My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I picked up this book in the British Museum I liked what the blurb read:
“Does a falling tree make a sound if nobody’s around to hear it?
Are the limits of your language the limits of your world?
Is the unexamined life worth living?
Shedding light on these questions and many more, this book uncovers the origins of philosophical thought and the thinkers and movements that have used it in brilliant – sometimes frightening ways.”
Sounds promising, right? Well, that’s what I thought. I started reading this and quickly found out the pattern of this book. What this book basically is, is a short resume of all big philosophers. Each description, some of which start with a quote, is a short biography followed by their greatest works. Then some light is shed on their biggest thoughts and theories. After that we start with the next one, from ancient Greece, to the modern times.
To be fair, I was hoping to get answers to the questions on the back of the cover, but instead I found all of the information to be quite to the point, and shallow.
The good thing about this little book is that it’s a fast read, because of Lesley Levene’s writing style. It’s also a good book that you can use for reference, or inspiration, if you want to read more about a certain philosopher, or school of philosophy, because there is a ton of titles of works in here. That is also about the only thing I’ll be using this book for, if I’m out of inspiration and my to-read list has run out of philosophical works.
I wouldn’t recommend this book if you want answers to the questions that were posed on its back. I would recommend it as a reference guide for future philosophy reading.