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Showing 1-10 of 88 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 117 reviews
on April 14, 2011
I bought this book with no expectations. I had read an article about it, as an atheist I liked the idea and wanted to support Grayling's work so I bought it. I really was pleasantly surprised.

This book is not a compilation of work. You will not open it up and find passages from various works called out by author. It is truly written in the style of the Bible - Grayling has taken the collected wisdom of hundreds of secular philosophers and melded it together in the flowery prose form typical of the Bible. There is no reference list at the back to tell you where anything came from, he has taken the ideas and the texts and melted them together.

The Good Book begins with Genesis, where you can see the ideas of Darwin laid out in an inspirational way. Reading through this I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I'm used to this language being peppered with things I don't believe in, and listening to it at weddings or funerals generally gives me a lump in my stomach. Here was the same kind of lofty language, but saying the things I believed! I didn't realize how much I would enjoy hearing Darwin's theory of evolution told as a beautiful story of how we began and the cycle of life.

As you make your way though the book, you can clearly see where he has incorporated Plato's dialogs, but without specific references. Characters are mentioned in the same way as the Bible, introduced without preamble, just snippets of conversation or story which attempt to showcase an idea. There are passages on grief and death as well.

If you are looking to learn the works of these philosophers in an intellectual way, this is not the book for you. This book is meant to absorb the ideas they upheld in a more spiritual feeling way. I wish this book had been published before I got married, I would have looked for a passage from it to read at my wedding. I could see reading it at a funeral, there really is something cathartic about having grief and death and moving on with life written in this way.

I feel in some ways as an Atheist this may have been what I was missing and didn't realize it. I didn't have anything to help me find a way to feel good about my place in nature's greater story, I just felt the absence of the belief in an afterlife. I also feel like this is a book I could read to my kids to help them figure out how to be a good person in a world which is not always good and in which you cannot rely on a all powerful being to save you from your problems. The language is flowery and poetic, but its also much more accessible than say Kant's Metaphysics of Morals. I minored in philosophy in college, I'm by no means an expert, but I have read some of these works and they are by no means easy to absorb.

So, I think for what this book is trying to accomplish, what it says it is in the description, it is a great work.
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on September 8, 2016
Really appreciating the poetic way in which this book is written, I think it will encourage all of us to speak and write more eloquently.
Love how so much of what we are reading are things we have studied in history so far, it's wonderful to make all these connections with my children...even my four year old is getting into it! which is amazing because he is so hyper! (we read at mealtimes, it helps the boys not bicker, and gives us something to talk about besides pokemon, or minecraft - hahaha)
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on September 6, 2014
An excellent collection of thought provoking material from sources that span centuries and cultures. I have it in both eBook and hardback. There's material one can turn to no matter the mood your in or the circumstances you face. I have the eBook handy for no matter where I'm at and I keep the hardback on my night stand. I turn to it frequently at the end of each day to really put things into perspective.
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on July 27, 2017
Interesting
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on April 2, 2015
Absolutely loved this book. Histories drags, but if you get taken away by the stories and the philosophy contained within, you'll that it's a real world account of how good morals ripple out over time. I've found a laundry list of excellent nuggets of wisdom within these pages. It is hands down my favorite book and I will make my through it for a second read.
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on November 16, 2015
What an amazing book. It is so rich in wisdom that you might find yourself highlighting whole pages!
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on May 15, 2011
I was hesitant to buy this book, just because I have so much to read and I left religion as a child so I'm comfortable as an atheist and didn't feel I need any kind of guidance. Well, I didn't realize the wonderful nature of this book, nor the beautiful format and content! I had the wrong impression about what it was!

Wow, I am so impressed with this hefty tome! It's everything religious text should have been and are not. This version of Genesis is realistic, amazing, and awesome. It's written with stark awareness, an interconnection with nature and reality, and optimistic poignancy. It voices what so many of us had thought about, but articulates it all in a delightful poetic manner, as gorgeous as nature itself.

I'm not a fan of poetry and never have been, but this book touches me deeply. I see how Grayling has tried to stay in similar style to how the Christian bible was written, but his writing far exceeds anything in the bible, his words resonate so deeply and beautifully . . . I keep tweeting awesome quotes and sharing on FB.

This book is so well done, a pleasure to read, to page through, picking out verses, or reading page by page. It's a book I will refer to often, enjoying chapters, picking out lines. A wonderful tome that should be in the hands of everyone on the planet!

BTW, I recommend the hard copy and no Kindle, as it's just wonderful to page through, to put sticky notes in, or highlight lines. Buy it, ready it, savor it, and share it. Well done, Grayling. Wow!
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on April 1, 2012
I think the Good Book is interesting but not great. I think I would really like to know who is responsible for all the quotes that are presented with the pages. I would have liked to have seen more explicit discussions on evolution, the current scientific explanation of the origin of the universe and the possible origins of life. Otherwise it is nice reading and I'm sure most will find it pleasant.
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on January 17, 2016
I am really having a hard time getting through this book. The author is a learned philosopher, but he is way over my head in his theological approach to life.. Even though I like his Humanist philosophy, I don't know if I will ever finish reading "The Good Book: A Humanist Bible."
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on June 6, 2011
Having reviewed parts of it, I enjoy the style of the book. It's not overly intellectual, yet it has an overall wise and realistic perspective on humanity and the world. The writing of the author is informed by fact, reason, and science, yet his ideas are presented in a way that lends itself to some interpretation, so that individual readers can attach personal meaning to them. The ideas promote a positive attitude toward oneself, other people, and life in general. They do not contain an argument against religion, yet there is a subtle opposition to mysticism and ignorance in the book, and it clearly presents an alternative. One weakness relative to many of the religious books of the Bible is that it does not contain stories. That makes it less accessible to audiences that do not reason abstractly by virtue of their age, verbal ability, or language skill. Another weakness can be found in the section with proverbs; some of them display a black-and-white thinking about phenomena that are actually on a spectrum of shades of gray; other proverbs show an unfair bias against certain ideologies (for example, materialism), a bias that is based entirely in the values of the author and not in any particular empirical reality, fact, or reason. Overall, I felt like I had gotten my money's worth, and I intend to find time to read the whole book carefully.
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