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This Is Water

137 pages, 2009



711 books


705 books


909 books
spirituality & religion

spirituality & religion

408 books

Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted in book form in This is Water for the first time.

How does one keep from unconsciously going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace's electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others.

After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.

Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living. He offers advice that renews us with every reading.

The Importance of Awareness

David Foster Wallace emphasizes the significance of being aware of our surroundings and the people in it. He encourages us to look beyond our own experiences and consider the perspectives of others. This can help us to be more empathetic and understanding.

The Power of Choice

Wallace highlights that we have the power to choose how we perceive and react to situations. We can choose to see the world in a negative light or find the positive in every situation. It's all about perspective.

The Value of Education

In 'This Is Water', Wallace explores the true value of education. He believes it's not just about gaining knowledge, but about learning how to think critically and make conscious decisions.

The Danger of Default Settings

Wallace warns us about living life on autopilot, or what he calls our 'default settings'. He encourages us to challenge our automatic beliefs and assumptions, and to consciously choose our responses.

The Reality of Adult Life

Wallace paints a realistic picture of adult life, with its mundane routines and frustrations. But he also shows us how we can find meaning and joy in these everyday moments, if we choose to see them differently.

Quotes 5

This Is Water is a profound exploration of life's most important yet overlooked aspects. It's a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the human condition.

Bill GatesBill Gates - Microsoft Co-founder

This Is Water is a powerful, thought-provoking meditation on the essence of conscious living.

Maria PopovaMaria Popova - Brain Pickings Founder

This Is Water is a profound, deeply moving exploration of the human experience. It's a book that has profoundly influenced my own writing.

John GreenJohn Green - Bestselling Author

This Is Water is a profound exploration of the human condition. It's a book that has profoundly influenced my own thinking and approach to life.

Tim FerrissTim Ferriss - Entrepreneur, Author

This Is Water is a profound, deeply moving exploration of the human experience. It's a book that has profoundly influenced my own writing and thinking.

Elizabeth GilbertElizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love Author
Bill GatesMaria PopovaJohn GreenTim FerrissElizabeth Gilbert


authorJulie Zhuo

Julie Zhuo

authorJames Clear

James Clear

Nat Eliason

Nat Eliason

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman


This Is Water found in libraries

231 books

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