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Plato's Podcasts: The Ancients' Guide to Modern Living Paperback – December 1, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this solid, mercifully accessible account of 20 ancient thinkers, U.K. author and journalist Vernon (What Not to Say) makes philosophy enlightening, engaging, and relevant by taking a fresh look at its roots: "Very many ordinary people-not just men, but women and slaves-dedicated themselves to such matters. Philosophy was about what you ate, how you had sex, where you lived. Get those choices right and think less squiffily too, and it promised the good life." As such, Vernon connects each of the 20 philosophers to a modern-day concern. Zeno of Citium, for example, helps readers consider the psychology of shopping by way of stoicism, while Aristippus and his more-is-more philosophy of hedonism make him the go-to guy for an approach to pleasure-seeking. Among the standard list of dead white males (beginning with Plato and ending with Socrates), Vernon also highlights three notable woman philosophers, Sappho, Diotima and Hypatia, with worthwhile thoughts on love, warfare and paying attention. B&W photos.
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"Mark Vernon has an unparallelled ability to convey profound philosophical ideas in a manner that is both accessible and personal but also rigorous and challenging. Behind the friendly, humorous writing is an acute sense of what is truly relevant to us today. Plato would be pleased." --Raymond Tallis, author of "The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head"

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Original edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851687068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851687060
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,182,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Under this populist title, Mark Vernon has written a very readable book about his own personal and often engaging reflections on what we can learn from the ancient Greek philosophers. He gives much historical background for each of them; tells stories and legends about them which may not all have been true but which symbolize the impact the philosophers have made; and relates their wisdom amusingly to present-day ways of living. One could look at each chapter as a mini-sermon on how we should live today, from an author who was once a clergyman, and whose congregations must surely have greatly appreciated them.

Each chapter focusses on one aspect, like `Plato and the love of conversation', `Aristotle on surviving unpopularity', `Diogenes on the deceptiveness of fame', or `Zeno of Citium on the psychology of shopping'. They are written in a delightfully easy style and can be understood and appreciated by readers who have no background in philosophy at all.
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