Books to Give to Your Best Friend
Because an intelligent guidebook to life's dilemmas always come in handy.
Hundreds of years after the death of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, it might be time to brush up the on 16th-century French philosopher. Why? "He wanted to know how to live a good life," writes the British Sarah Bakewell, "meaning a correct or honorable life, but also a fully human, satisfying, flourishing one." Her book, which examines Montaigne's most famous essays, is part biography, part self-help; it's broken into thematic chapters ranging from "Live temperately," to "Do something no one has done before." How to Live is, in many ways, a discussion that reminds us why we read—and think—in the first place: To question everything. "This great world," Montaigne said, "is the mirror in which we must look at ourselves to recognize ourselves from the proper angle." So, how do we live? We live by paying attention, by being born, by reading, by surviving love and loss, by guarding our humanity—proving we're more similar to 16th-century writers than one might think. Especially in our search for happiness.