Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy Paperback – February 4, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Up to 50% off select Non-Fiction books
Featured titles are up to 50% off for a limited time. See all titles
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Top Customer Reviews
Happiness is not a state but a process, a continuous striving, as Foley writes: "An emotion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear idea of it". And that striving might be they key as Psychologist Daniel Nettle says "the purpose of the happiness programme in the human mind is not increase human happiness; it is to keep us striving". At the same time Foley reminds of Kant's view that "the pursuit of happiness is itself the main cause for unhappiness". In this manner the book takes the reader through the different views of happiness and how to achieve it, often without giving any real answers. Maybe because there aren't any five bullet recipes of happiness, except as Flaubert is quoted "Stupidity, selfishness and good health are the three prerequisites for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking the other two are useless".
But Foley gives us a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is to see ourselves as the roadblock or path to happiness, to take full responsibility and not to find reasons for failure or shortage of luck in others or externally. As Sartre said: "Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices". Happiness might be a choice - "pain is inevitable, suffering optional". So stopping the blame on genes, upbringing and context, might be a first step. And reminding yourself of what Katrine Hepburn says in The African Queen: "Nature, Mr Allnut, is what we are put into this world to rise above".Read more ›
our yearning for authenticity is not found only in novelty--a new place, a new lover, a new job: "More effective is to see the familiar with new eyes . . . to smash the crust of habit and see life anew." He exhorts us to "begin a new job in your current post, enjoy a holiday where you actually live, and most thrillingly, plunge into a tumultuous affair with your own spouse." (139) The book is full of nuggets of learned information and wonderful quotes such as "understanding is itself transformation" (24). It is packed with impressive research into psychology and a review of the broad sweep of philosophy from the Stoics to Rousseau with Camus and the Buddha in between and beyond. The style is easy flowing, lucid and full of distilled and simple but profound wisdom. Ideal for scholars, searchers and interested readers this will become a classic.
I've recommended this book to at least a dozen friends. It's that good. And as with some books, it has you thinking long after you've turned the final page.
Modern consumer society has become a race to reward ourselves with ever greater or more varied experiences, which we basically tell ourselves we deserve by virtue of being, well, us. The problem being that like a hit of heroin, that which might make us feel good in the short term requires larger and larger hits to get a smaller and smaller high, until eventually we've trained ourselves to have to be mainlining just to feel somewhat normal. It's great if you're in the biz of selling heroin, not so great if you're in the biz of trying to live a self-actualized, relevant, relatively happy life.
What a wonderful book. Not often you hear me say that...
Will it give you a series of easy-to-follow steps on how to wind up happy? No. Because there is no such bromide. Will it give you enough food for thought to give you a running chance at living as full a life as possible?
Best $10 you'll ever spend, and a joy to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent. If you are a thinker and somewhat smart, this will be a delight.Published 6 months ago by DenGordon
It's not all he says, but that is one of the philosophical truths which Foley explores in this gem of a book. Read morePublished on March 22, 2014 by Terry W
I read the book from British library and then felt like keeping it with me. The references are helpful to my cancerous reading habit- reaching out and about in all directions. Read morePublished on March 20, 2014 by K. Vijayakumaran
Michael Foley with ‘The Age of Absurdity’ will make you sit down and look at the world around you more closely. Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by Helpful Advice
Brilliant read! Best work of a real world genius! A combination of practical philosophy and useful psychology to guide us on how absurdly we strive to follow 'false Gods'.Published on December 8, 2013 by pat donnelly
This was a bit of a disappointment, this book, but that has more to do with too high exspectations. Foley describes absurd aspects of modern life. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Marc L
Many books these days are simply a pain to read: they are, in spite of the alleged brilliance of the author, unreadable. Read morePublished on January 26, 2013 by Paulus Mango
This books suffers from all that it denounces: superficiality, hasty judgements, lack of connection, arrogance and self centeredness. It is condescending and boring. Read morePublished on October 4, 2012 by E. G. Tolon
Great style, highly interesting subjet. Loved every word in this book. I recommend this book to anyone who's willing to think for themselves and not get caught in the claws of... Read morePublished on September 19, 2012 by Vic_Obi