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Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom Hardcover – November 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Educator and philosopher Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important public intellectuals, he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters, which changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice, and the New York Times bestseller Democracy Matters. He is the recipient of the American Book Award and more than 20 honorary degrees.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401921868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401921866
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before I state what Hope On A Tightrope: Words and Wisdom by Dr. Cornel West is, let me begin by stating what it is not. Although this book has 12 chapters, titles ranging from Courage, Philosophy, Family to Music, Freedom and Wisdom, to name a few, this is not a book in the traditional sense; certainly not like Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism or Race Matters. It reads, as the subtitle alludes, as though one is reading excerpts from Dr. West's speeches. Having seen and heard Dr. West on a number of occasions, I recognize the many Westian core concepts included in this book and it may seem all too familiar to you as well.

That said, Dr. West is still an educator and a leading authority on faith, freedom and justice, particularly as it relates to the African-American community. His insights are, as usual, critical, coherent and profound. Anyone who has not had the opportunity to partake in any his words of wisdom would find this book enlightening.

A couple of final thoughts: This book was released on Nov. 1st, 2008 and in it there are references to Barack Obama as a candidate for President of the United States. I believe better timing of the book's release (delaying to a later date) and having Dr. West speaking from the view point of Barack Obama winning the general election would have been worthwhile. Secondly, the companion CD which contains an interview facilitated by Tavis Smiley along with couple of musical selections from Dr. West's ventures in spoken word, seems by itself worthy of the book's retail price. The fact that the CD is included with the book is a bonus.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unbelievably touching and down to earth, Dr. West is able to restore true love in our hearts living in a rough world. At the height of academic and philosophical excellence, Dr. West graces us with his wisdom on a variety of topics, ranging from Faith, to Family, to Music, and to Philosophy; all respectable chapters in this life-changing book.

Give it a read, you will not be the least bit disappointed with his work.

Then again, what's new? All his literature is fascinating and real. Plus, the book comes with an audio CD in the back with a fantastic interview between Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West.
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Format: Hardcover
Now, in truth, I've read a lot of Dr. West, mostly in college. While I've always respected his work and have been deeply effected by what he's written, I have to admit that I've enjoyed seeing him speak live and whenever he's been on shows like Bil Maher's the most.

This newest work is the first time a Cornel West book has come as close to "the real thing." This isn't "Democracy Matters" or "Race Matters", nor is it his more academic text. The book really gives bite-sized gems of Dr. West's brilliance, without sacrificing any of the impact or depth. The scope of what's covered goes across all of Dr. West's subject matter so, whether you love seeing him on late-night TV or have digested all of his academic text, you have points of entry. Definitely suggest this as a gift for anyone looking for a little inspiration this holiday season.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this edition, starting with the included CD interview of West by Tavis Smiley, West challenges us to bring ourselves to a higher level, to become the difference, to not depend on recent elections or change, but to become the change . . . instead of looking for another Martin Luther King, Jr. . . .strive for the higher level as an individual. West's challenging us to think outside of the box, doesn't allow for lazy minds. Cornell West, is himself an icon for social justice and inspires all those who read Hope on a Tightrope to join him in the journey. Hope on a Tightrope is a book where the value of the content far exceeds the monetary investment to purchase the book. Thank you Dr. West.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am willing to struggle against all forms of racism until the day I die.

The book is compact like a gift book. However, it is filled to the brim with Cornel West's philosophies and experiences. Whenever I would pick up this book, my body would fully relax. I knew the words would take me to the inner side of myself. At times I disagreed with Dr. West. For example, when he spoke of the Blues as a hopeful type of music. I've always thought the Blues sad. However, I have to admit not listening to much Blues. I am anxious to listen to it with the author's thoughts in mind. Perhaps, the Blues is hopeful. From music like Hip Hop and Jazz and other types of music he shares his opinions. One other thought of his amazed me. He believes music is more powerful than literature. However, he quoted from literature more than he did music. He wrote or quoted Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neil, etc.

I agree music speaks to every man in a unique way. I would hope though that future children would be led to think of literature as more important than music. I believe it's much easier for "our folk" to get in touch with music than for a young person to sit down and read The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers or Othello by Shakespeare. I feel that literature lasts a lifetime. As we change literature changes with us; However, music is here and gone tomorrow. What's hot today might easily be forgotten for what's hot the next day. Of course, that is very sad because musicians work very hard to touch the core of our souls.

Just as I disagreed with him on those points there were far more which led me down a path of enlightenment. I would nod my head for a familiar idea or a long pause for a new idea he gathered and weaved in understandable language.
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