What We Are Reading Today: Frederick by Avi Lifschitz

What We Are Reading Today: Frederick by Avi Lifschitz
Short Url
Updated 02 December 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Frederick by Avi Lifschitz

What We Are Reading Today: Frederick by Avi Lifschitz

Frederick II of Prussia (1712–1786), best known as Frederick the Great, was a prolific writer of philosophical discourses, poems, epics, satires, and more, while maintaining extensive correspondence with prominent intellectuals, Voltaire among them. 

This edition of selected writings, the first to make a wide range of Frederick’s most important ideas available to a modern English readership, moves beyond traditional attempts to see his work only in light of his political aims. In these pages, we can finally appreciate Frederick’s influential contributions to the European Enlightenment—and his unusual role as a monarch who was also a published author.

In addition to Frederick’s major opus, the Anti-Machiavel, the works presented here include essays, prefaces, reviews, and dialogues. The subjects discussed run the gamut from ethics to religion to political theory. Accompanied by critical annotations, the texts show that we can understand Frederick’s views of kingship and the state only if we engage with a broad spectrum of his thought, including his attitudes toward morality and self-love. 

By contextualizing his arguments and impact on Enlightenment beliefs, this volume considers how we can reconcile Frederick’s innovative public musings with his absolutist rule. Avi Lifschitz provides a robust and detailed introduction that discusses Frederick’s life and work against the backdrop of 18th-century history and politics.

With its unparalleled scope and cross-disciplinary appeal, Frederick the Great’s Philosophical Writings firmly establishes one monarch’s multifaceted relevance for generations of readers and scholars to come.


What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King

What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King
Updated 17 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King

What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King

This is a book that has much to teach about interpersonal relationships.

“Beyond its applications to the work place it also explores the social dynamics in the connections we make within our families, with our friends and into our communities,” said a review in goodreads.com. 

“There are valuable insights here, grounded in research and science and brought to life through personal stories,” said the review.

Priya Parker says in a review for The New York Times that Author Marissa King’s work is one of a number of new books that emphasize the importance of social interaction at this moment of social distancing.

“Reading Social Chemistry during a pandemic is an unsettling experience,” added Parker.

King “calls on us to be intentional not just with our individual relationships, but with our networks. We conflate networks with networking.” 

Parker said: “We can’t avoid networks. We are all a part of them and they shape our realities. They are also not inherently good or bad. Schools that design structures forcing students to interact with different groups, through scattered seating assignments, make cliques less ubiquitous.”