The Sunny Nihilist: A Declaration of the Pleasure of Pointlessness

Wendy Syfret. Chronicle Prism, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-797-21580-8
Journalist Syfret (How to Think Like an Activist) urges readers to confront the “futile and meaningless” nature of existence in this savvy introduction to nihilism. Living in a society obsessed with making every moment meaningful left Syfret feeling guilty and anxious, she explains. What turned her life around was accepting that nothing she does will matter in the grand scheme of things, an outlook she dubs “sunny nihilism” and which positions “pointlessness as a chance to breathe and think.” Syfret looks at the way nihilism has been weaponized, having been twisted to fit the Nazis’ agenda and employed by conspiracy theorists and associated with darkness. She offers a brighter take on it, making a case that it allows for “a chance to enjoy the moment, the present, the chaos, and luck of being alive.” She offers plenty of anecdotes and tips, as when she skewers the “myth of meaningful work” by reminding readers that it “has no larger significance.” While Syfret tends to get repetitive, she nonetheless offers sharp takes on love, religion, work, and consumerism. This hopeful and breezy take will have philosophy-minded readers believing that an ordinary existence can indeed “become celestial”—if the perspective is right. Agent: Alexandra Cliff. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/12/2021
Release date: 01/01/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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