The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters

Overview


For centuries, philosophers, theologians, moralists, and ordinary people have asked: How should we live? What makes for a good life?

In The Best Things in Life, distinguished philosopher Thomas Hurka takes a fresh look at these perennial questions as they arise for us now in the 21st century. Should we value family over career? How do we balance self-interest and serving others? What activities bring us the most joy? While religion, literature, popular psychology, and everyday ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$13.59
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$18.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $11.47   
  • New (6) from $11.47   
  • Used (5) from $11.83   
The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$12.99 List Price

Overview


For centuries, philosophers, theologians, moralists, and ordinary people have asked: How should we live? What makes for a good life?

In The Best Things in Life, distinguished philosopher Thomas Hurka takes a fresh look at these perennial questions as they arise for us now in the 21st century. Should we value family over career? How do we balance self-interest and serving others? What activities bring us the most joy? While religion, literature, popular psychology, and everyday wisdom all grapple with these questions, philosophy more than anything else uses the tools of reason to make important distinctions, cut away irrelevancies, and distill these issues down to their essentials. Hurka argues that if we are to live a good life, one thing we need to know is which activities and experiences will most likely lead us to happiness and which will keep us from it, while also reminding us that happiness isn't the only thing that makes life good. Hurka explores many topics: four types of good feeling (and the limits of good feeling); how we can improve our baseline level of happiness (making more money, it turns out, isn't the answer); which kinds of knowledge are most worth having; the importance of achieving worthwhile goals; the value of love and friendship; and much more. Unlike many philosophers, he stresses that there isn't just one good in life but many: pleasure, as Epicurus argued, is indeed one, but knowledge, as Socrates contended, is another, as is achievement. And while the great philosophers can help us understand what matters most in life, Hurka shows that we must ultimately decide for ourselves.
This delightfully accessible book offers timely guidance on answering the most important question any of us will ever ask: How do we live a good life?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The book is filled with common sense and practical wisdom. As a practical 'guide to what really matters' for general readers and philosophers alike, it is a worthy modern representative of a tradition of ethical writing that goes back to Aristotle's own guide to what really matters, written for his son Nicoachus. From my point of view, that is high praise indeed."--Robert Kane, Ethics

"A stimulating read and a great way to get you focused on the right things at the beginning of the year."--Fareed Zakaria, CNN

"Thomas Hurka's The Best Things in Life is that rare thing: a philosophical work written with such simplicity and verve that it will engage beginning students, but with enough subtlety and sophistication that it will also reward careful study by specialists. An important contribution to ethics."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Most of us know the main sorts of things that can make a life worth living: happiness and pleasure, friendship and love, accomplishment, knowledge, and virtue. But few of us could probably say very much about just what these things really are, and what, exactly, makes them so valuable. That's where Tom Hurka comes in. The Best Things in Life provides an original and fascinating philosophical guide to some of life's most important questions. For the most part, of course, it's not exactly a practical guide-it won't tell you how to find love, or how to be virtuous or successful. But it will give you a far better sense of what you should be looking for, and why."--Shelly Kagan, Yale University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195331424
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/17/2010
  • Series: Philosophy in Action Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 669,698
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Hurka is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and the author of Virtue, Vice, and Value; Principles: Short Essays on Ethics; and Perfectionism.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Feeling Good
Chapter 3: Knowing What's What
Chapter 4: Achieving Goals
Chapter 5: Being Good
Chapter 6: Loving and Being Loved
Chapter 7: Putting it Together

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Best Things in Life

    Professor of philosophy Thomas Hurka ponders what makes a good life. He writes simply, explaining philosophical concepts with understandable examples: Chocolate and sex, for instance, are good. Hurka layers his concepts, one upon another, weaving a modern and interesting ¿ if not necessarily compelling to the reader who is not philosophically minded ¿ report on what comprises a good life. More practical readers might prefer tips or parameters, but this isn¿t a self-help guide. It¿s more of a discussion, with points to consider and directions for reaching your own conclusions. Hurka¿s ability to cite Kant, Socrates and other philosophical giants without getting bogged down helps readers consider theories they might find otherwise inaccessible. getAbstract suggests this book to managers, executives, entrepreneurs and armchair philosophers seeking gentle guidance toward a more rewarding life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)