Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Think about the Great Ideas” as Want to Read:
How to Think about the Great Ideas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

How to Think about the Great Ideas

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  170 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Time magazine called Mortimer J. Adler a "philosopher for everyman." In this guide to considering the big questions, Adler addresses the topics all men and women ponder in the course of life, such as "What is love?," "How do we decide the right thing to do?," and, "What does it mean to be good?" Drawing on his extensive knowledge of Western literature, history, and philoso ...more
ebook, 562 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Open Court Publishing Company
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Think about the Great Ideas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Think about the Great Ideas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 731)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Special K
Comprised of the edited transcripts of the 1950s television series The Great Ideas produced by the Institute for Philosophical Research in San Fransisco, this book introduces laypeople to 52 great ideas of philosophy through dialogue between an interviewer and the philosopher Mortimer Adler.

The concept of "The Great Ideas" was championed by Dr Adler as a foundation for education and consists in identifying the major themes discussed throughout the history of Western philosophy: Truth, Freedom, B
...more
Matthieutc
A great book that goes into some detail about how to consider the main ideas of the Western tradition. The author is obviously well-read and proposes interesting arguments. He can be rational and thorough, but sometimes comes off as a tad conservative. Also, the author clearly has a religious bias that inserts itself in the discussion and renders some conclusions not so scientific.

For instance, the discussion on evolutionary theory is weak: evolution does not state that an intermediary species m
...more
Amanda Miranda-flores
So incredible to think about ideas in their purest form and to really feel like you are getting something priceless for the price of a few minutes. He did all the work of compiling evidence for each of the great ideas and put it into the form of a totally accessible dialogue. Bravo I say. One of the best books I've read bar none. It is a safe bet to say that after reading this book my conversion into a full fledged adlerphile is complete.
Derek
I've been a fan of the Great Books and Great Ideas since my days of yore at junior college. I like this book and the way Adler, et al. tried to get people to read and think.

This book is a good starting point for philosophy and ideas, and what thinkers have had to say over the course of history. Adler has a good way of giving elementary sketches of ideas and making all of it very interesting. The biggest drawback is the number of topics covered in this book. Also, there is no a lot of depth. Howe
...more
Abby
This was originally a radio talk show that was transcribed in book form. In many parts the reading is difficult and tedious - it would be much easier to listen to than it is to read. There are some good ideas present in the book, but I do disagree with a lot of what is said. For pleasure's sake, this would be a very, very poor choice.
Barry Smith
"There are a limited number of Great Ideas which form the core of the thought of Western Civilization," from the preface.

Mortimer Adler selected 22 of those ideas and masterfully explained and applied those ideas to modern times in a way that does not require a graduate degree in philosophy to understand.
Dennis Schvejda
"How To Think About The Great Ideas," by Mortimer J. Adler, is based on the TV show transcripts - 52 chapters. One of the author's 60 some-odd books, Adler was also the driving force behind Encyclopedia Britannica, Great Books of the Western World, Annals of American History. Definitely enjoyed the book!
Brian Olson
Wonderful book, very significant and interesting. The chapters about Opinion were really very revelatory. Its a collection of transcripts from a television program that aired in the 50s. Mortimer Adler is one of the finest minds of the last century, and his analysis is clear and insightful.
yamiyoghurt
Love the concept of this book. It achieves what it specifically stakes out to do - to get more people thinking. It's not meant to be an authoritative text on philosophy or the breat ideas. It just gives an introduction to these topics, enough background information to catalyze thinking.
Anna Cate
Helpful for leading seminar I suppose as long as one remains wary of his politics / ever present perspective on said ideas ... I'm not a fan.
Blayne
A good bathroom type book for the thinker.
Lin Sharon
Lin Sharon marked it as to-read
Nov 22, 2014
Craig
Craig marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2014
Jennings Peeler
Jennings Peeler marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2014
Douglas
Douglas marked it as to-read
Nov 14, 2014
Npv33
Npv33 marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Ana Luisa
Ana Luisa marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Sidharth Panwar
Sidharth Panwar marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Greta Villani
Greta Villani marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Ruru
Ruru marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Mike Elliott
Mike Elliott marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Donald Trainer
Donald Trainer marked it as to-read
Nov 05, 2014
Miekie
Miekie marked it as to-read
Nov 04, 2014
Dan
Dan marked it as to-read
Nov 03, 2014
Barbara Workman
Barbara Workman marked it as to-read
Nov 03, 2014
Bryan Hensley
Bryan Hensley marked it as to-read
Nov 02, 2014
GT
GT marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Leisure: The Basis Of Culture
  • A History of Philosophy 9: Modern Philosophy
  • Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
  • The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods
  • Another Sort of Learning
  • Without Roots: Europe, Relativism, Christianity, Islam
  • The Great Conversation: The Substance Of A Liberal Education (Great Books Of The Western World, #1)
  • Fides Et Ratio: On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason: Encyclical Letter of John Paul II
  • The Idea of a University
  • Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide
  • The Literary Guide to the Bible
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope
  • A Little History of Philosophy
  • A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living (Learning to Live, #1)
  • Habits of the Mind
  • The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy
22395
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
...more
More about Mortimer J. Adler...
How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading Aristotle for Everybody Ten Philosophical Mistakes How to Speak How to Listen Six Great Ideas

Share This Book