An interesting but ultimately unconvincing argument.

An in-depth comparison of Islam with other dominant worldviews.

Zeerak makes the case that Islam is the most complete and relevant philosophy for living. The author contrasts the history and teachings of Islam with the philosophies that polarized most of the 20th century—communism and capitalism. Zeerak associates capitalism with unfettered greed and inevitable inequality. He’s more sympathetic to communism and socialism but points to many of the paradoxes that have made communal systems of governance so difficult to apply in the real world. The book portrays Islam as a sort of middle ground, one that combines the charity of communism with the spirit of self-determination inherent in capitalism. It also compares Western feminism with Muslim teachings about women and their role in society. Zeerak details not only the spiritual aspects of Islam, but also the social, political and economic philosophies that have risen from it. The book’s greatest success is that it presents Islam as a dynamic, adaptive, and ultimately humanitarian, faith that has something to offer followers in every aspect of their daily lives. In this way, it amends much of the false and reductive rhetoric that has been applied to the faith in the wake of 9/11. However, less successful is his argument that all philosophies of living err to the point of irrelevance when compared with a Muslim way of life. Zeerak offers readers a number of straw-man arguments that do little to bolster his point. The work also quotes liberally from outside sources, some of which have a questionable authority. It becomes difficult to trust these sources when they identify feminism as a plot by the New World Order to reduce global population. Many Muslims may find a lot to agree with in this book, but outsiders to the faith will be less swayed by his arguments.

An interesting but ultimately unconvincing argument.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477517109

Page Count: 306

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998



This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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