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Book Reviews



‘Isn’t This Fun? argues that fun is a rich, complex idea, involving elements of ritual, transcendence, group activity and transgression. In contrast to the serious and rather worthy tones of many books on happiness, Foley’s sets content and spirit in harmony: this is a book about enjoyment that the writer clearly delighted in writing. Inspired by the wild Dionysian spirit of Nietzsche and Rabelais, Foley’s mind fizzes, like potassium on water, across a dizzying array of topics and ideas. His chapter ‘Fun and Transcendence’ moves effortlessly from a discussion of rhythm to drumming to shamanism to humour, synchronicity, dressing up and tattoos (by way of an extended discussion of the singer Cheryl Cole’s bottom).’

                                                                 - Tom Startup, Times Literary Supplement

‘a book of great scope that is light in tone but serious in content … an entertaining mix of the academic, the YouTube, insightful observation, jokes (sometimes bad), interesting commentary, journalistic reportage (as he participates in various events), and philosophising. And for deeper delving you can check out the fantastic bibliography.’

                                                                              - Kevin Gildea The Irish Times

‘So is the book actually fun to read? Most certainly … this book is such a wondrous kaleidoscope … based on such a deep reading of all the sources, that I shall be searching out his other works to read forthwith. The man is a marvel.’

                                                                            - Marcus Berkmann, The Daily Mail


The Age of Absurdity, Simon & Schuster 2010

It will make you laugh, perhaps harder than you’ve laughed at a book of pop philosophy. It will make you think profoundly about the application of Rilke, Jesus, Buddha, Epictetus, Spinoza and Sartre to such contemporary phenomena as corporate away-days and must-attend breakout sessions … this former 60s flower child turned penseur skewers our society’s absurdity while being disarmingly conscious of his own.
— Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

Embracing the Ordinary, Simon & Schuster 2012

A wise, funny, erudite book about enjoying everyday life … I will relish this book not just for its deftly opportunistic mining of novels and tracts and movies to shore up its premises, but for lyrical flights into the poetry of dailyness … If they ever hand out golds for infectious delight in quotidian events, Foley should mount the podium.
— Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Life Lessons from Bergson, Pan Macmillan 2013

Perhaps the finest, certainly the most exuberant, of the volumes, [in the series] is Michael Foley’s Life Lessons from Bergson.
— John Banville, Prospect