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Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between
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Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,404 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews

Q. Why are there almost as many jokes about death as there are about sex?

A. Because they both scare the pants off us.

Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein first made a name for themselves with the outrageously funny New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. Now they turn their attention to the Big D and share the timeless wisdom of the great philosoph
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Penguin Books (first published 2009)
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Jun 13, 2010 Reese rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book actually reminded me of a dream that I made up. I'm at a hotel in the Catskills, and hundreds of once-upon-a-time comedians are competing for a chance to host SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE or replace greeters at Walmart -- whatever. So one guy after another does his "shtick"; I'm "plotzing" because even a Passover Seder is funnier and because the waiters aren't schlepping any big trays of food. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of men with beards and black hats; they're frantically explaining why chom ...more
Dec 09, 2009 kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoy the jokes and cartoons (especially the cartoons) - i guess I was looking for more depth... I know what was I thinking? OK to be be honest - I was looking for an answer :)
Al Bità
The title says it all... and obviously, with a title like that, you ought not to expect anything particularly deep, or too subtle (though the authors do tackle some of the complexities, they do tend to shy away from actually confronting them too deeply) — though, if you want depth, you can always follow up with some of the books included in the suggested books for further reading at the and of the book! Even so, the book covers most of the main ideas people have had about this vexed and often ve ...more
The book provides a light-hearted look at the meaning of life and death as discussed by a number of philosophers, theologians, and scientists. Liberally illustrated with cartoons and jokes, it is best taken in small doses. I didn't find it as funny or as insightful as Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, but it was a fun read. For someone with a limited exposure to philosophical thought, it might inspire further reading. I did enjoy and think well deserved the fun made of Heidegger's convoluted ...more
Graeme Wilkins
Dec 07, 2014 Graeme Wilkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say that laughter is the best best medicine .. If you need a dose then look no further! The subject is death and immortality..the object is to inform via the famous observant philosophers along with cartoonists, to poke fun at the great questions by notable comics and well a researched "narrative" to enable the "common man/woman" to reach his/her conclusions...
A very enjoyable romp..
I loved Socrates' final words.. Some great wisdom to enlighten the generations. No!, ..purportedly he advised
AmberBug **
Review on Shelf Notes

Dear Reader,

This book made me roll my eyes so much they almost fell out of my eye sockets. What do you get when you mix really dumb jokes with basic philosophy? You'd think something interesting and fun, this was the opposite of that. Maybe it wasn't just for me... maybe it was meant for someone with a different sense of humor. The jokes just didn't get me going AT ALL. I laughed maybe once, if even that. However, I do believe there is an audience out there that could be int
Mar 07, 2011 Kenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
A fun and funny overview of the various approaches to belief in the afterlife (or not), combined with some nice jokes, to wit:

The monitor confirmed cardiac arrest as an elderly man suddenly lost consciousness. After about twenty seconds of resuscitation, he came to. Explaining to him that his heart had momentarily stopped, the doctor asked if he remembered anything unusual during that time.

"I saw a bright light," he said, "and in front of me a man dressed in white."

Excitedly, the doctor asked if
Jan 21, 2012 Dustfinger rated it really liked it
On the topic of philosophie books.
The problem with almost all of them is, that they either are too serious, so you can hardly enjoy them on an easy basis (only enjoy them out of interest on the topic) or are so easy going that they don't really touch the subject with enough depth.
This book is a good exaple of a book that tried to be both and that explained the theories quite well without beeing too complicated to read on holidays. Its fun and gives you a rough idea of the diffrent theories.
Linda Robinson
Apr 04, 2010 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The authors quote William Saroyan in the Introduction "Everybody has got to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case." Humans understand the concept of life cycle, but avert our gaze at cycle endpoint. It's easier to use Woody Allen as our guide to contemplating death than the universe.

Mingling Schopenhauer, Woody Allen, the apostle Paul, Gautama the Buddha, Descartes, Freud, Socrates, Einstein ("spooky action at a distance") and cartoons is brilliant coating on the bitte
Selin Kamaş
Hafif kişisel gelişim kitaplarına kayan yönünden midir, nedir tam olarak istediğimi bulamadım. Ama fena değildi, belki yayının diğer kitaplarıyla şansımı daha sonra denerim.
May 11, 2014 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(WARNING: Corny jokes ahead) That should be the warning on the front of this book. As the subtitle states and many reviewers have noted, this book contains jokes that are pretty corny. I found it not too bad, but you have to be in the mood for that kind of humour.

This book is about one of the biggest topics in our lives. What happens after this? Adding humour to the book is a pretty good idea to break up the "death anxiety" as they put it.

Through the book, a number of philosophical and religiou
Ege Özmeral
1) Descartes, kendi kuşkusundan kuşku duyamayacağını anlayınca "Düşünüyorum öyleyse varım" sözünü söylemiştir. Burada kast ettiği "Kuşkulanıyorum, öyleyse bir kuşkucu olarak varlığımdan kuşkulanamam." idir. (page 196)

2) Kendi klonunu yaratsan yani vücudundaki her hücrenin genetik koduna birebir sahip bir insan oluşturup ona "Sen kimsin?" diye sorarsan, "Ben Ege'yim la, asıl sen kimsin?" diyecektir. Bu kişi(klon) her ne kadar senin hafızana sahip olsa, senin gibi düşünse, yese, içse, sıçsa da onu
Vincent Chin

"I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'

And he said, Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin"

~ Live Like You Were Dying , Tim McGraw

A small philosophy book on the subject of death. You will not find answers in this book but it provides a very good perspective on the subject you are reading on. The jokes does alleviate much of the doom and
Linda Diamond
Mar 01, 2015 Linda Diamond rated it liked it
“Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates,” by the authors of “Plato and a Platypus walk into a Bar," is a cute little look at death from different philosophical angles, right down to “What is it the soul?” and “Can it be sold on ebay?” Cathcart & Klein explore some fundamental truths and existential “truthiness” (term coined by and credited to Steven Colbert) about death and “deathiness” (and "deathiness" belongs to Cathcart & Klein). :) You’re not likely to come away learn ...more
Nick Duretta
If you're looking to quickly absorb the essential perspectives of the great philosophers on the weighty topic of life, death and the afterlife, skip this one. It's too frivolous to even qualify as Philosophy Lite. Between a succession of groan-worthy jokes and cartoons, the authors do squeeze in tidbits from the pantheon of philosophers from Aristotle and Plato to Woody Allen, but the jokey tone drowns any substance they may have. I was left scratching my head as to what kind of reader would fin ...more
Daryl Seah
Mar 31, 2011 Daryl Seah rated it really liked it
quick enjoyable read. spoke to me... literally!
Mar 22, 2015 Yvz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitabın orjinal isminin çevirisi "Heidegger ve hipopotam beraber cennetin kapısına doğru yürürler" şeklinde olması gerekirken bizdeki çeviride yayınevi Nitetzsche'yi başrole koymayı tercih etmiş.(Ülkemizde daha popüler olmasından olsa gerek. Kitaba gelirsek "Platon Bir Gün Kolunda Bir Ornitorenkle Bara Girer'den bir gömlek düşük" olarak tanımlanabilir. Espriler orta karar ama Platon'dakiler kadar komik ve evrensel değiller.
Birinci kitapta olduğu gibi bu kitap da okuyucuyu sıkmıyor, Anlatılan ko
Jan 05, 2014 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
I listened to this in the car. I think if I'd actually had to move my eyes, I wouldn't have finished it.

I think the problem is that surface-level philosophy doesn't pack as much of a punch, and they were really just doing an overview of a bunch of philosophers' views on X. Also, while many jokes do have a philosophical viewpoint, I felt like a lot of these were stretching. It might make a better blog or something. Where you can do one joke, then the philosophy behind it. But what do I know?

Neil Funsch
Feb 10, 2016 Neil Funsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two Harvard Philosophers have fun and channel their inner Mel Brooks to talk about the big issues of Death. I listened to this book on a Library CD and it was funny and I laughed out loud at some of the jokes. It also seems the pretty much everything human from culture to psychosis is a response to our denial of death. One takeaway for me was that life is never so sweet when lived as if every day would be your last. " Live like you are dying."
I've got a skull and a Raven on order. I recommend it
Dec 09, 2014 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in life and death
I have friend who refuses to read books because in college, as an engineering student, he had to concentrate on every word. I feel the same way about philosophy books and have avoided them over the years. Then I discovered "Plato and a Platypus Walk Into Bar". This introduction to Philosophy helped me, at least, know what the different schools of philosophy were and the very basic concepts of philosophical thought.

I also believe that most people do not want to think about death even though it i
Nov 07, 2014 Tim rated it liked it
These two guys take philosophical thoughts, works, etc... about life and death from the works of different historical philosophers like Descartes, William James, Friedrich Nietzsche, Socrates, Plato, and many more, and put it together in this accessible little book. Accessible to some extent, of course. But instead of reading a dry, philosophical work, here the thoughts, impressions and what not are interspersed with jokes and anecdotes.

Of all the jokes, only a handful are good. Now, were the jo
Ferda Nihat Koksoy
-YAŞARKEN HER GÜN VE SAATİ FARK EDEREK YAŞAMAK, şairlerin ve özel insanların haddi olabilir.

-İtalyan Rivierası'nda ölüm üzerine yazan filozof yoktur (Nietzsche).

-Ölümün inkarı, UYGARLIĞIN hayatta kalma stratejisidir (Nietzsche).

-KAYGI bizim nihai öğretmenimizdir ve insanın ÖLÜM UÇURUMUNUN KIYISINDA ANLAMLI YAŞAM SÜRME zorunluluğuna eşlik eder (Kierkegaard).

-Ölümün yanıbaşında, HEP ÖLECEKMİŞ GİBİ yaşayabilme şansını herkes elde edemez (MEMENTO MOR
Aug 19, 2012 Claire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning, I laughed my ass off at some of the jokes. But as I continued on I found myself less and less interested. After reading over two thirds I just skimmed it to the end. The dialogue with Daryl was annoying and really detracted from the book over. Here were the jokes that made me crack up.

Suicide is our way of saying to God, “You can’t fire me, I quit!” – Bill Maher

Old Sol Bloom lay dying in his bed, when he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favourite strudel wafting up the stairs
This is one more in a series of light-hearted but useful romps through some issues of philosophy. Of the three I've read so far, this one is the most serious. All of the books have helped clarify who my "favorites" are (Kirkegaard, William James, and Paul Tillich remain high on my list). This one closes with a shout out to James that captures my feelings toward the study of philosophy in general, and so I'll share it:
"But there's this one guy who stands out from the pack, an American philosopher
Dec 25, 2011 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, humor
It is written in a humorous, conversational style interspersed with imaginary dialogue, cartoons, and jokes. The color changes and cartoons make this a good book qua book. In other word, Id not want to read the kindle version without pictures and color. Some of the jokes are better than others, but overall they were pretty clever and relevant to the philosophical points they accompany.

Its thought provoking, but not deep. Stimulating, but doesn't dive into the nitty gritty of these issues. Howeve
Jag har svårt att sätta ord på Heidegger and a Hippo. Filosofi är en genre som jag normalt sett aldrig läser och kan med det erkänna att jag inte har någon större kunskap om det heller. Jag gillade däremot Cathcarts och Kleins förra bok, Plato and a Platypus, så jag beslöt mig för att även läsa denna bok. Jag blev heller inte besviken på denna även om jag föredrar Plato and a Platypus.

I Heidegger and a Hippo utforskar författarna ämnen som människans sökande efter odödlighet och vad det är som h
Sven Nomadsson
*Note: Copied from the review on my blog -

In keeping with my recent theme of reading books concerned with death, real or imaginary and totally unintentional on my part, I have finished Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. The mention of pearly gates should give you a clear indication that this book is about death; Heidegger’s name lends to it a hint that some philosophy will be involved and the hippo… well
Mar 24, 2013 Wes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A light book cracking wise and playfully introducing some of the core arguments/philosophies/perspectives about a very heavy subject that we all, ultimately, become *very* familiar with. This book strives to be a death-oriented philosophy 101 course overlaid with the humor of the New Yorker Caption Contest and on that front it succeeds pretty damn well. Structurally it's presented as a conversation between its two authors and their skeptical/regular-Joe neighbor "Daryl" as they talk about the pe ...more
Dylan Popowicz
[To be printed in The Sacramento Book Review]

The joking-philosopher duo are back, and this time around they have delved deeply into the realms of man's mortality. In a wonderfully written, well-paced romp through the philosophy of Death (and Life), Cathcart and Klein cover the likes of Keirkegaard, Heidegger, Husserl, Sartre, Freud and William James—blended with public polls, scientific discoveries, and theories of the future (from cryogenetics to teleportation) . And whereas most books of this
Tom Bentley
A book that gives itself a tough assignment from the outset: Refer to (and quote) the work of famous philosophers on a decidedly down topic: death. And make it funny. And like a session with a couple of standup comics—which this book resembles in some way, because it's structured like a conversation with two comics and a listener who occasionally heckles—there are some definite hits and misses with the jokes.

Thus, many of the jokes are 5 stars, but a number of them are twos, and a few are airles
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Won it but it hasn't arrived yet :( 2 13 Dec 10, 2009 08:43PM  
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Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein wrote the bestselling Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, which will be translated into more than a dozen languages. Not bad for a couple of philosophy majors from Harvard who tried on various careers after graduation. Tom worked with street gangs in Chicago, doctors at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and dropped in and out of ...more
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“It's only when we dare to experience the full anxiety of knowing that life doesn't go on forever that we can experience transcendence and get in touch with the infinite. To use an analogy from gestalt psychology, Non-Being is the necessary ground for the figure of Being to make itself known to us. It's only when we're willing to let go of all of our illusions and admit that we are lost and helpless and terrified that we will be free of ourselves and our false securities and ready for what Kierkegaard calls "the leap of faith."

p. 43”
“Doctor: I have some good news and some bad news. Patient: What’s the good news? Doctor: The tests you took showed that you have twenty-four hours to live. Patient:That’s the good news? What’s the bad news? Doctor: I forgot to call you yesterday.” 1 likes
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