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Breakfast with Socrates: An Extraordinary (Philosophical) Journey Through Your Ordinary Day

3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  852 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Alively, intellectual romp through your average day introducingthe readerto the history of ideas andapplying philosophy to everyday life. ...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Free Press (first published October 22nd 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,007)
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Natacha Maree
Not what I was expecting... but still pretty damn good. Reminds me of Barthes, essentially a book of essays that attempt to breakdown an event or action (going to the gym, waking up, arguing with your partner, etc) that occurs in the average day-to-day life. I was hoping to walk away learning a bit more about actual philosophical concepts and famous philosophers, but instead felt like I was listening to a person who just smoked a bowl and started having random existential conversations with me i ...more
Marko Cindrić

Što bi rekli Sokratu kada bi se slučajno našli s njim za kavu? Ili bolje pitanje – što bi rekao on Vama kada bi čuo kako razmišljate i na koji način živite? I ono najvažnije- tko bi platio račun?

Izvrsna knjiga mladog, u filozofskim krugovima prepoznatljivog i nadasve elokventnog autora koji je na mene ostavio velik utisak. Ono što je izvrsnost ove knjige jest to što je uspjela približiti filozofiju svakidašnjice ''običnom'' čitatelju i što razmatra svakidašnja pitanja na jednostavnom jeziku filo
Jan 08, 2011 Jimmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
What a great idea for a book, but what a disappointment to read. I mean I liked it well enough, but I was expecting something quite different, something a bit more philosophical. It makes me want to start writing my own version the way it should be done. For one thing, these chapters, such as "Going to the Gym" and "Taking a Bath" and "Having Lunch With Your Parents" are just a bit too yuppyish for me. And there are only touches of famous philosophers in each chapter. It would have been better t ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Kane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging a book by it's cover would be fair in this case. Here we have a philosophical jaunt through the day, fueled by a provocative web of associations spun by author Robert Rowland Smith, running the gamut from psychological observations to tie-ins with Eastern religions. Smith has a good use of language and does a good job of making philosophy vivid, which could be a major plus, depending on what you want out of a book like this. I personally found it lacking as far as lasting impressions go ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Nov 26, 2013 ♥ Ibrahim ♥ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy

I was told I was going to have breakfast with Socrates himself, no less, and it turned out I was taken instead to Golden Corral buffet for some mushy, greasy meal. I am disappointed in the book.
This book is not about breakfast with Socrates. It made me feel as if I was listening to a person who just smoked a bowl and started having random existential chatter with me in some dark corner of a house party.

What a misleading title!
Jan 18, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
How it made sense of our everyday tasks was so simple and easy to understand that I felt sad it ended already. I especially liked how the chapter ended in full circle and the fact that if you're impatient, you can read each chapter separately too. I know I've said it a million times that philosophy drags everything out and pretends to be all smart assed but thankfully this book had none of that pretentious stuff.
Tarek Amr
Sep 02, 2012 Tarek Amr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
“Given that Socrates was effectively assassinated by poison, you might think twice before accepting his invitation to breakfast”. This is how Robert Rowland Smith opened his book, Breakfast with Socrates.

People know I'm a slow reader. It takes me ages to read a book. Slow enough to get bored of books I am reading and leave them before finishing them. But this one was interesting enough that I couldn't but finish it. The thing about this book, not only that it introduced me to names like Jean-Pau
Nov 01, 2011 Sydney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Confession: I did not read this book cover to cover. I picked it up because I need to summarize it for a book proposal I am writing, so I skimmed it and certain chapters with more depth than others.
However, the tastes that I did get left me with such a consistent sense of the most shallow, pathetic, ridiculous blandness I wish one of these stars was "I hated it" not just "I didn't like it." I am stunned that this actually passes for philosophical reflection even for the layman and published by
Sasha Martinez
It’s exactly what it says it is, but is exactly less hokey than it sounds. The book allows the reader to see various philosophical concepts and phenomena in the everyday—Nietzsche is with us when we commute to work, Foucault when we’re working out at the gym, Barthes when reading a book, and (of course) Freud when we’re having sexy times. It’s a book that makes us aware of what philosophers have gone on and one about, it’s a book that grounds usually lofty and hazy dogmas using the routines of o ...more
Rafael Bandeira
Jun 17, 2010 Rafael Bandeira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ingenious idea of analyzing and questioning our day-to-day, mundane activities and situations with the insights and theories from several philosophers and thinkers, have such a great result that allows you to open your eyes for things you don't really care about, but that make big part in our life - even though we don't know it.

I was particularly amused by the "Waking up", "Going to the Gym", "Arguing with your partner" and "Having sex" chapters, as they made a lot of sense and also addresse
Nicole Rivera
Jul 18, 2010 Nicole Rivera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ipad
The idea of this book intrigued me from the moment I set eyes upon it - take a journey through an ordinary day with the great philosophers as your guide(s) and analyst(s). I thought, "This can either turn out to be amazing, or the most boring book I have ever read!" Well, luckily for me, Mr. Smith is an excellent writer - this book was excellent!

If you are so inclined to ask why certain things need to be done a certain way, or at least why it seems society deems them so, then it sounds like it
Jul 25, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an enjoyable smorgasbord of philosophy, sociology, literature and popular culture - i took pleasure in revisiting some known authors and discovering new ones.. a light-hearted look on what's considered "serious living", as deep as you want to see it be. it takes a quick-witted mind to produce such work, and i should look forward to enjoying any more of the same!

1. Philosophy arms you to make wise, practical decisions in a complex world.
Philosophy simply means "love of wisdom."
Making wise choices in everyday life is Philosophy.
However wisdom should not be confused with cleverness.

2. Descartes: If you’re awake, you’re thinking, and therefore you must exist.

3. Freud: The morning routine is a fierce psychological competition between our ego and superego.
The ego represents th
Mailee Pyper
So part of what made this book interesting also made it really irritating. The author takes you on a journey through (potential) daily life and introduces what various philosophers would likely philosophize about the way and why of what you do every day. While this is an interesting approach, it had a couple major drawbacks. One being it gives you a bit of intellectual whiplash as the author pulls points of view from all over the spectrum. Another drawback is while much is said there is no concl ...more
Aug 22, 2014 Vanja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doručak sa Sokratom : filozofija svakodnevnog života, Naklada Ljevak, 2011.

Ova veoma neobična knjiga, prepuna bisera mudrosti, vodi vas na put kroz tipične svakodnevne rituale – ustajanje, putovanje na posao, posao, ručak, šoping, odmor, teretana, kupanje, čitanje, gledanje televizije, večera, svađe, seks, spavanje... U svakom poglavlju opisuje se jedan ritual – od jutra do mraka - i povezuje s filozofskim teorijama, književnim djelima, povijesnim likovima, psihoanalitičarima... Na veoma jednost
Mutasem Al-abweh
Dec 09, 2012 Mutasem Al-abweh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really neat book on philosophy that relates to our everyday tasks that we do in a fun, educational way. If you would like to know why it's good to bunk off from work, never pay for dinner when out with your parents, to sleep early isn't a bad thing, and so many more great examples then this is the book for YOU! :)
Mar 09, 2011 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I was hoping for a new and interesting approach to the philosophies of the past and their application to today. Unfortunately, in the parts I read, this was all stuff I'd heard/read/studied before. It's a good intro for those who don't know much about early psychology and epistimology, just not for me.
Feb 10, 2015 Qi rated it liked it
The title is a non-title; very little about Socrates is discussed. Instead, this is a jaunty, breezy, chatty long conversations ruminating over urban life quotidian -- getting up, dress up, get to work, go to lunch, go to gym, watching TV, read book, then go back to bed and dream.

Many philosophers are mentioned briefly and breezily, applying to details in ordinary modern life. The writing style is journalistic essayist, suitable for Life section of a newspaper, but not for a long read or deep t
Mick Pletcher
Mar 09, 2014 Mick Pletcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great read. It covers several of the great philosophers from Nietzsche, Jung, and Weber. The book demonstrates the importance philosophy plays in our everyday lives and how it can be used to improve living.
Philomel chowdhury
Definitely not an extraordinary journey but not a bad journey at all. Certain parts were interesting. However, a little boring at time with repetitive thoughts.Some witty comments are worth mentioning.
Josephina Kilzi
A well written book by Smith. A very good friend of mine (ironically, who I don't talk to anymore) got me this book. This book gave me a better insight into my daily life. Go ahead and pick it up!
Jul 14, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun little book, providing the reader with bits of food for thought. Considering that all of our lives have the same entry and departure, it is the many variations to the journey in between that make it a personal experience. Smith has presented an exploration of our daily (often mundane) routines, and sheds light on the basic philosophical interpretations of them. The author does not convey his opinion of "this is right" or "this is wrong", he leaves that to the self-help genre and i ...more
You may start the day by having breakfast with Socrates, but by lunch time you'll mostly be chatting with the author. He throws in the philosophy of historical figures now and then, but mostly he seems to speak from his own point of view. I don't think that's a strike against the book, as long as your intent isn't to learn about the views of specific people.

There is quote inside that describes the book well: "...Heidegger himself railed against what philosophy had become--so many technical disti
Jun 09, 2012 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Airplane book
Recommended to Maria by: Found it at Kramerbooks
I'm thankful for this book because it made me think or want to think. However, I *think* that much of the book stretched philosphy to include pop culture as defined by pop psychology. Also, as there were so many different points of view i.e., different activities throughout the day, it was like window shopping for one philosphical gift during the holiday season.

If philosphy is the meaning of life, than shopping wouldn't be in it, and the case to include activities like shopping didn't make sense
My notes...

The book was pretty light in terms of philosophy. I thought his applications to everyday life (beginning with waking and continuing through an average day's activities) were a stretch at times, or lacked impact. A few chapters are worth reading, and I took some scattered notes from those.

Chapter 1 Waking Up
The metaphor of an "awakening" works for spirituality (and other things) because it's something that is done to you--you cannot waken yourself.

Chapter 2 Getting Ready...
The point of
Justine Camacho-Tajonera
Nov 25, 2013 Justine Camacho-Tajonera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Justine by: Book club
Just because it took me almost a year to read this doesn't mean that the book's content was the problem. It was probably my philosophy-resistant mind. Haha!

Some of my more memorable moments reading the book:
- Remembering a childhood experience of waking up early and watching the sky change color from black to orange to blue
- Encountering one of my favorite philosophers, Mikhail Bakhtin, again in the chapter on going to the gym (of all things! which I currently do!). "To Bakhtin, the b
Sep 05, 2011 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The deeper I delve into the non-fiction shelves, the more I come to realize that I should create my own charter school for future English majors. Math, science, business and yes, even physical education classes would still be required but I would substitute the horrible textbooks with actual works of research, creativity and powerful writing. For example, in place of the typical chemistry text, I would require students to read Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon. For biology (or possibly ethics), ...more
Nov 16, 2015 Hal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought provoking book that delves into the more practical aspects of philosophy and everyday matters in life. Philosophy encompass so much and so many complex thoughts and ideas it is often hard to connect with what it means or where it leads. This book helps in tying these complexities to concrete examples and applications, still not always crystal clear but a bit more relevant.
This book steps you through your day in chapters - waking, dressing, eating, etc. - and discusses various philosophers' ideas about that part of the day. I can honestly say that I did not remember a single idea after closing the book, and I feel no guilt about that! I enjoyed the book and wished I had more time to read it (I borrowed it from the library). If I had more time to read it AND more time in my day, I'd read a chapter during the associated time in my day so that I could ponder the idea ...more
Feb 27, 2012 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Socrates said a life unexamined is not worth living. This is the premise this book carries. I think this is a good introduction to philosophy. Unlike the regular philosophy book that explores philosophy based on school of thought or philosophers, it introduces philosophy in everyday life context - the readers were taken through the journey of philosophy via the slices of everyday life, e.g. waking up, taking a bath, travelling to work, lunching with parents, cooking and eating dinner, arguing wi ...more
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Pre-college text? 2 9 Sep 19, 2012 11:33AM  
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