Many of us have taken a philosophy class or two when we were at university. It was either a droning, mandatory lecture or an enlightening respite from our scheduled major-specific courses. I took two philosophy classes, Intro to Logic and Political Philosophy, and regret not taking more.
The topic is incredibly intellectually stimulating and offers fresh perspectives on a number of different matters; like religion, love, work and death. This Book Will Make You Think does an excellent job of covering an extremely range of philosophers and their philosophies. Touching classics like Socrates and Plato alongside modern minds like Camus, Dawkins, and Einstein. This book, along with The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell offer an excellent opportunity to dip your toe into heavier philosophical works.
Each mind is represented by one of their most famous quotes, followed by a three to six page summary of their life, writings and philosophical framework. In just over 200 pages, I was enlightened on some new philosophies and inspired to learn more. I have moved Camus, Nietzsche, Lao Tzu and Marcus Aurelias to the top of my list of reading material for the coming months. I strongly recommend giving this a read.
Who should read this; Those who are interested in dipping their toes into the world of philosophical writing without the intensive, hyper-focused requirement of analyzing a specific individual work. Anyone considering a philosophy degree or looking to use their mind on a different wavelength than usual.
Who should skip it; Individuals are unwelcoming towards views and perspectives that differ from their own. Philosophy nerds looking for more than three pages on an given philosopher. Stephen is clearly more interested in breadth over depth.
Interesting tidbit; For all you Instagrammers out there, Susan Sontag, one of the few women cited in the book, had a great insight on photography and its effect on human experience. The “consequence of a super-abundance of visual material” represents a danger for humans and society. “Children experience things through photograph prior to actually encountering them in reality and as a consequence, memory becomes a memory of encountering the visual image, not a memory of the authentic sensations of the experience.
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