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A Philosophy of Walking Hardcover – April 8, 2014
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Philosopher Gros ponders walking, that most mundane mode of transportation or exercise, elevating it to its rightful place in inspiring creativity, evoking freedom, and quieting a troubled soul. Whether taking a leisurely wandering stroll or a purposeful trek along an assigned path, when walking we are reduced to “a moving two-legged beast,” momentarily detached from obligations. Beyond his own perambulations, Gros evokes the wanderings of Kerouac and Ginsburg. Nietzsche walked to restore his health and get release from debilitating migraines, until he could walk no more. Rimbaud walked Paris to release his creativity. Nerval walked to ease his melancholy. Rousseau found inspiration only when walking, pondering memories and dreams. And of course, Thoreau walked to commune with nature and meditate. Gros examines the creative philosophies of these writers, artists, and thinkers so deeply influenced by the simple act of walking. He also examines the long journeys, pilgrimages, and protest walks of so many others in this fascinating look at the not-so-simple act of walking. --Vanessa Bush
“A passionate affirmation of the simple life, and joy in simple things. And it’s beautifully written: clear, simple, precise.” —Observer
“Poignant life-stories ... are interspersed with the author’s own meditations on walking ... In the way a landscape is gradually absorbed by the long-distance rambler they steadily build into an insistent exhortation: get up, get out and walk!” —Independent
“Life-affirming stuff.” —National Geographic Traveler
“Impressive.” —Daily Telegraph
“Philosopher Gros ponders walking, that most mundane mode of transportation or exercise, elevating it to its rightful place in inspiring creativity, evoking freedom, and quieting a troubled soul.” —Booklist
“This elegant book inspires consideration of an oft-overlooked subject.” – Publisher's Weekly
"Frédéric Gros asks why so many of our most productive writers and philosophers – Rousseau, Kant, Rimbaud, Robert Louis Stevenson, Nietzsche, Jack Kerouac – have also been indefatigable walkers … there are certain magical things that happen on the trail, and Gros is familiar with them. He thinks like a hiker."— Financial Times
"An admirable little book which will delight even the most sedentary."—Le Monde
"An unclassifiable book in which ideas are illuminated by the bright light of the morning."—L’Express
Top customer reviews
This is truly a philosophy book and it says it right in the title. This is a book about the essence of walking, the experience of walking, the disdain of walking, and famous walking philosophers. Due to this, it is not a mass market book.
I am a contemplative who enjoys thinking while walking or running. I resonated with many of the points the author made about slowing down, enjoying the essence of life, and breathing it all in. This hit every pleasure nerve in my contemplative body, hence the excitement behind this book. This is a book about why we walk and the experience of walking rather than about walking.
If you enjoy philosophy, contemplation, and really deep and rich writing, walk (don't run) and grab this one. My first truly exciting 5 star of the year.