Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy

Lost in the Cosmos by the late Walker Percy is a mock self-help book and social satire on the American value of autonomy published in 1983. Organized into roughly four sections that explore ideas of the self, Percy's thesis is that the social ills which plague society are a result of humanity's epic identity crisis. Percy uses semiotic theories (the theories of signs) to argue that human consciousness of the self is unique from all other 'interactions' in the universe in that it is triadic. It requires two sets of dyadic interactions between that of the sign user, the sign, and what the sign stands for in order to be complete. As a result, persons are thrust into the predicament of finding a sign that 'places' themselves. The book contains numerous essays, quizzes, and "thought experiments" designed to satirize conventional self-help texts while provoking readers to undertake a thoughtful contemplation of their existential situations and the search for meaning and purpose that could derive from such reflections. The book is a favourite of prominent philosopher Peter Kreeft, of Boston College, and a lecture on the subject appears on his personal website.

The 438th greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - The 50 Best Books of the Century (Intercollegiate Studies Institute)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book Paperback 26604 $7.98 $3.49 2000
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book Paperback 365775 $4.71 $0.01
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book Hardcover 1211082 $62.11 $5.88
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-help Book Mass Market Paperback 6278450 $15.31 $15.31
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book Kindle Edition 46587 $7.69 2011
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book Paperback 94080 $5.50 $3.50 2000
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book Hardcover 671622 $67.77 $19.85 1983
Lost in the Cosmos Paperback 2962380 $18.82 $0.01