Jon Ferguson is not your everyday philosopher. He is, though—very decidedly—your philosopher of everyday. In his earnest and ironic way, he wants to know what makes things tick and he does that by studying the simple things of life like his wife, his children, his dog, what he’s eating, and also, basketball, since he’s spent most of his 40-plus years playing or coaching it. Born in 1949 in Oakland, California, Ferguson graduated from Brigham Young University (fierce sports stronghold) in 1971 with a degree in sociology and a minor in philosophy and political science. He went to take philosophy courses at Berkeley to see if they were thinking any better than they did at BYU, but he decided they weren’t and he decided not to do the doctorate in “philosophical anthropology” that he had dreamed about. But he didn’t quit dreaming.
In 1973, Jon Ferguson went to Switzerland to make a living as a professional basketball player. Twenty-four years later, he’s still there—playing and coaching basketball, teaching English, raising a family, painting, writing books, and still searching for the meaning of being in the midst of life’s smallest things. In 1995, Editions Ozalide (Lausanne) published the quirky Les Meillures Moments de Schmaltz (The Best Moments of Schmaltz); in 1996 Editions L’Age d’Homme (Lausanne) published Nietzsche au Petiti Dejeuner (Nietzsche for Breakfast). Both books have enjoyed great success in Europe. Cinco Puntos Press is honored to publish Ferguson’s novel of philosophical musings, Farley’s Jewel, his first work in English and his first to be published in the United States.
When asked what led him to write Farley’s Jewel, Jon Ferguson wrote, “Having once thought I would be a philosophy professor, I wanted to show how I might have taught kids to ‘think.’” Also, he mentions at the time that he was writing the book he had to watch his mother “rot” from Alzheimer’s Disease. Watching his mother struggle pushed him to examine deeply the issues of life and death.
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