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Six Great Ideas

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  293 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews

A Simon & Schuster eBook
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Touchstone (first published 1981)
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How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. AdlerThe Trivium by Miriam JosephHow to Speak How to Listen by Mortimer J. AdlerHow to Think About the Great Ideas by Mortimer J. AdlerIntellect by Mortimer J. Adler
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9th out of 60 books — 10 voters
The Trivium by Miriam JosephHow to Read a Book by Mortimer J. AdlerGENIUS INTELLIGENCE by James MorcanHow to Solve It by George PólyaShakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language by Miriam Joseph
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12th out of 59 books — 13 voters

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Josh Kienzle
Apr 14, 2007 Josh Kienzle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in big ideas
This is an amazing book, boiling the varied concepts of life into six main ideas. It is a tough book to read sometime, definitely not a bedside or toilet book. This book requires focus and attention to detail. But when you're done, you'll love it and be glad you read it.
Dec 08, 2013 Reuel rated it liked it
Mortimer J. Adler, the author,was chairman of the editorial board of Encyclopedia Britannica and an editor of the Great Books of Western Civilization for about thirty years. He also wrote the two volume synopticon for the Great Books series, which summarizes the Western thinking of the past 2500 years about 102 "great ideas" of Western Civilization. In Six Great Ideas, he argues for his interpretation of six ideas: truth, goodness, beauty, liberty, equality, and justice. I didn't agree with him ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it
Recommended to Miriam by: a high school teacher
The six great ideas are truth, goodness, beauty, liberty, equality, and justice. What exactly do these words mean, and how do the concepts relate to one another?

We were made to read this is high school but only talked about for about 5 minutes. I think the teacher realized pretty quickly that most of the students didn't understand it at all. In fact, I think I was one of the only people who read past the first couple pages. It would probably work better read gradually rather than crammed into on
Oct 30, 2014 Ryan rated it liked it
I struggled to get through this book. I've never studied philosophy in a school setting before (this book was assigned as part of my Ethical and Humane Decision-Making class). Adler does a good job of making it approachable but I was left with a sense that I was only being told about the dust jacket of a great book without ever diving into the story. The book came alive in conversations with classmates.
Jun 01, 2008 Ed rated it did not like it
terrible book, notable for having nearly killed my interest in Great Ideas.
John Guenther
Jan 20, 2015 John Guenther rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
A good introduction to 6 great ideas that are central to pretty much everything related to human thought. Adler certainly presents the ideas from his perspective but I felt the arguments were logical and sound. This book is a good starting point for further study of truth, goodness, beauty, liberty, equality and justice. After reading, you can begin further study to build and refine your own understanding of these critical ideas.
Mar 21, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
The author discusses six great ideas, and in the process, gives the reader an enjoyable introduction to Philosophy. A worthwhile read!
I should probably just admit to myself that I not going to finish the book. I have too many books I want to be reading! I enjoyed what I did read, but the writing is so philosophical and college-y that I couldn't just pick it up and start reading easily when I had a minute or two. And it's not quite the page-turner style of book that I can read in bed into the wee hours (not that I expected it to be, of course). But I do think I got a good feel for the 6 great ideas, which are great. I liked the ...more
May 04, 2014 Fred rated it it was amazing
Wonderful outline of the ideas that guide all human life and society, in all places and at all times!
Jun 18, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this. I LOVED the idea of it. The execution of the book just fell flat for me. The book sadly, did just not capture me. It was too wordy when I needed concise. It felt like listening to someone who just loves to hear themselves talk.

I maxed out my renews and never made it half way through. Maybe another time?

From reviewer Kristen: Adler makes some good points but they are sometimes lost in a sea of pretentiousness and self indulgence.

That sums it up perfectly for
Feb 01, 2015 Mark rated it it was ok
my parents gave me this book and I haven't done much except browse through it.
Ed Vaughn
Nov 24, 2014 Ed Vaughn rated it really liked it
Actually, I quit reading this to get it off my active list. I skimmed the last two ideas. The concept is wonderful. Those ideas are:
This boils down everything of Western philosophy. Adler was a great 20th century thinker. All that said. you can only expound on the six concepts for so long. Then it gets as dry as old shredded wheat. Six 2000 word essays would have done them justice. But that doesn't sell books, does it!
I plan to skim Adler's "Ten Philosoph
Apr 21, 2008 Patrick\ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Truly six great ideas. Adler is humane and democratic in his soul - also a brilliant observer and synthesizer. This is a fairly easy read, the concepts easy to grasp. They are eseential ones to planet earth's (and America's)survival(my opinion) and I believe this should be a classroom standard. But, no, we are blind and rancorous when it comes to this sort of book.
Feb 09, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
It felt like reading a textbook, you wanted to finish. I think it's a book everyone should read at least the chapters about truth, goodness and beauty; fundamentals we don't think about often enough.

The 6 ideas are: truth, goodness and beauty; ideas we judge by; justice, liberty and equality; ideas we live by.
Jul 21, 2013 Richs101 rated it it was amazing
You can not speed read this book.

Best definition of truth I've ever read.

The last chapter is asking a question every human being should answer.

You may have to re-read this book several times to understand all the concepts.
Apr 01, 2008 Jeremiah rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
For the budding philosopher in your family this book hits the spot. Adler turned a huge corner in his writing style with this book, and re-launched his career becoming (nearly) a household name-as well as the highest paid philosopher in the U.S.
Susan Clark-cook
Oct 01, 2011 Susan Clark-cook rated it really liked it
Gave you a lot to think about, and come back to. Really did have great ideas, and it makes you wonder why they aren't put into more use.
Dec 07, 2011 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: read-for-school
3.5 stars

Adler makes some good points, but they are sometimes lost in a sea of pretensiousness and self-indulgence.
Jun 04, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it
This is probably the first true philosophy book I ever read. pen my mind to a world of ideas.
Jan 11, 2010 Kevin rated it really liked it
I read the precursor to this, "The Great Ideas" by Mortimer Adler. It's good. Thoughtprovoking.
it all seemed kind of like common sense, but good lessons none the less :)
Jan 16, 2010 Arline rated it really liked it
Philosophy. One could discuss this book for the rest of their lives...
Aug 19, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Very tough read but terribly insightful.
Craig Bolton
Six Great Ideas by Mortimer J. Adler (1997)
Oct 27, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: College Students
Should be read along his other book "Ten Philosophical Mistakes". An introduction to the great ideas: Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Liberty, Equality, Justice. Also a great gift for any student about to enter college.
Mortimer J. Adler was an American philosopher, former editor of Encyclopædia Britannica, The Great Books of the Western World, and founder of the Institute for Philosophical Research at the University of Chicago.
Dec 05, 2008 Pappy rated it really liked it
Good stuff
Israel Arellano
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Jun 30, 2016
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Jun 28, 2016
Dan is currently reading it
Jun 28, 2016
Luciano De Assis
Luciano De Assis marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2016
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Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American educator, philosopher, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked with Aristotelian and Thomistic thought. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo. He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research.

Adler was born in N
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“A good life is made by accumulating in the course of a lifetime everything that is really good and by wanting nothing that impedes or frustrates this effort.” 0 likes
“we must not forget that the restful experience of enjoyable beauty is not limited to the contemplation of sensible objects. We can experience it as well in the contemplation of purely intelligible objects—the contemplation of truths we understand. “Mathematics,” wrote Bertrand Russell, “rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere … without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music …” Or, as the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote in the opening line of her sonnet on Euclid, “Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare.” 0 likes
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