Better Living Through Criticism: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Better Living Through Criticism containing key details about the book.

What is Better Living Through Criticism About?

"Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth" is a book written by A.O. Scott, a film critic for The New York Times, in which he explores the value of criticism in our understanding and appreciation of art and culture. The book examines the role of the critic in society and the ways in which criticism can help us to understand and appreciate art and culture in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Better Living Through Criticism shows that we are, in fact, all critics: because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, of interpersonal life. With penetrating insight and warm humor, the author shows that while individual critics--himself included--can make mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn't, criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest, most creative, and urgent activities of modern existence.

Who is the author of Better Living Through Criticism?

A. O. Scott joined The New York Times as a film critic in January 2000. Previously, Mr. Scott was a Sunday book reviewer for Newsday and a frequent contributor to Slate, The New York Review of Books, and many other publications. He has served on the editorial staffs of Lingua Franca and The New York Review of Books. In addition to his film-reviewing duties, Mr. Scott often writes for the Times Magazine and the Book Review.

What are some key summary points from Better Living Through Criticism?

Here are some key points and takeaways from the book:

  • The book argues that criticism plays an important role in helping us to understand and appreciate art and culture.
  • Scott explains that criticism is not just about making judgments, but rather a way of understanding and interpreting works of art and culture.
  • The book highlights the importance of the critic's role in society, and how criticism can serve as a means of guiding public taste and shaping cultural discourse.
  • The book explores the different approaches to criticism, including formalism, historicism, and cultural criticism, and how they can be used to gain a deeper understanding of art and culture.
  • The book also delves into the ways in which criticism can be used to appreciate beauty and pleasure in art, and how it can help us to understand the truth about the human condition.
  • Scott also examines the ways in which criticism has changed over time and how digital and social media has affected the criticism landscape.
  • The book calls for a more nuanced and thoughtful approach to criticism, one that takes into account the context and complexity of the work being critiqued.
  • The book ultimately encourages readers to engage with criticism as a means of enhancing their own understanding and appreciation of art and culture, and to look at criticism as a valuable guide and companion in their own cultural journeys.

Book details

  • Print length: 288 pages
  • Genre: Personal Development

What are the chapters in Better Living Through Criticism?

Chapter 1: What is criticism?
Chapter 2: The critic as artist and vice versa
Chapter 3: The eye of the beholder
Chapter 4: Self-criticism
Chapter 5: Lost in the museum
Chapter 6: The trouble with critics
Chapter 7: Practical criticism
Chapter 8: How to be wrong
Chapter 9: The critical condition
Chapter 10: The end of criticism

What is a good quote from Better Living Through Criticism?

Top Quote:“Taste, we assume, is innate, reflexive, immediate, involuntary, but we also speak of it as something to be acquired. It is a private, subjective matter, a badge of individual sovereignty, but at the same time a collectively held property, bundling us into clubs, cults, communities, and sociological stereotypes.” - Better Living Through Criticism Quotes, A. O. Scott

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “Witty and thoughtful…. Reading Scott's book is like watching the stiff-upper-lipped hero of a British 1940s thriller facing down his or her adversaries — modest, brave and utterly unflappable.” — LA Times

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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