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Commitment Book Review

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Published December 21st 2013
What are you truly committed to?
I am committed to my education. I am also committed to paying rent, but that's another matter. I am committed to a healthy diet well, most of the time.

What does "commitment" mean to us, and how do we use it? What are we committed to, and more importantly what ought we to be committed to?

commitment benn cover book review literature philosophy
Cover of Benn's 'Commitment' - there's no going back from that jump

Philosopher Piers Benn explores the value of commitment in our lives in his easy-to-read volume Commitment, part of The Art of Living series. He takes us through our various commitments; love, work, family, faith contractual commitments, ethical commitments, and parental commitments and also the obstacles to commitment, such as boredom and indecisiveness. Although he values commitment, Benn is wary of over-commitment or commitment to unfulfilling ideas.

While his work does not have the verbal elegance of his contemporaries such as De Botton and Armstrong, Benn puts forth a valuable introduction to the idea of commitment within the larger realm of the modern search for meaning. He nods to Tolstoy, Camus, Hume, Locke, and Plato, Sartre and Kant, giving a good reading list for those who want to explore the topic further. As well as acknowledging the greats, the book draws on Benn's own internal struggle with commitment, which adds a welcoming personal angle.

This is a good introductory read for those interested in contemporary philosophy, or anyone wishing to explore and possibly re-evaluate their own life.
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