Jottings on how to live the best life

EVERY TIME I FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE, THEY CHANGE IT<br>Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live<br><b>Daniel Klein</b><br><i>Text Publishing</i>
EVERY TIME I FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE, THEY CHANGE IT<br>Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live<br><b>Daniel Klein</b><br><i>Text Publishing</i>

This engaging book by Daniel Klein is an expansion of a little notebook he (and probably many of us) had as a young university student, a book of quotes by philosophers and writers giving advice on how to live.

Klein, now in his 70s, rediscovered his own notebook of quotes compiled in his youth and, in Meaning of Life has taken these quotes and used each one as a door into his own philosophical musings, memories and thoughts on life.

As such, Meaning of Life is half-memoir, half-meditation on how to live the best life.

Klein is a trained philosopher, so many of the quotes are from philosophers ranging from Aristotle all the way to Australian-American thinker Peter Singer.

And there are, it seems, as many pieces of advice on living well as there are philosophers.

Is a life lived only for pleasure a life well lived, as per the hedonist philosophy?

What about a life lived for friends, or companionship, or love?

Is life about establishing or creating the meaning of your life for yourself?

Or can that meaning be found in religion? Is there any meaning at all, or is life merely absurd?

Or, ultimately, is a good life one lived in the present: ''Be here now''?

All these questions flow through Meaning of Life, helped along by Klein's easy-going prose. Klein perfectly nails that delicate balance between thoughtful erudition and plain talk.

This balance frequently results in delightful turns of phrase; he describes part of John Barth's novel The End of the Road as ''Existentialism gone wacky''.

Klein's a funny guy, too. I frequently found myself smiling and laughing, as well as thinking deeply.

A thinking woman's beach read.

 Feby Idrus is a writer, musician and student.

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