“There are two breeds of Ping-Pong players: empiricists and metaphysicians,” says Guido Mina di Sospiro. “By adopting anti-spin paddles, empiricists declare explicitly who they are and what they stand for. Metaphysicians, on the other hand, are fascinated by the mysteries of spin, which propels them, willy-nilly, into the realm of four-dimensional, nonlinear geometry. They strive to bend the laws of physics by giving the ball the exact arc it needs to touch the deep end of the table rather than go long.”
The author clearly plays in the latter court. He explores the worldwide passion for table tennis by bringing in Plato and Aristotle, the Perennial Philosophy, and the psychology of C. G. Jung. Topics range from the importance of finding one’s guru in the game, to the shadow side of competition, to ping pong as a form of initiation vis-a-vis Chaos Theory. The higher the level of the game, the more its players are aligned with the Taoist Way, self-actualized in harmony with the cosmos.
As Mina di Sospiro shows, Ping-Pong has so many refreshingly illogical qualities about it that the “humble” sport becomes a metaphor for understanding the entire human condition. “If mankind dedicated more time to playing,” he says, “there would be less hostility in the world and probably fewer wars. And table tennis, both enormously popular and thoroughly cosmopolitan, points precisely in this direction.” As with planet Earth herself, it’s all in the spin.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong by Guido Mina di Sospiro has received a wonderful review on the sports books blog The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong by Guido Mina di Sospiro was recently reviewed in Manhattan Book Review.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong by Guido Mina di Sospiro has been reviewed on TableTennisCoaching.com.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong by Guido Mina di Sospiro has been reviewed by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on Spirituality and Practice.
Entropy Magazine has recently reviewd The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong: Table Tennis as a Journey of Self-Discovery by Guido Mina di Sospiro.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong: Table Tennis as a Journey of Self-Discovery author Guido Mina di Sospiro has been interviewed by Greg Kaminsky on the Occult of Personality podcast.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong: Table Tennis as a Journey of Self-Discovery by Guido Mina di Sospiro is featured on The Good Men Project blog.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong: Table Tennis as a Journey of Self-Discovery by Guido Mina di Sospiro has been selected as a Publishers Weekly Staff Pick by Reviews Editor Seth Satterlee.
The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong: Table Tennis as a Journey of Self-Discovery by Guido Mina di Sospiro has received an exciting starred review in the August 24 issue of Publishers Weekly.
“Like nothing I’ve ever read and all the more wonderful because of it, this is a non-fiction masterpiece which deserves a position on the sports writing podium.” (Ben Keenan Press Association Syndication)
“Fast-footed, inspiring book about winning the inner game of life in sport.” (Iain Finlayson The Times)
“Erudite, experimental and engaging, Mina di Sospiro has given us a work that breaks new ground. Whether or not you ever pick up a paddle, The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong provides an initiation into a visionary life, igniting the fires of inspiration through an intriguing intimacy with the mysteries of daily life that is available nowhere else.” (David Metcalfe Daily Grail)
“An enthralling guide to the mystery, mastery and practice of ping-pong.” (Eric Idle, of Monty Python)
"The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong is another wonderful work from Mina di Sospiro. Examining the cosmos through the lens of table tennis provides an unexpected tour de force that cannot be pigeonholed. The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong is one of the most accessible books ever featured on this program, all while maintaining the loftiest of conversations with the reader. This tale of initiation and Perennial Philosophy is rather refreshing." (Greg Kaminsky, Occult of Personality)