Virginia author and philosopher, Marietta McCarty, is the Newsmaker 2014. McCarty has produced three top-selling books in the past seven years: Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids (2006), How Philosophy Can Save Your Life: 10 Ideas That Matter Most (2009) and The Philosopher’s Table: How to Start Your Philosophy Dinner Club – Monthly Conversation, Music and Recipes (2013). Her many speaking engagements on a wide array of topics, as well as philosophy clubs that developed from her books, have helped children and adults clarify the thinking process.
Her first book was a New York Times bestseller, which produced demand for her other books; but Little Big Minds would never have come about without McCarty’s pro-bono work in taking philosophy to children throughout central Virginia and to other places across the United States. Her interview on National Public Radio’s “Diane Rehm Show” following the book’s publication was another impetus for her to respond to parents’ and teachers’ groups. A talk at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., was among her speaking engagements.
The second book for the Charlottesville author was How Philosophy Can Save Your Life: 10 Ideas That Matter Most, which received the top honor in the Nautilus Book Awards’ category of Personal Growth/Psychology – the Gold Award. These awards were conceived to recognize books that “promote spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive social change as they stimulate the imagination and inspire the reader to new possibilities for a better world.”
The Philosopher’s Table, published last year, continues to receive wide coverage not only from Virginia outlets (Richmond Magazine, WTVR 6, WINA Radio, WTJU-FM, Northern Virginia Magazine, Central Virginia Radio), but also from far-ranging outlets such as NBC radio affiliate/Oxford, NC, Wisconsin Public Radio, Energy Times magazine, Whole Life Times Magazine, Retailing Insight, and Tarcher/Penquin Trade magazine.
The 2013 book comprises the necessary ingredients for a Philosophy Dinner Club by taking readers on a tour around the world to sample hors d’oeuvres of succulent wisdom and to fill plates with food from each philosopher’s home country. With recipes, theories and insights old and new, readers sample foods such as fresh homemade meatballs and tzatziki, and the simple pleasures of life in Epicurus’ ancient Greek garden, while practicing nonviolence (in life and at the dinner table) and dining on tofu curry with Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi.
McCarty lives in Charlottesville but has an abiding affection for Richmond as her home town. For 14 summers she was the director of the Blue Ridge Tennis Camp outside of Charlottesville for children and adults, which attracted campers from across the U. S. and from several other countries. A Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude graduate in philosophy from Hollins College, she was inducted into the Hollins Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. She received her master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. With the success of her first two books, she was able, in 2010, to leave her position as assistant professor of philosophy at Piedmont Virginia Community College -- which she had held since 1988 -- and honor requests to speak around the country as well as start her third book.
Before she was a philosopher and author, she was a tennis player extraordinaire, having started tennis at age eight under Richmond’s legendary Sam Woods and been city and state champion at different times. McCarty says, “Sports teaches you just about all you need to know about yourself and other people.”
While her books can be enjoyed alone, they are designed, with helpful instructions, for respectful conversation in communities of any number. She hosts groups of all kinds in Charlottesville and wherever she travels with her philosophical tool kit. Her conviction that a fulfilling, contented life stems from vigor and clarity of mind was what drew her to her vocation in philosophy. That an open, inquisitive mind enlarges the capacity of the heart and breeds peace ensures that she will keep her shingle out.
She blogged regularly for Psychology Today Magazine until she started her website
blog at www.mariettamccarty.com.