Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sophie's World” as Want to Read:
Sophie's World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sophie's World

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  184,681 ratings  ·  10,197 reviews
An alternative cover for this ISBN can be found here

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village.
...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published 1995 by Phoenix (first published December 5th 1991)
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 Sophie's World, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ari Abdullah indeed, so lets not talk about the truth. lets just be in it. i do believe that we are all just an idea of Someone or Something who/which is factually…moreindeed, so lets not talk about the truth. lets just be in it. i do believe that we are all just an idea of Someone or Something who/which is factually bigger than us. cheers!(less)
Mike Roocroft
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  184,681 ratings  ·  10,197 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Sophie's World
Ahmad  Ebaid
I have started reading the English translation then I compared it to two other Arabic ones, and that was confusing as GOD, then I scheduled it again and again

بدأت القراءة في نسخة الترجمة الإنجليزية لأن أحدهم أفاد بأن الترجمة العربية سيئة ثم قلت لنفسي "بلاش انجليزي أنا مش قد كدا" وتراجعت للعربية ثم رجعت للإنجليزية من جديد.

"Thus was the confusing inside me - هكذا كان الصراع بداخلي"
description

وهكذا ضُرب علي الذل وتم تأجيل القراءة عدة مرات!...

أولاً بجانب الترجمة الإنجليزية فالكتاب كان متاح لي بترجمتين
...more
Toby
May 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: philosophy students, teenagers
Recommended to Toby by: my wife
It took me two months to get through this 500-page book. I can rationalize the reasons thusly:

I was busy.

I took time to absorb the content of the book. Instead of rushing through it, I let each chapter sink in before I moved on.

But thats, you know, rationalizing. Heres the real reason: Its not very good. Okay, wait, thats not fair. Let me start again.

Sophies World is, as the full title suggests, a Novel about the history of philosophy. The idea is to present that history as a narrative,
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sofies Verden = Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder

Sophie's World is a 1991 novel by Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder. It follows the events of Sophie Amundsen, a teenage girl living in Norway, and Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher who introduces her to philosophical thinking and the history of philosophy.

The book begins with Sophie receiving two messages in her mailbox and a postcard addressed to Hilde Møller Knag. Afterwards, she receives a packet of papers, part of a course in philosophy.
...more
Beth
Jul 11, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: zzzzzzzzz, yuk
I was a philosophy major in school and *everybody* would ask if I had read Sophie's World. "What an amazing book!" they would gush. "You'll love it!"

So I bought it. Purchased the book, let it simmer on my shelf for awhile, and finally picked it up a few years ago to give it a go.

I slogged through the first few chapters. Did my best to suspend my disbelief at the transparently device the author uses to introduce the ideas of many famous (and not-so-famous) philosophers. I tried to ignore the
...more
Luffy
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This has been an upsetting reread because I've found that though the book is a quiet entity on its own and in the mind of its readers, I was left hungry for more, but I was also balanced. For years after I read this book, which changed my life for the better, I thought it was the best read of the world.

Naive that I was, I also thought back then, that all philosophy books were as digestible as Sophie's World. What a delusion! The book is now slow and uncouth, being cut from the same cloth as
...more
Manny
Basically, Russell's History of Western Philosophy adapted as a postmodern Norwegian YA novel. Or if you want more details:

(view spoiler)
...more
Rebecca
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who want a quick philosophy lesson
The two things this book has going for it are: the plot and narrative frame are original and creative, and the story is more informative than most.

The basic premise is that a 14-year-old Norwegian girl embarks on a correspondence course with a philosopher, and he teaches her the major points of Western philosophy, from the ancient Greeks up until the existentialists. What makes the narrative structure more original than your average novel is that everything becomes very meta and
...more
David Monroe
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, philosophy
I enjoyed the book immensely. I studied basic philosophy in college so I soon became aware that many philosophers were left out and whole era's were glossed over in this book. You know, that's OK. One - It's not a text book and two - It's NOT a text book!

The stories are separate and finally come together in a fairly predictable way. It is a bit didactic, but imagine yourself a very bright, curious, thoughtful and sensitive 14, 15 or 16 year-old struggling with the usual thoughts and feelings of
...more
Nandakishore Varma
May 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder is an ambitious project which falls flat - in my opinion, of course.

It is a very good introduction to European philosophy, with a few casual references to Eastern thought thrown in for the sake of comparison. Starting with Pre-Socratics, it provides a fairly simple and comprehensive look at classical philosophy. In the middle, it makes a detour into Christian theology and the Middle Ages before emerging triumphantly from the dark with Renaissance thought.
...more
AMEERA
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked the idea of this book and has such a beautiful informations about everything but was boring to death and the same informations repeat them self 💔!!!
Emily May

It was okay. But I was hoping for a beautiful and engaging tale that took away the usual textbook format of reading about philosophy. It didn't happen. This book was nothing more than a lesson in letters and conversations, and I found the style didn't add anything exciting which I'm supposing was the point.

I didn't hate it but I could have just read my Philosophy of Religion AQA guide from college.

Karl-O
Sophies World is an outline of Western philosophy that is beautifully set in a fictional story. It goes from pre-Socratic philosophy all the way to Sartre.

Jostein Gaarder does a very good job not just by writing a concise history of philosophy, but also by writing a very accessible book for as far as early teenagers, which in itself is worthy of high praise. His comparison between different philosophers throughout the book is truly remarkable and made the book very enjoyable. He demonstrates,
...more
Paul Bryant
Oct 09, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
My dear Sophie, there comes a time when you have to face some harsh truths about this wicked world. And I think that time is now. Some people, and it pains me to say this, are not what they seem. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but that breezy scoutmaster, that avuncular English teacher, and that fit young P.E. teacher might not be paedophiles at all. I know! Sometimes you have to read between the lines, and catch the innuendo in what appear to be innocent remarks. For instance, should the ...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jillian
Recommended to K.D. by: Dexter Rutaquio
Shelves: 501, childrens
This is a truly one of the most amazing books that I read so far! After reading a few pages in 2007, I got really busy at work so this got sidelined. When I got interested on reading again a few months back and last weekend I resumed reading this, I just could not put this down and finished remaining 400 pages or so in just 2 days. I had almost zero background in Philosophy and its novel filled up my brain to the brim! And the way this novel did that was amazing. It was an easy read as I know ...more
Diane
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is a novel that I remember zipping through and highly enjoying the first time I read it 20 years ago. When I decided to reread it, in part because of all the philosophical discussions on the excellent show "The Good Place," I was surprised by how much longer it took me to finish and how easily sidetracked I was by other books. (To be fair, I think I had this book with me on a remote vacation the first time, so I was a more captive audience back then.)

As the subtitle suggests, Sophie's World
...more
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

(Full disclosure: Book abandoned on page 234 [out of 394 pages].)

The premise for Sophie's World is ingenious. It's a story about Sophie Amundsen, a sweet fourteen-year-old Norwegian girl who one day begins receiving mysterious letters. The letters are addressed to a girl named Hilde, a girl who sounds just like Sophie, right down to age--yet they come to Sophie's house and are meant for her.

These are highly unusual letters. They're about philosophy and the history of philosophy,
...more
Bader
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: get in Philosophy
Shelves: arabic, in-my-library
Have you ever got from your friend that notebook that you like to read or study from? Have you ever said thing such: OMG, He got the professors idea and wrote it very well or thing such: great summary you did for these lessons, may you give it to me to copy it. Jostein Gaarder is one of these people who know how to give you a well done summary which makes you so comfortable with studying. However, while you are studying those notes to achieve what you want to achieve you would read this book to ...more
Karen
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
What went right in the beginning of with Sophie's World? And what caused it to plunge so grievously, groan-inducingly wrong? As a colleague commented to me, it's not often that we make it all the way through books that turn us off so dramatically. True. However, it's also unusual that a book would seem at least moderately intriguing and appealing for 500 pages, then flop. Flop in my personal opinion, that is.

The good things about Sophie's World...Interesting frame story that evolves into an
...more
Corinne
I read this book when I was twenty, and then I read it again recently on a business trip.

What's great about this book is that the author takes the prominent Philosophers from the West, and renders their essences into a form digestible by the larger public. In fact, he wrote this book only to teach his high school class in philosophy, but then it became a worldwide success.

The only thing I regret is that the author has not cared to look into the philosophers from the East. If he did, I am sure
...more
Lisa Vegan
This was one weird book and hard to rate and really hard to review and I did procrastinate about writing a review. I decided on rating this book 2-1/2 stars, rounded up to 3 for its clever premise and general creativity. It was a disappointment though. Im trying to read only 5 and 4 star books and this did not come close. I dont regret reading it and that says something for a book I could assign 3 stars only by stretching it.

I read this as a group buddy read with Caroline, Hilary, and Ann. I
...more
Manny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times a little dull-paced but overall very well-written and engaging, Sophie's World is an eye-opening classic with powerful themes.
Saadia B. || Hustle, Bustle and Hurdles
Took me a while to complete this book. But it was totally worth it.
Annie
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting little metafiction at times, meta-metafiction for aspiring baby philosophers. A digestible, sweet narrative of the history of philosophy that, like many actual philosophers, employs dialogues to explain ideas.

At times, its pretty adorable, and I wish Id read this in high school. Other times, it goes off on tangents, hammers its points home a little too aggressively, and exudes a little too much glee over its own cleverness.

Sophie Amundsun is a clever fourteen-year-old full of
...more
Kaya
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not a silly question if you can't answer it.

Its refreshing when my expectations are met. Though this book is mostly for those who havent met with the philosophy yet, it was a nice reminder of everything I studied at University. Since hes one of my favorite authors, its really hard for me to be objective about his work, but this novel is truly remarkable, despite its many flaws.

In a nutshell, the book is about the history of philosophy, featuring a 14-year-old girl named Sophie and her
...more
May 舞
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm not sure how to rate this book. As a novel, there were many things that irked me: the dialogue was unnatural, the characters poorly built, and the narration was uninteresting. However, as a simplified re-counting of the history of Western Philosophy, it was extremely easy and enjoyable to read. I appreciate how I finally managed to understand some philosophers who have always eluded me (hello, Hegel). It was not terribly long -like History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, which ...more
Ko
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was a good chance for me to know about the basic philosophy. I've never thought about what we are, why we are living in this world. Especially, I got interested in Plato's philosophy. We tend to be inside the box like the people living inside the cave described in this story. They don't understand outside the cave. We should critically think about everything, and find out the truth. This will lead to a new creation. I'd studied my second language for a long time before I found out the best ...more
عماد العتيلي
description
I read this book a long time ago, and I really liked it. It's very powerful and attractive. It gave me a general idea of philosophy (it's worth mentioning that it was the first book I read about philosophy).
I read it in Arabic and English, and I enjoyed them both:)

I recommend it for those who have no idea of philosophy and philosophers. It's simple and noteworthy.
P.E.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
One day, Sophie receives a letter from a Alberto Knox she never heard the mere thing about. This is the beginning of a series of letters introducing the girl to Western philosophy.

A story aptly weaving a thread of major philosophical schools in an altogether entertaining plot!
From this book I worked my way to a keener outview on philosophy than I've had from 3 years' worth of philosophy in Secondary School and Prep School.

What happens to Sophie in the end is quite heart-rending.


Matching
...more
Kenghis Khan
Jul 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marx accused philosophers of describing the world and failing to change it. One of the extremely innovatinve aspects of this book is the author's ability to demonstrate how the world would be if philosophers did indeed change it. Bizarre though Berkeley, Hegel and Leibniz may seem to us, Gaarder does a remarkable job showing us how the world would looks like through the spectacles of these thinkers. Sophie's World is arguably unparalleled in its ability to "apply" the philosophical discourse to ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Rapid Tone 2 12 Aug 15, 2019 04:43AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Young adults about a young girl possibly in Scandinavia, who is amazed by life. [s] 4 26 Aug 06, 2019 06:31AM  
Lectores Argentinos: El mundo de sofia - Jostein Gaarder 1 23 Jul 12, 2019 01:19PM  
عن القراءة فى الفلسفة 8 106 Nov 01, 2018 09:03AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add reciprocal ACE info 2 12 Sep 11, 2018 11:45AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add cover photo 2 15 Sep 11, 2018 11:45AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • The Republic
  • The Stranger
  • The Prince
  • The Little Prince
  • Meditations
  • When Nietzsche Wept
  • The Metamorphosis
  • A History of Western Philosophy
  • The Forty Rules of Love
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Animal Farm
  • The Consolations of Philosophy
  • The Alchemist
  • The Clown
  • Siddhartha
  • El misterio del solitario
See similar books…
5,502 followers
Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian intellectual and author of several novels, short stories, and children's books. Gaarder often writes from the perspective of children, exploring their sense of wonder about the world. He often uses meta-fiction in his works, writing stories within stories.

Gaarder was born into a pedagogical family. His best known work is the novel Sophie's World, subtitled "A Novel
...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
11 likes · 1 comments
“Wisest is she who knows she does not know.” 854 likes
“It's not a silly question if you can't answer it.” 700 likes
More quotes…