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The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live [Hardcover]

Roman Krznaric

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to live: history as a guide Jan. 14 2012
By Eric Lonergan - Published on Amazon.com
Secular society has failed to provide us with a guide on how to live. As Krznaric suggests, the self-help literature and the psychology of happiness seem unsatisfactory and superficial. His approach, which seems so obvious and compelling once embarked upon, is to seek guidance from history. This beautiful book draws inspiration from how those before us have made sense of the things that matter most to us: love, family, empathy, work, time, money, creativity, belief, and death. Krznaric effortlessly draws on the vast richness of how people have lived in the past. We discover that despite our many forms of progress, often those before us had far deeper conceptions of how to live. Love has a far more subtle and varied form in Confucian, Buddhist and ancient Greek thought. Time, "the tyranny of the clock" which Krznaric describes, has not always been our master. Rushing to achieve more we often succeed only in experiencing and understanding less. There are wonderful alternatives, such as the Balinese concepts of "full days" and "empty days". Nothing in this book is predictable, or dull. Intriguingly, family conversation is something we have struggled with as much in the past as the present. But the ways in which we have failed, and the examples of cultures that succeed, can provide guidance. The range of sources and relevance of this book is impressive. But Krznaric keeps his erudition hidden; his wisdom comes to the fore. This book is not just a guide on how to live. Reading this book is an end in itself. It is a deep, moving, pleasure.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and rich, a very important work April 28 2012
By MG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What the author manages to do very well in this book is to raise deeply important messages and discuss them in a very rich, yet very accessible manner. This is very fitting for our time. Our minds are overloaded by information and stimuli of mostly dubious value. This book strives for and achives the opposite: its enormous value is rendered in a succint prose, which is both warm and personal, and full of inspiring and instigating energy. Make no mistake: the message here is as important as is simple, because it touches us in a very direct yet profound way.

I suggest you read first the section on "Belief", then put the book down for a day in order to absrb that one specific message. Let it resonate in your consciousness with unrestricted selff-honesty. That will sure move something deep inside your mind, and your very notion of being. Then move on to the rest of the book and let the author's clear-minded, mature, empathic, and passionate prose travel freely in every realm of your existence and change your life. For the wisdom expounded in the book is transformational, in that it can set you free from the many virtual shackles our age.

If you want to (re)claim freedom and (re)set yourself on a path of practical wisdom and liberating happiness, you should absolutely read this book and recommend it to your dear ones.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing perspective Feb. 17 2013
By Gwen - Published on Amazon.com
I had the chance to hear Roman Krznaric speak at the Wilderness Festival in 2012 and because of that, bought his book The Wonderbox. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mr. Krznaric writes about love, friendship and community (and many other subjects) with a sense of introspection and excitement at the possibilities of how they could be defined in a more fulfilling way. The lovely thing is, that he does it using history as context. It was quite an interesting, uplifting read - I have passed my copy on to family and friends and think it will stay on our library shelves indefinitely.

(Please note that I didn't give it five stars because I think that would set unrealistic expectations about any piece.)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing all around April 26 2013
By Elizabeth Erickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Of course it's always a question of expectations, but I thought this book would offer more solid philosophy than opinion. Sadly, no. And the writing is turgid and slow. Oh well.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book! Its a gem. Jan. 29 2013
By Catherine - Published on Amazon.com
I think this is a fabulous, fabulous book and I just loved reading it. So much so I have started to re-read after just finishing. Such
insight, such great stories. Inspiring, questioning and relevant. I just hope more people read it and absorb some of the things he discusses.
Having said this, it is interesting and absorbing but I want to absorb more! There is so much to take in but it is written in such an engaging
way that I know I am going to enjoy it just as much, if not more, on my second visit. Thank-you Roman, for your inspired book.

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