Routledge Classics has done us all - fans of clear thinking, clear writing and great literature - a real service by re-releasing Karl Popper's intellectual biography "An Unended Quest". In additiion to offering informative accounts of how he came about his greatest theories, he gives us entertaining life stories as well.
As we would expect from Popper, this book is set up similar to his problem solving methodology: (P1)- (TT)-(EE)-(P2). For those unfamiliar, this stands for problem 1, tentative theory, error elimination, problem 2 - and this is how Popper, at least, according to his biography, led his life. A problem would arise, he'd think about it enough to offer a best conjecture, go about watching its results (recieving criticism from others as well as himself, setting aside a refuted theory if necessary) and this would invariably lead to new and more challenging problems. It is party because of this ongoing method that Popper descrbes himself as "the happiest philosopher I ever met."
The first half of the book is especially thrilling. Popper shifts from a chapter relating personal events and development with "digression" chapters relating how these personal events led to theories, ideas and problems to be solved. Of note to me, with a B.A. in music, were the chapters exploring Poppers love for 'classical' music. Especially of suprise here was that he has many of the same tastes and reasons for them as I and he discusses many of those ideas in what could be the most exciting 'digression' in the book.
The second half of the book concentrates more on ideas and lesson events. This was the period where Popper, although still looked at as unconventional, was a bit more accepted. This period saw him write "The Open Society and It's Enemies", "Poverty of Historicism", and "Conjectures and Refutations". As most of this is about explaining his ideas, not the events therefrom, those familiar with Popper's writings may get a bit bored here. Still, with prose as crystal-clear and exciting as Popper's, nobody - from the novice to the professional philosopher - will want to miss a paragraph!