"This wonderful book shows how modern psychology is consistent with the best that was thought and known in the Ancient World...also beautifully written" (Lord Richard Layard, author, Happiness: Lessons From A New Science)
"A revelation" (Alexander Linklater Observer)
"Witty and accessible.Highly recommended." (The Psychologist magazine)
"A brilliant and timely book." (Tom Hodgkinson, author of How to Be Free)
From the Back Cover
Why are so many Sceptics magicians? Which thinkers have the most fun? Could philosophy save your life?
When philosophy rescued him from a bout of depression, Jules Evans became fascinated by how ideas invented over 2,000 years ago can help us today. He set out on a five-year journey to investigate why other people are re-discovering the wisdom of the ancients. Along the way, he interviewed soldiers, hermits, gangsters, astronauts and anarchists, and heard how ancient philosophy has changed their lives too. He also discovered that ancient philosophy has inspired modern communities - Socratic cafes, Stoic gatherings, Epicurean communes, Platonic cults - and even whole nations in their search for the good life.
This book is an invitation to a dream school with a rowdy faculty that includes 12 of the greatest philosophers from the ancient world. Each lesson asks what techniques we can take from these philosophers and whether we can embrace their philosophy as a way of life. Lively, funny and inspiring, this is philosophy for the street, for the workplace, for the battlefield, for love, for life.
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
In the morning roll call, Socrates, the headmaster of the school, will tell us why philosophy can help us and speak to our own age. Then the day's classes are divided into four sessions. In the morning session, the Stoics will teach us how to be Warriors of Virtue (so-called because many of the modern Stoics we'll meet are soldiers). In the lunchtime session, Epicurus will teach us the art of enjoying the moment. In the early afternoon session, Mystics and Sceptics, we consider how our personal philosophies are connected to our ideas about the universe and the existence or absence of God. And in the final session, Politics, we consider our relationship to society, and the influence of ancient philosophy on modern politics, before Socrates conducts the graduation ceremony with a lesson on the art of departure. If that leaves you wanting to explore further, there's also a lot of extracurricular activities on my website philosophyforlife.org, which has video and text interviews with some of the people you'll meet in the book, plus a `global philosophy map' showing philosophy groups near you (if you set up your own philosophy group, let me know and I'll add it to the map). And, of course, there are the wonderful books of the philosophers themselves, most of which are available free on the Internet.
I want to recreate the openness and rowdiness you see in Raphael's painting, that sense of an animated street debate that anyone can join. Today, many people are rediscovering the ancients, and using their ideas to live better, richer and more meaningful lives. We're re-joining that noisy, vibrant conversation that Raphael depicted so beautifully. We `make bold' to speak to the ancients. And they, in their humanity, reply to us.