Twelve Great Thinkers and the Search for Wisdom, from Socrates to Nietzsche
We all want to know how to live. But before the good life was reduced to ten easy steps or a prescription from the doctor, philosophers offered arresting answers to the most fundamental questions about who we are and what makes for a life worth living.
In The Philosophical Life, James Miller returns to this vibrant tradition with short, lively biographies of twelve famous philosophers. Socrates spent his life examining himself and the assumptions of others. His most famous student, Plato, risked his reputation to tutor a tyrant. Diogenes carried a bright lamp in broad daylight and announced he was "looking for a man." And Nietzsche tried to get to grips with the human condition before he lapsed into catatonic madness.
With a flair for paradox and rich anecdote, The Philosophical Life is a book that confirms the continuing relevance of philosophy today – and explores the most urgent questions about what it means to live a good life.
"Admirable… his book gains a novelistic richness."
"An engaging wealth of personal detail woven into each philosopher's quest for wisdom... Refreshing... an ideal book to dip into before another night of sleepless worry."
"A vivid set of philosophical tales... a fresh treatment of subjects who are often served up stale."
"Endlessly rich... An earnest, wistful collection of biographical sketches of a dozen preeminent 'lovers of wisdom'."
The Wall Street Journal
"A set of beautifully written and richly informative mini-biographies of a dozen philosophers... Each of them is a little gem in its own right."
"Excellent... [James Miller] is to be commended for leaving behind the sterile practices of his colleagues and speaking to civilian readers."
Alain de Botton, for the New Statesman
"Pitch-perfect... Miller;s prose is insightful, anecdotal, warm, and nuanced."
The Irish TImes
"Relevant, interesting, and accessible... Miller's deep knowledge of his subject is matched by a passion to share what he knows with others."
"Miller's accessible history is entertaining and informative."
"Crisply written and insightful."
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