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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things you didn't know you knew, 4 Jan 2005
This book really is quite inciteful and is the perfect book if you have a passing interest in philosophy but can't stand the thought of wading through a dry text that seems to have been writen to confound rather than enlighten.
Each Idea stands alone in its own heading and the ideas are placed in chronological order from prehistory through to the modern day. Each topic contains a cross-reference to other related topics and a reference to further reading. In addition each topic is cleverly illustrated and is assigned a quotation that summarises or reflects on the idea presented.
I initially started to dip into the book looking up topics of interest but soon found myself starting at the begining and reading the book all the way through. I found the book hard to put down and found myself reading it at every spare moment. The book accelerates the mind so it is hungry to see what the next idea was that changed the world.
The only reason I have deducted a star is because I believe the book could still be improved upon.
An exellent book if you want an idea of how civilisation has developed and how things we now take for granted were once novel ideas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Universal Approach to the History of Ideas, 29 Jun 2014
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Warrior419 (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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While this is an attempt by the publishers to publish a popular, visual encyclopedia in its usual style, the substance of Fernandez-Armesto's writings shine through beautifully, as if a serious treatise on the topic.

He takes a universal, non-Eurocentric approach to the history of ideas, which is refreshing given than almost every book on the subject published in the West focuses on ITS ideas as the bedrock of human progress and ideas from elsewhere and at other points in history as primitive and inferior.

This book, despite coming as a DK populiser, will enlighten even the greatest intellectuals, but will provide every layman with the urgently needed context to our lives today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When ideas try to be truth..., 23 Aug 2012
I feel that every young person should have this book as part of their introduction to the world at large. What is so effective about this book is how each page introduces another 'idea' to live by. Leafing through the pages, it can very soon be realised that most of us live a conceptual life, more or less governed by historic ideas that have been adopted as fact within various cultures and societies. Very few of us have enjoyed the kind of education that enables us to turn 180 degrees and question the very notions that ensure we interpret the world from one or two narrow viewpoints. This wonderful book shows how us how every notion for living was born simply as an idea, a concept, and therefore cannot be true, only at best an approximation, a pointer in the dark. It also exposes how many ideas have become unexamined dogma, conditioning minds and spread through fear by power and prejudice. In a wonderfully brief way, this book reveals the repeated attempts by mankind to pin down the essence of life in some way, to de-mystify what can never be known, -life itself. It's a liberating and stimulating experience to repeatedly read this simple, but highly effective book. It's better than the bible.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'll help you see the world a little more clearly, while fuzzing up other things., 17 Aug 2006
Though I can't improve on the previous post in terms of describing this book, i just want to put in my own opinion. I borrwed this from our local library and have not stopped borrowing it. It is a fantastic book for clearing up concepts that drive this world, if you have sat and thought what exactly makes an idealist, just how old is the idea of nationalism (younger than you think)and what is this "free market" I keep hearing about? This is a graet book for the intellectual and the amateur (if anyone can really be called that). You find that thoughts you have actually have a name and that often the concept of one idea has radically altered over the years (capitalism). It introduces you to topics and leaves you to do the further reading (while also telling you where to find the contrary opinions as well). Perfect starter to any field of thought. Though be warned you may find that what you know you, don't know so to speak. I found this true when it came to the section on Anarchism (the theory and the practice don't appear to match). Keep it as a constant companion whenever you watch the news or read someones opinions. Honestly you'd be wise to spend your money on this treasure trove of knowledge.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book SHOULD be one of the most popular and enduring books in present world., 24 Nov 2006
I think I'm very sober to say that,because it has really made the greatest effect on me.The ideas that changed the world just be changing my world of mind now.Nowadays people are more likely to look for stimulating and interasting thing than before.But once having attained the goal,we are eager to find another one,which would be in higher levels. I want to say that IDEAS is the one that awaiting me at the highest level.I can enjoy reading it whereas overleaping other happniness,because mind stir is much more refreshing than rest of others,I experience.So that just is why I claim This book SHOULD be one of the most popular and enduring books in the present world.

I would say I am better,more healthy,and best of all, happier than before, just because having read it.
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Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto by Ideas That Changed the World Edition: First (Hardcover - 2007)
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