Thijs Lijster / Thijs Lijster – The Great Leap Inward

Thijs Lijster – The Great Leap Inward

Thijs Lijster – The Great Leap Inward

About the book

The world looks as though it’s becoming increasingly complex and confusing. In today’s ‘Network Society’ you can’t drink a cup of coffee without implicating yourself in exploitation and slavery; your job can be at stake when halfway around the planet a bank topples over. Given these developments, we increasingly perceive the world as something dangerous beyond our control and, as a result, turn our gaze inward where we cling to the things we do have a handle on. The result: collective narcissism and a public sphere in which a sharp opinion has more value than a considered judgement.

With a supple pen and incisive analyses, Thijs Lijster offers a kaleidoscopic look at the most diverse selection of cultural and social phenomena, including design, life’s accelerating pace, the omnipresence of opinion polls and the position of illegal immigrants.

The Great Leap Inward is a plea for thinking against the grain by which even the most insignificant details can be regarded as rich in meaning.


He sketches large movements in history with a steady hand. The result is an idiosyncratic, original discourse. Time and again, he knows how to set a broad erudition in service of a critical curiosity and to translate that into interesting, incisive essays. A breath of fresh air. - De Groene Amsterdammer

My thoughts returned constantly and inadvertently to Thijs Lijster’s The Great Leap Inward and will do so for a while. Lijsters demonstrates with this book that he is one of the brightest and most broadly-oriented cultural critics in the Netherlands, without at any point sacrificing carefulness, coherence and sophistication. With restrained rage and disbelief, he dissects our relationships with work, consumption, design, the network society, the neighbour, economy, politics and still more. Lijster’s unwavering intellectual activism is inspiring and encouraging. ‒ Boekblad

Thijs Lijster meticulously analyses art, detectives and advertisements to conclude that humanity is turning inward. (…) Fascinating. Lijster pleads for more debate, more reflection, more broad perspectives. We need to shift away from the hip commercial language towards a critical language. Those who agree will find many new stimulating observations in Lijster’s book. And those who do not agree will find substantial material for a robust debate. – de Volkskrant ****

The Great Leap Inward is as much a calling card as a declaration of principle from an ambitious essayist. - Trouw****

This bundle contains ten in-depth, critical essays that you are sincerely recommended. Lijster’s cultural analysis is well written and penetrating. - Dagblad van het Noorden


Thijs Lijster (b. 1981) is a philosopher and professor at the Rijksuniversity Groningen. Among others things, he writes for the De Groene Amsterdammer and NRC Handelsblad and has received various prizes for his essays. He wrote Among Philosophers with Jan Sietsma in 2005.

© Marc Schoeters

Additional book information

  • Non-fiction
  • ISBN 9789023497493
  • Number of pages: 256
  • World Rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 19,90