Friday, March 09, 2012

Bronwyn's Book Review: The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK Publishing

I’m the type of person who can enjoy a good nonfiction read just as well as a novel with an actual storyline.  So, when I saw The Philosophy Book, I figured it would be pretty interesting.  The cover and the brightly designed and colorful pages reminded me of an infographic (An infographic is a visual representation of data).  Not being a huge fan of philosophy, but interested to know more about the subject, I decided to give it a try.  As is mentioned in the introduction, “Philosophy…is what everyone does when they’re not busy dealing with their everyday business and get a chance simply to wonder what life and the universe are all about.”  When people think of philosophy, they usually think of old, dead guys wearing togas, like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  However, there are more philosophers living today than in any other point in time.  The book covers 2000 years’ worth of philosophers and their theories.  The theories are laid out on the page in such a way that makes them super easy to understand.  The authors use bubbles and flow charts to walk the reader through the different theories.

Although each of the theories and philosopher bios were interesting, I started to feel overwhelmed after a few pages into the book.  I felt like I was in school again!  Let’s face it; philosophy is a complicated thing.  However, if you want/need to learn about a specific subject, this book explains philosophical theories in an easy way to understand.   My favorite philosophical theory covered in the book is William James’ “act as if what you do makes a difference.”  In other words, if you don’t try, you will never succeed.