The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life, Paperback Book

The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


More than 100,000 copies sold in France A fascinating new journey through Greek mythology that explains the myths' timeless lessons and meaning Heroes, gods, and mortals.

The Greek myths are the founding narratives of Western civilization: to understand them is to know the origins of philosophy, literature, art, science, law, and more.

Indeed, as Luc Ferry shows in this masterful book, they remain a great store of wisdom, as relevant to our lives today as ever before.

No mere legends or cliches ("Herculean task," "Pandora's box," "Achilles heel," etc.), these classic stories offer profound and manifold lessons, providing the first sustained attempt to answer fundamental human questions concerning "the good life," the burden of mortality, and how to find one's place in the world.

Vividly retelling the great tales of mythology and illuminating fresh new ways of understanding them, The Wisdom of the Myths will enlighten readers of all ages.


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Author Luc Ferry is an award winning scholar and former French minister of national education. He knows his mythology, and goes back to the oldest sources he can find for his reading; in many cases, sources more than 2000 years old. He’s very thorough, and roots out the basic meaning of the oldest Greek myths: the creation, King Midas, the Odyssey, Oedipus and others. A lot of it all boils down to the opposing forces of chaos and order; order (as personified by Zeus et al) must continually beat chaos (as personified by the pre-Olympian gods, Gaia (earth) and Chronos who is time itself). Everyone and everything has a place in the universe, and those who try to go against this natural place have hubris, and will end up punished by the universe. No one can defeat death. Accept this, and get on with living the best life you can- in other words, be an expression of order. Even people who have never read the Greek myths know something about them; references to them abound in our vernacular (Oedipus complex, Midas touch, Pandora’s box, Achilles heel etc) so it pays to know where these references come from. The book is interesting; the author treats the myths, as philosophy, with respect rather than as childish tales. He shows how many of these myths connect with each other, and tells us why the things that happen to people happen. Sadly, making the connections means some repetition, but it’s not huge problem. Did reading this book allow me to change my life? No. I’m not even sure how understanding the myths can change my life; perhaps that means I still don’t understand them.

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