Blending intellectual speculation with anecdote and personal reflection, the Renaissance thinker and writer Montaigne pioneered the modern essay. This selection contains his idiosyncratic and timeless writings on subjects as varied as the virtues of solitude, the power of the imagination, the pleasures of reading, the importance of sleep and why we sometimes laugh and cry at the same things. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.