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The Lessons of History

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,543 ratings  ·  644 reviews
A concise survey of the culture and civilization of mankind, The Lessons of History is the result of a lifetime of research from Pulitzer Prize–winning historians Will and Ariel Durant.

With their accessible compendium of philosophy and social progress, the Durants take us on a journey through history, exploring the possibilities and limitations of humanity over time. Juxta
ebook, 128 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 1968)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,543 ratings  ·  644 reviews

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Roy Lotz
I’m having trouble articulating the complex mix of opinions and emotions that I’ve formed around Durant. Several times I have come away from his books disappointed; and yet I continue to read them. One reason he fascinates me is that he is a species of American which is now almost entirely extinct: a product of the ‘Great Books’ paradigm in American higher education.

As far as I can tell, this paradigm in education was first popularized in 1909, when Charles W. Eliot released his Harvard Classic
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I inherited much of my father’s library many years ago, including the entire eleven volume Story of Civilization, by Will and Ariel Durant. Included in the set was the single slim volume they wrote afterward by way of an introduction, The Lessons of History. Over the years I have frequently dipped into individual volumes of the main text for research, but I never read any entire volume until my wife came bouncing into my office one evening and thrust The Lessons of History under my nose and said ...more
ظاهرا دورانت ها این کتاب را در جریان بازخوانی "تاریخ تمدن" نگاشته اند و به بررسی تاریخ در پیوند با موضوعاتی از قبیل زمین، اخلاق، دین، اقتصاد و ... و تاثیر این مسائل بر تاریخ و بالعکس پرداخته اند و در نهایت رشد و زوال و پیشرفت انسان و تمدن در گذرگاه زمان و تاریخ را واکاوی کرده اند

اگر مثل من تاریخ تمدن را نخوانده اید و مطمئن هم نیستید که اصولا روزی آن اثر را خواهید خواند یا خیر شاید این کتاب، به عنوان پیش درآمد یا دست کم چکیده ای از دیدگاه های یکی از فیلسوفان و محققان بزرگ، گزینه مناسبی باشد
Danger Kallisti
Feb 12, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for a few scattered clever quotes
Recommended to Danger by: Kevin, I think.
Shelves: crap-just-crap
The first thing to understand about this book is that it was written by old people. By this, I don’t even mean that they were chronologically enhanced; more that they were trapped by that inflexible mindset which places tradition and an intense desire for belonging above a natural exploration of reality.

The Durants were either intelligent people trying to reconcile their minds to the demands of the culture in which they were raised, or abject liars attempting to politick their way onto the books
Lori Tian Sailiata
The audio version is delightful. It enhances the original text with interviews that are relevant to each section. The intimacy between Will and Ariel is a treat. Their playful arm wrestling over ideas and concepts makes for a better interview. Sure, their world view is older...although he was a radical of his time. But even for the faults, it's a delight to linger in his mind. And an honor to be in the presence of Ariel's spirit.
Nawal Al-Qussyer

كنت قد قررت أن أعطي الكتاب نجمتين .. لكن آخر فصل قلب موازين الكتب واخترت أن أقيمه ب ثلاث نجمات ..
قام ويل وزوجته ارييل بتأليف هذا الكتاب بعد انتهائهم من تأليف ونشر كتاب قصة الحضارة الضخم وكأنه في رحلته عبر التاريخ يقدم دروسا مستفادة وعبر من التاريخ الذي يكرر نفسه بصورته العامة.. يتكون الكتاب من ١٣ فصلا مختلفة الطول.. يعنون الفصول بعامل أو عنصر في حياة الانسان وعلاقته بالتاريخ وما قدم عبر العصور السالفة:
-ألوان من الحيرة
-التاريخ والأرض
-البيولوجيا والتاريخ
-العرق والتاريخ
Heather Campbell
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book a high rating no because I agree with it. But it is important to see where historiography was at in the 60's. Durants' main point is that the strong,tenacious, breeding society will win the day and that the world will only unite as one when aliens attack us. This is the antithesis of what Jesus taught. Also Gandhi. They also say the monarchy is the most stable successful form of government and that the church is important only because it serve as a personal behavior moderato ...more
Feb 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those intrigued by humanity's journey
Recommended to Wayne by: Mistress History
Shelves: history, americana
A Curiosity.

I liked it, not because I agreed with it, but because
it is such a rarity and an oddity.

How often are historians brave enough or rash enough to
take on the job/challenge of offering "a survey of human experience"
as Will and Ariel Durant say in their preface.
Even if you disagree with or query their views, it makes you wonder what you yourself believe and think and whether you can justify it with facts and figures.
You may not agree with much of this book, or then you may.
But you will be
Mohammad Ali

با ارفاق سه ستاره

ویل دورانت در این کتاب نظراتش رو صادقانه و بدون پیچیدگی در مورد مضامین مختلف بیان کرده. اما اون چیزی که حداقل برای من در این کتاب جالب تر بود اشارات تاریخیشه. طبیعتا کسی که از حرف های تاریخی ویل دورانت در این کتاب مطلع باشه، کتاب چیز خاصی نداره سوای همون جامعیت ویل دورانتی و قضاوت تقریبا عادلانه - اینکه سعی می کنه دو طرف قضیه رو باز کنه. ولی اصلا نباید انتظار یه آدم عمیق و فلسفی رو ازش داشت. به هر حال همینکه ذهن آدم با بعضی پرسش ها روبرو بشه خودش یه مزیته

دو فصل "سوسیالیسم و تاری
Ashok Krishna
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History repeats itself’, ‘Those who don’t learn from history are forced to repeat it’ – these are two of the quips about which I had been curious for so long. Is it possible that we humans are living a cycle all through our lives? Are we repeating the same things, events and experiences that our ancestors once went through? Are we humans, so-called most intelligent species of this planet, so inept at learning from our past that we go through the same pains and pleasures, events and experiences ...more
Adam Meade
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Brilliant! The Durant's offer a bird's-eye view of human civilization and distill for us the principles and common threads that bind different peoples separated chronologically by thousands of years yet whom differ little to none in the passions and desires that motivate them. I can't recall reading any other book that had such a low length-to-substance ratio. It weighs in at only around 120 pages, but nearly every sentence seems pregnant with deep insights and wisdom that is as relevant today a ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emad Attili
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads

كتاب جميل وبسيط .. وصغير!

وربما أن صِغَر حجمه هو ما أضفى عليه جمالاً زائداً :)

ويل ديورانت وزوجته آرييل هما، بلا شك، من العقول الضخمة التي لا يملك الواحد منا إلا أن يحترمها ويجلّها – وإن اختلف معها في مواضع يسيرة.


لست هنا في معرض تقييم للكتاب .. فهو باختصار كتاب ممتع إلى حد ما (لا يخلو من الملل والرتابة ..!!) وهو استخلاص للدروس والعِبر من رائعة ديورانت الشهيرة "قصّة الحضارة" – التي أتمنى أن أقرأها خلال السنة القادمة 2015 :)


هنا سأورد بعض ما أعجبني من اقتباسات تستحق الذكر:

١] إن العلم محايد. فهو مستعد
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bizarre little audiobook with short chapters followed by longish interviews that were apparently done while walking around outside with the authors. The attitudes are quaint if not antiquated, but I guess that's another lesson of history. As pointed out in other reviews, there is much to disagree with, but the Durants made some points I found very interesting, e.g. the value of the bureaucracy/conservative system in not letting upstarts keep turning the world upside down willy-nilly. T ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of Will and Ariel Durant in 2004 when reading a message by Jeffrey R. Holland, then President of Brigham Young University:

No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to h
Oct 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a thoroughly disagreeable book. Filled with conclusory opinionated claptrap unsupported by historical evidence. Racist and homophobic.

For example, "only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality" or "All strong characters and peoples are race conscious, and are instinctively averse to marriage outside their own racial group." or "...sin had flourished in every age...Even our generation has not yet rivaled the popularity of homosexualism in ancient Greece or Rome.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
کتاب خیلی خوبی بود. همونطور که ویل و آریل دورانت اول کتاب گفتهان، همهٔ جلدهای تاریخ تمدنشون رو تو این کتاب کمحجم خلاصه کردهان. البته نباید انتظار داشت که کل تاریخ بشر رو تو این کتاب بخونید! نه! همونطور که از اسم کتاب هم پیداست، این کتاب بیشتر در مورد نتایج حوادث تاریخیه. کلن اطلاعات من رو بالا برد و نگرش من نسبت به خیلی مسائل رو هم تا حد زیادی تعدیل کرد. ترجمه هم به نظر ام عالیه. مخصوصن که توضیح اسمها رو هم آخر هر فصل آورده و دیگه گیج نمیشید که این شخصیت کی بوده و اینا. ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I agree with some of the reviews already posted: this book has a very 'bleak' view of contemporary art and its meaning, reducing it to something that middle-class wants to buy because they are impressed by auctioneers (this is from the book). I do not agree with this at all, yet some of the chapters in this book are so well written. Personally I enjoyed the last chapter the most, which questions whether progress is real. I would recommend this book but please bear in mind it's from 1968.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: تاریخ
این کتاب دارای 146 صفحه و از 13 فصل تشکیل شده است. نویسنده سعی بر بررسی اجمالی مطالب تاریخی ومفاهیم مرتبط با آن میکند. مفاهیمی چون زمین، زیست شناسی، نژاد، سرشت آدمی، اخلاق، دین، اقتصاد ، سوسیالیسم، حکومت، جنگ که همگی با کلمه تاریخ همراه است و هر یک جداگانه با حجمی مختصر و کلی ،مطالب خواندنی را بازگو میکند .
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educate-kids
Excellent concise summary the authors distilled after writing their eleven volume The Story of Civilization. This was written in the late 1960's, so if you require everything you read to be reinterpreted through the politically correct lens of the current moment, you'll be offended by this and almost everything else written more than 50 years ago... Personally, I thought this was quick and fun, and made a nice companion to Asimov's summaries The Greeks: A Great Adventure and his 30009, also writ ...more
زوبير رزيق
كتاب ممتع جدا ...في 209يحاول ديورانت تلخيص دروس مستفادة من تاريخ البشرية ..اطلاع المؤلف الواسع ساهم في جودة هذا الكتاب (نتاجه الثقافي لا يحتاج تعريف ..) .قد تختلف معه في نقاط. و قد تختلف في أخرى لكن في كلا الحالتين ستشعر عند انهاء الكتاب بأنه كان وجبة دسمة بحق
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In about ten sections, Mr. and Mrs. Durant cover an amazing amount of ground, examining some of the biggest or most currently popular ideas in the world through the lens of history. Just a few of the sections are:

History and the Earth
Race and History
Character and History
Religion and History
Economics and History
Socialism and History
History and War

The Durants examine these ideas (war, socialism, democracy and Communism) by calling forth an impressive array of examples and peoples, both successful
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an old, well-known text, so I’ll keep my review brief. I find especially valuable chapter III “Biology and History,” and chapter VIII “Economics and History.” Yes, BIOLOGICALLY it’s helpful to remember that a.) life is competition, b.) life is selection, and c.) life must breed. ECONOMICALLY, it’s good to know that a.) every economic system must sooner or later rely upon some form of the profit motive to stir individuals and groups to productivity, b.) the majority of productive ability ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book a few years ago and only made it through about the first 15 pages before shelving it for another day.

I picked it up again today, and while thumbing through, a couple of passages caught my eye and I ended up finishing the book. It turns out, much of it was really interesting.

It’s a little dry in parts, and at only 102 pages, doesn’t go into any depth. It briefly summarizes the history of biology, race, character, morals, religion, economics, socialism, government, war
May 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics-etc
The premise and the introduction sounded interesting, but soon I could not take it anymore: almost every second page asserts that Whites, Teutons or Catholics are the stronger group and therefore rule in all parts of the world or will soon rule (e.g. Catholics soon dominating Protestants in America due to greater virtue). Also, contraceptives, vaccinations and public schools are of the devil because they hinder evolution / the dominance of the strongest, and countries that have too much of the a ...more
Simon Eskildsen
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
What a fantastic book. Will presents a, for me, novel perspective on how we have yet to replace the strong moral code from religion, which may eventually backfire (or be superseded by communism). Another point, among many, that resonated strongly with me is that liberty comes from order, but with too much you may undermine the order that created it in the first place (anarchy). It's the uncanny valley of freedom, or tipping point. This booked is packed with useful observations concerning history ...more
Nishant Chandra
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short and insightful.
Clearly worth multiple quick reads over time.
Enzo Altamiranda
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wisdom, perspective
Reading a good history book gives double pleasure. First, provided it's a great book, the author's writing style will be compelling and entertaining which will make learning about history a pleasurable thing to do. Second, by going through the pages one will become enlightened with perspectives that in many cases allow for the better understanding of the world. Through this understanding, it is even possible to get to know oneself better, because each individual is influenced by her surroundings ...more
Amir Latifi
کتاب متوسطیست. چندان عمیق و موشکافانه نیست. گاهی نگاهی فضیلتگرا، گذشتهدوست و پرحسرت جای انصاف و روشنبینی را میگیرد. فصلهای اول چندان خواندنی نیستند.

خود دورانتها در مقدمه میگویند که خلاصه کردن تاریخ در صدها صفحه ممکن است کار گزاف و غیرممکنی به نظر بیاید و نتیجهی ممتازی نداشته باشد. متأسفانه در بخشهایی به خصوص فصلهای اول، کتاب دچار همین آفات میشود.

در کل کتاب عمیقی نیست. دورانتها سعی میکنند به مسائل مختلف با بیطرفی نظر کنند ولی گاهی دید فضیلتگرایانه -فضیلتی که در بودن و چیستیاش هیچ وقت توافقی نیست
Sotiris Makrygiannis
A summary of the previous work of the Durant family. Is rather good summary worth reading
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William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for the 11-volume The Story of Civilization, written in collaboration with his wife Ariel and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for his book, The Story of Philosophy, written in 1926, which was considered "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy."

They were awarde
“History reports that the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.” 48 likes
“In progressive societies the concentration[of wealth] may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.” 37 likes
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