How to Be: Life Lessons from the Early Greeks (Hardcover)

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Nicolson crafts a geography of the ancient world and a brilliant exploration of our connections to the past.

In How to Be, Adam Nicolson takes us on a glorious, immersive journey. Grounded in the belief that places give access to minds, however distant and strange, this book reintroduces us to our earliest thinkers through the lands they inhabited. To know the mental occupations of Homer or Heraclitus, one must visit their cities, sail their seas, and find landscapes not overwhelmed by the millennia that have passed but retain the atmosphere of that ancient life. Nicolson, the award-winning author of Why Homer Matters, uncovers ideas of personhood with Sappho and Alcaeus on Lesbos; plays with paradox in southern Italy with Zeno, the world’s first absurdist; and visits the coastal city of Miletus, burbling with the ideas of Thales and Anaximenes.

Enhanced with maps, photographs, and artwork, How to Be provides a vital new way of understanding the origins of Western thought. It's an expedition into early ideas and a geography of our deepest preconceptions. Nicolson takes us to the dawn of investigative thought and a nexus of cross-cultural connection, and he makes the questions of the ancient world new again. What are the principles of the physical world? How can we be good in it? And why do we continue to ask these questions?

“A thing of beauty as well as wit and wisdom.” —Paul Cartledge, author of Thebes: The Forgotten City

About the Author

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, landscape, and great literature. He is the winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, the W. H. Heinemann Award, and the Ondaatje Prize. His books include The Life Between the Tides and Why Homer Matters. He lives on a farm in Sussex.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374610104
ISBN-10: 037461010X
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 368
Language: English