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Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness epub

by Willard Spiegelman


Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness epub

ISBN: 0312429673

ISBN13: 978-0312429676

Author: Willard Spiegelman

Category: Self-Help

Subcategory: Happiness

Language: English

Publisher: Picador; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)

Pages: 208 pages

ePUB book: 1844 kb

FB2 book: 1572 kb

Rating: 4.5

Votes: 372

Other Formats: lrf lrf docx azw





Seven Pleasures turns the American obsession with the pursuit of happiness inside ou. The seven essays, in the words of Spiegelman, "explore activities that come from and lead to & happiness.

Seven Pleasures turns the American obsession with the pursuit of happiness inside out. Rather than focus on religion or pharmacology, Spiegelman advocates thoughtful activity and engagement with the world. The book is a collection of essays each titled with a gerund: Reading, Walking, Looking, Dancing, Listening, Swimming and Writing-all, with the exception of dancing, solitary pursuits. It's not a memoir, but it is deeply personal.

In "Seven Pleasures," Willard Spiegelman takes a look at the possibilities for achieving ordinary secular happiness without recourse to either religion or drugs

In "Seven Pleasures," Willard Spiegelman takes a look at the possibilities for achieving ordinary secular happiness without recourse to either religion or drugs. In this erudite and frequently hilarious book of essays, he discusses seven activities that lead naturally and easily to a sense of well-being. One of these dancing requires a partner, and therefore provides a lesson in civility, or good citizenship, as one of its benefits. The other six reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing are things one performs alone

Автор: Spiegelman Willard Название: Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness . This hilarious book of essays discusses seven activities that lead naturally and easily to a sense of well-being.

This hilarious book of essays discusses seven activities that lead naturally and easily to a sense of well-being.

Essays on Ordinary Happiness. In Seven Pleasures, Willard Spiegelman takes a look at the possibilities for achieving ordinary secular happiness without recourse to either religion or drugs. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. One of es a partner, and therefore provides a lesson in civility, or good citizenship, as one of its benefits. The other six-reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing-are things one performs alone.

But rather than explaining happiness, in Seven Pleasures Willard Spiegelman demonstrates it: he immerses usin the joyful, illuminating practice of seven simple pleasures -dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing-and evokes all the satisfactions they.

But rather than explaining happiness, in Seven Pleasures Willard Spiegelman demonstrates it: he immerses usin the joyful, illuminating practice of seven simple pleasures -dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing-and evokes all the satisfactions they offer. Lighthearted, insightful, and deeply felt, Seven Pleasures is a portrait of pure enjoyment. What does it mean to be happy? Ever since the Founding Fathers invited every citizen to join the pursuit of happiness, Americans have been studying and pining for that elusive state of mind.

Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, by Willard Spiegelman

Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, by Willard Spiegelman. New York: Picador, 2009. Although Spiegelman does not directly advise going back to what one loves and extracting still more pleasure from it, or learning to convert a declining memory into a source of enjoyment, he nevertheless provides example after example of himself doing just such things. Whereas other books about happiness tell readers how to become happy, in Seven Pleasures Spiegelman simply discusses the activities that have made him happy and shows how he has learned to deeply enjoy his life. The activities, without exception, are unexceptional.

Read "Seven Pleasures Essays on Ordinary Happiness" by Willard Spiegelman . Essays on Ordinary Happiness. by Willard Spiegelman.

Willard Spiegelman’s essays on seven of the things that give him pleasure – dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening .

Willard Spiegelman’s essays on seven of the things that give him pleasure – dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming and writing – is a kind of anatomy of cheerfulness, a riposte, in the spirit of Montaigne, to Robert Burton’s digressive anatomy of its shadow. In his introduction Spiegelman writes: ‘Happiness – an elusive feeling, an ambiguous term – has received less respect and less serious attention than melancholy, its traditional opposite

A moving collection of essays on aging and happiness. Spiegelman's expertly crafted book considers, with wisdom and elegance, how to be alert to the joys that brim from unexpected places even as death draws near

A moving collection of essays on aging and happiness. Spiegelman's expertly crafted book considers, with wisdom and elegance, how to be alert to the joys that brim from unexpected places even as death draws near.

What does it mean to be happy? Ever since the Founding Fathers invited every citizen to join the pursuit of happiness, Americans have been studying and pining for that elusive state of mind. But rather than explaining happiness, in Seven Pleasures Willard Spiegelman demonstrates it: he immerses usin the joyful, illuminating practice of seven simple pleasures ―dancing, reading, walking, looking, listening, swimming, and writing―and evokes all the satisfactions they offer. Lighthearted, insightful, and deeply felt, Seven Pleasures is a portrait of pure enjoyment.

Anyone with an open mind regarding what it means to lead a happy, satisfying life will find this brilliant book both enlightening and entertaining. Many readers - including, I hope, some of the two dozen or so friends that my wife and I have now given a copy of this book - might even actually learn to find pleasure in new ways through everyday activities. According to the author, the trick seems to be: Approach those activities that interest you with a positive attitude, a certain level of intellectual curiosity, and a commitment to achieving at least a basic level of knowledge and expertise. In certain respects, Seven Pleasures seems to me to be the normal person's response to Malcolm Gladwell's contention in his recent book Outliers that "success" is a function of investing "10,000 Hours" in training for any particular activity. To all those of us for whom the idea of spending 10,000 hours training to do any one thing sounds more grueling than appealing (or realistic), this book is an uplifting illustration of how much joy can be derived from any activity in which you are interested enough to invest the time and energy to become moderately proficient.

Could reading this book really help you, personally, to be happier? For many people, I believe the answer is "Yes". In choosing his subjects, Professor Spiegelman wisely sets aside the "higher order" aspects of happiness - love, family, friends, career, religious beliefs - and focuses on seven "ordinary" activities (reading, listening, dancing, swimming, etc.) that are within anyone's grasp on an everyday basis. "The individual essays build on the assumption that parts of my life may interest others, who will find in it aspects of their own... Although I describe myself, I write about activities that anyone can perform." Dr. Spiegelman is a professor of English, and his chosen activities naturally revolve heavily around humanities and the arts. But your own personal interests do not have to align directly with those of Professor Spiegelman for you to enjoy this book and benefit from its insights. The same lessons offered here regarding how to experience something beautiful -- or how to perform something beautifully -- could apply to any activity from stock car racing to butterfly collecting.

Is it easy to read? Professor Spiegelman utilizes a vast array of cultural references, and seems to know everything. Some readers may wonder if they will be intimidated: "Will I need to know everything about music, art and literature to understand this book?" Not to worry: All of the material is presented in such a charming, informative, and accessible way, that no great prior knowledge of specifically referenced cultural topics is required. (As one of Professor Spiegelman's former students, and having heard him speak on a wide variety of topics, I can attest to the fact that he actually does know just about everything. He is a terrific lecturer and conversationalist, and the book reads the way he speaks.)

Seven pleasures is also just plain fun to read. Professor Spiegelman writes in the tradition of great essayist/storytellers like Twain, Johnson and Montaigne - every page is filled with witty, insightful observations and memorable anecdotes.

Ultimately, what we learn from Professor Spiegelman's book is that happiness on a day-to-day basis is largely within our own control. To quote Samuel Johnson, "He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness in anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts." Professor Spiegelman: "More than a gift, happiness is also a custom, something that can be cultivated... The things we can do to produce cheerfulness - these are the subjects of this book. We can start out happy, but we can also make ourselves happy." All around it's a great book.
If there was a "Society for Frustrated English Majors & Other Liberal Arts Graduates" --folks who feel that college educations and subsequent daily existences rarely mesh in meaningful ways--then Willard Spiegelman could be the group's guru and his book, Seven Pleasures, Essays on Ordinary Happiness, its holy writ.

This book is not a self-help program that will ever be summarized with bullets in the glossy Sunday supplement. Instead, the delicious volume is a demonstration of how the wisdom of the "liberal arts" (especially my favorite, poetry) can permeate simple activities and heighten awareness of their pleasures.

While discussing each of seven activities, he uses examples from literature, music, visual arts, his travels, and his life experiences from childhood forward. This book offers hope to poetry lovers who lament the demise of poetry as a popular genre. Poems are used repeatedly and effectively to inform and illustrate aspects of ordinary, contemporary life, demonstrating a vital didactic role for poetry. In discussing John Stuart Mills' description of his recovery from mental collapse through Wordsworth's poetry, Spiegelman states that Mills "blurs the line between literary criticism, memoir, and psychotherapy." This description applies equally well to Seven Pleasures.

Of the seven activities discussed, Spiegelman's "bookends," "Reading" and "Writing," are essential pleasures. Without some proficiency in these, one will not develop the awareness or poetic sensibility that enhances the pleasure of any chosen ordinary activity. In these two key essays, Spiegelman is not shy about direct advice. For example, he urges more mature readers to reread what gave them pleasure earlier in life--much has been forgotten about the works, and much has been learned through life experiences to make the rereading more meaningful and pleasurable.

Spiegelman is bluntly honest about writing for one's inner satisfaction rather than for public recognition or money. It often seems there are now more writers (and bloggers!) than readers. The pleasure of writing is most often involved with "the achieve of, the mastery of the thing," to quote Gerard Manley Hopkins, whose poems were published only posthumously. Also, the struggle to write well helps one better appreciate the good writings of others.

A reader wishing to increase happiness in life (and who doesn't?) may simultaneously love this book and doubt its "mass appeal." Spiegelman does not tackle major life issues like careers, interpersonal relations, ethics, or health crises. Yet if his book inspires one to do "best reading" and to develop a poetic sensibility performing pleasurable activities, one's happiness will blossom and dance for having read Seven Pleasures.

Like a contemporary poet, whose relatively small audience consists mostly of other, rival "contemporary poets," Spiegelman appealing to a diminishing pool of "better readers" may be like "preaching to the choir." If so, his is still a genuinely entertaining and eloquent sermon.
I love a book that makes me take notes. That forces me to the dictionary. That makes me take books out of the library. As I am writing this I have Wallace Stevens' poems on my desk. I have written to two dance majors I know regarding what Arlene Croce said about ballet and totally agree with the author about noise level while dining. This is a super volume that teaches and talks to you with only a little effort required on the readers part. Strongly recommend.
Mr G