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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on philosophy as an everyday tool - an invitation to a real "dream academy"
This book sets out to teach you things you certainly aren't likely to have been taught at school, or at university for that matter. It draws on the ideas of a dozen thinkers: Socrates, Epictetus, Musonius Rufus, Seneca, Epicurus, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, the Sceptics (treated as if one person - the original one was Pyrrho), Diogenes, Plato, Plutarch and Aristotle...
Published on 10 May 2012 by The Fisher Price King

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like a dinner table chat - covers lots of ideas but none in depth
I liked this book as it was informative on many topics; but as interested layman philosopher, I felt it was more like a dinner table chat with ideas brought up and quickly, opionion rendered, then on to the next topic. At times it seemed to be on the lookout to add as many names, movements, organisations as possible to give the feel of researched ideas but the overall...
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer

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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on philosophy as an everyday tool - an invitation to a real "dream academy", 10 May 2012
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This book sets out to teach you things you certainly aren't likely to have been taught at school, or at university for that matter. It draws on the ideas of a dozen thinkers: Socrates, Epictetus, Musonius Rufus, Seneca, Epicurus, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, the Sceptics (treated as if one person - the original one was Pyrrho), Diogenes, Plato, Plutarch and Aristotle.

Evans says the aim is to convey "what it would be like to get a day-pass to the School of Athens". Rather than merely being dry and academic, this book constantly shows an awareness of how philosophy can be brought to bear on everyday situations. Evans has interviewed all manner of people (astronauts, soldiers, the politician Rory Stewart) and profiled plenty of others - such as a Chicago firefighter who gives classes in Stoic resilience - to see where philosophy fits (or can fit) into their lives.

The book is appealingly structured like a day's lessons or tutorials. The writing is fresh and thoughtful, pretty accessible, largely unpretentious and of a genuinely practical kind. This reminds me of Alain de Botton's Consolations of Philosophy, except that it has a much keener sense of philosophy's place and utility in the real world.

As a primer in Greek philosophy, the book works well, but is a good deal more than that - a wise, honest, original and helpful guide, which provides ample food for thought and has inspired me to do further reading (about which Evans provides a handy guide at the end of the book).

Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like a dinner table chat - covers lots of ideas but none in depth, 4 Feb. 2014
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I liked this book as it was informative on many topics; but as interested layman philosopher, I felt it was more like a dinner table chat with ideas brought up and quickly, opionion rendered, then on to the next topic. At times it seemed to be on the lookout to add as many names, movements, organisations as possible to give the feel of researched ideas but the overall tone was like something from a sunday magazine, like a stocking filler. It was informative and I enjoyed, it, but for me a mark of a good book is if I want to read it again, or at least go through my Kindle highlights. I did not have the urge with this.

If you are keen on a pratical guide to the stoic portion I'd recommend William Irvine's A Gude To The Good Life: he is an academic so the writing is not as lucid as Jules, but there are more concrete, solid tips. Jules's book left me with a taster of everything, but if I were to make something of it, I'd have to research those areas of interest further.

One thing that did bother me was that the book made references, say to Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, but the reference at the back did not give the exact quoattion. So I know he quoted the book but can't look it up myself.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 11 May 2012
This is a wise, humane and often inspirational book. Though it tackles big and difficult questions - why are we here? how can we be happy? - it does so in such a clear and engaging way that it's always enjoyable and often gripping reading. Evans's subject is ancient Greek philosophy, but what he seeks in this philosophy isn't abstract truth but a practical, useful "medicine for the soul" that can help people exert more control over their emotions, feel better about themselves and lead happier and more flourishing lives. He shows that the central tenets of Greek moral philosophy - that we can know ourselves, change ourselves and establish better, healthier habits of thinking and acting - now form the basis of modern Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and in a series of compelling interviews threaded through the book he talks to people around the world of very different backgrounds whose lives were changed by an encounter with a particular philosopher or set of ideas. The book is organized as a series of lessons on the major Greek philosophers, and I think most readers will find Evans a congenial and stimulating instructor. I learned a great deal from it - it made me think hard about the way I live my life and what I could do to make myself a happier, saner person. Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy, 19 July 2012
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I found this book most enjoyable. I knew relatively little about Ancient Greek philosophy but now feel quite informed on the subject. The book is rooted in the practice of philosophy, citing many interesting cases where people have been helped to overcome, or cope with difficulties, through using the ideas of the ancient philosophers. Consequently, it's packed with great advice and anecdotes, such as realising and accepting what is beyond our control, whilst taking responsibility for that which is in our control. And the story of Diogenes living in a barrel in Athens, being offered anything he desired by Alexander the Great, he replied by asking that he stop blocking the sun. One thing I would say, is that "ordinary" people are not given much consideration (the extraordinary types adopt the approaches), however, it non-the-less serves as an exemplum to model a good life. I also liked the way he linked his discussions to modern day psychology. All in all, a very good read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About as good a manual for life as you're likely to get., 28 Jun. 2012
To call this book a self-help book would be an insult to the author - it is so very much more. I don't believe any book of this genre truly answers the questions that most readers are looking for. However, Jules Evans's guided tour through the wisdom of the ancient greeks does a brilliant job of priming the mind with different strains of thinking, provoking the reader to examine for himself the different approaches to answering those questions that at some point in our lives we probably all ask ourselves. The author compares and contrasts brilliantly the stoics, the sceptics, the epicureans and the pythagoreans amongst others. The book seems to draw all the different themes together as it approaches the conclusion with a more detailed convergence on Plato, Aristotle and finally Socrates.

This book is an easy read but it took me a long time to finish because I was constantly sloping off to the internet to find out more about the characters, the texts and the references that so richly add to the reading experience - I even made notes (yikes)! Furthermore, the author seemlessly weaves into the text modern day, real-life examples of a diverse group of individuals and organisations that illustrate present day manifestations of the various philosophical themes. He also refers frequently and understatedly to his own travails with depression which he has surely overcome (I didn't know it but cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has its roots in philosophy).

I have long found philosophy a turn-off but this book has turned this view on its head. It is elegantly written in plain language but I found the content to be hugely stimulating. I will definitely read the book again because there are just too many ideas and concepts in it that struck a chord with me that can be properly digested in one reading. I suspect it may become somewhat of a manual for me. It is stuffed with suggestions for further reading and resources that I will certainly pursue in due course. This really was an excellent read and I cannot recommend it highly enough. A candidate for the apocryphal Amazon 6th star !!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise is worthless but...., 7 Sept. 2012
By 
Gejohnson "Author" (Lodon) - See all my reviews
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Bigging up this book won't make it any better, as all of you trainee philosphers out there will know, but it may help someone in making the right decision to buy it.

I thought this book was excellent for the following reasons:-

1. It was well written and a page turner.

2. It taught me a lot of things I didn't know.

3. It reminded me of bits of philosophy I'd forgotten, which is important if you want it to hand everyday.

4. It had a lightness of touch and a structure which allowed you to dip in and out. It was funny.

5. It's usefullness is as an intro to philosophy - a kind of 'idiots guide' to the subject. Which is always what's needed to bring a lofty subject down to earth.

6. The way to it draws relationships between modern therapies such as CBT and stoicism, and psychiatry and other systems and philosophy is useful. It made me less sceptical of some 'self-help' approaches.

7. It does what it says on the tin - it's a manual for getting through the day.

8. I'm sure there's lots more I could say but my memory has gone today.

Well worth the effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read, but does not deliver on my expectations, 15 July 2013
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I stress that this review is based on my expectations, therefore they may be unfounded if you were looking for something different from this book. It did provide me with good overview & introductions to many philosophical concepts and schools of thought. There was a lot that I took from the book, and it gave me lots to consider. However I was looking for a book that helped me consider philosophy as an aided to looking at life etc. there were good parts, but at times the book spent time looking at politics and it's schools and effects. So, to me, the book fizzled out a bit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Full circle trip around philosophical thinking. Aaaaand we are back at capitalism., 18 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations (Paperback)
The author leads the reader on an exciting trip through the history of philosophy, from its classical origins through historical misinterpretations to where we are at now.

And from this interesting story, the book concludes that actually taking action on philosophical thinking leads to the creation of cults. These ultimately fail and lead to the breakout of capitalism. So we are back where we started and ergo it seems we should not bother reading the abundance of texts from which this book was written but just get on with life as it is.

The historical portions of the book are quite informative and enjoyable. Yet I struggle to fathom why if this author loves philosophy so, does he choose to pick the most gullible cheesy cults on which to display the current philosophical lines of thinking? Certainly the author is dismissive of their practices and rightly so. However the title of the book would suggest that this book is an aid to incorporate philosophical thinking in ones daily life yet he displays those who practice these thoughts as oddballs.

He might as well have written a book praising Marxism-Leninism and only showcased the genocides of Mao and the gulags of Stalin.
I don't get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ... a very positive review by Ade Edmondson as a favourite book that he continues to reference on a regular ..., 13 Aug. 2014
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Bought this on the strength of a very positive review by Ade Edmondson as a favourite book that he continues to reference on a regular basis. Hmmm.......I don't think I'll be doing quite the same. I found it accessible enough to read and will take away and ponder the central positive message about (I think) stoicism.......but found it rather long-winded and meandering: difficult to extract great meaning or value in the way AE seems to have done. Yes, it was thought-provoking - and I definitely encountered some gems of enlightenment along the way, but may have forgotten half of them because I was expecting the book to summarise these for the reader as a reward for sticking with the book to the end. It doesn't. You are largely left to draw your own conclusions - which, perhaps, is as it should be. I would have preferred the book to be more concise and its messages distilled and summarised. I am prepared to recommend the book and its author - but would advise you to do your own highlighting as you go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book :), 8 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations (Paperback)
I bought this book because I wanted to expand my mind with the intriguing philosophers from ancient times. I have had quite a closed mind for a long time, believing I could not find something which would help me see the world in a better or different way- I was wrong!
I owe this book and author (and Philosophers!) a lot of credit for helping me get through each day which, prior to reading, was extremely difficult. I have not committed to any particular philosophy (as I said I want to keep an open mind) but each in their own way has helped me more than any therapist could. I really believe this book could be useful to those who are a bit skeptical of modern methods in relation to overcoming certain difficult situations. It gives you the option of picking and choosing bits of each philosophy to adopt in order to deal with life in a more proactive and positive way.

Excellent book!
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Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations
Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations by Jules Evans (Paperback - 2 May 2013)
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