Hazhir Teimourian

Wise Words

What is Good? The Search for the Best Way to Live

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 241pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

How APPROPRIATE THAT I should be reading this survey of ideas about the good life in Western history here in Greece, where the everyday philosophising of Homo sapiens was first raised to the level of formal discussion in academies and given the name of philosophy. Furthermore, as you watch the local people with their relaxed lifestyles, you cannot help but reflect on the qualities of the ideal life yourself. In the hot afternoons, under canopies of vines and mulberry trees, young couples whisper their own versions of eternal truths to each other over glasses of beer and Kalamata olives (favourites of Herodotus), before going for a long splash in the clear waters, while their elders take a snooze on a shaded balcony or play backgammon – a Persian borrowing – in the alleyways.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,