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The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class [Hardcover]

David S. Kidder , Noah D. Oppenheim
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Press; Rough cut edition (3 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594865132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594865138
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Knowledge, One Day at a Time 29 Oct 2006
Format:Hardcover
"The Intellectual Devotional" is an intriguing concept and fairly well executed. Each day of the week features a brief, one page article about a given subject, followed by a smattering of "additional facts"--Monday's topic is history, Tuesday's is literature, Wednesday's is the visual arts, Thursday's is science, Friday's is music, Saturday's is philosophy and Sunday's is religion. I've been reading the book for a couple of weeks now, and I've found the brief essays to be informative, up-to-date and (on topics with which I'm already familiar) accurate. I read each daily "devotional" at breakfast over a cup of coffee, and it's a pleasant way to start the day (and certainly less painful than the newspaper).

Several of the reviews on Amazon's US site have criticized the book's small type, and this is in fact something to be wary of if you have vision problems. The first paragraph on each page is in what appears to be a regular-sized font, but subsequent paragraphs are quite a bit smaller. The "Additional Facts" (which set out some of the most intriguing ideas on each page) are quite small indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Food for Thought 2 Jun 2009
By Ursula K. Raphael TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I've read this book twice already, and I'm currently on my third run. It has 365 entries which cover seven different areas: Monday - history, Tuesday - literature, Wednesday - visual arts, Thursday - science, Friday - music, Saturday - philosophy, and Sunday - religion.

I love reading, and I liked the idea of opening my mind to things I might not ever come across on my own. Some of the music entries are so technical that my head hurts, and I struggle to understand the theories behind compositions, but it has taught me to appreciate what classical musicians have accomplished. Some parts, such as literature, philosophy and visual arts, I am familiar with, but the science entries have taught me a lot of interesting facts.

The religion entries have helped me relate to my friends of various faiths; it's easier to understand people's cultures if you understand the basis of their faith(s).

I enjoyed this book so much; I've bought extra copies, and sent them to my closest friends. I am looking forward to The Intellectual Devotional: Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Converse Confidently with the Culturati.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 23 April 2013
By Louise
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book and should be more readily available. Ideal as a gift - I wish it had been given to me!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  208 reviews
209 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Knowledge, One Page at a Time 29 Oct 2006
By William Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"The Intellectual Devotional" is an intriguing concept and fairly well executed. Each day of the week features a brief, one page article about a given subject, followed by a smattering of "additional facts"--Monday's topic is history, Tuesday's is literature, Wednesday's is the visual arts, Thursday's is science, Friday's is music, Saturday's is philosophy and Sunday's is religion. I've been reading the book for a couple of weeks now, and I've found the brief essays to be informative, up-to-date and (on topics with which I'm already familiar) accurate. I read each daily "devotional" at breakfast over a cup of coffee, and it's a pleasant way to start the day (and certainly less painful than the newspaper).

Several of the reviews on Amazon have criticized the book's small type, and this is in fact something to be wary of if you have vision problems. The first paragraph on each page is in what appears to be a regular-sized font, but subsequent paragraphs are quite a bit smaller. The "Additional Facts" (which set out some of the most intriguing ideas on each page) are quite small indeed.
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as smart as it thinks it is 27 Jan 2007
By RDG Stout - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a fun book, no doubt about it, and quite educational in its own right. But it is also full of errors and misrepresentations from page one -- mostly minor ones, but even those are glaring embarrassments for a work which continually flaunts how "intellectual" and "cultured" it is.

The very first entry, for example, deals with "Egyptian hieroglyphics." Any amateur Egyptologist worth his or her salt will immediately tell you that the proper term is "hieroglyphs" -- "hieroglyphic" is the adjectival form of the word. A nitpick, perhaps, but one that tends to raise the hackles of Egyptian history professors.

Later entries contain cringe-inducing mistakes, such as the claim that the Hebrew Torah is the Christian Old Testament. In fact, the Hebrew Tanakh is equivalent to the (Protestant) Old Testament: the Torah consists only of the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses. This is not a minor point.

Other entries contain not so much outright errors, but a lack of nuanced understanding. To refer to the Mass as a "ritual reenactment," for instance, may pass muster for a Calvinist, but would make any Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc. wince at the authors' lack of understanding.

In short, it's certainly a book worth buying and enjoying. But take its summaries with a grain of salt. Tackling such massive swathes of learning necessitates that the work be far wider than it is deep.
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LEARNING AND LIKING IT: KNOWLEDGE TIDBITS 21 Dec 2006
By Dorothy Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Do you frequently find yourself at a loss for words? Are you the constant listener to someone else's mindless chatter simply because you can't think of anything interesting to say?
Authors Kidder and Oppenheim offer factual options in this cleverly written book to enliven your conversations and broaden your knowledge on a variety of subjects. Their compilation offers History, Literature, Visual Arts, Science, Music, Philosophy and Religion explained in brief one page summaries. Each day you read one page only, absorb it. By the end of the week you will have explored each field of knowledge at least once a week. As your knowledge expands, so does your confidence and your conversations have more interesting substance.

Each day, while reading the book, I shared the information I had learned with my husband and friends who were delighted to discuss Ernest Hemingway, Cloning, illusion vs reality, Hammurabi's code of Laws, Noah, Plato, The Solar System, Vaccines, Albert Einstein, the Solar system, Da Vinci, Plato, Handel, atoms, Aristotle, Mozart, and Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" painting, just to mention a few passages. Actress Scarlett Johanssen portrayed "the girl" in a recent film based on Vermeer's life, so we gained more insight into how that portrait, "Girl with a Pearl Ear-ring," manifested, then our conversation strayed naturally to the quality of current motion pictures like "The Horse Whisperer" and " Island," in which Scarlett Johanssen was also featured, and that is exactly the purpose of this book, "to wake up our brains," enliven our thoughts, enhance our communication skills so that we become more confident and knowledgeable and stop hesitating to engage in diverse and dynamic conversations.

No need to be a hesitant, shy, silent observer. After reading this book, step into life armed with more knowledge and facts!
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daily food for the mind 15 Dec 2006
By C. G. La Ferle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a fabulous concept! As a fan of daybooks and devotionals, I love the idea of this book. Covering seven key areas of knowledge, one for each day of the week, it delivers what it promises in the title and subtitle. I would have given the book FIVE stars if it weren't for the incredibly SMALL TYPE that makes reading very difficult for middle-aged readers like me -- especially at the end of the day. I am hoping that the publishers will release a "large print" version for anyone past 50. I will look forward to more editions of this wonderful book. Other than the typesize, it's highly recommended.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and great gift idea 4 Oct 2006
By S. Connors - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A great book to keep on your nightstand....Am planning to give it to my former co-workers for the holidays...As a retired teacher, I know that what often effects students' reading ability is their lack of "background knowledge" in different disciplines. I can see this book being used in the classroom as a fun way to build up this knowledge.
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