Aristotle's Way: Book summary and reviews of Aristotle's Way by Edith Hall

Aristotle's Way

How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life

by Edith Hall

Aristotle's Way by Edith Hall X
Aristotle's Way by Edith Hall
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2019
    272 pages
    Genre: Advice

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Book Summary

From renowned classicist Edith Hall, Aristotle's Way is an examination of one of history's greatest philosophers, showing us how to lead happy, fulfilled, and meaningful lives.

Aristotle was the first philosopher to inquire into subjective happiness, and he understood its essence better and more clearly than anyone since. According to Aristotle, happiness is not about well-being, but instead a lasting state of contentment, which should be the ultimate goal of human life. We become happy through finding a purpose, realizing our potential, and modifying our behavior to become the best version of ourselves. With these objectives in mind, Aristotle developed a humane program for becoming a happy person, which has stood the test of time, comprising much of what today we associate with the good life: meaning, creativity, and positivity. Most importantly, Aristotle understood happiness as available to the vast majority us, but only, crucially, if we decide to apply ourselves to its creation - and he led by example. As Hall writes, "If you believe that the goal of human life is to maximize happiness, then you are a budding Aristotelian."

In expert yet vibrant modern language, Hall lays out the crux of Aristotle's thinking, mixing affecting autobiographical anecdotes with a deep wealth of classical learning. For Hall, whose own life has been greatly improved by her understanding of Aristotle, this is an intensely personal subject. She distills his ancient wisdom into ten practical and universal lessons to help us confront life's difficult and crucial moments, summarizing a lifetime of the most rarefied and brilliant scholarship.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Delivers an expansive, practical assessment of Aristotle...her book is an engaging, thrilling approach to Aristotle's pragmatic thought. It is a useful introduction to the ideas of one of the most important philosophers in world history." - Publishers Weekly

"[A] lucid account… nontechnical but deeply grounded… Can happiness come from virtue? This lively book makes a good argument in the affirmative." - Kirkus

"More a practical guide than an introduction to philosophy, this work communicates what the ultimate purpose of philosophy is: living a full life." - Library Journal

"With vivid, page-turning prose, Aristotle's Way invites you into the wise, practical, intentional, self-determined world of Aristotle's mind. Nearly everything that psychological scientists have discovered about happiness was anticipated by Aristotle 23 centuries ago. You will be a slightly different person after finishing this beautiful book than you were before you started." - Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

"A wonderfully lively and personal guide to Aristotle's philosophy of well-being. Read it and flourish!" - Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne

"Where there's a will, there's a way: Aristotle did it his way, Edith Hall – magnificently – does it hers, in this combined critical appreciation and celebration of the philosopher-scientist whom Karl Marx hailed as a ‘giant thinker'. Readers keen to live a Good Life – and prepare for a Good Death – should dive head first into this fount of ancient but still modern wisdom." - Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus at the University of Cambridge

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Author Information

Edith Hall

Edith Hall first encountered Aristotle when she was twenty, and he changed her life forever. Now one of Britain's foremost classicists, and a Professor at King's College London, she is the first woman to have won the Erasmus Medal of the European Academy. In 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Athens University, just a few streets away from Aristotle's own Lyceum. She is the author of several books, including Introducing the Ancient Greeks. She lives with her family in Cambridgeshire.

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