- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: Hopewell Publications (June 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1933435100
- ISBN-13: 978-1933435107
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ordeal of Change Paperback – June 6, 2006
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He seems like a being who had just emerged from unknown depths, startled, overjoyed at what he saw about him -- Eric Sevareid, broadcaster, journalist
From the Publisher
Eric Hoffer--philosopher, author of the timeless tome The True Believer, and a truly great American thinker--gets to the essence of mankind through the ages in The Ordeal of Change.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hoffer was a one- of - a kind original. A truly decent person, who walked to the sound of his own drummer. Admirable in his anti- totalitarian stance and his refusal to be cowed by intellectual trend or fashion. He was a believer in American freedom , and an example of what a free - society can produce- at its best.
Pros: I feel like my summary itself was just a lot of “pros,” but I’ll mention here some of the bits I especially liked. Hoffer has a short chapter towards the end called “The Playful Mood.” There he talks about how man’s creativity comes not from necessity, but rather from those times when man’s survival is not in danger and he has time to tinker. In this chapter, Hoffer talks about how one of the things that separates man from other creatures is that man retains this playful tendency throughout life. This chapter is so good because it refutes common wisdom, i.e., “necessity is the mother of invention,” and gives a compelling argument that the common wisdom is simply not true. I also liked Hoffer’s descriptions of his own life.
Cons: At this point I disagree with Hoffer’s distinctions between man and nature. While I appreciated his chapter on playfulness (see above), I disagree that other creatures lack this tendency. Also, Hoffer’s chapter titled “The Unnaturalness of Human Nature” is interesting, but I think questionable. For example, he says that while nature tends toward simplicity, man reaches simple ends by extravagant means. First of all, what is simple and complex is a matter of man’s perception, and what seems complex may only seem so because it’s misunderstood, and this misunderstanding may be a result of lack of information. A close look at nature reveals complexity beyond imagination. In sum, I think Hoffer concentrated on man to the extent that he perhaps failed to observe other creatures to an equal extent. Also, I would like to read more about Hoffer’s opinion on how to live a good life, or whether he thought a good life was even possible. And I would like to know more about what he thought of his own.