Drawing on the wisdom of history’s greatest intellects, from Aristotle and Augustine to Simone de Beauvoir and Barack Obama, an entertaining and inspirational manual for cultivating a satisfying life—and a timely and thoughtful defense of the liberal arts—based on Stanford University’s popular Education as Self-Fashioning Program.
Education has long helped men and women around the world widen their understanding, improve their circumstances, and ultimately develop a satisfying conception of life itself. By following the examples set forth in the great works of civilization, the curious and adventurous, the intrepid and determined alike, have discovered how to cultivate and enjoy gratifying lives of curiosity, passion, purpose, and endless opportunity. Today, however, when a liberal arts education is overwhelmingly dismissed as impractical and elitist, the examination of timeless and tested ideas is considered a roadblock for students pursuing good-paying jobs, rather than an invaluable key to future success and a model for a gratifying existence.
In Reading for Life, Stanford University Professor Blair Hoxby shows how—and why—these lessons in the art of living not only still apply, but are arguably more important than ever. Building on his interdisciplinary Education as Self-Fashioning Program at Stanford, which invites undergraduate students to wrestle with the world’s greatest thinkers as they embark on their own specialized fields of study, Hoxby takes readers on a guided tour through the world’s greatest minds in literature, mathematics, philosophy, economics, and political science to offer insight and practical takeaways on how to develop a satisfying and sustainable concept of life. Throughout, he interweaves personal and professional anecdotes and contemporary stories from politics, pop culture, and social movements to illustrate how timeless ideals continue to be put into practice today.
Practical, informative, and inspiring, Reading for Life calls on readers to design their own self-defined principles for living a fulfilling existence and offers a blueprint for pursuing and perfecting that life in rewarding ways, at any age or any stage.