Worldly Wisdom

Welcome to this web site and blog featuring good ideas of Great Books on the meanings of life, as well as reflections on culture and politics and tales of travel.

About the books: Worldly Wisdom: Great Books and the Meanings of Life, along with details on related books by the author and a selective list of his general essays.

About the Author

Blog: Great Books, Good Ideas, Imaginative Adventures, and the Meanings of Life

About the author.


A cultural historian, essayist, and critic, James Sloan Allen has written widely on many subjects ranging from European thought and American society to Hindu and Islamic cultures, from ancient philosophy to modernist design. With a doctorate in European intellectual history from Columbia University, he has taught at several institutions, including Columbia, Haverford College, Brigham Young University, the New School, and the Juilliard School, where he was academic vice president. For ten years he also taught a Great Books class for adults in New York City. He wrote Worldly Wisdom through many years of reading, teaching, and writing about the kinds of classic works that it represents. His other books are: Aloha. The Surprising History of an Idea and a Culture; The Romance of Commerce and Culture: Capitalism, Modernism, and the Chicago-Aspen Crusade for Cultural Reform; William James on Habit, Will, Truth, and the Meaning of Life (as editor and author of the Introduction); and Life Line. A Novel of Romance and Rebirth. . A longtime New Yorker, he now lives in Honolulu.