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The Lessons of History


Will Durant is one of my favorite historians to read, and this easy-to-read, provocative little book of his is a great introduction to his work.

Durant wrote during a time when historiography wasn’t nearly as sterile and clinical as it is now–when personality and opinion were permitted and could help you make connections and realize insights that you would have missed otherwise. This leeway, I believe, allowed Durant to really shine intellectually.

In this book, Will and his wife Ariel distill their magnum opus, The Story of Civilization, into a 120-and-something-page survey of human history, with chapters arranged around themes like biology, race, religion, morals, and economics.

Lessons of History isn’t a mere chronology of things that have happened–it’s a careful exploration of meanings, consequences, and lessons, and on every page you’ll find wisdom that relates to and illuminates some part of your immediate life.

An absolute “must read,” in my opinion.

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