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Showing 1-10 of 38 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 69 reviews
on May 6, 2013
I think when it comes to philosophy, I am not interested in any books which I cannot directly apply to my life (in a practical and pragmatic way).

Therefore this was a refreshing book to read-- and also a deep insight into the thoughts of the author himself. Having studied philosophy his entire life, he has obvious questions: what does it all mean, and why am I on earth, and why do I do what I do?

I often have the same existential questions, and here are some quotes I enjoyed from the book:

1. Life is never smooth, we can never truly expect what will happen.
>> Ortega Gasset: "Life is fired at us point blank. We cannot say, Hold it! I am not ready. Wait until I have things sorted out."

2. Live in wonder and be curious
>> Socrates: "Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins with wonder."***

3. The "art of living" is an important goal in life
>> Utilize body, speech, mind to helping greater good!

4. Gaining happiness isn't obtaining material goods, but to develop your own capabilities to its fullest
>> "Man's happiness is to move higher, to develop his highest facilities, to gain knowledge of the highest things and if possible, to see God."

5. Don't aim for physical pleasures, but cultivate the mind
>> Saint thomas: "All the more perfect than sensuous pleasure as the intellect is above the senses."

6. Become self-aware
>> Catherine Roberts: "The very act of realizing one's potentialities might constitute an advance over what has gone before."

7. We are who the people we spend the most time with
>> "We are made or marred by our relations with other people."

8. Be active
We are meant to be active in life, not lethargic. Doing nothing leads to depression (we were meant to move)

9. We can always overcome
>> "No matter how weighed down and enslaved by circumstances a person may be, there always exists the possibility of self-assertion and rising above circumstances."

10. The need of freedom is part of our biology--hard wired into us

11. The limits of knowing
You cannot fully know what you are thinking, let alone what others are thinking

12. Don't try to measure everything
Scientism is trying to nerdify everything and quantify everything. Steer away from this, some things in life can't be measured.

13. Cultivate "Adaequatio"
IE: You can't have an opinion on something before you are fully educated on it. Ants can' have an intelligent discussion of the science of how microwaves work, because they are not adequately intelligent enough to do so. By spending a lifetime learning, one can achieve higher levels of "Adaequatio"

14. Worst thing is to be uneducated
>> They will have "an inadequate and impoverished view of reality"

15. Faith and reason don't necessarily contradict
>> "Faith is not in conflict with reason, nor is it a substitute for reason."
>> Buddhists: "Faith opens the eye of truth."
>> Christianity: "Open our eyes to the heart, so we can see God."

16. Thoughts on Wisdom
- Wisdom as a 'science for understanding'
- Using wisdom for the "sovereign good", not for corruption and manipulation

17. The concept of "Ockham's razor"
Don't contain any ideas or concepts that are not strictly necessary (to cut off unnecessary fat).

18. You don't need to justify your actions
Man's highest value: Claims that something is a good in itself.

19. Never stop improving
>> Plotinus : "Never stop chiseling your statue" to make yourself beautiful!

20. Practice mindfulness
Don't live our lives in auto-pilot like we usually do!
Buddhism, they call it: "satipatthana" (mindfulness)

21. Don't have opinions
>> Buddhism : "Opinion is a tumor, opinion is a sore. Overcoming opinion you become a saint"

22. No man is his own island

23. Religions should be active
"Religion without applied psychology is completely useless"

24. There is no real answer to life
>> "A solved problem is a dead problem"

25. Pursue art
>>"Art helps us to develop our higher faculties"

To sum up, highly recommend this book-- order it now!
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on December 19, 2016
This book is unreadable, that is, the ebook version. The words are not always put together, ex: "tr y t o re a d s om e t hing l ik e t hi s."

Now imagine entire paragraphs formed in this way. It seems that they attempted to compensate for this problem by adding a Scanned version of the unreadable page, which is rather annoying.

Would love to get my cash back, or at least a version of this ebook that is put together completely.
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on November 25, 2015
This book is a concise review of how modern western culture has gone astray, and lays out some fundamental concepts and practices that may provide a path of the correction of our culture. Schumacher draws on some traditional wisdom which our modern culture has arrogantly thrown out. He briefly and eloquently asks how modern thinkers can ignore what has been verified by experience in every culture in human history, in favor of a materialist-mechanistic scientism based upon the myopic self-centered musings of the philosopher Descartes- which have led modern culture to close it eyes to anything but what it has invented itself. Our human world's lemming-like progression to the climatic cliff is only one result of machinistic materistic thinking, but it is sufficient to outweigh all the others. This book, written in 1977, is still very current.
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on March 25, 2017
Wonderful book, but get a paper version. This kindle version is filled with typos and ANNOYING letter spacing errors. There are some freely downloadable PDF versions out there that are much easier to read. The CONTENT of this book deserves FIVE STARS!
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VINE VOICEon June 10, 2017
I wasted almost seven dollars for an unreadable text. Buy a bound version until it is safe to purchase a professionally formatted Kindle version.

The positive reviews on the content of the book itself are all true. I write only to warn off potential Kindle purchasers.
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on May 3, 2017
I had previously read "Small is Beautiful" which is a great book also from EF Schumacher, but this one is in a very different level, a different investigation into meaning and purpose, laid out with scientific rigor and poetic clarity. A must read if you wonder what are we doing in this life. This book helped me structure a vocabulary and framework that other authors will jump over, into the actionable aspects of it.
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on August 26, 2016
A book every educated person should read. Sane, necessary, and thoroughly engaging.
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on November 28, 2013
This book changed my world view. I became frustrated with organized religion but did not want to completely turn my back on religion. This book helped le to realize that I determine the amount of faith that I want to exercise. I can take what I view as the positive aspects of religion and leave the rest on the rubbish heap. I now strive to operate within the fourth level of life, self awareness . I try to understand what I can put into my relationships to build up those around me. I am no longer taking. Ii try to give back to others. My needs do not always have to be satiated .
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on November 14, 2014
Simply brilliant. Raises the most important questions human being can ask, if he or she bothers. I wish they studied this book at schools. There is no point to describe the book in detail, it asks more questions than it bothers - or dares - to answer. Anybody who is not brain dead will be fascinated by this text.
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on September 22, 2010
Using Google as an oracle, I typed in "How should I live my life?"

Turns out this was the title of a book. I clicked on a link that allowed me to read some passages, including the chapter headings.

I headed straight for the chapter called "Buddhist Economics," as questions of what actions to take around bettering my own personal economic situation were topmost in my mind at the time.

In this fascinating chapter the author cited two books as source material, and gave his highest recommendation that the reader investigate the ideas within those works.

One of the works was EF Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful, Economics as if People Mattered. The other work was The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga, Paths to a Mature Happiness by Martin Levine.

Amazon's suggestions for "also liked" led me to EF Schumacher's A Guide For the Perplexed.

I ordered all three. The first one I read was A Guide For the Perplexed, a slim volume in which Schumacher presents compelling, comforting ideas about science, religion, and human being(s) in a direct, reassuring manner. He articulates his view of life with an emphasis on providing a clear view of human potential in its full realization. In this he succeeds.

He describes Philosophical Maps and Levels of Being, Progressions, Adequate Knowledge/Understanding, the Four Fields of Knowledge and Two Types of Problems.

Throughout, the reader is guided step by step along a progressively brighter path that took me by the hand and led me to the promised land. Yet this is anything but airy fluff for "positive thinking" or some other pablum that gives the New Age a bad name.

Instead, it is a reasoned, thoughtful, embracing view of life and humankind's place in it. Schumacher details the scientific views of the past few centuries and the tenets of the world's major religions, synthesizing all of it into a place for peace of mind.

A Guide For the Perplexed is recommended reading for anyone who might have the notion that being human is a bad idea (as I did, frankly.) In this tremendously affirming work, EF Schumacher builds a solid metaphysical foundation upon which to rest ideas that highlight traditional civilizing values for mankind.

I recommend you read this book. I read it and decided to live more fully. It's a good thing.
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