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In his latest, author and philosophy teacher Bowen (A Journey Through the Landscape of Philosophy) has a nifty concept that's unfortunately derailed by an arch tone and a strong, if tacit, atheist subtext. Using popular bumper sticker slogans as a lens to explore philosophy, Bowen comes across some interesting questions-"What happens if a horse and cart runs over a chicken and egg?"-that he doesn't seem fully willing to explore; indeed, taking a cue from bumper stickers themselves, Bowen seems all to willing to run through his ideas as quickly as possible: "To put the cart before the horse and first divulge the solution, the chicken came first." Though they're perhaps meant to dazzle, Bowen's slaloming through philosophical concepts feel hurried, an attempt to convince readers he's right rather than foster thought. Bowen's book also suffers from anti-religion bias, which he never acknowledges outright but makes clear in repeated (and sometimes highly dubious) claims: "To update the scorecard tally: The Numbers Killed in the Name of: Religion: 1 million give or take. Nothing: 0." Further, virtually no theologians are mentioned; one bumper sticker, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," isn't even attributed to its proper source, Martin Luther. Bowen's concept is certainly a clever way to draw in laypeople, but his hubris and narrow-mindedness is a good way to turn them off. Illus.
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"A witty little book that explains how, and why, people tell the world what they're thinking from the pulpit of their bumper." -- USA TODAY
"Imagine speeding along the freeway while your driver, Ludwig Wittgenstein, dissects and reassembles the bumper-sticker "wisdom" on passing cars. That’s the kind of trip it is to read If You Can Read This."—Tom Cathcart and Dan Klein, authors of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar
"In the sense of being pregnant with meaning, this book has a baby on board."—Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great
“Readers may find themselves involved in fender benders once they realize how much fun it is to think about the messages in bumper stickers and start tailgating in order to read and analyze them. A fantastic contribution to philosophy as it occurs in the real world.”—John Perry, co-host of the nationally syndicated Philosophy Talk, professor emeritus of philosophy at Stanford University
"If you love twitter (and even if you don't), you're going to love Jack Bowen's insightful and hilarious romp through the pre-twitter world of bumper sticker sloganeering. On every page I had two reactions: (1) a vigorous horse laugh, and (2) a curious 'uh, I didn't know that.' Humor and insight: what more can you ask from a book? Sex. Yes, it has that too. Read this book."—Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of Why People Believe Weird Things
Interesting perspective on getting at the social attitudes and opinions of bumper-sticker sloganeers. And humorous, to boot. And a good introduction to Philosophy 1A.Published 7 months ago by Java Man Carlini
The book is a wonderful masterpiece of witty philosophy that can be handled by high school kids up though senior citizens. Read morePublished on August 4, 2011 by bhaaland
When I picked up this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's a surprisingly good read with lot's of fun and thought-provoking perspectives and arguments. Read morePublished on May 27, 2011 by blpate
I'm a huge fan of books with perspective and philosophy and this book is just that. The reading isn't difficult, it's quite entertaining. Read morePublished on April 8, 2011 by Cristian
Nice title, promising premise but clichés conquer. Tedious thinking wrapped in polemic and ad hominem. Read morePublished on October 2, 2010 by Douglas Fairbanks
As a number guys, I'm not inclined to read many books on philosophy but Bowen's light romp through the world of bumper stickers is both fascinating and entertaining. Read morePublished on August 17, 2010 by Jeffrey Ma
The book had me laughing out loud from the humor the author uses, and the pace is nice because the short, concise analysis the author provides on some complex topics from bumper... Read morePublished on May 15, 2010 by S. Riley