An endlessly engrossing catalog of philosophical conversations.



In this collection of interviews, accomplished luminaries discuss various dimensions of ethical life. 

While the host of an internet-based radio talk show, Merchey (Building a Life of Value, 2005) conducted 89 interviews with writers, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and academics revolving around the nature of ethics. His book, which derives its name from the radio show it records, presents 20 of those dialogues, each one preceded by an introduction of the topic at hand and the participants. The conversations are broadly conceived and cover a panoramic landscape of philosophical subjects. Some of them chiefly handle political subjects like progressivism, liberalism, and leadership, while others are driven by economic concerns and assess the moral challenges posed by capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and business in general. One chapter features a provocative discourse with a seasoned scholar about the possibility of teaching children morality. Despite the eclectic character of the assemblage, there are two recurrent themes that tether the otherwise disparate parts into a coherent package. First, there is the centrality of the moral life, which every exchange returns to like a shared refrain. In addition, many of the discussions touch on the rational examination of the good life, or the goodness in thinking about goodness. In one particularly intriguing segment, author Jennifer Michael Hecht addresses the value of doubt itself. In another chat, scholar Tom Morris captures the importance of philosophy to practical life succinctly: “Philosophy is a personal quest for more wisdom about life and more insight about living.” The interviews are consistently thoughtful and engaging; besides leading them with great skill, Merchey also has a talent for recruiting lively contributors. And while the interviewees tend to be intellectuals—it’s remarkable how many of them have a Ph.D.—the dialogues always remain broadly accessible, avoiding the trap of overly esoteric digressions. Merchey has a master’s degree in clinical psychology from California State University Fullerton and is buoyantly erudite, effortlessly diving into all manners of issues. The book, which is studded with philosophical and inspirational quotes from famous personages, is a feast for both the mind and the soul. 

An endlessly engrossing catalog of philosophical conversations. 

Pub Date: May 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944313-84-5

Page Count: 490

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?