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The Lazy Intellectual: Maximum Knowledge, Minimal Effort Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I got this specifically to begin my self-study of philosophy. I thought the section on philosophy was very good for how brief it is - the book typically has a page or less on each major philosopher.
There are of course limitations to books like this. You risk trivializing or over-simplifying. It can also make subjects appear trite.
For example, the book says the philosopher Heraclitus thought "that unity exists in diversity, that reality is one and many at the same time." This is pretty vague for someone who knows nothing about Heraclitus. I need just a little more explanation. This type of thing is why I give the book 4 stars instead of 5.
Of course you can quibble about what is included and what is left out. Ten pages about rock music? I wouldn't have done that. A page for Mozart, OK; but the same amount of text for the rock group Nirvana? As for religion, it includes Rastafarianism, of which there are one million worldwide. But I'm Mormon so I wonder why nothing about Mormons? There are 14 million of us.
To test out this book I looked up something I do know something about from previous study: Buddhism. The book states Buddhists believe "life is suffering, and suffering is caused by desire for pleasure." Hm, well, that is the explanation you often hear. Actually Buddhists believe, from what I have read, that the default state of living is dukkha, which isn't exactly suffering; it's deep dissatisfaction with life. We respond to dukkha by denying the natural order of things, which is constant change. We are forever trying to control things that are uncontrollable. We grasp after pleasure, avoid pain, and ignore the other "boring" 90% of reality including what's going on inside ourselves. We get angry or jealous or depressed. We have built a whole culture around escaping this dissatisfaction - distracting ourselves with movies, video games or internet, escaping into career, alcohol, etc. (Sorry, I do tend to go on and on about Buddhism, which I find fascinating. For more info: Mindfulness in Plain English: 20th Anniversary Edition.)
So, based on this, I will take everything I read in this book with a grain of salt. I will keep in mind that the explanations may be somewhat misleading due to their brevity. But it's a great starting place, a dip of the toe into the ocean of knowledge.
Overall, I think the authors have done a great job. Boiling down the vast spread of human knowledge like this was undoubtedly a challenging project, and in my opinion they succeeded.
Chapter one covers important concepts in "Philosophy." "Music" is covered in chapter two. The third chapter deals with "The Classics." "Modern Language" is explored in chapter four. Chapter five explores important points in "History." "Language Arts" is covered in chapter six. Important "Religion" issues are explained in chapter seven. Chapter eight deals with the "Social Sciences." and the final chapter summarizes important concepts in "Mathematics." This is a fun book to read if you love knowing about essential information on a wide range of academic subjects.
In conclusion, I do not think one has to be a "Lazy Intellectual" to enjoy this book. Indeed, it is an excellent reference book you will want to make part of your personal library. I loved this book for the huge amount of solid information it contains. Anyone who loves knowledge should check out this book.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: The Samurai Soul: An old warrior's poetic tribute)