26 Apr 2016
'These ideas are so extraordinary that if you take them seriously, they will change your life.' That's the guarantee Professor Michael Puett makes to undergraduates at the beginning of the 13-week course he teaches at Harvard University. Puett plays to packed halls that seat over 1,000 students and his famously engaging lectures are done without any notes or slides: 50 minutes of pure talk.
So what startling new life-changing wisdom does he impart? The fact is that it is ancient wisdom, drawn directly from the thought of five Chinese philosophers— Confucius, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi and Xunzi—all of whom lived over 2,000 years ago. It is Puett's contention that each of these thinkers offers a "profoundly counterintuitive perspective on how to become a better human being and how to create a better world". The stuff of his lectures has now been distilled into The Path: A New Way to Think About Everything (Viking, April), co- written by Puett with journalist and author Christine Gross-Loh, who first went to investigate his renowned Harvard lectures for US magazine the Atlantic. What she saw impressed her so much that it sparked the idea for a book, to which Puett readily agreed.
Both authors will be speaking about in depth about the themes of the book at Second Home.