My Favorite Book of 2018

I was asked to write about the best book I’ve read in 2018 in 200 words or less. Here we go.

My current obsession is authors Will and Ariel Durant, two of this centuries most prolific historians and pure joys to read. This year I read The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant, a work which reminds me that the past is not so unlike the present, and that the problems of humanity now are the same problems humanity has always faced. Philosophy tells the story of fifteen Western philosophers, from Plato to Dewey, explaining the ideas of each through the lenses of their personal experiences and cultures. Of each, my favorite is Spinoza, a Jewish philosopher who envisioned a god beyond that of his youth. For that he and his progeny were literally cursed by his peers and his people, forcing him, as an exile, to seek refuge among the Dutch. While I disagree with Spinoza’s metaphysics, Durant so masterfully presents a paramount human that I cannot but fall in love with his ethos: tolerance and benevolence that leaves humans free to express convictions peacefully. Philosophy stimulates the mind with both rich ideas and eloquent prose as it brings great ideas and great thinkers to the layman. It has earned its place well on my list of favorite books.