It’s here! Lost In Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life is newly published by Princeton University Press. In it I defend intellectual activity–reading, thinking, studying, pondering–as worthwhile for its own sake, and as a key part of human happiness. You can order it at the Press, or Barnes and Noble or find it at your preferred bookstore. It is also available as an audiobook through Audible.

“Lost in Thought is a moving declaration of faith in the intellectual act at a time when everything we do seems to conspire against it.”—Alberto Manguel, author of Packing My Library

“Read Zena Hitz’s honest, urgent Lost in Thought and recover clarity about why and how intellectual work and teaching should be forms of loving service—responses to the wonder and curiosity that all people bring into this world as they seek to understand. Hitz’s book should rally the spirits of everyone who is dedicated to learning to take up yet more energetically the question of how we can design colleges and universities that we can be proud of without reservation.”Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration


Aurelian Craiutu, The Beginning of Our Salvation, Los Angeles Review of Books

Jenna Storey, Surface Tension, for Real Clear Books.

The Hidden Pleasures of Learning for Its Own Sake, interview with Brett McKay at The Art of Manliness

Interview with Russ Roberts at EconTalk: AudioVideo

The Importance of Intellectual Life, podcast with Dzavid Dzanic at Eclectic Intellection.

Interview with Princeton economics major Tiger Gao at Policy Punchline

Reflections on Lost In Thought by:

Joey Keegin, The Wisdom That Is Woe, The Point.

Luma Simms, Thinking is Self-Emptying, The Point.


Minds stocked only with opinions, Charles McNamara, Commonweal.

The life of the mind, Jonathan Marks, Wall St Journal.

Surviving solitude: Why is quarantine reading so difficult?, Elayne Allen, The American Interest.

The Beginning of Our Salvation, Aurelian Craiutu, Los Angeles Review of Books

Surface Tension, Jenna Storey, Real Clear Books.

In dispiriting times, it helps to get ‘Lost In Thought’, James Lang, Chronicle of Higher Education.

What Are The Pleasures and Dangers of the Intellectual Life?, Neil Dhingra, Living Church

Cultivating the inner life in the time of COVID, Flagg Taylor, National Review

A Trialogue at The Public Discourse:

The decline of commitment to intellectual growth, John Hallwas, The McDonough County Voice

On Hitz’s Lost In Thought, Eric Schliesser at Digressions and Impressions.

Reader with a cause, Sophie Duncan, Literary Review.

The real value of an education, Jennifer Frey, Classical Learning Test.

Vidas occultas, Daniel Capó, The Objective (in Spanish / en Español)

The Serious Amateur, Pavlos Papadopoulos, Athwart.

The intellectual vocation, Josh Hochschild, First Things.

Recovering the Questions of Ordinary Human Life, Nicholas A. Anderson, VoegelinView

Review by Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Review

Review at It’s Only Chemo

Review by Glenn Russell at Goodreads

Law & Liberty Symposium:

Lost in Thought recounts the thrilling story of how Zena Hitz overcame the anxiety of uselessness, the fear that immersion in the intellectual life cuts one off from what really matters. What she discovers, for herself and for us, is that what truly matters only emerges in the course of a commitment to think things through to the ground. Indeed, she concludes, ‘If intellectual life is not left to rest in its splendid uselessness, it will never bear its practical fruit.’ An old lesson, but one that must be relearned, especially at times like ours when a passion for social justice is the new idol to which disinterested contemplation is being sacrificed.”—Stanley Fish, author of Think Again


Why rebranding education as ‘job training’ is an offence to humanism, New Statesman, August, 2020

In defence of bookworms, Tablet (UK) July 11, 2020

When ‘Academic Solidarity’ is Sophistry, Chronicle Review, June 2020.

Escape from Quarantine, Ideas, May 2020.

Knowing it all, 1534, May 2020.

How Malcolm X, André Weil, and Antonio Gramsci Learned Their Way To Greatness, Medium, June 2020.

Why Intellectual Work Matters, Modern Age, July 2017.

Freedom and Intellectual Life, First Things, April 2016.


Egalitarianism and academia, with Joseph Keegin at Athwart.

Intellectual life and the current moment, with Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed.

The inner life, manual labor and the universal, with Matt Hanson of ArtsFuse.

Tutors Talk Books, with Les Poling at St. Johns College

What I’ve been reading with Shelf Awareness.

The Page 99 Test with Marshall Zeringue.

“A vivid mixture of memoir, philosophical reflection, and stories that range from Einstein to Dorothy Day, Lost in Thought is an inspiring, elegant, and original defense of the intrinsic value of intellectual life—and why it needs to be reclaimed in our colleges and universities.”—Kieran Setiya, author of Midlife: A Philosophical Guide


Interview with Russ Roberts at EconTalk: AudioVideo

The Hidden Pleasures of Learning for Its Own Sake, interview with Brett McKay at The Art of Manliness

Interview with Bob Talisse at New Books Network.

Interview with Princeton economics major Tiger Gao at Policy Punchline

Brief outline of the themes of the book with John Miller at the Bookmonger.

A deep dive into the book with Hope J. Leman at the New Books Network.

Podcast with Ken Hallenius at the Ethics and Culture Cast

Lost In Thought: A conversation with Zena Hitz, with Nino Scalia at Madison’s Notes.

Rediscovering the joy of learning, with Mark Bauerlein at First Things.

Thinking is Human, with Al Zambone at Historically Thinking

The hidden pleasures of an intellectual life with Michial Farmer at The Christian Humanist

Can your intellect save you in a pandemic? with London psychiatrist Raj Persaud

Leisure, the mid-life crisis, and major life-choices with Scott Jones at the Give and Take podcast.

The stewardship of the intellectual life with Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for Thinking in Public.

I reveal my love of combat and fear of nature to Kieran Setiya at Five Questions.

Grad school, contemplation, happiness and suffering with Jennifer Frey at Sacred and Profane Love.

Intellectual friendship, the virtue of seriousness, and Elena Ferrante with Jennifer Frey at Sacred and Profane Love.

The Importance of Intellectual Life, podcast with Dzavid Dzanic at Eclectic Intellection.

Podcast with Seth Root, In the Trenches

The corruption of academia and the specialness of St. John’s College, with Gil Roth on The Virtual Memories Show

The pitfalls of the thirst for justice, via the classic Preston Sturges film Sullivans Travels with Titus Techera at the American Cinema Foundation.

More on Sturges with Titus: The Lady Eve The Palm Beach StoryHail, The Conquering HeroThe Miracle of Morgan’s Creek

Aristophanes’ Clouds with John Miller at the Great Books podcast.

Madame Bovary with John Miller at the Great Books podcast


Why Leisure is Necessary for Human Beings, for the Thomistic Institute.

The Intellectual Life of the Mother of God, for the Thomistic Institute.

Slides to view as you listen!

A short promo film was made for my book long ago. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.