Philosophy for Polar Explorers – Erling Kagge

PFPEThis is an interesting book. Norwegian Erling Kagge has attempted to summarise the meaning of life into 173 pages. To some degree, he has been successful.

A significant portion of the book is dedicated to Kagge’s personal achievements, and one can’t help but feel that Kagge has been just a little too narcissistic in his writing.  And this is despite Kagge’s own admission of egocentricity.

It would be highly erroneous to suggest that Kagge has not achieved greatly. He has been exceptionally successful as a mountaineer/explorer; and to gauge from this book, in most other pursuits he has put his mind to also.

When Kagge isn’t singing his own praises, he consumes quite a large portion of his book to quoting others from history. Kagge has selected from a wide variety of influences, from Clinton to Magellan, even Paris Hilton.
Those that Kagge has chosen to quote do in fact bring value to the book.

Kagge covers philosophical ground very deftly, in the chapter titled “The kind of loneliness that’s good for us” he walks through importance of being introspective, and the value of being able to be content with only ones own company. Concepts I myself subscribe to.

In summary, Kagge has written an interesting and challenging book, and worthy of reading. In writing this book, Kagge has revealed alot of himself and encourages all of us to consider our place in the world. (even if we will never become polar explorers)

A small view into Kagge’s book can be made with a quote of the author himself from the second chapter. I particularly liked this thought.


“If you say it’s impossible and I say it’s possible, we’re probably both right.”


6 Responses to “Philosophy for Polar Explorers – Erling Kagge”

  1. Patrycja says:

    I thought you like this book a bit more…

  2. LD says:

    I did enjoy it, but the longer since reading it, the less impression it has left on me. I’m only left with the bits that didn’t taste so good.

    That said, I’ll probably re-read it, and we will see what I think then. Second time around might be different.

  3. akiko says:

    learning to be happy with only one’s own company has merit. AFter all, i think i am OK to be with…..but, is it OK if I want someone else to talk to other than myself? People are beginning to think i am crazy, and i keep saying that i am happy with my own company ; and they say, what company do you own? (see what I mean)?

    Seriously, this book sounds quite introspective, but that shouldn’t be a surprise from a polar explorer.

  4. LD says:

    Absolutely agree, being contented/happy with oneself is key to self enlightenment.
    (and especially important if you are going to have conversations with yourself ;-)

  5. Kochana says:

    Has this book lead to your enlightement in recent weeks?

  6. akiko says:

    hey, i LOVE the quote on your blog from Albert Einstein. That is clever.

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