Life Is Hard

Life Is Hard

How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way

Summary

'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
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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.

Reviews

  • An eloquent, moving, witty and above all useful demonstration of philosophy's power to help us weather the storms of being human - not with rarefied theories about the best way to live, but by making the best of life as it really is. Kieran Setiya is both an unusually gifted writer and as imperfect a human being as the rest of us, which is to say the perfect companion for the journey.
    Oliver Burkeman, author of FOUR THOUSAND WEEKS

About the author

Kieran Setiya

Kieran Setiya was born in Hull and now teaches philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Midlife: A Philosophical Guide, and is the host of a podcast, Five Questions, in which he asks contemporary philosophers five questions about themselves. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and The New York Times.
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