The Grasshopper

By Bernard Suits, Frank Newfeld (illustrator),

Book cover of The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia

Book description

In the mid twentieth century the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously asserted that games are indefinable; there are no common threads that link them all. "Nonsense," said the sensible Bernard Suits: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Grasshopper as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is a wise and witty philosophical reflection on the meaning of games and life. Suits asks: If we didn’t ever have to work again, would we have to replace work with things like the housebuilding game or the lawyer game? If so, would the game about work satisfy the need to work?

This might be the best philosophical dialogue ever written, and the subject is nothing less than the meaning of life. The only reason this is not #1 is that it is more challenging to read. But it combines humor and profundity like no other book I know. The grasshopper of the title is the one from Aesop’s fable, who played games all summer, and is now unprepared for winter. The dialogue takes place as winter approaches, and the grasshopper is soon to die. But Bernard Suits is here to defend the grasshopper. After responding to Wittgenstein’s challenge to define the…

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