Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

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by Daniel Klein
     
 

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One of the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus travels to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books, seeking the best way to achieve a fulfilling old age

 

Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from

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Overview

One of the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus travels to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books, seeking the best way to achieve a fulfilling old age

 

Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, Klein learns to appreciate old age as a distinct and extraordinarily valuable stage of life. He uncovers simple pleasures that are uniquely available late in life, as well as headier pleasures that only a mature mind can fully appreciate. A travel book, a witty and accessible meditation, and an optimistic guide to living well, Travels with Epicurus is a delightful jaunt to the Aegean and through the terrain of old age led by a droll philosopher. A perfect gift book for the holidays, this little treasure is sure to please longtime fans of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar and garner new ones, young and old

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following a trip to his dentist, 73-year-old Klein considers his options after being advised that he needs tooth implants or a denture. Klein (Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar) opts for a sojourn to the Greek island of Hydra. Accompanied by a suitcase crammed with philosophy books, Klein contemplates the Greek philosopher Epicurus’ pivotal question. “He fundamentally wanted to know how to make the most of his one life,” writes Klein. Eschewing the “forever young” treadmill many American’s embrace, Klein explores a different path, examining the relaxed Greek lifestyle surrounding him. He laments what’s lost in the frantic rush to stay youthful: “And we have no time left for a calm and reflective appreciation of our twilight years, no deliciously long afternoons sitting with friends or listening to music or musing about the story of our lives.” The author ruminates on the benefits of freeing ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs; the pleasures of companionship in old age; battling boredom; the difference between sexual urges and sexual nostalgia; and the value of facing death blissfully. Along the way, Klein touches on the ideas of Bertrand Russell, Erik Erikson, Aristotle, and William James. Klein’s narrative is a delightful and spirited conversation, offering up the ingredients inherent to the art of living well in old age. Agent: Julia Lord. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
A late-in-life reflection and modern-day philosophical exploration of what it means to age authentically. Septuagenarian Klein (co-author: Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates, 2009) is on a personal quest to redeem the grizzled and gray-haired among us. Returning to the Greek island of Hydra, which he visited in his youth, he sought to watch and learn from a culture that, he writes, best embodies the grace of old age. Over leisurely glasses of retsina at the local tavern, he observed the "lived time" of his aged, Greek friends and lamented the contemporary Western desire to extend the prime of life beyond its course. What do we lose, he asks, when we deny our hard-earned senior citizenship and opt instead for implants, Viagra and a second career? With the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus as his guide, Klein navigates a veritable sea of great thinkers and their treatises on aging. From Aristotle to Frank Sinatra, each philosopher offers a different take on what it means to live a meaningful life in one's later years. For Epicureans, it's a life devoted to simple, enduring pleasures and free of pain, particularly the pain we incur on ourselves by pursuing certain pleasures. As it turns out, there are no specific rules to living life well or to making peace with old age, but Klein suggests that perhaps the act of asking can be "some kind of end in itself." Some readers, especially younger readers, will reply in the affirmative when Klein wonders aloud if he is simply "a befuddled old geezer barking at the moon." Others will appreciate the slow, lighthearted amble of his discourse and the wise cast of characters that inhabit his journey. Charming and accessible, this philosophical survey simply and accessibly makes academic philosophy relevant to ordinary human emotion.
From the Publisher
“An insightful meditation.” - The New York Times Book Review

“Along the way, Klein touches on the ideas of Bertrand Russell, Erik Erikson, Aristotle, and William James. Klein's narrative is a delightful and spirited conversation, offering up the ingredients inherent to the art of living well in old age.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Charming and accessible, this philosophical survey simply and accessibly makes academic philosophy relevant to ordinary human emotion.” – Kirkus Review

“Witty and wry” – Huffington Post

“A lovely little book with both heart and punch.” – Booklist

 “A charming meditation on aging. Daniel Klein takes us on a thought-provoking journey.” – The Weekly Standard Book Review

“Reading this book after a period of overwork and high stress, I was bowled over by its easy charm and hard-won wisdom. I shall be buying it in bulk as presents for my equally overburdened peers, and I suspect a few older people will enjoy it, too.” – Markus Berkmann, The Daily Mail

 “If you think philosophy is hard stuff that makes your head spin and possibly hurt, Klein is the perfect guide to deep thinking.  Being fully aware and wondering how best to spend our time are useful practices at any age, and this warm, thought-provoking book is a terrific introduction to thinking about life philosophically.” – Concord MonitorMultiple

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143121930
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/30/2012
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
381,964
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher
“Witty and wry” – Huffington Post

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