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The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes…

The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy

by Michael Foley

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Het duurde een tijdje voor ik dit boek naar waarde kon schatten. In het begin vond ik het een weliswaar goedgeschreven, maar toch vooral willekeurig samenraapsel van allerlei filosofische ideeen. Maar als je je laat meedrijven op de geweldige oneliners van Foley en niet te veel samenhang of Een Groot Idee zoekt, is dit een geweldig boek, dat het nodige tegengewicht biedt tegen alle hippe seth-godin-wisdom-of-the-crowds-het-nieuwe-werken-internet-of-things-boeken die je tegenwoordig gelezen moet hebben. ( )
1 vote maartekes | Jan 1, 2014 |
For someone who easily quotes Spinoza, Kierkegaard, Cicero, and a host of others, Foley shows a startlingly poor grasp of human nature and history. Human beings are no more lazy, vapid, irresponsible, or plain ol' stupid than we ever were. Nor did we ever fail to make elaborate excuses for our behavior.

One cannot measure the most refined (or thoughtful, or selfless) of another era against the least so of today. Yes, today's popular culture is idiotic. Every age's popular culture is idiotic, Mr. Foley.

I love a good rant, but this book just came off as cranky. ( )
  7sistersapphist | Aug 29, 2012 |
This is a sharp, witty, highly intelligent and really quite brilliant book. Foley reminds us that our yearning for authenticity is not found only in novelty--a new place, a new lover, a new job: "More effective is to see the familiar with new eyes . . . to smash the crust of habit and see life anew." He exhorts us to "begin a new job in your current post, enjoy a holiday where you actually live, and most thrillingly, plunge into a tumultuous affair with your own spouse." (139)

The book is full of nuggets of learned information and wonderful quotes such as "understanding is itself transformation" (24). It is packed with impressive research into psychology and a review of the broad sweep of philosophy from the Stoics to Rousseau with Camus and the Buddha in between and beyond.

The style is easy flowing, lucid and full of distilled and simple but profound wisdom. Ideal for scholars, searchers and interested readers. This will become a classic. ( )
1 vote GerardMDoyle | Apr 24, 2012 |
I found myself agreeing with almost all of Mr Foley's points about the absurdity of modern life and guilty of a high proportion of the delusions he condemns. But the thought that really struck me and stayed with me was that transcedence can only be achieved long term by application with a high degree of focus on difficult tasks. How true that is.
A very enjoyable book which hits a number of targets, admittedly bloated, slow moving targets. ( )
1 vote Opinionated | Dec 4, 2011 |
The Age of Absurdity by Michael Foley is an interesting commentary on our modern society that seeks to highlight some of the reasonings as to why we find it hard to be happy with our lot in life. Whilst I wouldn't call it laugh-out-loud hillarious the author does make some very wry observations on our twenty-first century age. Foley disects the three most common components of our modern life - the workplace, love & relationships and finally growing old. He is clearly well researched and cleverly supports his views with the teachings of humanities main philosophies and religions. You do get a feeling that the author has a soft spot for the Buddhist beliefs with many of his "coping strategies" not too far removed from mindfulness practices of the Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). A solid three stars for the research and thoughts but sadly a few too many generalisations to make it a four plus read. ( )
  adamclaxton | Nov 30, 2011 |
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The good news is that the great thinkers from history have proposed the same strategies for happiness and fulfilment. The bad news is that these turn out to be the very things most discouraged by contemporary culture. This knotty dilemma is the subject of The Age of Absurdity - a wry and accessible investigation into how the desirable states of wellbeing and satisfaction are constantly undermined by modern life.… (more)

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