What We Are Reading Today: Midlife: A Philosophical Guide by Kieran Setiya

Updated 31 August 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Midlife: A Philosophical Guide by Kieran Setiya

  • Midlife combines imaginative ideas, surprising insights, and practical advice

How can you reconcile yourself with the lives you will never lead, with possibilities foreclosed, and with nostalgia for lost youth? How can you accept the failings of the past, the sense of futility in the tasks that consume the present, and the prospect of death that blights the future? In this self-help book with a difference, Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, showing how philosophy can help you thrive.

You will learn why missing out might be a good thing, how options are overrated, and when you should be glad you made a mistake. You will be introduced to philosophical consolations for mortality. And you will learn what it would mean to live in the present, how it could solve your midlife crisis, and why meditation helps.

Ranging from Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill to Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as drawing on Setiya’s own experience, Midlife combines imaginative ideas, surprising insights, and practical advice. Writing with wisdom and wit, Setiya makes a wry but passionate case for philosophy as a guide to life. Kieran Setiya is professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

He is the author of Reasons without Rationalism (Princeton) and Knowing Right from Wrong. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and son.


What We Are Reading Today: Ibn Saud

Updated 21 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Ibn Saud

  • This book tells the story of how Ibn Saud transformed himself into a revered king and elder statesman
  • This fascinating biography of the founding king of Saudi Arabia is a must-read for anyone interested in the formation of a Kingdom that covers the vast majority of the Arabian Peninsula

Living the harsh traditional life of a desert nomad, and with immense physical courage, Ibn Saud’s often resorted to breathtaking military tactics unlike any employed by empires in the past. 

Thanks to series of astonishing military triumphs over a succession of adversaries who outnumbered his tribal forces, in 1932 he was able to unite the Hejaz and Najd territories into Saudi Arabia.

Written by Michael Darlow and Barbara Bray, this book tells the story of how Ibn Saud transformed himself into a revered king and elder statesman. It describes his building of solid foundational ties with fellow world leaders such as the 32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. 

As Ibn Saud’s tremendous power and influence over the region increased exponentially, instead of using his might to conquer additional territories, Saud instead promoted peace and stability across his newfound Kingdom, establishing the roots for Saudi Arabia as an invaluable player on the world’s political and economic stage.

This fascinating biography of the founding king of Saudi Arabia is a must-read for anyone interested in the formation of a Kingdom that covers the vast majority of the Arabian Peninsula. The text is illuminated by priceless historical photos and extensive footnotes. 

Critics have praised the authors for steering clear of any bias in their pursuit of historical accuracy.