Cover Image: Nasty, Brutish, and Short

Nasty, Brutish, and Short

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Not what I was expecting. I had hoped for more childlike takes on life, the universe and everything. So, disappointing as regards my expectations. Not the author’s problem though, only me the reader.

A Penguin Group ARC via NetGalley

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5 unequivocal stars!
Scott Hershovitz is a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Michigan, a husband, and father of two inquisitive sons.

In all honesty, philosophy has always seemed to me to be pretentious intellectualism which whenever encountered made my eyes glaze over and my brain disconnect. Who knew that it could be relevant, interesting, and even fun?

So what attracted me to this book? The picture on the cover reminded me, at some subliminal level, of one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. Shallow but true. And for the record, I think the subtitle is something of a misnomer; while Nasty, Brutish, and Short includes inspiring conversations with Hershovitz's sons, it goes much deeper than that. I don't think that you have to have children to enjoy it but it will help if you at least remember being one. The point is that all children are miniature philosophers trying to make sense of the world. Aren't we all? And it is certainly true that kids have something fresh to bring to conversations because they are more creative thinkers and tend to say what they think without fear of ridicule.

The book is divided into three main sections: Making Sense of Morality and Obligations, Making Sense of Ourselves, and Making Sense of the World. Hershovitz explores what rights are and when we should override them, how should we respond to wrongdoing, what is power and authority (who has it and why). You'll consider tough questions about sex, identity and gender, race; debate the role of government, abortion, war, and the existence of God.
Along the way you'll encounter Hobbes, Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Pascal, Voltaire, Feinberg, and Einstein among others.

Probably the thing I like best about Nasty, Brutish, and Short is that it doesn't offer easy answers but shows us that there are many ways to approach complicated questions. It challenges us to do the critical thinking required to find solutions to the most pressing issues of our times.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Nasty, Brutish, and Short.

To be honest, I was expecting a fun and whimsical read about the author's children, the witty and blunt observations kids are so good at.

Instead, I got a thought provoking, well written, immersive narrative about philosophy; life, morals, and how we live.

The author takes the real life great questions his sons pose about life and morality, choices and our rights, and brings it full circle to the questions great philosophers of our time have posed.

Now, more than ever, is a great time to reflect, to meditate, to truly think about our lives and our place in the world, and how we can do more, do better with our families, our peers, our friends, and ourselves.

Love the title and cover!

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When I moved to the adult reference desk from the youth department at my library branch, some people were like “I bet you’re so happy now to get away from the kids.” I wasn’t.

Children (my own included) test boundaries and this book has a great way of explaining thIs behavior in a comical and personal way. Like Hershovitz, I was not exposed to the idea of “philosophy” until undergrad. He does a great job detailing what philosophy is and why there have been forms of its study for thousands of years in a very approachable manner.

Given all that has happened in the world in the last 2 years; this book solidifies why every so often after a insane headline, I would ask kids around me what they knew about the situation, what they thought, and what questions they had about the issue. Now I have a reference material by a PhD (because that matters to some people) that agrees with me.

***Many thanks to #Netgalley for the free digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.***

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