The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman

Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking. Sounds like the pessimists dream read. Long story very short...my son had a very bad year...I could not read self help or non fiction or deep fiction. I could only tolerate reading murder mysteries and about serial killers. I powered through this one any way. I have the same problem with this book as I do with most self help books promoting happiness above all other states of mind. This mindset that the human right to happiness is a RIGHT--it says so in the constitution is causing a lot of problems. Happiness is a temporary fleeting moment and clinging to that moment means you might not enjoy the next one. I'm more about equanimity and eudaimonia--the condition that comes from flourishing and living well. Aristotle has a lot to say about this if you would like to read more as I am currently doing. (Yes my son is flourishing and starting a new chapter) So am I back to deeper reads of all sorts.

How To Live A Good Life edited by Massimo Pigliucci, et. al.

The tag line is: A guide to choosing your personal philosophy. Essays from fifteen leading philosphers in their respective philosophy that give the basic tenets as well as how they incorporate the philosophy into their modern lives. A very interesting introduction to a wide range of philosophies. Of course, it is still a little frustrating for me as I have yet to find one that it is a perfect fit. I always seem to like a little of this and little bit of that...

The Road to Character

In order to make it through life as a human, one must develop a second nature, so as to be a good little cog in the workings of society. Ethics, morality, character are all learned memes or do they have a Darwinian element as well. I blame this reading list on reading Cave and the Light and finally buying a copy of The Road to Character at Half-Priced Books. What a rabbit hole this list is turning out to be...

The Road To Character by David Brooks

Philosophy, morals, and ethics. I first saw this book in a stack by the couch in the home of a family whom I served as a caregiver for several years. It intrigued me and when I spotted it again a while later at Half Priced Books I snapped it up. Finally got around to reading it this year. It was one my choices in the attempt to read on this subjet from all angles. Perhaps I simply have different definitions for what it means to have character.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman

This is a book that often caught my eye while browsing the shelves of many a bookstore--but up until now I had no interest in reading about Aristotle or Plato--however, I have always been fascinated with Plato's parable of the cave. It seems eerily preminiscent of humanity's love of looking away from reality--prefering to stare at flickering images projected on a cave wall, a TV screen or a smart phone. I thought this was a perfect title to round out my "Into the Light" category. 

Reviews are pretty black and white about this book--but for me it served as a perfect introduction to how the memes of Aristotle and Plato have wound their way through society from the Ancient Greece to Modern Day Western Society.

The Ape That Understood The Universe by Steve Stewart-Williams

Earlier this year I read a book, The Cave and the Light, and excellent book about how the civilised Western world has cycled between Plato and Aristotle since the days of the Ancient Greeks. It kindled an interest in my overstuffed brain--why are humans so obssessed with moral character, the right to happines, the good life...  I have always thought of virtues and morals to be constructs of the human mind-- a part of culture not a part of nature. I am doing my best to read all sides of this story--even if I already know that science based evidence will ultimately win the day.

Principles by Ray Dalio

Surprisingly I read this the whole way through even though I am self-employed and run a tiny yoga studio. While I am 1000% sure I would never get hired to work for Ray Dalio- I am equally sure that I would neither like it or make it as his employee and not just because my math skills are minimal at best. However, the principles governing a human mind are alway fascinating to read about. I will keep this on my shelf for awhile as he has an excellent suggested reading list at the end of the book.

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Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.