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The Best Things in Life Paperback – August 12, 1984

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kreeft has succeeded admirably in his revival of Socrates. . . . Kreeft's Socrates [is] recognizably the gadfly moralist, irreverent and reverent about just the right things." (The Reformed Journal)

"Any reader sitting down to persue these dialogues . . . [will] find himself roused, amused, entertained and instructed. Peter Kreeft does what all great teachers do: he returns us, again and again and again, to what T. S. Eliot called 'the permanent things.' " (Thomas Howard)

About the Author

Peter J. Kreeft (Ph.D., Fordham University) is professor of philosophy at Boston College where he has taught since 1965. A popular lecturer, he has also taught at many other colleges, seminaries and educational institutions in the eastern United States. Kreeft has written more than fifty books, including The Best Things in Life, The Journey, How to Win the Culture War and, with Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; As stated, 1st edition dated May 1977 edition (August 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877849226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877849223
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book because I teach logic and public policy debate to high school home schoolers. Peter Kreeft harpoons sacred cows, political correctness, philosophy and lazy thinking with humor and razor sharp logic. What a delight! Like all of Kreeft's work, this is not a quick read, but a trememndously valuable one. I'll be introduing this book during second semester. I am buying it for a high school student for Christmas, as well as a personal shelf copy.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book while taking a Socratic Dialogue Class with Dr. Kreeft at Boston College. "The Best Things in Life" is one of my favorite Kreeft books. It is a real page-turner, and poses simple yet perplexing philosophy throughout the dialogue. Kreeft's humor is a little corny, but his presentation of questions and conclusions are winning and convincing.
Highly recommended for young readers.
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Format: Paperback
What would happen if Socrates returned to the present, showing up on a college campus over 2,000 years later? What sorts of things would interest him and what would he think about the modern world? With fine imagination, Peter Kreeft explores these questions in a book that discusses issues pertinent to the modern reader's life. Entertaining and instructive, this book is good for stimulating ethical and moral reflection.
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Format: Paperback
This short, simple book carries a powerful punch. A real education is contained within: not mere factual information, but how to actually ask questions and think. I only wish someone had given me a copy when I was in high school, so I could have avoided needless, stupid mistakes.
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Format: Paperback
What is the meaning of life? Should I go to college? What kind of job do I want? - These are the kinds of questions Kreeft (via Socrates) presents to the reader in his book. The dialogs are short, witty, and make excellent points. This book proves that Kreeft is a master of common sense and philosophy. This book would be perfect for mature high school students and any college student (and beyond college too). Of course, the focus of the book is on a question we hardly stop to think about as we trudge through life: What are we living for? Using "means" and "ends" Aristotelian principles, he does an excellent job of bringing about awareness of the Summum Bonum. It is a short and easy read that will challenge the way most Americans live.
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Format: Paperback
With all the reams of paper devoted to the topic of "values" today, Peter Kreeft's, The Best Things in Life, is still a refreshing alternative thirteen years after it's first publication. Writing in the form of a play, the author places the ever-questioning Socrates in the 20th-century, and humorously debunks the popular pseudo-intellectual subjectivism and psycho-babble one usually hears these days. He not only entertains, but equips the reader to further examine values, ideas and his or her own life. In this book, as well as the others in his "Socratic dialog" set (The Unaborted Socrates, Socrates Meets Jesus, and Between Heaven and Hell), Kreeft also shows that Christians have brains and need not be ashamed to use them.
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Format: Paperback
Peter Kreeft is known for writing in the dialectic style. Though Kreeft is famous for using this style, he does not pull it off in this book as well as he does in some of his other books. This book is written as a dialogue or series of dialogues between Socrates and two University students. `Peter Pragma' and `Felicia Flake' both of whom have 6 discussions with Socrates on different subjects.

That is just the beginning; the names are all puns in the book, as we have seen from our two main protagonists(Peter and Felicia). The puns continue through all the professors and personalities encountered. The president of Desperate State University is "Fudge Factor" and is as inept as his name implies. We also meet "Marigold Measurer", the scientist who is addicted to data but without really understanding its purpose or use. Felicia has some mentors in her life - "Pop Syke" who is the guru of pop psychology, and "Karl", the communist who is brother to "Adam", the Capitalist.

Having read a number of Kreeft's other books, this one was a bit of a letdown. The puns with the names got to be so trying and tiring that it was hard to finish the book. The same information could have been conveyed in conventional prose, with half the words. The dialogue grew boring and irritating. I just wanted the meat from this book and had to go through a lot of bone and grist to get to it.

The book has a lot to offer in the examination of why someone does what he does, and to help one live a more examined life. But the book often does it in a very long, roundabout way.

I never like to give a book a bad review, and often go back and read a book a second time before I will do so. This book, though hard to get through the first time, was more than worth it the second time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an aside, let me just say that reading the book recalled fond memories of my college and graduate school years, and even reminded me of some people I knew.

The premise of the book is contained in its title: What are "the best things in life?" The modern mind is exposed as one that is so introspective that it is oblivious to the workings of logic, reason, and basic self-understanding. Thus an irony is exposed, namely the inclination toward the self-delusional of the "me" generations.

Socrates' famous dictum: "the unexamined life isn't worth living," is the central tenet of the book. Two people closely evaluate their lives and realize that everything may not be as it seems.

The hopeful effect this will have on a reader is for he or she to turn and examine his or her own life. The book makes some interesting points, and is a "lighter" read than some of Kreeft's theological and philosophical treatises.

All in all, I like the book.
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