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Wittgenstein in 90 Min...
Paul Strathern
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Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes)

3.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  268 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews

In Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Wittgenstein's life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Wittgenstein's work; a brief list of suggested reading for those who wish to push further; and chronologies that place Wittgenstein wi

Audio, 0 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 1996)
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Bill  Kerwin
To answer your first question: yes, it really did take me about 90 minutes to read it.

Strathern's little book presents a complex subject with deceptive simplicity. He not only provides the reader with the essential elements of Wittgenstein's "final solution" to philosophy, but tells us many illuminating things about the life of this eccentric, unhappy, scrupulous, driven genius.
Jan 03, 2016 Jimmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ludwig had four older brothers, most of whom appear to have been brilliant, high strung, and homosexual. Three would commit suicide. The fourth brother became a concert pianist and had his right hand blown off in WWI. He continued his career by commissioning piano concertos for the left hand, including a famous one by Ravel. A sister had portrait commissioned by Klimt. At age 10, Ludwig designed a sewing machine out of wood and wire. At 14, he could whistle entire movements from symphonies.

He s
Aug 21, 2014 Realini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern
The world is everything that is the case

If I were to take the advice, what am I saying- the imperative of Wittgenstein:
- „What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence”
I would keep silent.
But here’s the deal: you need to imagine what I do not say, as way more important that what I say. I am limited in what I can express generally, but in what has to do with Wittgenstein it will be way more of a challenge.
He was the philosopher who would end
Jan 16, 2013 Dylan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable little intro. to Wittgenstein. In this brief encounter, one meets the eccentric philosopher in Austria, then travels with him emotionally and intellectually, on his neurotic journeys toward certainty, ethics, and truth. Surely one of the world's all-time most narcissistic people, Wittgenstein was entitled to some sense of greatness, given his intellect and originality. Truly a fascinating, if unreasonable, character. Strathern might have done a bit more with Wittgenstein's Jewis ...more
Timothy McNeil
In what may be the best argument against taking Wittgenstein seriously as a philosopher, Strathern (himself a devotee, or at least a disciple to the school of non-philosophy left behind by the troubled Austrian) manages to go the entire book without ever delving into the points of Wittgenstein's philosophies. Instead, he weakly agrees with some points, notes the glaringly obvious faults with others, and (most surprisingly) takes no joy in mocking the foibles of the subject's life; this is wholly ...more
Sep 17, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this informative, short account of Ludvig Wittgenstein. Wanted a short read on his life and work so this was perfect and has stirred my appetite for a longer read sometime. My dark sense of humor found much of the biographical matter hysterical though of course there's much that's really sad as well. Wittgenstein completely uncompromising, dominating, impossible and insane. Wittgenstein could never be wrong. And he was a genius - a great one. Interesting that he set out to put an end t ...more
Tom Morris
Nov 29, 2009 Tom Morris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Strathern paints a wonderful portrait of Wittgenstein's early years and on a biographical level manages to show Wittgenstein in a realistic light: his flaws and failings.

The book's coverage of Wittgenstein's philosophy seems limited though: Strathern describes the Tractatus as an excellent work of philosophy and provides an adequate précis. For Philosophical Investigations, we get the brief remark that language is like a fishing net followed by the conclusion that it's all a load of boring lingu
Aug 21, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, philosophy
A good, solid introduction to Wittgenstein and who he was; what he said (or as the man himself would perhaps want us to focus on, what he did *not* say).
Strathern mentions, it seems, in every section that Wittgenstein wanted to kill himself not only frequently but with a deep, burning desire. We get it. The man was tortured; such is the nature of philosophers. I think of Wittgenstein on the fence between philosophers and linguists, as for me he has come into play most often in the importance of
Derek Neighbors
Nov 23, 2014 Derek Neighbors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Strathern gives the 90 minute run down on the "last philosopher" Wittgenstein. I love the 90 minutes series for philosophers as it gives you a good idea of their background and careers while jumping into their most famous works. Wittgenstein like most the rest of his time seemed to toe the line between genius and crazy on a regular basis.

I was curious to learn of his relationship with philosopher Bertrand Russell as some how I missed the two were friends and exchanged ideas often. Wittgens
Erik Graff
Aug 09, 2013 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wittgenstein fans
Recommended to Erik by: Ludwig Dorsch
Shelves: philosophy
I read this little screed during an after-party at the apartment of a friend after the bar closed at two. There were a bunch of folks, so my somewhat-less-than-90-minute withdrawal into this library book borrowed by our host didn't disturb the dynamic.

Don't be misled by the title. This is not a serious introduction to Wittgenstein. It is rather an entertainment, an entertainment that will probably be more enjoyed by someone who knows something about Wittgenstein than by someone who knows nothing
Jan 29, 2015 Walter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Summary: this introduction is very unfavorable to Wittgenstein, yet still informative.

I read this one tonight. I digested it in just about the right amount of time. I learned a bit about the subject.
More importantly, the author comes across as though he strongly dislikes Ludwig throughout the book. This caused me to strongly dislike the book, and not because I am fond of Wittgenstein (I know next to nothing about him and his role in philosophy, which is why I'm reading it). I am inclined to wan
Mikael Lind
Jul 18, 2011 Mikael Lind rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Paul Strathern's biography of Wittgenstein is lucid and fascinating, and is easily the strength of this book. The account of the main thought behind the Tractatus is also interesting. The major flaw of this book is Strathern's strong dislike for the Philosophical Investigations, which he dismisses as 'linguistic nitpicking' virtually without any argument. I am fascinated by the life of Wittgenstein and of his later philosophy, so this book succeeds in giving me what I want in the former regard b ...more
Kessia Reyne
This book, also by Strathern and also 90 minutes long, was similarly psychologized, but I minded it less because of the subtle wit woven throughout. Strathern had me chuckling at Wittgenstein many times and though these 90 minutes left me wanting more about his thoughts and less about his suicidal and homosexual brother, it was a helpful introduction. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who wanted to get a handle on his (anti-)philosophy, but for 90 minutes it wasn't a bad intro.
Heard someone mention the "in 90 minutes" series a wee bit ago and was thrilled that my library had all of them. The book is a quick read, very witty and, as you might have guessed, definitely geared towards the entry level layman. Seeing as I know very little about Wittgenstein or modern philosophers this was right up my alley. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't cover more of Wittgenstein's philosophy, but I still thought it served as a decent introduction.
Tom Schulte
Jan 23, 2012 Tom Schulte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real good, brisk overview of the life and work of this eccentric and important (even controversial) thinker. Strathern includes the story of Ludwig's life (dramatic and altrusitic) as well as the evolution of his two philosophies. Supplementary material includes timelines of European and philosophy's history.
Steven Rhodes
Jun 23, 2011 Steven Rhodes rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing new to anyone with a meager knowledge of Wittgenstein's life and works. I found the book to lack objectivity and depth, and it seemingly brushed aside Philosophical Investigations.

I suppose my biggest gripe is that it really is written for the layman, but I don't know what I was expecting.
Francisco J.
Jan 14, 2014 Francisco J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oversimplified account, but that is what you can expect from the title. I think the book delves too much on his personal life and little on the philosophy, but anyway, helpful for clueless students. The bit about his lectures at Cambridge is hilarious.
Jordan J. Andlovec
Like the others in this series, the writing is more biographical then philosophical and only gives a sample spoon's worth of information. It's something you can read through on a flight (which is what I did) to make yourself look smart.
Mark Valentine
Why would I expect to have a deeper understanding of Wittgenstein's (Wittgenstein!) philosophy by reading a book thus titled when, after reading it, it matches my appreciation that I spent only that much time reading it?

From it, I gather that he must have had the heart of a barnacle and the conscience of piranha. Why he would sacrifice personal relationships (Pinsent, Russell, et al.) yet serve a failed nation-state with utmost loyalty (the Austro-Hungarian Empire) shows a person today we would
Peter Landis
There is more biography than philosophy in this series. However, since other encounters I have had have been the opposite, the biographical context is welcome, especially when listening to the audio.
Aug 10, 2009 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every chapter ends in a variation of this sentence:
"and then... he retired to his room and contemplated suicide."
I would have loved it for this alone. Audio version read by a haughty Brit.
Nov 13, 2009 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of an "Idiot's Guide" to philosophers. I'd heard about Wittgenstein and was curious to learn a little more about him. I'm hoping to read some of Paul Strathern's other 90 minute books.
Nov 11, 2015 M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lots of quickly illuminated info on the life and times of Wittgenstein here, but Strathern can barely write a sentence that doesn't appear to seethe with animosity toward Wittgenstein. It really sucks to get an insightful little biographical piece from someone who quotes and then misinterprets his subject on the same page, seemingly intentionally. Constantly calling the subject "arrogant" and discussing how greatly he ruined all of his friends lives doesn't seem quite like an honest, even take. ...more
Benjamin Barzen
Jul 19, 2014 Benjamin Barzen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice little intro to Wittgenstein. But I don't feel completely satisfied regarding Wittgensteins philosophical stance, they could have explained more about it.
Mar 13, 2011 Bala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wittgenstein, the mordern philosopher who "found" the solution for the problem of philosophy is an engimatic figure. If you like philosophy, this is a good book to listen to.
Nov 07, 2012 Tra-Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly a biography, not an overview of his philosophies (although of course there is some of that as well). I found it subtly witty and entertaining.
Aug 02, 2012 Luke rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A petty, inaccurate hack job. Its only redeeming feature is the presence of several significant quotations from Wittgenstein's works.
Aug 24, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny book. I didn't know anything about him. I don't understand his work AT ALL but I laughed at this book multiple times.
May 03, 2010 Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fantastic except i can hardly understand wiggenstein's ideas. deep and at the same time crazy?? i should read bertrand russell.
Mary Beth
finished this book while on pain-killers- It may have made more sense this way
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  • The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein
  • Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction
  • Locke: A Very Short Introduction
  • Papers and Journals: A Selection
  • Zettel
  • Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction
  • How to Read Wittgenstein
  • Karl Marx: His Life and Environment
  • Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction
  • Introducing Wittgenstein
  • Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction
  • Wittgenstein's Vienna
  • Philosophical Hermeneutics
  • A History of Philosophy 3: Ockham to Suarez
  • Death: A Philosophy Course
  • Search for a Method
  • Karl Marx: A Biography
  • The Philosophy of Existentialism
Paul Strathern (born 1940) is a British writer and academic. He was born in London, and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, after which he served in the Merchant Navy over a period of two years. He then lived on a Greek island. In 1966 he travelled overland to India and the Himalayas. His novel A Season in Abyssinia won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1972.

Besides five novels, he has also written nume
More about Paul Strathern...

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Philosophers in 90 Minutes (1 - 10 of 28 books)
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  • Derrida in 90 Minutes
  • Descartes in 90 Minutes
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  • Foucault in 90 Minutes
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  • Heidegger in 90 Minutes

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