A few days ago, John Gray reviewed A C Grayling’s latest book Ideas that Matter: The Concepts that Shape the 21st Century. To my surprise, someone I know linked to the review approvingly. I was surprised because the review is tosh: hysterical, pompous, and so self-fiskingly stupid that it’s not even necessary to read the volume in question to know that its reviewer has it wrong—at one point Gray makes the mistake of quoting a passage from Grayling’s book, rewrites its meaning, and then attacks his own misrepresentation.

Reading Gray’s review was like watching someone dress up in academic robes, walk into the middle of a college quad, and slap himself in the face repeatedly. In contrast, A. C. Grayling’s crisp response is worth a recommendation.