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Hardcover Envy Book

ISBN: 0195158121

ISBN13: 9780195158120

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Malice that cannot speak its name, cold-blooded but secret hostility, impotent desire, hidden rancor and spite--all cluster at the center of envy. Envy clouds thought, writes Joseph Epstein, clobbers generosity, precludes any hope of serenity, and ends in shriveling the heart. Of the seven deadly sins, he concludes, only envy is no fun at all.
Writing in a conversational, erudite, self-deprecating style that wears its learning lightly, Epstein...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Great Subject

The joy of reading anything written by Mr. Epstein is that he reads all the obscure tomes and summarizes them appropriately in context for the readers. Along with a subtle sense of humor his works are wonderful to discern. Furthermore, his sarcasm is quite a marvel. His usage of swear words is as well fittingly placed. Therefore, not only a reader learns of the topic Mr. Epstein has researched on, the reader also discovers good handling of the English language. Envy is an old disease of humans. Nobody understands it. Nothing can be done to stop it for good. It creeps into everybody's heart and mind. He who says he is never envious in his whole life is lying through his teeth. Each chapter is interesting by itself where Mr. Epstein touches all angles of the so-called sin. It is a small book with a lot of constructive information; absolutely invigorating when a writer could produce examples from all walks of life and every single area of society. Mr. Epstein is a well read person, an above average researcher, and a skilful non-fiction author. I envy him. ;-)

A Touch of Schadenfreude

There are few things more satisfying to enviers than the demise or expense of their targets. If you can't have it, whatever it is, all the more better that they should suffer humiliation and misery; a trademark of envy, according to the author, known as "Schadenfreude". In this book, the author looks at envy in nearly all of its incarnations, ranging from envy of the youth, envy of beauty, envy of the Jews, and makes an unusual case in pointing out that societies designed to purge envy from the people instead create more envy within (a bit hard to follow for me, personally). He provides tips on "Spotting the Envious" people, and also helps better define "envy" from its related forms, such as resentment, ressentiment, and jealousy. He says while jealousy involves matters of the heart, envy involves matters of other's possessions; jealousy, despite popular thought, is not envy. Of all the books I've read in the Seven Sins series so far, this has provided the easiest read. It's easy to follow, and the author makes his points with a humorous edge, and without delving too much into inner psychiatry or politics.

Let us all praise those we envy

Epstein is an artful and insightful essayist. His thoughts on ' envy' will I believe help most readers better understand the subject, and reflect more deeply upon their own relation to it. He points out that ' envy' of all the vices has the least positive to be said about it. About this I am not so sure. Surely most of us are ashamed of envying especially when the other person or persons envied is someone close to us who we should want the good fortune of as much as our own. But envy is not necessarily the worst of sins. We after all often by envying express a certain kind of admiration , and recognition of the value others have which we would like to. Envy becomes truly evil only when it moves us to action to truly hurt another or deprive them of their good. And even then in many instances such ' action'( Think of various kinds of ' fair competition') is not necessarily sinful. Epstein points out that we are jealous of what is our own, and envious of what is others.(which we ourselves do not have) Epstein writes a series of short essays some of which deal with qualities and characteristics of others that we envy, Shakespeare's ' this man's art and that man's scope'. One central point on the whole subject of envy is how foolish we so often are in envying others when they have their own life and story, and fate. Often we envy someone who we believe to have a better fortune than our own only to learn that they have sufferings and troubles beyond those we imagined. 'Envy' is a seemingly inescapable element of our nature. And this little book may do an enviable job of helping us understand it a bit better. And this said with the minor praise of one who might envy Mr.Epstein's talent and success which is considerable.

Wittier than you think

As the Chicago Tribune once noted, "Reading an essay by Joseph Epstein is much like watching Joe DiMaggio hit a pitched ball: the pleasure is in watching a difficult art performed with matchless grace and ease." This latest collection by one of our greatest essayists in recent decades will be well received by readers of such prior collections as the bestselling "Snobbery: The American Version," "Narcissus Leaves the Pool," "Ambition: The Secret Passion," and "With My Trousers Rolled." Those who are unfamiliar with Epstein's work (can there be anyone unfamiliar such classics as "The Art of the Nap," "Waiter, There's a Paragraph in My Soup" or "Whaddya Drivin?) will find this to be an excellent and highly engaging introduction to possibly our smartest and most engaging critic since Mencken. I read "Envy" not once but twice within a single day. You will too.

If you liked Snobbery, you'll like this also.

The book is better than the reviews above suggest. The format is very cute, kind of like the new PG Wodehouse editions: small book, small print, 14 short chapter in 109 pages. Reading about sins, you don't want quirky originality. Epstein is so well-read this little book contains a good collection of the wisdom on this ageless subject.
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