Looking to the past to live better todayTwelve universal topics—including work, love, and family; time, creativity, and empathy—are explored in this book by illuminating the past and revealing the wisdom that people have been missing. Looking to history for inspiration can be surprisingly powerful. In How Should We Live?, cultural thinker Roman Krznaric shares ideas and stories from history—each of which sheds invaluable light on decisions made every day. There is much to be learned from the ancient Greeks about the different varieties of love, for example, from the Renaissance about living with passion and facing the realities of death, from various indigenous cultures on bringing up our children, and from Japanese pilgrims on the art of travel. History is usually read for pleasure or for insight into current affairs, but this book is practical history—showing that history can teach the art of living, using the past to think about day-to-day life.
Reviews“A fascinating rattlebag of intelligent, stimulating essays on everything from work to love, time to empathy . . . densely researched but readable, wise, and witty. By taking the long view to debunk some myths of modern life . . . Krznaric frees us from passing trends to answer the fundamental question: how should we live now?” —Financial Times
“This modern guide to living a good life by nurturing relationships, giving more to others, and resisting the self-imposed tyrannies of work, time, ambition, and achievement, is entertaining and instructive.” —Times
“An intriguing upmarket self-help guide. . . . The virtue of this book is that it takes a number of ideas that we might regard as givens of the natural order of things . . . and makes clear how historically contingent they are.” —Guardian
“Human history provides examples of almost every possible lifestyle or philosophical position; Krznaric selects some of the most telling. . . . Our responsibility, he argues, is not just to take inspiration from the past; we also need to recognize where we have inherited damaging or limiting attitudes.” —Independent
Author BiographyRoman Krznaric is a cultural thinker, founding faculty member of the School of Life in London, and creator of the acclaimed animated video “The Power of Outrospection.” He is author of the blog www.outrospection.org, and his articles have appeared in a number of print and online publications, including the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and the Wall Street Journal. He has taught sociology and politics at Cambridge University and City University, London, and advises organizations including Oxfam and the United Nations on using empathy and conversation to create social change. He has been named by the Observer as one of Britain’s leading lifestyle philosophers.