Nothing for Granted


275 pages
ISBN 0-14-305193-8
DDC 081




Reviewed by Tami Oliphant

Tami Oliphant is a Ph.D. candidate in Library and Information Studies at the University of Western Ontario.


Nothing for Granted is a collection of philosopher and social critic
Mark Kingwell’s National Post columns that were published from 2000 to
2003. The 84 columns cover topics ranging from identity theft, to rude
waiters, to insightful commentary on September 11, to a prescient
prediction (in 2002) of a second Gulf War.

Kingwell has the remarkable ability to explain complex topics in
easy-to-understand terms. In “What Would Hume Think?,” for example,
he applies the Scottish philosopher David Hume’s ideas on justice and
religion to the modern-day devoutness of Americans. And in keeping with
his belief that topics both complex and everyday are worthy of
philosophical pondering, he is just as likely to talk about Survivor and
hockey as he is about the state of Canadian universities or American
foreign policy.

Kingwell knows what he thinks and is not afraid to write it, expressing
opinions (very entertainingly) from left of centre. Another strength of
the book is that while he takes American foreign policy to task, he has
lived in both New York and Berkeley, so his knowledge of the United
States comes from direct experience. Nothing for Granted is an essential
purchase for all library collections.


Kingwell, Mark., “Nothing for Granted,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,