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on 11 November 2017
Yet to make my way through this book fully. Great starting point to different concepts, obviously not in-depth but definitely insightful. Great for building your own opinion on a set topic and learning to write short yet precise essays.

(Obviously been sent this way for GAMSAT prep).
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on 26 August 2017
Using it for GAMSAT revision for S2 :D
I feel like I would enjoy this more if I wasn't reading with an intention of learning how to write essays. But some of the topics are quite interesting to read and makes some strong arguments.
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on 14 August 2017
Brilliant read.
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on 23 November 2002
Philosophy is an odd subject in that the popular conception of the subject is strongly at varience with the philosophy taught in Anglo American universities. You see this in those cultish advertisements for philsophy classes you find in London tube stations. Pandering to a need among much of the population for some philosophical guidence in life. For better or for worse, modern Anglo-American philosophy is not much to do with that at all. This has created a vacuum into which a huge number of new agist pseudo clap trap has happily inserted itself.
I think Grayling's books are best seen as a way of addressing this need. I think reviewers such as the single negative reviewer below miss the point if they are expecting hard philosophical arguments. Of course you can do no more than skate over a subject such as morality or virginity in the few pages Grayling devotes to each topic. But that is OK. There are many books available to those interested in a more in depth analysis. These thought are meant as no more than opening thoughts on an issue, from a smart and well read author, designed to get people to think avout these issues in a clear headed way. Grayling leans quite heavily on his understanding of history and Greek philosophy as an antidote to the modern analytical style of philosophy. I found his treatment of the many facets of love and romance particularly thought provoking.
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on 23 September 2016
I've really enjoyed reading this book. Thought-provoking and interesting i enjoy the way it is broken up into short 2-3 page chapters so you can easily read a little and pick up from where you left of whenever you feel like it. I did buy this for Gamsat section 1 and it does help as it has aided in widening my vocabulary and providing me with a wide range of topics to potentially discuss but even after Gamsat i am still reading this book as i really enjoy. If you often question life and the world around you but don't want anything majorly heavy or just an introduction to philosophy i think this is a good place to start.
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on 8 April 2010
One of the most insightful works I've ever read. Extraordinary in its simplicity and wisdom. A must-read for anyone with an interest in understanding the curiosities and complexities of modern life. Truly inspiring.
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2003
I'm sure any reader of this book will take away some favourite sections. For me, the consecutively-placed entries on Betrayal, Loyalty & Blame were exemplary juxtapositions of those complementary topics.
I would also recommend the entry on Racism.
Given the brevity of the articles, sure they can't give you an in-depth discussion on the topic, but its just deep enough to get one thinking about the topics.
I think this would be an excellent 'pocket-book' to dip into for anyone in their late teens trying to come to terms with the world.
Having read this book, I've moved directly to reading Graylings follow-up book, The Reason of Things.
Only disappointment - no Bibliography, so when Grayling frequently quotes other Authors / Philosophers, I don't know where to go to for further reading.
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on 2 January 2011
To those who ask the question "What use is philosopy?" perhaps one answer would be to give them a copy of this book. Its subtitle is "Applying Philosophy to Life" and that's precisely what it does - it's a series of observations or short essays on a wide range of subjects that affect all of our lives - love, sorrow, tolerance, morality, and many more - by a professional philosopher. The author does not offer formal or informal proofs for any of these observations (that would require a treatise on each of them)but simply reveals his considered thoughts on each subject and by doing so broadens the readers's outlook, prompting he or she towards an alternative view, initiating thought and perhaps debate. And isn't this the "use of philosopy"? - to initiate debate, to shake one out of tired cliches, to provide alternatives to habitual modes of thought and unconsidered assumptions (nowadays constantly mirrored back at us by the mass media making alternative ways of thinking almost impossible)? This is an excellent, erudite, thought provoking collection of essays. You will not agree with all the views expressed - you may even be outraged by some of them; good - that's a start. Now you may be prompted to consider how you might defend your own views or even to re-consider them. You might find that liberating. However, if you like to read only views that reinforce those you already hold then you have an easy alternative - simply read your favourite newspaper.
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on 14 August 2016
A fair attempt at an introduction to philosophy but really lacks any depth or insight into any of the topics covered. A lot of generalisations made through the most pretentious writing style imaginable. Really quite annoying to read, and makes the book inaccessible to those who would want an introduction this basic. I'd recommend Jonathan Glover's 'Humanity a moral history of the 21st century'. Similar style, in a series of essays, but far more depth and analysis applied to events everyone is aware of.
Not impressed with Grayling at all.
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on 20 July 2017
awesome book
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