Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations Paperback – 2 May 2013
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"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)
A dynamic guide to philosophy for everyday life - using key ideas to live well and happilySee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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! I had my "wish list" on Amazon open almost the whole time I was reading this book, adding book after book - this book is just the start, it opens so many doors, gives you so many avenues of further reading and investigation to go down. And really what more can you ask from a book? But this is probably going to cost me quite a lot of money in the long term now I have a new-found thirst for knowledge.
Engaging from start to finish, thought provoking, possibly even life changing. Well done Jules Evans.
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.
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.
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).
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Thank you Jules.
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