The Importance of Living

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2010-04-14
Publisher(s): HarperCollins Publications
List Price: $17.99

Buy New

Usually Ships in 5-7 Business Days

Buy Used

In Stock

Rent Book

Select for Price
There was a problem. Please try again later.


We're Sorry
Not Available

This item is being sold by an Individual Seller and will not ship from the Online Bookstore's warehouse. The Seller must confirm the order within two business days. If the Seller refuses to sell or fails to confirm within this time frame, then the order is cancelled.

Please be sure to read the Description offered by the Seller.

Customer Reviews

Great Book   June 9, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

I bought this textbook from ecampus and after reading it I realized that unless one enjoys Life, it is simply not even worth living! Sounds harsh but it's true, you know it. This textbook gets the reader back to the very basics of human life, food, friendship, tea, smoking, growing old. This is a wonderful textbook, well written, and highly recommended!

The Importance of Living: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


The Importance of Living is a wry, witty antidote to the dizzying pace of the modern world. Lin Yutang's prescription is the classic Chinese philosophy of life: Revere inaction as much as action, invoke humor to maintain a healthy attitude, and never forget that there will always be plenty of fools around who are willing-indeed, eager-to be busy, to make themselves useful, and to exercise power while you bask in the simple joy of existence.

At a time when we're overwhelmed with wake-up calls, here is a refreshing, playful reminder to savor life's simple pleasures.

β€˜β€™Lin's prose is gentle, like the conversation of a favorite lazy uncle who is more at home sipping lemonade on the back porch than gulping lattes between meetings. The sincerity of his humility is surprising to a reader used to postmodern writers who seem to pride themselves on their self-abasement. Though Lin deliberately avoided fame and notoriety, correctly observing that it only leads to troubles, one can only hope that his wisdom, timelier than ever, finds a wider audience among today's too-busy-to-breathe global culture. His philosophy, more practical and enjoyable than the usual Western writings on the subject, reminds us all of the vital importance of simply living.’’ -Rob Lightner

Table of Contents

Prefacep. v
The Awakeningp. 1
Approach to Lifep. 1
A Pseudo-Scientific Formulap. 4
The Scamp as Idealp. 11
Views of Mankindp. 15
Christian, Greek and Chinesep. 15
Earth-boundp. 23
Spirit and Fleshp. 25
A Biological Viewp. 26
Human Life a Poemp. 30
Our Animal Heritagep. 32
The Monkey Epicp. 32
In the Image of the Monkeyp. 35
On Being Mortalp. 37
On Having a Stomachp. 41
On Having Strong Musclesp. 50
On Having a Mindp. 55
On Being Humanp. 64
On Human Dignityp. 64
On Playful Curiosity: The Rise of Human Civilizationp. 65
On Dreamsp. 72
On the Sense of Humorp. 76
On Being Wayward and Incalculablep. 81
The Doctrine of the Individualp. 86
Who Can Best Enjoy Life?p. 94
Find Thyself: Chuangtsep. 94
Passion, Wisdom and Courage: Menciusp. 97
Cynicism, Folly and Camouflage: Laotsep. 104
"Philosophy of Half-and-Half": Tsessep. 110
A Lover of Life: T'ao Yuanmingp. 114
The Feast of Lifep. 121
The Problem of Happinessp. 121
Human Happiness Is Sensuousp. 125
Chin's Thirty-three Happy Momentsp. 129
Misunderstandings of Materialismp. 136
How About Mental Pleasures?p. 139
The Importance of Loafingp. 144
Man the Only Working Animalp. 144
The Chinese Theory of Leisurep. 147
The Cult of the Idle Lifep. 150
This Earth the Only Heavenp. 155
What Is Luck?p. 159
Three American Vicesp. 160
The Enjoyment of the Homep. 165
On Getting Biologicalp. 165
Celibacy a Freak of Civilizationp. 169
On Sex Appealp. 175
The Chinese Family Idealp. 181
On Growing Old Gracefullyp. 190
The Enjoyment of Livingp. 200
On Lying in Bedp. 200
On Sitting in Chairsp. 204
On Conversationp. 209
On Tea and Friendshipp. 219
On Smoke and Incensep. 229
On Drink and Wine Gamesp. 237
On Food and Medicinep. 245
Some Curious Western Customsp. 254
The Inhumanity of Western Dressp. 257
On House and Interiorsp. 263
The Enjoyment of Naturep. 274
Paradise Lost?p. 274
On Bignessp. 278
Two Chinese Ladiesp. 280
On Rocks and Treesp. 291
On Flowers and Flower Arrangementsp. 300
The "Vase Flowers" of Yuan Chunglangp. 308
The Epigrams of Chang Ch'aop. 315
The Enjoyment of Travelp. 331
On Going About and Seeing Thingsp. 331
"The Travels of Mingliaotse"p. 340
The Reason for the Flightp. 340
The Way of Travelingp. 343
At Austere Heightsp. 345
Back to Humanityp. 348
Philosophy of the Flightp. 356
The Enjoyment of Culturep. 364
Good Taste in Knowledgep. 364
Art as Play and Personalityp. 368
The Art of Readingp. 378
The Art of Writingp. 386
Relationship to Godp. 399
The Restoration of Religionp. 399
Why I Am a Paganp. 403
The Art of Thinkingp. 413
The Need for Humanized Thinkingp. 413
The Return to Common Sensep. 419
Be Reasonablep. 423
Certain Chinese Namesp. 429
A Chinese Critical Vocabularyp. 432
Index of Names and Subjectsp. 451
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

An electronic version of this book is available through VitalSource.

This book is viewable on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and most smartphones.

By purchasing, you will be able to view this book online, as well as download it, for the chosen number of days.

A downloadable version of this book is available through the eCampus Reader or compatible Adobe readers.

Applications are available on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Windows Mobile platforms.

Please view the compatibility matrix prior to purchase.