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Lou Marinoff. The Middle Way: Finding Happiness in a World of Extremes. New York: Sterling, 2007.

These days, our "global village" (a term coined by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s) is awash in either-or arguments, caused in large part by extremists of every kind, who are unwilling to compromise. But Lou Marinoff, a professor of philosophy and author of the bestseller Plato, not Prozac, argues that there is a better way--a middle way--where we might discover common ground for peace, both personally and universally. In this book he reveals the ABCs of finding such a path: Aristotle, Buddha, and Confucius. Each of these wise men knew that extremism destroys happiness, health and harmony, and shared the very important notion that the main purpose of our existence is to lead a good life, here and now.

In three sections, Marinoff examines the contemporary world and shows how the "Middle Way" provides solutions to our most pressing problems. Part One looks at assorted "civilizational" dynamics that drive both cooperation and conflict across borders, and introduces each of the ABCs. The second segment focuses on a number of notorious extremes--including political polarization, and simmering religious, tribal, gender, cultural, and economic divides--and how the ABCs can reconcile them. The final section describes how we all can apply the ABCs to the betterment of our own lives and humanity as a whole. (In a nutshell: "Be Aristotelian in your unrelenting commitment to improving your mind. Be Buddhist in your unstinting effort to deepen your heart. Be Confucian in your unselfish devotion to serving your fellow human beings.") A short list of recommended readings accompanies each chapter, along with illustrations, maps, and educative charts.

The Middle Way contains lots of good information for those interested in ideas on how to overcome personal and societal impasses. Highly recommended.

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Author:Levinson, Martin H.
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2008
Previous Article:Judith Rich Harris. No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality. New York: Norton, 2006.
Next Article:66 years ago, before ETC: Volume 1, Number 1.

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