“The most disturbing philosophy book I have read.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“While I agree with some of Gray's observations, I find the overall tone and message of this book to be impossibly pessimistic, dreary and over-the-top. For those of you who know their philosophy 101, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Gray names Schopenhauer as a major influence on this...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I can see what appears to be a few holes in the argument at the start. Humanism is all about progress - really? We'll see if he carries the argument as I get further into the book. He seems to have some underlying issues and attitudes that I don't recognise.
Completely unintelligible book. No idea what the author is on. He sets up a spurious position and then tries to knock it down. But the logic is so tortuous that it's impossible to follow. Despite getting great reviews (according to the publisher's blurb that is) it was a struggle to get through, and left me none the wiser. So disappointing.”
“The most disturbing philosophy book I have read.”Dick Brown wrote this review Saturday, April 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is the second time I've read John Gray's book, and it's as shockingly clear-eyed and pungent this time around. STRAW DOGS is an evisceration of the complacent Western assumptions about so-called progress and liberal democracy that have marked the post-World War II world. It is also a demolition of ideas of human exceptionalism, our dreams of God, and our faith in science (paradox intended). The book came out in 2002 and a few elements (i.e. Al Qaeda's world-historical role) are dated, but these do not invalidate what is a bracing thesis that forces one to think. This book slaughters an entire herd of sacred cows—and I say that as a vegan! Even the most convinced secular ameliorist will scramble to justify just what it is that makes them believe in their specialness as a humanist and a human. Highly recommended. ”Martin Rowe wrote this review Thursday, April 12, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Probably the most important book of modern philosophy I have ever read. Gray writes in a succinct, informal way but his message, essentially that expediency rules human conduct without moral import, rings true, even if an unpalatable thought. I found this book both liberating and scary in its message, maybe a little pessimistic about human conduct and motivation and brutally honest if painful to accept.”Hydriotaphia wrote this review Saturday, January 29, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“great but challenging read on anthropology and evolution. Strong rejection of anthropocentricism which I enjoyed. I'm sure I'll come back to it a few more times”ben k wrote this review Sunday, January 9, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is the first book I've read by philosopher John N. Gray. As always, his bleak but cool and realistic outlook on our human predicament has marked my world view. He is definitely”Lex wrote this review Tuesday, January 4, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“While I agree with some of Gray's observations, I find the overall tone and message of this book to be impossibly pessimistic, dreary and over-the-top. For those of you who know their philosophy 101, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Gray names Schopenhauer as a major influence on this work.
Aye, humanism is far too anthropocentric to do us any good, but what Gray fails to deliver is any sort of positive perspective, any sort of workable alternative that doesn't merely consist of the observation that we are "just" animals like any other. True, he mentions Taoism and animism in passing, but even those cannot deflect the overall bleak tone of the book. ”
“Interesting ideas, badly expressed.”Jim W wrote this review Saturday, February 6, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“John Gray has written a philosophy book that's almost an anti-philosophy book, an effort to remind humans of our place in the universe. While I applaud this effort, and Gray's general demolishing of concepts such as religion, humanism, solipsism, work, etc., I am not sure his book adds up to much. He seems more intent on tearing things down than in offering any sort of conclusion. He finds it ironic, as do I, that humans, though otherwise like other animals in every respect, seem to crave meaning in life. Yet he has no solution. I found a little video of him online, talking about his book, and he certainly didn't give the impression that his philosophy (or carefully crafted lack thereof) has made him a happy man. ”Joel B wrote this review Friday, January 15, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No