A NEW YORKER AND THE ECONOMIST BEST BOOK OF 2022
"Life Is Hard is a humane consolation for challenging times. Reading it is like speaking with a thoughtful friend who never tells you to cheer up, but, by offering gentle companionship and a change of perspective, makes you feel better anyway" The New York Times Book Review
'An eloquent, moving, witty and above all useful demonstration of philosophy's power to help us weather the storms of being human' Oliver Burkeman, author of FOUR THOUSAND WEEKS
Pain, Loneliness, Grief, Injustice ... Hope?
Life is hard - as the past few years have made painfully clear. From personal trauma to the injustice and absurdity of the world, sometimes simply going on can feel too much.
But could there be solace - and even hope - in acknowledging the hardships of the human condition? Might doing so free us from the tyranny of striving for our "best lives" and help us find warmth, humanity, and humour in the lives we actually have? Could it inspire in us the desire for a better world?
In this profound and personal book, Kieran Setiya shows how philosophy can help us find our way. He shares his own experience with chronic pain and the consolation that comes from making sense of it. He asks what we can learn from loneliness and loss about the value of human life. And he explores how we can fail with grace, confront injustice, and search for meaning in the face of despair. Drawing on ancient and modern philosophy, as well as fiction, comedy, social science and personal essay, Life is Hard is a book for this moment - a work of solace and compassion. It draws us towards justice, for ourselves and others, by acknowledging what it means to be alive.
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Date of Publication: 05/10/2023