Great Ideas Series Penguin $64 When life gets serious you need serious philosophers. Bill Clinton turned to Marcus Aurelius and Thomas a Kempis for consolation during Monica-gate. The emphasis in this series of books is largely on philosophy as a means of transcending personal difficulties. If you feel undervalued at work and ready to claw your way past your colleagues, Machiavelli's The Prince is full of tips for being the last employee left standing. If you're too dejected to fight back, Rousseau's The Social Contract brilliantly explains why things are as bad as they are. When on your last gasp in the workplace, Seneca's On the Shortness of Life will help you get a bit of Stoical backbone. And those frustrated with the soullessness of mass culture can seek consolation in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own or Ruskin's On Art and Life.