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If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers
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If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers

3.14 of 5 stars 3.14  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A PICTURE MAY BE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS—
BUT A FEW CHOICE WORDS CAN SPEAK VOLUMES!

• If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren’t More People Happy?
• Bottled Water Is for Suckers
• Clones Are People Too
• At Least the War on the Environment Is Going Well
• Don’t Believe Everything You Think
• The Revolution Will Be Tweeted

Long before blogs, tweets, and sound bites, people were telling the
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Stephanie
Again, another book I wasn't sure what I was going to get from it, but really enjoyed it. He presents a lot of information in this book that really makes you think. A really interesting book, definitely recommend it.
Eric Nelson
Bowens statement on page 95 best summarizes the book: Note to any first-year high school teachers looking for an example to teach dogmatism, look no further. I sought out this book after hearing a book tour discussion with the author on the radio and was really excited. Apparently, Bowen is much more congenial in public than he is when hes in his university office writing a book.[return][return]If You Can Read This uses bumper stickers as a jumping off point to go on rant after rantdiscussing al ...more
Traci
Long before blogs and tweets, people were telling the world how they felt through bumper stickers. Even now, whether they're political or religious, passionate or proud, controversial or corny, these brightly colored, boldly lettered mini manifestos are declarations of who we are, where we stand, and what we'd reather be doing. But as bestselling author and noted philosopher Jack Bowen reveals, there's much more to the pop-culture phenomenon than rolling one-liners - no less, in fact, than a wis ...more
Samantha
I'm not sure how to really review this book. I will say that when I bought it, I was under the impression that it was going to be a humorous discussion about bumper stickers and why people choose to display certain ones on their cars and other places.

However, while it did discuss bumper stickers, it went less into the whys behind them and more into the true meaning behind the trite sayings printed on them (and how people don't really think about these deeper meanings before plastering them on th
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J
While on my way to my favorite brick and mortar book store, I heard Jack Bowen's interview - on NPR last week - about his book, "If You Can Read This".

Bowen's commentary plays well with the subject matter of various bumper stickers and how thought provoking they can be. His delivery of background information, the logic behind the one-liner witticisms and how packed they are yield insight as to how their wording often jolts the reader stop and think. His methodical analysis offers a fascinating i
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josh
this was fairly entertaining and humorous. the author is a philosophy professor who tries to wax philosophic over the deeper meanings, internal inconsistencies, and conflicting ideologies behind numerous popular bumper-stickers. a number of the arguments he tries to advance are some that i don't agree w/ and parts remind me why i hated my philosophy classes, but it was a fairly decent read and not too bad for helping you to think about some of your own closely held beliefs and try to develop a f ...more
Carlos Burga
A fascinating exploration of some of the most poignant themes of our era! Through the use of bumper-stickers Bowen is able to start a conversation of some of the most touchy and interesting concepts in modern times, from abortion to the purpose of life in a secular world. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is willing to have their views challenged, whether as a liberal or conservative.
Lizzy
Reading this made me feel intelligent, even though I don't remember much of it now. A good and funny intro to philosophy. (Also perfect for reading before bed, because it's interesting but full of enough technical terms to make you tired.) It's almost worth reading just because the author addresses The Purpose of Life, which I will not give away here.
Todd
If you are someone who already spends a lot of time considering current events/debates, this book will come off as common sense and/or boring. If you are someone who is new to Philosophy and its jargon, or is unfamiliar with today's ethical dilemmas, then this book may be more appealing to you.
Jennifer
Aug 24, 2011 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: TTBOOK Saying the World
Shelves: 2011
A thinking book. Consider all the messages we see on the roads and in parking lots: what's the real message? I imagine ultra social conservatives will not like it one bit.
Margaret Sankey
Philosophy professor unpacks the astounding amount of cultural background it takes to understand the smartassery and commentary offered by bumper stickers.
Matt Herbert
Sep 25, 2012 Matt Herbert is currently reading it
I picked this up at Readings clearance yesterday, as much-needed light relief from alla the self-help texts piled around unread and part-read. So far so good.
Rick
This is a good way to explore the concepts of philosophy. I recommend this book and may use some of it in class.
Henry Manampiring
Brilliant taste of philosophy using bumper stickers. Philosophical and wit combined. Much recommended.
Nathan
While definitely not hard-hitting philosophical discussion, interesting nonetheless.
Paula Schumm
Philosophy 101. I enjoyed it. I always like a book that makes me think.
Mark Fontecchio
Entertaining, though I've never seen half the bumper stickers he mentions
Barbara
As superficial as the bumper stickers reviewed.
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“[If we extrapolate the United States population down to a 100-people village]This village that you inhabit has 14 illiterate members and 27 who have a college education; 5 of the villagers earn a third of the village’s entire income, while 6 of them earn less than .3 percent of it; 40 of them think and hope your village is headed towards a biblical end-times Armageddon; and 7 of them own a Britney Spears album.” 2 likes
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