A brief introduction to seventy-six of the most thought provoking books in history and how they can help us in our everyday lives. Philosophy without the boring bits.
Big ideas sometimes come from the strangest places.
In this wide ranging introduction, James M Russell takes the fear out of philosophy and selects seventy-six works - from Plato, Descartes and Wittgenstein to Philip K Dick and the Moomins as well as contemporary thinkers such as Peter Singer and John Rawls.
Dividing into accessible sections - history, contemplation, happiness, and -isms, Russell gives us the lives as well as the lessons of the great thinkers, including a digest of their key ideas.
A perfect antidote to the complex life.
The topics and books covered include:
The Republic, Plato; The Confessions, St Augustine; The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes; On Liberty, John Stuart Mill; Philisophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein; Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant.
Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard; Beyond Good and Evil, Frederick Nietzsche; The Outsider, Albert Camus; Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley.
Contemplation as Philosophy:
The Prophet, Kahil Gibran; Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig; The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff.
The Continental Tradition:
The Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci; The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault; Symbolic Exchange and Death, Jean Baudrillard.
How to Live Your Life:
The Art of War, Sun Tzu; Maxims, La Rouchefoucauld; Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Carl Jung; On Sexuality, Sigmund Freud; On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers.
Political and Personal Issues:
Das Kapital, Karl Marx; Being and Nothingness, Jean Paul Sartre; Gaia, James Lovelock.
A Theory of Justice, John Rawls; Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel Dennett; After the Terror, Ted Honderich.
JAMES M. RUSSELL has a philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge, a post-graduate qualification in critical theory, and has taught at the Open University in the UK. He currently works as director of a media-related business. He is the author of Brief Guides to Philosophical Classics, Spiritual Classics and Business Classics. He lives in north London with his wife, daughter and two cats.