Max Malikow’s Mere Existentialism: A Primer is an excellent introduction to existential thought.
This brief work offers brief (less than 10 pages a piece) introductions to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Karl Jaspers, Heidegger, Viktor Frankl, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Irvin Yalom. These are exactly what they should be for being a primer on existential thought and encourage further reading.
At the end of the book is a brief single-question summary of the thought of each of these major existential thinkers. These are thought-provoking and fairly accurate (at least for those with whom I was already familiar).
The benefit of a book like this is that it allows readers to dive in and learn about major aspects of existential thought without a major time commitment. It is best seen as a way to introduce these thinkers rather than as a comprehensive look at existentialism.
There are a few typos in the work, with perhaps the most noticeable being that Simone de Beauvoir is referred to as “Simon” in the table of contents and the chapter title (though it is correct elsewhere).
Mere Existentialism would best be used as a way to briefly look at existential thought, whether for one’s own edification or in a classroom. It is a good read for an afternoon, provided the reader wants to sit back and think of their own place in the universe for a while afterwards.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of the book from Theocentric Publishing. I was not obligated to provide any kind of feedback whatsoever.
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Max Malikow, Mere Existentialism: A Primer (Chipley, FL: Theocentric Publishing Group, 2014).
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