Reviewed in The Guardian:
“Foley is not one for the “fatuous breeziness” of bullet-pointed self-help manuals or the nostrums of the new science of wellbeing… Here are Christ and Buddha, Marx and Freud, Spinoza and Nietzsche, Joyce and Proust, mixing it with brain experts Pinker and Rose. It’s not so much a trawl of great minds as proof that they think alike when it comes to human frailty – notably the way our base desires hoodwink our higher-reasoning selves and drive us mad with one unmet expectation after the other.
Modern life, Foley argues, has made things worse, deepening our cravings and at the same time heightening our delusions of importance as individuals. Not only are we rabid in our unsustainable demands for gourmet living, eternal youth, fame and a hundred varieties of sex, but we have been encouraged – by a post-1970s “rights” culture that has created a zero-tolerance sensitivity to any perceived inequality, slight or grievance – into believing that to want something is to deserve it.”