Also, the range of his wisdom is most impressive. Some of the titles I have read and re-read and actually use in classes include:
In Defense of Philosophy—It is difficult to explain to people who have ever met a “professional philosopher” that this lot has seriously perverted what real philosophy is, and that despite their enormous vocabulary, most of them are not really philosophers. Philosophy is the “love of wisdom.” Pieper makes the case that, “…to engage in philosophy means to reflect on the totality of things we encounter, in view of their ultimate reasons; and philosophy, thus understood, is a meaningful, even necessary endeavor, with which man, the spiritual being, cannot dispense.”
The Human Wisdom Of St. Thomas – This little book is collection of select quotes from the writings of Thomas Aquinas. If you have never read St. Thomas because he can be a bit intimidating, this is a fine place to start. I have used this little book in a number of ways, including a source for deep ideas to meditate upon.
Leisure: The Basis of Culture – Despite the chaos our current economy is experiencing, this is a perfect book to better understand the problems and the solutions.
In Tune With The World: A Theory of Festivity – After you read Leisure, this is a wonderful companion book. You will never experience worship or festivals the same way.
The Concept of Sin – Not merely a reflection on sin, but an analysis of how we speak and do not speak about sin.
Death and Immortality – Among the most important books on a subject we all experience, but few think about until the very end.
Tradition – Pieper shows what Tradition is and what happens when we do not have rich traditions.
The Platonic Myths – A great book to read before or after you read the Platonic dialogues.
The Christian Idea of Man – The best example of Christian thinking about the exploration of “know Thyself.”
I have never shared a Pieper book in which the person does not return it with words of gratitude. He is that author that truly can help us not lose our minds in a moment when minds seem to matter so little to so few.
Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Reprinted with the gracious permission of Musings of a Christian Humanist.