Herman Sinaiko is renowned for his gifts as a guide to exploring and appreciating the humanities. This book brings to general readers Sinaiko's thoughts on, and invitations to read or reread, a wide selection of major literary and philosophical works-from ancient Greek to Chinese to modern. Taking a conversational approach, he deals with the perennial questions that thinking people have always raised, and investigates how works of great art may provide answers to these questions. Sinaiko reestablishes the notion that there is a canon of great works from the great traditions of the world and argues for the existence of permanent standards of excellence. He rejects most contemporary critical views of classical literature and philosophy, including those of "experts" who seek to monopolize access to great works, academics whose extreme emphasis on historical context disallows any current relevance, and theorists whose lenses distort with personal bias rather than sharpening focus on the works they discuss. Sinaiko reclaims the canon for all of us, opening up discussion on texts ranging from Plato to Tolstoy, Confucius to Mary Shelley, and encouraging each reader to listen and respond to the rich diversity of powerful views on the human condition that such great works offer.