Non-Fiction Book of The Month: Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It

Posted on 1st November 2015 by Sally Campbell
A warm and easily accessible look at philosophy by the effortlessly funny Daniel Klein

Philosophy is always a little…concerning. Sure, once you have read a huge amount on each philosopher, you can usually sum up what they have to say in just a few pithy sentences (and show off to your friends by casually referring to them “Who, Epicurus? Oh he was such a rogue”). But getting to that point of understanding can be a long and tough.

Which is why people like Daniel Klein are such welcome breaths of fresh air.

If you don’t know who Daniel Klein is – he is a bit of a dude. Before you wince - allow me to explain.

Klein wrote the book: Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, using jokes to understand philosophy. That fact says it all really. But I will explain further.

Klein is seventy plus years old. And he is an authority on the philosophies of the world. So what way does he choose to make use of his vast, arcane knowledge? He writes hilarious, accessible books bringing philosophy out of the murky and intimidation shadows.

Open any one of his books at any paragraph – and I promise you – you will be so hooked, 10 minutes will have passed before you realise - and then, after another 10 minutes, and you have read another few pages, it will hit you that you really should go and buy this book, take it home, finish it and lend it to all your friends.

In his latest book, Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It, Klein looks back at the thoughts, and quotes, that concerned him as a much younger man. He uses his wisdom and experience to revaluate the philosophy that fascinated him at university – so you get the two views in parallel.

But mainly, the book is a warm, funny wander through the wonderful mind of a truly fascinating man.  In another of his books, Travels with Epicurus: Meditations from a Greek island on the Pleasures of Old Age,Klein wrote:

“The predestined disappointment built into desperately yearned-for newness has found expression in many ironic aphorisms, like the Bedouin saying “Beware of what you desire, for you shall always get it.”

 See, he is a dude.


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