While there are many philosophical books that offer individuals a profound and provocative take on the depth and scope of human existence, Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” may be one of the most meaningful. Although the book covers a plethora of intriguing themes, the primary subject discussed is the author’s view that individual existence precedes essence. When considered in light of the other thought-provoking ideas he discusses throughout the work, the genius and importance of the work becomes plain.

Before introducing and outlining the meat of his argument, Sartre (more…)

The famed John Watson was a noteworthy figure in the development of modern psychology. Specifically, Watson’s lifelong devotion to the science finally culminated into the development of behaviorism. This school of thought was revolutionary in its approach to and understanding of the human psyche. From Watson’s stirring, new proclamations came about a body of work including the book, “Behaviorism.”

Behaviorism was published in 1970 as an end-all-be-all representation of John Watson’s associated works. Not only did this publication quickly find success (more…)

Be honest, how many of you saw the Lord of the Rings films before you read the books? How many of you even saw them when they were making their rounds of DIRECT TV without even realizing they were based on books?

It’s a common problem that seems to happen more often than not – people watching the movies and never knowing about the source. However, you should always read the books that the movies are based on and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is no exception.

Set within Tolkien’s fantasy world, the trilogy is the classic story of a hero’s journey with some important lessons about perseverance, failure and redemption all thrown into the pot.

While, at times, being too detailed for its own good, the books never fail to paint a very vivid and detailed portrait of the world of Middle Earth. It is, in this way, that the reader’s mind is transported and immersed in this fictional world and that is how the books succeed. You aren’t just reading about a conflict, you are living it.

It’s really no surprise that the Lord of the Rings trilogy has continued to endure and I have a feeling it will continue to do just that in the coming decades.

Like many books and movies, All’s Quiet on the Western Front has an obvious message and a deeper meaning. On the surface, the message is anti-war. A group of young German men joins up to fight in World War I; they are full of enthusiasm. At the western front, an area of intense engagement, they become disillusioned by the horror of war and gradually beaten down by exhaustion and the futility of war.
The title refers to a communique sent on the day of the main (more…)

When Sinclair Lewis’s novel Babbitt was published in 1922, it became an immediate best seller. However, it was a fairly controversial book because it contained a strong challenge of middle class values and ideals. Lewis felt that the American middle class of the time plagued with mindless conformity and that most people were living vapid lives. The main character, George Babbitt, works as a realtor in a middle-sized city in the American Midwest. He spends much of his time social climbing and participating in various community activities.

As he gradually become dissatisfied with his way (more…)

“Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism” informally known as “The Big Book” was first published in 1939. Although parts of the book were written by numerous authors, most of the book was written and edited by Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Considered the original “self-help book” the AA Big Book has served as a model for how books can help people to alter their behavior in a positive way. In fact many have noted that there is much advice in (more…)

Arthur C. Clarke’s classic work of science-fiction 2001: A Space Odyssey presents a number of ageless truths. Some readers may wonder how such truths can exist within such a fantastic work. The answer can be found in the themes. While the novel itself it rooted in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, the themes are universal. As a result, the themes also remain ageless.

What is it about the book that makes its themes so ageless? In a way, the book predicts the perennial innovations in technology that consistently occur and how they can affect human development and achievement. Granted, the work (more…)

Since being published in 1949, George Orwell’s “1984″ stands as a stark warning against totalitarianism. The society Orwell envisioned in his bleak vision of the future is still studied today for its many harsh lessons.

“1984″ teaches readers about the dangers of allowing Big Brother to take over. Characters in “1984″ refer to the omnipresent government surveillance as Big Brother. Big Brother is always watching. Big Brother has worked his way deeply into every aspect of society, even going so far as to monitor the bedrooms of (more…)