6 Enlightening Books from Penguin’s Great Ideas Series (Teal)

The Penguin Great Ideas series is a collection of books published by Penguin Books that focus on important works of philosophy, history, politics, and literature. The series was first launched in 2007 and has since published over 100 titles. The teal series refers to the sixth instalment of Penguin Great Ideas, which was published in September 2020. This series features teal spines and includes 20 evocative titles, including Beauvoir’s “What is Existentialism” and Lorde’s “When I Dare to Be Powerful”, each designed to be a concise introduction to some of the most important ideas that have shaped our world. If you are looking for a way to learn about important ideas, then these 6 books are a great place to start.

Three Japanese Buddhist Monks

“Three Japanese Buddhist Monks” from Penguin’s Great Ideas series offers a timeless message. Compiled from writings by Saigyō, a revered poet-monk known for his haiku exploration of impermanence; Kamo no Chōmei, an essayist whose reflections are shaped by experiences of fire and war; and Yoshida Kenkō (1283-1352), a recluse who pondered the fleeting nature of the world and the beauty of the everyday, it delves into the wisdom of mediaeval Japanese Buddhism. Expect profound reflections on impermanence and finding peace amidst life’s uncertainties. The book’s simple elegance, likely echoing the monks’ philosophy, is a beautiful complement to their insightful words.

What is Existentialism by Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir’s “What Is Existentialism?” dissects the core tenets of this sweeping philosophical movement. Exploring themes of freedom, responsibility, and the absurdity of existence, Beauvoir argues that we are not born with a predetermined essence, but rather create ourselves through our choices. The text unpacks existentialist concepts like “bad faith” (avoiding responsibility) and “authenticity” (embracing freedom). This accessible volume, presented in Penguin’s classic design, is a compelling introduction to existentialist thought.

The Decay of Lying by Oscar Wilde

Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying” is a witty essay presented as a dialogue. Vivian, the flamboyant speaker, argues that art, not life, is the wellspring of creativity. He mourns the decline of ‘lying’ as an art form, believing beautiful falsehoods fuel imagination. This slim volume, adorned with the Penguin Great Ideas classic design, challenges realism in art, champions the power of artifice and truly celebrates the great Irishman.

Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Inazō Nitobe

Dive into the “Soul of Japan” with Inazo Nitobe’s classic, “Bushido”, a captivating foray into Japanese history and philosophy. Meet Nitobe, a scholar with a Western upbringing, exploring the unwritten code of the samurai – Bushido, meaning “the way of the warrior.” This elegant little book unpacks the core principles that shaped the samurai: justice, courage, benevolence, and more, offering codes of conduct that continue to be revered, admirable and highly inspirational.

How to Be a Stoic

“How to Be a Stoic,” a Penguin Great Ideas gem, distils wisdom from three Roman Stoic giants: Epictetus, a former slave celebrated as a champion of virtue and reason; Seneca, a royal advisor who wrote extensively on the value of emotional regulation and inner peace; and Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman emperor whose immortal meditations speak to the value of duty, reason, and accepting the world as it is. The book offers practical guidance on separating what’s within our control from what isn’t, emphasising on the value of focusing our energy on virtuous action and living in accordance with reason. In teaching emotional regulation as well as crucial control over our thoughts, perceptions and actions, this short book introduces us to a philosophical system that aspires to inner peace and resilience in the face of adversity.  

When I Dare to Be Powerful by Audre Lorde

Part of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, “When I Dare to Be Powerful” by Audre Lorde is a collection of essays that celebrates the strength and solidarity of women. Lorde, a lesbian, Black, Caribbean-American woman, weaves her personal experiences of racism, sexism, and homophobia into her work. This intersectional approach, where various forms of oppression are seen as interconnected, became a hallmark of her distinctive politics. She believed that dismantling these power structures required collective action and the empowerment of marginalised voices. Focusing on the experiences of women of colour, she argues that true liberation can only be achieved through a genuine recognition and celebration of the diversity of women’s lives. 

Pick up any one of these 6 Enlightening Penguin Great Ideas from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

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