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 from the Press (free shipping with code FREEF).
More as they appear …
If you’d like a taste of the thinking in the book, as applied to our current situation, I write about why it’s so difficult to get lost in thought in quarantine here, and I write about the vice of knowing it all in the age of COVID here.
If you prefer audio, I discuss the book with Jennifer Frey at Sacred and Profane Love here. (I am also partial to our earlier podcast on Ferrante and intellectual friendship here.) I discuss the classic Preston Sturges film Sullivans Travels in the last part of my book and with Titus Techera here
Or you can just read the wonderful blurbs that the Press put together from other authors:
“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
“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
“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
“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
A short promo film was made for the book long ago. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.