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Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics"

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Following the extraordinary success of the New York Times bestseller Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas's latest book offers inspirational and intellectually rigorous thought about the great questions surrounding us all today.

The Greek philosopher Socrates famously said that "the unexamined life is not worth living." Taking this as a starting point, Eric Metaxas founded a speaking s
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2011 by Dutton Adult (first published October 1st 2011)
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Quotes from Os Guinness' talk "The Case for Civility - and Why Our Future Depends on It"

"A civil public square is where people of all faiths - and for our secularist friends we have to add 'no faith,' although in fact they have faith, too - are free to enter engaged public life on the basis of their faith." (287-288)

"Christians have erred in the culture wars but not because it is wrong to contest issues such as human life and the importance of the family. What has been wrong is the sub-Christia
Paul Bruggink
How many places can you find readable and stimulating essays by eleven significant writers on their favorite subjects, generally a summary of a recent book (that is, if you include Eric Metaxas's own essay on his book on Bonhoeffer)? :-)

Each essay includes a transcription of Eric Metaxas' lighthearted introduction, the talk at the Socrates in the City forum, and a transcription of the Q&A session after each talk, all of which took place at Socrates in the City forums between 2003 and 2010. M
Carol Apple
I listened to the audiobook and it was great to hear the voices of all the speakers as well as Metaxas’ funny introductions in which he mostly roasts the speaker of the night’s program and repeats the premise and motto of the series: Socrates’ maxim that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Metaxas and Os Guinness, speaker at the series and author of many books, hatched the idea for the series based on the maxim and their concern that busy professional New Yorkers did not tend to take the ...more
"Hmmm ..." This I repeated several times throughout the book having come across a thought-provoking point brought out by the speakers. There were a few talks that I had to re-read multiple times in order to mine the treasures of the esteemed speakers.

The nature of the content, that of what are essentially transcribed talks, doesn't lend itself to a lengthy book review; however, I do have a few points I believe are of note.
- Christians can indeed have a genial sense of humor, and intellectually
John Martindale
From seeing some of the reviews, I am glad I listen to the audiobook, for instead printed speeches, the audiobook included the actual presentations. Most of the talks were pretty good, a couple were exceptional, but Peter Kreeft speech on "making sense of suffering" was just horrible, I imagine one of the only people who could have been a worse choice for this topic would be John Piper. But yeah, sadly Kreeft's theology does absolutely nothing but exacerbate the problem of evil and after blowing ...more
I wish I could rate this book lecture by lecture, rather than as a whole. While I found some of the lectures to be fantastic (most notably the lecture by Jean Bethke Elshtain), some of the other lectures are a little lackluster at best. This may be due to the fact that spoken lectures transcribed into essay form tend to be a little distorted, but a few of them felt so rambling and unfocused that if it weren't for the essay title, I couldn't have possibly told you what the topic was. A few sloppy ...more
Don Weidinger
unexamined life not worth living, know thy self and limits, search for truth in and out of science fit together cannot be accident evolve a more clever world make own self thru procreation wisdom as pursuit of good over evil literature as individual story, Making sense of suffering Kreeft Frankel to live to suffer to live for meaning Buddha-let go ego selfish desire all things work together for good faith as invitation to trust come and see hope in future love in closeness with Jesus he wept onl ...more
Shane Wagoner
A thought provoking compilation from the masters.
Excellent book! I highly recommend the audio version as it will absorb you into the atmosphere of the New York City event, as well as having the plus of hearing each speaker present his essay in his or her own voice.

I found the book very thought-provoking, and so I took some of the chapters slowly. Some I chose to return back and re-read, so I could mentally chew on the points that were being made. I did not agree with everything that each speaker presented -- for example, Peter Kreeft’s belief
I would love to give this book a higher rating as some of the speeches contained within it are very absorbing and interesting, but I can't. The biggest problem I have with this book is that it claims to be a collection of philosophical discussions on some very important issues (life, God, the universe etc) when in actual fact it was a series of 11 lectures from people all with the same point of view. Not to be pedantic about the matter, but surely any book discussing such important and, ultimate ...more
These talks, though my interest in each varied, were consistently thought provoking. I especially like Os Guiness' ideas about The Return to Civility and Who are We? C. S. Lewis and the Question of Man by Jean Bethke Elshtain. It would be a slightly better book if the transcriptions were massaged a bit more for print (the introductions to each talk, while funny and undoubtably hilarious in real life, can be a bit tedious, as can the Q&A).
Richard Ross
A collection of lectures delivered in New York from events held by the Socrates in the City organization. Designed to promote discussion and an examination of the big questions in life. This book does just that. Topics ranging from Atheism, Suffering, God and Science, Morality, Evolution, Christianity etc... are what are most common. Unique in its nature, this book is a remarkable resource of information delivered lecture style by some of our generations deepest thinkers. The famous Socrates quo ...more
Well worth reading though some of the contributions are uneven.
Mark Dellenbaugh
So many wonderful, thought-provoking talks. The audiobook version has original recordings so the half-dozen or so various British accents all shine through, ensmartening the production. Eric Metaxas' introductions might begin to seem self-indulgent or smarmy when encountered one right after another, but since I suffer the same affliction and sense of humor they worked well for me!

Sir John Polkinghorne, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Chuck Colson, N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, and Francis Collins were esp
This was good as far as content goes. But the content is quite familiar and I have over the years read many books covering this debate. This was a new and fresh approach and I think thoroughly enjoyable if I attended an event live. As a book I was bored but that was just me not the content which was very good. I've read various blogs and have a great respect for the intellect of Metaxes and this generation's ability to engage.
Nathan Schwartz
Some of the speeches were pretty good, and some terrible, but they all suffer from being translated to written form. Even a good dinner speech is going to sound rough written down. I have heard Metaxis speak very charmingly, but here his introductions read like your boorish drunken uncle. It is also clear that the speakers are presenting to a sympathetic crowd, and never felt the need to present a strong case for their positions.
This book was placed in my hands with no prior buildup. Usually, a friend will talk up a book a few times before they hand the volume over to me. This book was literally placed in my hand with no warning and I was told to read it because it did a very good job of presenting many approaches to Apologetics.

My friend was right.

Read the full review on my blog:
The best thing about reading this is the excellent mind buffet presented by the guests. The second best thing about reading this was the off-the-wall intros to the speakers by Metaxas. The worst thing about reading this book is the realization that you weren't there to hear them live.

The lectures will definitely challenge you to think seriously about serious issues.
I wanted very much to like this book, for I thought (of what I had read previously on his web sites) Metaxas had the making of being the next Bill Moyers. But the quality of the essays in this volume is uneven, and Metaxas' "witty introductions" (which read like they were transcribed verbatim) are too often terminally cute.
Justin McRoberts
Most likely, I'm with the vast majority who read this and loved Eric Metaxas' introductions every bit as much as the presentations of those he introduced.

The book features an excellent breadth of topics and perspectives (within, that is, the orthodox christian worldview).

Transcribing the Q and A was a great idea.
Glenn Williams
An interesting collection of speeches and Q&A from NYC's "Socrates in the City" lectures. While some were a bit shallow in substance, all were thought-provoking in their approach to easy questions like "if God is good, why is there pain?" or "if you believe in science, can you believe in religion?" Recommended.
Great topics + Great minds = Great book. But one of the few books I would say you must listen to the audiobook version over the print version.
I have always loved being in the room with intelligent people. In this book, Eric lets you be apart of the room in pages. Hard to fly to New York to be apart of some of the greatest speakers but, you never feel distant from the conversation. Love all the conversations. Wonderful topics.
Ritchie Pruehs
Some of the best Christian thinkers in the world fill these pages. The audio version is basically a recording of the verbal presentation as well as the Q & A which follows. Subjects include creation/evolution, the problem of suffering, the impact of fathers, etc.
This compilation of lectures provides thoughtful arguments from leading Christian thinkers of our time. I appreciate each speaker's attempt to lay out competing thoughts, offering readers a base of understanding to continue to build upon to form their own opinions.
A decent collection of transcribed Socrates in the City Talks, though some of the introductions to those talks can get a little irritating sometimes. They sound better spoken than written.
Terrific talks by scientists/authors/philosophers like John Polkinghorne, Francis Collins,& Os Guiness. The audio version is their actual presentation with audience questions at the end.
Nancy Graham
Love this concept ... Inviting key leaders to speak of intersections of faith, life and science. Several of these transcribed talks were exceptional(a few, less so).
I love Eric Metaxas... but the quality of the conversations varied widely and I found myself struggling to get through it.
Ron Weddle
Excellent compilations of talks with Q & A on the big questions of life. Highly recommend.
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In a decidedly eclectic career, Eric Metaxas has written for VeggieTales, Chuck Colson, Rabbit Ears Productions and the New York Times, four things not ordinarily in the same sentence. He is a best-selling author whose biographies, children’s books, and works of popular apologetics have been translated into Albanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, and Macedonian.
More about Eric Metaxas...
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness It's Time to Sleep, My Love Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life

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