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Breakfast with Socrates: An Extraordinary (Philosophical) Journey Through Your Ordinary Day (Anglais) Broché – 15 mars 2011

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Robert spent the first part of his career as a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and the second as a partner in a leading firm of management consultants.He has written for The Independent, been profiled in The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, contributed to books on philosophy for children, and broadcast for BBC Radio. Robert now divides his time between consulting, writing, and giving talks about the philosophy of life. He lives in London with his wife and has three daughters.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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40 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The unexamined life 26 novembre 2009
Par Ripple - Publié sur
Format: Relié
In 'Breakfast with Socrates', subtitled A Philosophy of Everyday Life, former Oxford Fellow Robert Roland Smith takes various elements of a `typical' day and provides insight into what an eclectic collection of thinkers might have to offer to make these mundane routines more interesting. After all, as Socrates declared `the unexamined life is not worth living'.

My first thought was that Roland Smith leads an enviously full life since his typical day includes not only waking up, getting ready, travelling to work, being at work, taking a bath, cooking and eating, watching TV, reading a book and falling asleep, but he also manages to find time to go to the doctor, have lunch with his parents, bunk off, go shopping, head to the gym, book a holiday, go to a party, have an argument with his partner, have sex and book a holiday - which he no doubt needs after all that. It's a wonder he finds time to think at all with all that going on. It's a clever structure for the book though.

Both titles to the book are potentially a bit misleading. Socrates makes very limited appearances (the author suggests that the book may as well have been titled `Having a Bagel with Hegel' which appealed more to the inner Dr Seuss in me) and Roland Smith does not limit himself to traditional philosophers for inspiration. Here you will also find an eclectic mix of psychoanalysts, sociologists, painters, psychologists, political writers, anthropologists and writers as well as philosophers to offer their thoughts.

There is an old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but with philosophy a little knowledge can also be very interesting, particularly when you are dealing with philosophers like French Foucault and Derrida whose works I have always failed to understand beyond the first sentence. Roland Smith does his best to simplify and provide snippets of thought that make you see things just a bit differently. To a large extent Roland Smith is able to lead the casual reader through some of these ideas.

Indeed, he comes over as a very knowledgeable and affable guide. His points of reference range from his academic studies, to Shakespeare, `Jaws`, `The Godfather`, 'Sex in the City` as well as authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lewis Carroll, and Nabokov`. For the most part it's largely jargon-free (or at least effective at explaining the jargon used) and infused with amusing asides - although these can make some of the sentences long and difficult to read.

For me, some chapters worked better than others - he is at his best when he is being more playful than when he gets bogged down in some apparently random trains of thought. At his party, he takes his theme from the 'It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To` opening and the eloping Johnny and Judy, while on discussing an argument with a partner, he takes the example of George and Martha in Albee's `Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf`. When he doesn't quite have the same springboard (in the chapters on visiting the doctor or the lunch with parents, for example) it works less well I felt.

The book is much in the style of other 'popular philosophy for all' like Alain de Botton although the publishers have not helped Roland Smith's cause by the format of the book which is much more scholarly in terms of the layout and font than the glossy approach adopted by de Botton's publishers.

Ultimately though, it's hard not to recommend someone who provides you with an argument for not going to the gym, for promoting the power of using the TV remote control and letting your parents pay for lunch!
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Breakfast with Socrates 1 janvier 2011
Par gacleader1 - Publié sur
Breakfast with Socrates certainly provides an interesting way of looking at life; it helps us challenge everything we do from the time we wake up, until the end of our day.

This is not a publication to read cover to cover, as most books are; rather it is one which should be read one chapter at a time, and in no particular order. If you are getting ready to have a meal with your parents, there is a chapter for that; preparing to take a bath, a chapter for that too; Breakfast with Socrates makes us think about everything.

I would like to read this book again, but next time, I want to read it with someone, and read it slowly. I want to read a paragraph, lounging under the sun, and share my thoughts on what I read with someone else, who is just as intrigued and just as challenged to think about what has been written as I have. I would like to take this book on vacation, sit under the stars, and just think about life, and what it really means.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
popularizer 28 juin 2011
Par Salpi Vartivarian - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
I was really happy to come across this book. It belongs to that nascent genre of "popular philosophy" (which counts Alain de Botton among its ranks, as was mentioned in another review). I am just getting into this genre and finding that it fills a gaping hole in my life.

I started my career in philosophy at UC Berkeley, where I undertook the most challenging courses (focusing on phenomenology), devoted every waking hour to the pursuit of wisdom, and left sorely disappointed in 2008 with a Bachelor's and a crushed spirit (and a 3.8 GPA). Since then I have more or less abandoned philosophy and turned to Linguistics. My philosophy education succeeded in communicating to me the futility and irrelevance (and I'm being polite) of professional philosophy (so much so that elsewhere I claim, grudgingly, and with some tongue in cheek, that my central interest in Linguistics lies in "Relevance Theory").

R. R. Smith is witty, erudite, but above all conversational. He heartily makes allusions to the Great Thinkers (not just to the philosophers of the Oxford canon, and indeed, not just to philosophers). He borrows insights from Nietzsche, Bourdieu, Montaigne, and Lacan, to give a very select sampling. The (slightly self-congratulatory, but forgivable) index gives some indication of this. His vocabulary is equally impressive. I disagree with one of the earlier reviews (by the so-called "English major") that this was a hard read. On the contrary, it was quite an easy read, with a very natural tone. Smith has a solid grasp on his subject matter and one can sense his authority shining through. It's coherent, well-conceived, and well-executed. I couldn't put it down, and finished it in record time. Admittedly, It's not written from the heart of a tortured soul, and can be a bit formulaic, but it's nonfiction after all.

(One small gripe: there was entirely too much (casual) talk about sex, which I guess is a peculiarly British (European?) fault.)

Final word: If the book's overarching aim was to bring philosophy to the people (and everything points to this), then it succeeds gloriously. (minus the sex part). It appeals to a wide audience (basically anyone with an interest in ideas), brings philosophy down to earth, and displays a sophisticated and deep style of thinking on everyday matters which ought to be everyone's "ordinary" style of thinking (it is certainly mine).
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
good overview of the day 14 juillet 2012
Par Steven Ray Davidson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
After reading the first chapter in store, I thought this book would have a good overview of different philosophers ideas - and it does. The book involves descartes, wittgenstein, marx, weber etc. The book is a very small overview of what you might think about in one day, most already involved and interested in philosophy would have already came across these ideas and philosophers. But for an absolute beginner, the book would be interesting and open the mind. I might even say that this book is a good one for high schoolers wanting to start looking at our day to day activities in a different way. I found chapters 1 and 7 most interesting.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
interesting 3 août 2012
Par David Ip - Publié sur
Format: Broché
you think Plato's Republic is hard to read..but if one does not have some sense of basic understanding of Socrates/Plato philosophy, then this book could be a boredom and quite hard to understand. So go out and pick up a summary guide for Socrates/Plato first....then one might be able to understand the author's point of bringing and connecting our daily lives with the philosophy.
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