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If Minds Had Toes [Paperback]

Lucy Eyre
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Jan 2008
Fifteen-year-old Ben Warner has a mundane summer job working in the local fish-and-chip shop. Then Lila arrives. She invites him to visit her in the World of Ideas, where she hopes to help Socrates win a bet with his arch-rival Wittgenstein: he and Lila must prove to Ben that philosophy can change his life for the better. So begins a mind-bending guided tour of the big and small questions in life, but will Socrates and Lila be able to convince Ben that the unexamined life is not worth living?

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If Minds Had Toes + Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747592411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747592419
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`An engaging philosophical fiction which will invite comparisons with Sophie's World but also draws on the tradition of British children's fiction such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' -- Saturday Telegraph

`Entertaining and ingenious ... her book is altogether subtler and more elegant that Gaarder's'
-- Financial Times

`Lucy Eyre (definitely a Socratist) has written a nimble, witty introduction to the basic tenets of philosophy which never takes itself too seriously. A playful guide for young adults, it's a charming endorsement of the benefits of the examined life' -- Guardian

About the Author

Lucy Eyre grew up in London and currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is her first book.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does this book really exist? 5 Feb 2007
By P. M. Fernandez VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife bought this for me on a whim for my birthday, and I am so pleased! As far as I know, "Sophie's World", by Jostein Gaarder, was the first book that explicitly directed philosophical questions at people from smart teenagers upwards. This is the second. A variety of philosophical questions (Is death the worst thing that can happen to you? What is happiness? Do we have free will?) are introduced to a teenager, with characters around him arguing from different perspectives. As tends to be the way, no conclusions are really reached - but by the end of the book, Ben has (and hopefully the reader will have) a more thoughtful perspective on the nature of life, the universe and everything.

The principal characters (Ben and Lila - to what extent, I wonder, is the author writing herself into the part of Lila?) are sympathetic and well-painted. The plot is imaginative and playful. The writing is snappy and clever - "Ben had heard of Plato. And now he'd seen his sports car, he was even more impressed." And if we are really homo sapiens, then we ought to be thinking about the issues that the author discusses.

Please write some more, Ms Eyre!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A work of whimsical genius 28 Nov 2009
If you liked the idea behind Jostein Gaarder's seminal Sophie's World but find yourself slightly daunted by its thickness and sometimes didactic approach, this is for you.

If Minds Had Toes rests on a silly yet brilliant premise: there is an afterlife specifically devoted to housing dead philosophers; Socrates is the president of this land; he and the mysanthropic Wittgenstein enter a bet to decide once and for all whether philosophical vocation is a gift or a curse.

In order to prove their respective theses, an ordinary live boy is selected, and taken on a series of guided tours of the World of Ideas, where he is confronted by the great questions in a series of amusing yet provocative dialogues.

A good idea well-executed, this is Sophie's World for beginners - shorter, snappier, funny, even cute.

Full marks would have been awarded if there'd been more real dead philosophers: those that are there are there to provide ambience and comic relief; though they do this exceedingly well, it would have been more ambitious and gripping to have the thinkers behind the theories arguing for them. Still; it's but a small quibble: the book's well worth the time and grey cells.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I have never posted a review before, but I loved this book and felt compelled to write. I read a review in the Times and ordered this from Amazon - I could hardly put it down. It was thought provoking, accessible and truly engaging. Finally, something that isn't depressing, aristo-turns-sleuth, man-bricked-up-in-cellar, medieval-mystery, bring-down-the-catholic-church, chick-lit or aga-saga. An original and stimulating novel. Why don't they write them like this any more? You can probably tell, I loved it - refreshing and as thought provoking as you want it to be, this is an educational and enjoyable read. It deserves to be a great success.
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