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Why Our Decisions Don't Matter (Harperperennial Modern Thought) Paperback – August 24, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Vital insights and wisdom on the perennial question of why our decisions don't matter

This book explores how some of the greatest minds of civilization have tackled a question that continues to play a vital part in our lives today. In Why Our Decisions Don't Matter, Simon Van Booy curates an enlightening collection of excerpts, passages, and paintings, presenting works by Homer, Sophocles, Horace, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Voltaire, Blake, Dickinson, Twain, Rilke, Camus, Kerouac, Sartre, Borges, Beckett, and others.

Why Our Decisions Don't Matter will engage both the serious philosopher and the eternally curious.

About the Author

Simon Van Booy is the author of two novels and two collections of short stories, including The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books and has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and the BBC. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

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Product Details

  • Series: Harperperennial Modern Thought
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 Original edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061845558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061845550
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Van Booy was born in Great Britain and grew up in rural Wales. He is the author ofThe Secret Lives of People in Love, Love Begins in Winter (winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award) and the novel, Everything Beautiful Began After. His latest novel is The Illusion of Separateness.

He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Don't Matter. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, and ELLE Men, (China), where he has a monthly column. He has also written for the stage, National Public Radio, and the BBC.

Simon teaches part-time at SVA in Manhattan, and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities Program for young adults living in under-served communities. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, an organization which helps young people build confidence in their talent, through annual writing awards.

He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into more than fifteen languages.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Why Our Decisions Don't Matter is a compilation of excerpts, quotes, passages, and paintings from philosophers, writers, and artists that all address the same theme of fate, predestination, and why the decisions we make don't matter. Included are works from Homer, Sophocles, Voltaire, Dickinson, Twain, Rilke, Sartre, and many others. Simon Van Booy gives a brief introduction of the author/artist and the piece which is often as intriguing as the piece itself. Each presentation is small and easy to understand and provides a jumping off point for further research and contemplation. Some of my favorites are Colin McGinn's Shakespeare's Philosophy; Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer; and Janet Frame's The Carpathians. Both Henry Miller's and Janet Frame's introductions were so interesting I found I must learn more about their lives and their writings. I loved the inclusion of paintings in this book, but they were very difficult to see clearly which is important to understanding them. Dialogue and screen shots from film would have been a great addition as well. The book is small enough to carry with you and structured so you can read a small portion while waiting or even before bed. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know a little more about philosophy and the existential question we all grapple with or those who want a quick introduction to philosophy so they can identify those they may want to research further. Still others may find this book provides all the information they need on why our decisions don't matter.

Other books in this collection edited by Simon Van Booy are: Why We Fight and Why We Need Love.
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Format: Paperback
My favorite of the three Van Booy philosophy books. I love this for it's subtle irony, but also the very passionate and sincere manner in which the editor is able to shed light on the meaning of choice in our lives. Whether you believe in destiny, or that we are essentially free to determine the course of events, Why Our Decisions Matter will likely give you thought to reconsider. I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although many of the selections in this volume are good from a literary standpoint, I felt that several of them were overly long (to increase the page count?) and most of them have little to do with exploring WHY our decisions don't matter. For me the book was a near-total waste of time.
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