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Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems Paperback – August 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Quill; Reprint edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060931361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060931360
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If one is to believe this New Age self-help book, the answers to most of life's problems can be found by applying lessons learned from the classic philosophers. Marinoff advocates "philosophical counseling" as an improvement over what he considers the psychiatric industry's tendency to medicate their patients for any mental malady, major or minor. By following his "PEACE" process (problem, emotion, analysis, contemplation, and equilibrium), we can deal rationally with matters of the heart, business, family discourse, even face our mortality. Each chapter is sprinkled with aphorisms from such revered philosophers as Sartre, Lao Tzu, Machiavelli, and, of course, Plato. The book includes a primer on some of history's most critical thinkers as well as a directory of organizations and practitioners of philosophical counseling. Would the world be better off if we took the time to analyze our problems as thoughtfully as Marinoff suggests? No doubt. Whether readers accept his theories is the bigger question. Ron Kaplan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Plato, Not Prozac! looks to become the bible of the 'philosophical counseling' movement." -- --Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine

"Philosophy [to Marinoff] is the Lava bar of intellect -- meant to be used every day, down to the nub." -- --San Francisco Examiner

Customer Reviews

I personally found this book to be very interesting and insightful.
Marvin Monroe
The only people this book can hope to sit comfortably with are the kinds who don't really need it.
Spencer Tad
The book Plato, Not Prozac deals with explaining his idea of "philosophical counseling."
Hannah Sharp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Church Taylor on November 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author does an admirable job of connecting the ideas of great thinkers to everyday problems. There is not much depth in the analysis so the stories and applications of the ideas seem superficial but the concept (applying philisophical ideas to everyday situations) is a novel and appropriate one to share. The stories did add credibility to my own thought processes for while I may often reach the same conclusions I was unable to say from where the idea or thought derived. I will now study some of the more interesting thinkers shared in the book and see where that leads. What better can be said of a book than it stimulated one to want to learn and discover more? I read 4-5 books a month and rate them harshly so when I say it is a worthwhile read that is a high compliment.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author of Plato, Not Prozac!, Lou Marinoff PH.D, accomplishes three things with this book. 1) He gives the layman just enough beginner's-philosophy to be effective while holding the reader's interest. 2) He extolls the benefits of "Philosophical Practice" and explains where psychiatry and Psychology can not, or should not, be applied. 3) He gives real-life examples of how some very basic philosophy has helped people cope with everyday life. A fresh and very real approach to self-help and mental health counceling.
Some may be offended by frank and direct discussion. Such as Psychiatry and Psychology's attempts to label a "misguided philosophy" as a mental disease. An alleged motive is to get insurance companies to pay for treatment.
The author suggests that a person whos condition is not brought on by a physical disease, genetics, an accident, or drug abuse may be suffering from a misguided philosophy of life. Hence, there are thousands of years of brilliant philosophical works to draw from. And to assist a patient, a Philosophical Pratitioner is less concerned with childhood conditioning than with helping the patient find a comfortable philosophical view point and get on with life.
A reference made by another reviewer of the book pointed to page 38 where the author is quoted " one needs to learn to feel emotion..." Perhaps the sentence could have been written "...most people do not need to be taught how to feel emotion..." But in context, I feel the sentence as-written is fair. The chapter in question is dealing with the author's description of a simple process that can be used as a self-help tool.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a person who reads a great deal of philosophy and psychology, and who tries to combine them in his approach to life, I was quite interested to read Lou Marinoff's new book "Plato, Not Prozac!" But in time my excitement turned to mild disappointment.
First, Mr. Marinoff's habit of elevating philosophy at the cost of psychology diminished my enjoyment of the book. Second, while Mr. Marinoff's understanding of philosophy is impressive, his lack of insight into psychology is somewhat regrettable.
For example, on page 38, while describing his method of philosophical counseling, he writes that for a troubled person facing a problem, "Their emotional reaction is immediate and clear -- no one needs to learn to feel emotion ..." That statement -- only one of many that leap out at the reader -- reveals a disturbing lack of insight into personal psychology and the human condition in general.
While I strongly recommend the book for its philosophical strengths and for introducing readers to the exciting new field of philosophical counseling, I think it would be wise for readers to have something on hand by the wonderful analyst and author Adam Phillips to counteract the drab picture "Plato, Not Prozac!" paints of psychology.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Wargo on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I just left an eleven year teaching career to make a life change. I am now the library director for a small town making about a third of what I made as a teacher. I did it because I could no longer reconcile my personal philosophy and beliefs with that of the trends in public education today and the current attitudes of parents. This book was an amazing affirmation of my decision. It was neat to read the philosophies of the masters and know I was following like ideas as well as my heart. I spent years on and off examining my sanity, trying the new drugs, etc all in trying to make myself 'fit' into my career. Luckily I got out and into a rewarding line of work. I think anyone reading Lou's book will find it incredibly readible and something to relate to. It's nice to read a work that affirms life and makes you feel as though you do have control over your life and you don't need a shrink to do it. I highly recommend this work to anyone who has an interest in things of the soul and is a seeker of the lessons of life from the viewpoint of the great philosophers!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on February 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
What a fantastic book! I just wish that it had existed when I was much younger- it would have saved me a great deal of time on my own personal journey.
I always thought that intelligent, truly educated, individuals naturally applied the great wisdom teachings to their daily lives. I mean, that is why we are here isn't it? We truly come to obtain wisdom through philosophy (the love of wisdom) by applying it in the struggle of earthly life. I didn't realize that this had come to be rare and exceptional in the modern world. There is even a name for it now- philosophical practice. What a marvelous concept- students of philosophy helping each other to apply the lessons of the perennial teachings in their daily lives. Of course you can do it alone, as I did, but the author points out that it is nice to have a knowledgeable second party to make sure that you didn't miss something- and that you are truly applying reason and not rationalization.
The use of case studies for specific problem areas is quite informative: seeking a relationship, maintaining a relationship, ending a relationship, family life and strife, work, midlife crisis, the reason for morals and ethics, finding meaning and purpose, and gaining from loss.
The way that individual philosophers and their ideas are introduced is quite well done (theme, refrain, greatest hits, and a thumbnail abstract of their core ideas.) The basics of their systems are outlined nicely, which helps in deciding which to pursue later. I was amazed that so many of the great thinkers that that I had painstakingly discovered over the years were included.
If you would like to delve a little deeper into the various philosophers without tackling the source works I recommend _Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers_ by S.E. Frost.
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More About the Author

Lou Marinoff, a Professor of Philosophy at The City College of New York, has authored eight books, including several international bestsellers. Lou's authorial career began at age five. After being compelled to endure the standard textbook of the day -- "See Dick. See Dick run ..." -- Lou thought he could improve on it, and wrote his own text. He became a published poet in his teens, and recorded an album of original songs at twenty-two. Lou has been writing ever since: popular philosophy books, contributed book chapters, scholarly articles, occasional pieces, and -- under the pen-name Lou Tafler -- literary fiction. Lou is best-known for his international bestseller Plato Not Prozac, translated into twenty seven languages.

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