Nefik's Reviews > Sophie's World

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
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's review
Oct 07, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: philosophy, world, fairytale, special
Recommended for: everyone

When I first saw the cover and read the summary of this book, it was very unnappealing and certainly not to my taste. I was unfamiliar with the hype it got so that didn't help. (I normally pay no attention to any accomplishments listed in the book itself)

I had a hunch that there would be points where the book would impress me and at points, it had a potential to be substandard but something about it made me pick it up and I'm glad I did as this remains to be one of THE books that I will treasure forever.

It's one of those gateway type of books that unless someone was extremely lucky to know the target idea or just was a genius or a college degree major with a high pedigree of encyclopedic knowledge on the characters within the book, could easily be tagged as one of a kind.'s no different from the spiritual books like Ishmael or The Alchemist but it one ups those books by bringing something that doesn't really have a bigger message but has such basic storytelling elements that it really comes off as the next evolution of a kid's storybook yet still deeply engraving all the complex nuances and names of a boring book on philosophy.

The only accurate summary I can give to this book is it's a fun idiot's guide to philosophy. Emphasis on fun. Even if you don't care much for philosophy and just want a good read that's neither dumb nor attempts to be intelligent, this is it.

Some criticized this for it's simplified take though if you really look into it, it can't really be said to be simplified. It's more "idealized" or "conceptualized" but nothing glaring is omitted. Except of course, people will argue that something is omitted or over-emphasized or this or that should have more focus or not, etc. but appearing to forget the fact that any proper research can easily verify these accounts and for people who got enwrapped by this book, there's no question about it, if they don't research it, they will have the passion to do so when the necessity arises.

I don't think anyone's arguing that this book is to be used as a reference for the more empirical parts of philosophy but I think that's what many reviewers who see it are treating and criticizing it as.

Overall, I think this is a book that someone needs to just pick up regardless of their age or expertise. Sure, like any book this can disappoint but you never know when the life of someone who happen to chance upon and read the book will change. If anything, I disagree that the main theme of this book is philosophy.

It's something else and people who look into the philosophy part too much are really missing the essence and I'm not saying this because I'm some superior reviewer who thinks I'm better than everyone else. Most of the other reviewers probably have better credentials than me.

I'd like to try to attempt to explain what it is but I think Kamyar's comment under his review said it best (ironically while bashing the book):

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