Does philosophy only belong in the halls of academia? Nope. It belongs in the lives of everyone. It helps us solve our problems -mundane or abstract, and it helps us make better decisions by developing our critical thinking (very important in the age of disinformation). But it’s boring, you say. It’s hard to understand, you say. As it turns out, philosophy does not have to be a big snooze-fest. It can actually be stimulating and fun. Check out one of these five titles where authors make Philosophy 101 approachable, interesting, and most importantly, relevant to your life.
BREAKFAST WITH SOCRATES: AN EXTRAORDINARY (PHILOSOPHICAL) JOURNEY THROUGH YOUR ORDINARY DAY by ROBERT ROWLAND SMITH DB 71181
Former Oxford Fellow posits that the questions raised by renowned philosophers relate directly to daily life. It illustrates by linking influential ideas to mundane activities, such as waking up with Descartes and going to the gym with Heidegger. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2009.
WHAT WOULD ARISTOTLE DO? SELF-CONTROL THROUGH THE POWER OF REASON by ELLIOT D COHEN DB 58882
Philosophical counselor’s commonsense approach to overcoming self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and actions by harnessing innate powers of reason and critical thinking. Uses real-life scenarios to demonstrate how Aristotelian logic can be used to combat everyday maladies like guilt, loneliness, grief, anger, social anxiety, and depression. 2003
CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY by ALAIN DE BOTTON DB 51489
University of London philosopher finds practical advice on coping with life’s challenges in the writings of some of the world’s renowned thinkers. Each of the six sections poses a problem and suggests a source of inspiration. For example, Socrates offers consolation for unpopularity, and Epicurus, for poverty. 2000
HEART OF PHILOSOPHY by JACOB NEEDLEMAN DB 19136
A philosophy professor offers a compelling and thought-provoking study in which he attempts to reconcile philosophical concepts with day-to-day life. Needleman draws upon childhood memories, teaching episodes, and recollections of friends’ deaths to illustrate the relevance of philosophy.
EXAMINED LIFE: PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS by ROBERT NOZICK DB 30651
A philosophy professor at Harvard University shares his views on the search for understanding and illumination. He discusses the topics of happiness, dying, immortality, creativity, faith, sexuality, good and evil, wisdom, and the gulf between the ideal and the real. Bestseller. 1989