- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books (2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846683939
- ISBN-13: 978-1846683930
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,863,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live Hardcover – 2011
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There are many ways to try to improve our lives - we can turn to the wisdom of philosophers, the teachings of religions or the latest experiments of psychologists. But we rarely to look to history for inspiration - and when we do it can be surprisingly powerful. Showing the lessons that can be learned from the past, cultural historian Roman Krznaric explores twelve universal topics, from work and love to money and creativity, and reveals the wisdom that we've been missing. There is much to be learned from Ancient Greece on relationships, from the industrial revolution on job satisfaction, and from Ming-dynasty China on bringing up our children. Just as a Renaissance 'Wunderkammer' was a curiosity cabinet full of fascinating objects, each with a story behind it, "The Wonderbox" is full of stories and ideas from history, each of which sheds invaluable light on the decisions we make every day, whether we think about the different uses of the senses or changing attitudes to time. History is usually read for pleasure or for insight into current affairs, but "The Wonderbox", stepping into the territory of Alain de Botton and Theodore Zeldin, is 'practical history' - using the past to think about our day to day lives.
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My problem is basically with him. I do not want or need his philosophy permeating all aspects of this book or, more correctly making assumptions about the rightness or wrongness of his readers. The historical references are strong enough on their own and do not need a post modern take on them. Far better to lay out the instructions from history and let readers take their own course rather than his ham fisted way to lead them with his own modern view of the world.
I would not mind if his philosophy was sophisticated but it is nothing more than you can read anywhere on a left wing blog or a social democrats web page. Lacking depth, yet with an idea of his own right view, is what lets this very fine idea for a book down.
It reminds of an annoying habit with reporters which I dislike, "This morning my wife said to me blah! blah! blah!". At times I feel a bit like this with this author.
I suggest you read first the section on "Belief", then put the book down for a day in order to absrb that one specific message. Let it resonate in your consciousness with unrestricted selff-honesty. That will sure move something deep inside your mind, and your very notion of being. Then move on to the rest of the book and let the author's clear-minded, mature, empathic, and passionate prose travel freely in every realm of your existence and change your life. For the wisdom expounded in the book is transformational, in that it can set you free from the many virtual shackles our age.
If you want to (re)claim freedom and (re)set yourself on a path of practical wisdom and liberating happiness, you should absolutely read this book and recommend it to your dear ones.
(Please note that I didn't give it five stars because I think that would set unrealistic expectations about any piece.)
insight, such great stories. Inspiring, questioning and relevant. I just hope more people read it and absorb some of the things he discusses.
Having said this, it is interesting and absorbing but I want to absorb more! There is so much to take in but it is written in such an engaging
way that I know I am going to enjoy it just as much, if not more, on my second visit. Thank-you Roman, for your inspired book.