Different Ways of Being Alive

Original title: Manières d’être vivant

Publication Date:

February 2020



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Dutch, Nordic Countries

Territories Sold

English (World) (Polity)
Taiwan (Acropolis)
Spanish (Spain) (Errata Naturae)
Argentina (Ediciones Isla Desierta)
Germany (Matthes und Seitz)
Netherlands (Octavo, in a pre-empt)
Romania (Seneca)
Italy (offer received)


Environment, Essay, Philosophy

Different Ways of Being Alive

Original title: Manières d’être vivant


This new, decentralized humanism develops through an original form of inquiry at the borders of literature, ethology, and philosophy. — Alexandre Gefen, LE NOUVEAU MAGAZINE LITTÉRAIRE

An ambitious book that questions the enigma of being alive. — Françoise Monier, LIRE

Baptiste Morizot writes marvelous books that are at once travel stories, philosophical treatises and collections of legends. — François Busnel, LA P’TITE LIBRAIRIE

Manières d’être vivant is an extraordinary essay in every way. The philosopher Baptiste Morizot, a rising figure in ecological thinking, upsets the usual interpretive frameworks of the erosion of biodiversity and invites us to reconnect with the non-human life that surrounds us. — Mathieu Dejean, LES INROCKUPTIBLES

[Morizot’s] philosophical approach enters into the collective culture through the strength of his narrative and the imagination that he develops. Similar to Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. — Boris Cyrulnik, on awarding the Prix Psychologies-Fnac to Manières d’être vivant

An absolutely wonderful book that I invite everyone to read! — Christilla Pelle-Douël, France Inter “Grand bien vous fasse !”

“Baptiste Morizot, 37 years old, is one of the most stimulating contemporary thinkers on the ecological crisis […] An atypical, nuanced, poetic, transversal thinker, living his philosophy (how many of them do that?)”. — Elisabeth Quin, Madame Figaro

The challenge of his philosophical and writing work is to open up another space of relations within the living world by considering the old man-nature dualism as a sterile dead end […] Morizot is not a radical of technophobia and the return to the oil lamp. He is a radical of nuance, as he so beautifully puts it.
— Fabrice Gaignault, LIRE

Baptiste Morizot’s point of view is comforting because it opens a path to our salvation. If we disregard animals and our own share of animality, we are headed for distaster. But if we think about our interdependence, and the benefits that each species can derive from it, it opens up grounds for hope. — Pascale Ferran, La Croix

After Sur la piste animale, Baptiste Morizot’s second work in the Mondes Sauvages collection expands his philosophical enquiry into the notion of tracking, not only tracking living creatures in their natural habitat but also our ideas of them in literature and thought. In his work we set out on the trail of a pack of wolves in the Vercors snow, investigating the mysterious meanings of nocturnal howling shared with them by night. This leads us to the trail of the very appearance of the notion of animality in the history of our own culture. We then trace our ancestors right back to sea sponges, before setting out on the mark left in our thought by our “inner-animals”, the animal metaphors used to describe our feelings. Then we set out on the trail of the interdependencies inherent in a Provencal prairie ecosystem inhabited by sheep, shepherds and predators to imagine an alternative approach to life. Each trail brings us back the importance of our sensitivity to living creatures and how we have to learn to live side-by-side with them and consider them differently. The animal kingdom cannot be reduced to the stuff of children’s tales or considered as inferior life-forms. We cohabit the Earth alongside them and we share the same ascendancy, and thus the enigma of life itself. The mystery of living within a body, a body that has to interpret and negotiate its life is shared throughout animal- and human-kind: it is the vital universal condition, one which gives us the strongest sense of belonging.

Here lies the paradox: through our shared ancestry, animals are both related to us yet foreign to us, because their different bodies suggest forms of existence incomprehensible to our minds. This book looks at animal-life in general, including that of humans, as “different ways of being alive”.

Marketing Information

  • Over 45,000 copies sold
  • Winner of the Prix de l’essai Psychologies FNAC, Prix de l’essai des Inrockuptibles
  • Ranked 16th on the bestseller nonfiction list of L’Express (08/2020)
  • BAPTISTE MORIZOT is THE PHENOMENON of the year according to Lire Magazine Littéraire