PositiveThe AtlanticHershovitz’s book helps place this normal part of the developmental process in a philosophical context, highlighting the ways your kids’ sometimes awesome and sometimes annoying questions make them tiny versions of Socrates and Sartre ... The point of this book, though, is not to provide a code for living morally. Instead, it’s about the process of thinking philosophically—doing philosophy, as he puts it—which, one could argue, is its own kind of moral code in which careful contemplation is central. Hershovitz doesn’t want his kids to agree with him. But he does want them to become better listeners, question their priors, and understand that to challenge is to love, philosophically speaking. An agile mind is far more admirable than a steadfast one; the only wrong answer is to stubbornly cling to an idea and resent having it subject to scrutiny. In this moral universe, self-doubt is a virtue ... Throughout the book, Hershovitz uses the thinking of esteemed philosophers to explain both his moments of doubt and his moments of epiphany. But we don’t hear much about how his philosophical conversations with his kids substantially provoked or challenged him, or whether they ever profoundly changed his mind. This is where I break with Hershovitz. Parenting is more than an occasion to dig into big ideas with the help of my children; it also pushes me to dig into myself and realize my many delusions and moral failings ... Hershovitz’s book has already enhanced my philosophical conversations with my children.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewUltimately the most fascinating character isn’t her family, but Newman herself. This is because the book’s force lies not in what it tells us about parenting, but in its sensitive portrayal of the blurring of self that happens after one has children. This is the central conflict of the book, the thread that ties these essays together, making the whole a sum greater than its many parts.