Books like these are a combination of Cliffs Notes and parlor game, reviewing concepts you studied in high school and college and prompting the intriguing question of which ones you would have included on or excluded from the list. There are several such pictorial guides from Time-Life (100 People Who Changed the World, History's Greatest Events: 100 Turning Points That Changed the World, etc), each of which is colorfully illustrated and clearly written. This volume focuses on the essential elements of intellectual history: comprehensive principles that went into the founding of our civilization and that continue to underpin our understanding of the world.
The book is divided into five chronological sections: "The Ancient World," "The Middle Ages," "The Renaissance," "The Age of Enlightenment," and "Modern Times." Each section is filled with concise summaries of fundamental ideas that span the gamut of disciplines: religion, philosophy, esthetics, politics, mathematics, astronomy, physics, history, economics, biology, and many more. Basic ideas like the alphabet, democracy, infinity, and free will are here, along with more modern ones like the scientific method, equality, the separation of church and state, evolution, relativity, the Big Bang, fascism, existentialism, atheism, and extraterrestrial life.
But there are extremely practical principles as well: the inventions of gunpowder, moveable type, electricity, photography, flight, assembly lines, television, computers, and the Internet, among others. Many breakthroughs are identified with famous figures like Hammurabi, the Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Aristote, Jesus, Gutenberg, Machiavelli, Copernicus, Descartes, Newton, Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, Einstein, Lenin, and so on.Read more ›
This is an example of a basic text that everyone who is concerned with knowledge and ideas needs to read. It important to know that this is not a text that covers each idea in depth; however, this is a volume that provides the reader with a brief overview of the 100 great ideas that changed the world. This includes various break throughs, inventions and theories. One should also be aware that this text does not have every single great idea listed that changed the world.
This text is organized into five topics and they include the following: The Ancient World, which covers numerous important ideas such as Democracy, The Socratic Method, Aristotelian Logic, Infinity and many other topics. The second part deals with the Middle Ages and explores The problem of Evil, Free Will, Gunpowder, Trial by Jury, The Magna Carta and other issues. The third section is on The Renaissance, and includes Humanism, Classicism, Spatial Perspective, Movable Type, Niccolo Machiavelli, Utopia, The Protestant Reformation and Nicolaus Copernicus. The Fourth section covers The Age of Enlightenment, which is when many of our modern day ideas began to surface. Some of these include the following: The scientific Method, "I Think, Therefore I am", Electricity, The separation of Powers, The Free Market, Women's Rights Equality and the Separation of Church and State. The final section deals with Modern Times, which has the longest list in this text. This is just a few of the ideas listed. Romanticism, Marxism, Nationalism, Evolution, Flight, Relativity Theory, The Big Bang, Fascism, Computers, Television, Atheism, and many other topics.
In conclusion, if you are a person who loves knowledge and ideas, this text will be one you will want in your personal library. It provides a brief summary of the important 100 ideas that every educated person needs to know about.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Haiku Moments: How to read, write and enjoy haiku)