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How to Think About Exercise (The School of Life) Paperback – January 6, 2015
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“Why read a book about making exercise mindful? Would it surprise you to learn that the answer, at leasdt as far as Damon Young's well-written and delightful book goes, is that, well, it's good for you?....Whatever your sport is, the thoughtful reader will find something of interest in this book.” ―Brooklyn Bugle
“Australian philosopher Young seeks to expand our often dim view of exercise in this surprising, smart, and thoroughly enjoyable inquiry...With readings of David Hume and John Dewey, practical advice, and tales of his own fitness pursuits offered as both illustrative examples and comic relief, Young profoundly deepens our perception of the benefits of 'intelligent exercise' in this outstanding addition to the School of Life series.” ―Booklist
“In the age of moral and practical confusions, the self-help book is crying out to be redesigned and rehabilitated. The School of Life announces a rebirth with a series that examines the great issues of life, including money, sanity, work, technology, and the desire to alter the world for the better.” ―Alain De Botton, The School of Life Editor
“Self-Help Books for the Rest of Us.” ―The New York Times
About the Author
DAMON YOUNG is an Australian philosopher, author, and commentator. He is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and the author of several books, including Voltaire's Vine and Other Philosophies. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, Young devotes each chapter to randomly chosen abstract virtues ("the Sublime," "Humility," etc.). The result is not an outline for reapproaching physical exertion but instead an excuse for yet another masterclass in "the Classics." A parade of obsolete neoclassicism (remember Patroclus, Antilochus, Polyclitus, and of course, Plato?) soon permeates what readers presumed to be a twenty-first century cognitive guide for rethinking exercise's meaning. But Young never clarifies how all of these Greek philosophers are instantly relatable to rock climbing, the martial arts, and jogging beyond making large moral-ethical claims that lack sustained evidence. Other volumes in the series provide evidence.
Second, it's never clear that "exercise" is Young's target. For example, most of the tenets of Greek neoclassicism that Young revives here could relate to any type of human activity---not necessarily unique or even specific to exercise. Thus, the book resembles a generalized review of Western Philosophers Young finds personally interesting. In fact, the book reads as though the series editors asked him to "make the canon of Western Philosophers relevant to the twenty-first century reader." Thus, we feel a bit cheated by the end as we stare at the twenty-first century gym through the eyes of the ancient Greeks.
Do yourself a favor and read "How to Age" or any of the other volumes. This one is not a strong contribution to the series.
The book is divided up into several chapters, but each chapter is rather disorganized and has a "thrown at the wall" feeling. I didn't expect a great deal, but an editor would have really helped. Not recommended
'Exercise" takes on a whole meaning. It becomes a lot more than a number of "reps".
I don't normally read books about exercise, because they are boring to me. This book changed my outlook on exercise books. It was very witty and philosophical. It showed that smart people can exercise too, not just the steroid heavy types. In fact, the book reveals how even intelligent people should strive to work out more. Working out can increase your creativity and give your mind a rest at the same time.
I loved the author's side notes through the book. I also loved how he included pictures of himself trying to complete his own personal goals. He also asks questions for you to ponder about. I also learned some things about Charles Darwin I never knew before.
The main question in the book that really got me thinking was "How far did you walk today?" I also loved the chapter on tennis because I used to play.
I think everyone would find this book enjoyable. It discusses many different sports, and even if your a couch potato it gets you to think about how you could change and add in a few minutes of exercise to your life.
I look forward to reading more of this author's works. I also am considering reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. The author discussed him a few times in How to Think about Exercise, and he really seems extraordinary!