with them. There are game show appearances, temp jobs and the allure of stand-up comedy. For high school and adult readers.

If you enjoyed this book or generally like humorous books with a host of quirky characters, you might try BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani, DB 52742.