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Publisher's Summary

Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. This is the audio recording of David Foster Wallace delivering that very address. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace's electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.

Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every listen.

©2005 David Foster Wallace (P)2010 Hachette

What members say

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The best 20 minutes of my life.

I have listened to "This is Water" hundreds of times. At first, I would listen and laugh. Now, years later, I listen and cry. The text hasn't changed, I have. This is the best 20 minute synopsis of the purpose of life that I have ever heard.

(Also highly recommended - "Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace")

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great narrative

This is a great commencement speech. Perhaps the greatest ever. I highly recommend this recording. Give it a listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen
  • Los Angeles, CA USA
  • 05-20-15

Powerful

This quiet, unassuming speech packs a lot of Truth in its 20-minute delivery by the author, David Foster Wallace. It is a meditation that I have come back to many times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • Bonita, CA, United States
  • 03-11-15

Life Changing

This speech quite literally changed my life when I heard it three years ago. I think it is the best articulation of mindfulness I have ever come across. I listened to this speech at a time in my life I was going through some difficult health problems and it really helped me a lot. I would recommend it to anyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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You must listen to this!

Would you listen to This Is Water: The Original David Foster Wallace Recording again? Why?

David Foster Wallace is known for his novels and short stories, but he shines most in his nonfiction work. He was an exceptional journalist (download Consider the Lobster, which he reads as well) and, in a way, philosopher. This is an opportunity to hear one of our finest writers speak, even though he's no longer with us.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Meghan
  • JANESVILLE, WI, United States
  • 11-17-11

Very inspiring

I listen to this any time that I think that the world around me is so terrible and crashing down, or if I just need inspiration or motivation to do important things in my life. I love this speech. David Foster Wallace is missed, but he did wonderful things while he was here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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How To Graduate College And Not Be The Center Of The Universe

Great speech on getting out of yourself and not listening to the committee in your head. DFW's writing is funny and insightful and it is sad that he no longer walks among us.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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no gills...

no gills, which would perhaps explain the lifetime struggle for anyone that feels this already and always has.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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taoism from the tortured modern American soul.

living with Conscientious awareness of our surroundings and the people in our daily lives and choosing how we respond to it all. The eternal capital T truth is that man must learn how to endure his own internal monolog if he ever wishes to find harmony.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent advice for everyone!

I love this speech. Such an important thing for people to think about in their daily lives that often goes unmentioned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-27-13

Wallace's words are inspired and down to earth.

This speech is strikingly objective. What it is not is condescending repetitive or cliché. Wallace does not strive to give you good advise but to simple remind you to breathe, when it is all too simple to forget how to. If you're a David Foster Wallace fan, this is undoubtedly a gem to keep.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful