Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living

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Product Details
$27.95  $25.99
Princeton University Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.5 X 1.1 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author
John Kaag is the Donohue Professor of Ethics and the Arts at UMass Lowell and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His books include Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are and Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life (Princeton). Jonathan van Belle is an independent scholar and former philosophy editor at Outlier.org. He is also coeditor with Kaag of the anthology Be Not Afraid of Life: In the Words of William James (Princeton).
"It is finally time to move past the idea that Thoreau was a ponderous layabout whose solitary musings were only possible because of behind-the-scenes support staff (his family). . . . In a post-Covid moment when society is struggling to define the meaning and purpose of so much of what we call work, Thoreau's 19th-century ideas about labor are both highly relevant and weirdly prescient."-- "Lit Hub"
"An elegant and heartening case for parsing the perennial American obsession with work through one of our most discerning writers. The Thoreauvian world that the authors envision is both thoughtful and sweaty, more egalitarian and more meaningful. If we want to actualize this ruddy utopia, we'd better get to work."---Lydia Moland, The American Scholar
"[An] astute study. . . . The speculation on what Thoreau would think about modern workplaces is plausible and well supported. . . making a strong case for the transcendentalist's continued relevance. This should give workaholics pause."-- "Publishers Weekly"

This is philosophy as Thoreau would have recognized it: full of life. An inspiring book that will give you the succor you need to reconsider--and possibly change--the way you work.

"-- "Kirkus"
"[P]hilosophers John Kaag and Jonathan van Belle offer a Thoreau for our own fraught moment, rooted in what they convincingly describe as the central place of work in Thoreau's philosophy and life."---Geoffrey Kirsch, Los Angeles Review of Books

Lively and informal, [Henry at Work] will prompt fruitful conversations about the role of work in our lives.

"---Geoff Wisner, Wall Street Journal
"[I]mpassioned. . . . [Kaag and van Belle] share with [Thoreau] an engaging style of everyday philosophy that extrapolates big questions about a well-led life from seemingly more practical concerns: how to live frugally, to make a living. . . . [T]his accessible and timely book has great potential to urge more people to see Thoreau not as a solitary sluggard but as a resource for thinking together about the future of work, or a future after work as we know it."---Nathan Wolff, Washington Post
"In this little book that packs a big punch, [authors Kaag and van Belle] propose an unexpected companion--counselor, even--for our work journeys: the nineteenth-century writer Henry David Thoreau."---Nadya Williams, Current