My cousin (in-law) the pessimist

October 23rd, 2006 → 4:12 pm @

Admittedly, a book titled “Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit” does not sound like a page-turner…but then, neither does a book subtitled “The scandals at the New York Times and their meaning for the American media.” And yet they both are…

I’ll readily admit that I’m biased on both counts; “Pessimism” author Joshua Foa Dienstag is my first cousin (in-law). (Tangentially, does anyone know if there’s a term for cousins-in-law?) So don’t take my word for it; take Newsday’s, which calls “Pessimism” a “rich and subtle book” and “a work of exact[ing] scholarship. … Dienstag writes uncommonly well. He is not one of those philosophers who, as Nietzsche once put it, muddy the water to make it seem deep.” The Newsday review comes on the heels of raves from other non-academic outlets like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and Library Journal. You depressives out there needn’t worry; “Pessimism” is actually very uplifting. You’ll need to read it to find out why.

Post Categories: Joshua Dienstag & The Mnookin clan