This book is about the quest for order in a perplexing world.
Ideas to Save Your Life explores the wisdom of more than twenty eminent thinkers across history, from Pythagoras to the contemporary Australian philosopher Frank Jackson; from Mungo Woman to Martha Nussbaum, by way of Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch. It ranges widely across subjects to ask: from where do we draw a sense of life’s purpose? And how can philosophy make life better?
Michael McGirr’s approach is warm and personal. Ideas to Save Your Life is often funny, but it is always serious about the task of philosophy. It makes the impenetrable accessible, the indescribable palpable, and invites you to change how you see the world.
‘Michael McGirr is a bit of a twenty-first century alchemist with words: nothing is too deep to be made understandable, his aim is consolation and kindness always, and the result is often magic.’
‘His anecdotes will make you laugh out loud. If you haven’t read any books by him before, seek them out.’
‘A wonderful excursion through a host of ideas and thinkers.’
‘A tonic…A book to unscramble your brain and help refresh your perspective.’
‘A lively, often comic, narrative combined with a romp through some of the key ideas of ancient philosophy…What McGirr draws from the well of philosophy serves his purpose as a storyteller and a critic of society, and he leads us from the personal to the philosophical in an entertaining and often insightful way.’
‘A bracing romp…Definitely add it to the Christmas list.’
‘McGirr’s survey of more than twenty major philosophers, including Socrates, Montaigne, William James, Simone Weil and Mary Midgley, is very much about which of their ideas retains authentic traction in a vocational life dedicated to making the world a more just and humane place…[This is an] erudite yet chatty collection of essays…New lights turned on for me as I read Ideas to Save Your Life. I’m thankful for the laughs too.’