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  • Nov 29, 2014
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The Form of Things - Essays on Life, Ideas and Liberty

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 November, 2007, 12:00am

The Form of Things - Essays on Life, Ideas and Liberty

by A.C. Grayling

Phoenix, HK$136

Did you know the average human life is less than 1,000 months long? And now that you do, does that make you think differently about time? A.C. Grayling believes in applying philosophy to real issues. The Form of Things - Essays on Life, Ideas and Liberty gathers 55 short pieces written for newspapers and magazines (he's a contributor to The Financial Times). Among his topics are colour, beauty, divorce, Darwin and fox hunting. There's not a lot of politics, although his essay on why identity cards aren't such a good thing may prove prophetic. The Times called these pieces 'fine minor works by an acute and fertile mind'. Grayling is an elegant writer with a cultured intelligence not averse to making bad puns. He likes to explain ideas and believes 'every glimpse into the past proves rich in instruction'. What he doesn't like are writers who 'fell forests and clog up bookshelves with pages of ordinariness'. Grayling is far from ordinary. This is the fifth collection of his short essays, earlier ones including The Meaning of Things, The Reason of Things and The Heart of Things. The Guardian described him best as 'enjoyably acerbic and fruitfully slanted'.

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