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Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations Paperback – 2 May 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rider (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846043212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846043215
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An important book, because it reminds us philosophy is not just about analysis. It's also about the good life." (Matthew Syed Times books of the year)

"Instructive and thought-provoking...shows philosophy is not just for stuffy classrooms" (Financial Times)

"This wonderful book shows how modern psychology is consistent with the best that was thought and known in the Ancient World...also beautifully written" (Lord Richard Layard, author, Happiness: Lessons From A New Science)

"A revelation" (Alexander Linklater Observer)

"Hugely enjoyed Philosophy for Life. Am an avid fan of classical philosophy & this book applies it thoroughly & beautifully." (Derren Brown)

Book Description

A dynamic guide to philosophy for everyday life - using key ideas to live well and happily

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback
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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By Pete TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the most interesting, entertaining and satisfying book I have read in many years. I came to the subject of philosophy from a complete layperson background, having my first taste of the concepts through self help books and wanting to try and get to the root source of this type of thinking (as it turns out, CBT has many roots in ancient philosophy) purely on the basis of personal interest rather than an academic need.

The writing style is clear and engaging it is a superbly structured look at many different areas of philosophy and one that routinely spans 2000BC to the present day. I particularly liked the way the author gave his own opinions of various things in a very mature and objective way but usually only at the end of each section once all the key points had been covered.

I've learned so much from this book about well known names such as Aristotle and Socrates, which before reading this were just names from some high brow and unreachable discipline called philosophy. The ideas put forward by all the people in this book are hugely stimulating and well presented here. It has totally broken down the barriers (in my mind) to the whole subject.

The only thing missing I think is a glossary of some of the terms used. There was a tendency at times to explain a concept then drop back into the jargon. I'm still in the dark as to what some of the colourful terms mean having never studied politics, economics or philosophy and not having a university background. Yes, I can (and did) Google them, but for a book intending to be accessible to anyone, I would have preferred this to explain it all, in the words of the author.

However there is - tongue in cheek - a dark side to this book!
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