This Is Water Book Summary - This Is Water Book explained in key points

This Is Water summary

David Foster Wallace

Brief summary

This Is Water by David Foster Wallace is a thought-provoking commencement speech that urges us to be more aware of the world around us and choose how we perceive and respond to everyday challenges.

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    This Is Water
    Summary of key ideas

    Seeing Beyond Our Default Settings

    In This Is Water, David Foster Wallace delivers a commencement speech at Kenyon College, Ohio, in 2005. He begins by sharing a parable about two young fish who are unaware of the water they swim in. Wallace uses this story to illustrate the idea that we often fail to recognize the reality that surrounds us, as we are too absorbed in our own thoughts and perspectives.

    Wallace then introduces the concept of our 'default settings' - the automatic, unconscious way we tend to think and act. He argues that our natural inclination is to see ourselves as the center of the universe, and this self-centeredness leads to frustration, anger, and a lack of empathy. He urges the graduates to be aware of their default settings and to choose how they interpret and respond to the world around them.

    Choosing Our Own Meaning

    Continuing his address, Wallace emphasizes the importance of education in helping us recognize and adjust our default settings. He explains that true education is not about filling our minds with facts and figures, but about learning how to think critically and compassionately. It's about being able to choose what we pay attention to and how we interpret the world.

    Wallace acknowledges that this kind of awareness and choice is difficult and requires constant effort. He warns that the 'real world' will constantly challenge our ability to see beyond our own needs and desires. However, he argues that this challenge is what makes life meaningful and that it's our responsibility to choose how we perceive and respond to it.

    Practicing Empathy and Compassion

    Next, Wallace discusses the importance of empathy and compassion. He suggests that we should strive to see the world from others' perspectives, to recognize their struggles and to respond with kindness. He acknowledges that this is not easy, especially when we are faced with frustrating or mundane situations, but he insists that it is essential for our well-being and the well-being of society as a whole.

    Wallace concludes his speech by reminding the graduates that they have the power to choose how they perceive and respond to the world. He encourages them to be aware of their default settings, to think critically, and to practice empathy and compassion. He emphasizes that this is not a one-time decision, but a daily struggle that requires constant effort and attention.

    Reflections on This Is Water

    In This Is Water, David Foster Wallace offers a thought-provoking perspective on the human condition. He challenges us to look beyond our own needs and desires, to recognize the struggles of others, and to respond with empathy and compassion. His speech serves as a reminder that our perception of reality is not fixed, but rather a choice that we make every day. It's a call to be more aware, more thoughtful, and more compassionate in our interactions with the world and the people around us.

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    What is This Is Water about?

    This Is Water (2009) is a thought-provoking book based on a commencement speech delivered by David Foster Wallace. It challenges us to reexamine our default ways of thinking and to choose how we interpret and respond to the world around us. With insight and humor, Wallace encourages us to cultivate awareness and empathy in our daily lives.

    This Is Water Review

    This Is Water (2009) by David Foster Wallace is a thought-provoking book that challenges our default way of thinking and encourages us to live more consciously. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a fresh perspective on the mundane aspects of life, reminding us to be aware and present in our daily experiences.
    • With its relatable anecdotes and relatable examples, the book provides practical insights for navigating the complexities of modern existence.
    • The author's humor and wit inject moments of lightness into profound discussions, making the book enjoyable and anything but boring.

    Who should read This Is Water?

    • Readers who are seeking a fresh perspective on everyday life
    • Those interested in philosophical and existential reflections
    • Individuals who enjoy thought-provoking and contemplative literature

    About the Author

    David Foster Wallace was an American author known for his unique and thought-provoking writing style. He gained recognition for his novel Infinite Jest, which is considered one of the greatest works of contemporary literature. Throughout his career, Wallace explored themes of addiction, mental illness, and the human condition. Some of his other notable works include The Broom of the System and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Tragically, Wallace passed away in 2008, leaving behind a legacy of profound and introspective writing.

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    This Is Water FAQs 

    What is the main message of This Is Water?

    The main message of This Is Water is the importance of being aware of the mundane realities of daily life and choosing to see them in a more meaningful way.

    How long does it take to read This Is Water?

    The reading time for This Is Water varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is This Is Water a good book? Is it worth reading?

    This Is Water is a thought-provoking book that offers valuable insights on the human condition and the power of perspective.

    Who is the author of This Is Water?

    The author of This Is Water is David Foster Wallace.

    What to read after This Is Water?

    If you're wondering what to read next after This Is Water, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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