This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

Book web site:

Ed. Allison, Jay; Gediman, Dan
Henry Holt 2006
ISBN 978-0-8050-8658-4
Date finished: 2013-06-08

Collects short pieces from the "This I Believe" feature on NPR, where people give 5-minute talks about their core personal believes. Some pieces are religious, some non-religious or atheist, and others are about connections between people, our relationship with nature, or some other social issue. Essayists generally talk about a single principle -- "be nice to others", "always speak up against wrongs", "we learn by practice" -- and don't try to explain every single principle they happen to follow.

There's also a scattering of pieces from the 1950s version of "This I Believe". The stylistic contrast is interesting: the 50s pieces are more formally written and aim at larger topics: Heinlein writes about our destiny in the stars, Thomas Mann writes about transitoriness and change, and the existential threat of nuclear war threads through the older essays. But the significance of the topic elevates everyone's writing, whether in the 1950s essays or the modern ones, and it's a fine collection of thoughts.

Tagged: essays


%T This I Believe
%S The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
%E Allison, Jay
%E Gediman, Dan
%K essays
%@ 2013-06-08
%G ISBN 978-0-8050-8658-4
%P 291pp
%D 2006
%I Henry Holt

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