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Summary

In his engaging audiobook, Jules Evans explains how ancient philosophy saved his life and how we can all use it to become happier, wiser and more resilient.

Jules imagines a dream school, which includes 12 of the greatest and most colourful thinkers the world has ever known.

Each of these ancient philosophers teaches a technique we can use to transform ourselves and live better lives. These practical techniques are illustrated by the extraordinary stories of real people who are using them today - from marines to magicians, from astronauts to anarchists and from CBT psychologists to soldiers. Jules also explores how ancient philosophy is inspiring modern communities - Socratic cafes, Stoic armies, Platonic sects, Sceptic summer camps - and even whole nations in their quest for the good life.

©2012 Jules Evans (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"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) 

"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)

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Whistle stop tour of philosophy

This is an absolutely brilliant premise and a great whistle-stop tour of philosophy, philosophers and doctrines and fitting those into modern life and the issues we face today.

It's a massive undertaking to tackle such a broad subject and it's set out well.

That said, I had mixed feelings about this book at points. The author did not take a consistently unbiased stance and, at points, use of language such as "claptrap" hinted at his predilections. Although at other points he would appear open to and neutrally describe ideas that I found quite extreme.

As such, I swung from violently agreeing with the author, to disagreeing depending on his lack of neutrality and my own.

For instance, I felt the author was dismissive about 'new age' ideas, and yet surely there is a Venn diagram where the new age and the philosophical naturally overlap? ('There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy')

I think I will read this again and again as there is a lot to digest. It's well written, amusing and clever and, for me, a good starting point to work out which philosophy might be worth a deeper look. I wish this had existed when I studied philosophy at uni!