How to Think Like a Woman: Four Women Philosophers Who Taught Me How to Love the Life of the Mind by Regan Penaluna was like a balm for my soul. It’s a deeply personal and introspective work that is also universal and accessible to those of us who are constantly battling with how we are perceived and portrayed (and often ignored or discarded) in life, love, and intellectual pursuits.

Penaluna is incredibly vulnerable in How to Think Like a Woman, offering insight into her personal struggles with pursuing a life of the mind. Yet she never sacrifices her intellectual fortitude or the integrity of her philosophical inquiries or presentations. She also weaves together her personal narrative with historical and philosophical narratives of often overlooked women philosophers in such a compelling way that it’s hard to forget you’re not reading a deep and enlightening novel.

The messages conveyed in this book are also deeply personal to me because I too was a woman who studied philosophy at the collegiate level for many years. I found myself nodding my head and smiling when reading this book because of how refreshing it was to realize I was not alone in my struggles as a woman philosopher and graduate student. The loneliness and serious lack of a sense of validation and belonging were truly confusing and crippling at times. So, I am so grateful to Penaluna for shedding light on the plight of women in academia, and women who are fundamental thinkers. I hope this book spurs real dialogues about them moving forward. And that women thinkers become more integral in the philosophical canon.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who are (or have) struggled with how they’re represented in academia. And those who want to learn more about notable women philosophers who are woefully overlooked, in a more personal and relatable context.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

For more information about this novel, seeย the summary of How to Think Like a Womanย on Goodreads.

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