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Walking with Plato

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  37 reviews
"A helpful and delightful reminder of the important things in life."
—The Washington Post

" A compelling reminder that serious reading sustains—even transforms—lived experience.”
— Booklist

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.' So said Friedrich Nietzsche, and so thought philosophy buff Gary Hayden as he set off on Britain’s most challenging trek: to walk from
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Oneworld Publications
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  136 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Gary Hayden
Jun 21, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote this book, and so can't really comment on it.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library_books, travel
Usually, I run screaming from anything to do with "philosophy" - just ... ugh! But, as the book was small, I decided to look through it at the library, liking the passages I read. There's philosophy, but it's occasional and relatable; whenever Hayden does use a quote, he's applying it to a situation encountered on his travels. Only at one point did I ever feel even slightly bogged down.

The book is primarily a travel journal featuring highlights of the couple's journey, though not at all a "Dear
Cynthia Egbert
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-and-read
If I were a wee bit younger and healthier, I could see myself yearning to make the trek that this author and his wife made, the End to End walk from tip to tip of Britain. I am not able to do any such thing but I did appreciate reliving the journey through this delightful read. It is quintessentially British in its understated approach and I loved every minute of the book. The philosophy that he threads through the entire journey is the icing on the cake. Again, there are far too many quotes for ...more
Shivam Chaturvedi
Doesnt happen often that one comes across a book that somehow perfectly captures the essence of what is going on in your life at that point of time.

It happened to me last year in October, reading Ivan Turgenev's First Love and it has happened once again reading this book. Funnily, I came across this book randomly browsing through the bookshelves of Columbia University's bookstore, and the title and book cover just caught my attention, nestled amongst the great works of Kierkegaard, Sartre, Ari
Ian Brydon
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was an intriguing book, though somehow it didn’t quite work for me. The premise was an excellent one, and seemed designed specifically to appeal to me, which makes it even more disappointing.

Gary Harden and his wife, on returning from five years living and working in Vietnam, decided to walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Having made this decision, they planned what seemed the most appealing route, even though that would take the total mileage to around 1,200. Harden recounts his experi
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it

Walking with Plato by Gary Hayden is a highly recommended walking tour of Great Britain, with philosophical pondering shared along the way.

Hayden and Wendy, his wife, decided to do a three month "End-to-End" walking tour from the northeastern tip of Scotland to the southwestern tip of England. They started in John o'Groats and made their way to Land's End (JoGLE), a 1,200-mile trek, enduring blisters, sore backs and feet, and weather along the way. The eight chapters list the towns they went thr
Gilion Dumas
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Walking with Plato is a book of philosophical and other musings inspired by the author's thousand-mile walk from John o’Groats, the northern tip of Scotland, to Land’s End, the southernmost tip of England. Hayden recounts the scenery, midges, books, ups, downs, and adventures he and his wife have along their journey. The book is pure charm and any Anglophile who's enjoyed a country ramble or a poke through old villages would love it.
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was quite different from most of the road trip books I've read. Often I come away thinking I'm glad they did the trip, I wouldn't want to. This book left me wanting to follow in their footsteps. It felt more like an Impressionists story of the trek. I did very much wish for maps to accompany the text. I do also wish that a couple of the photos that were described were included to be able to see a part of the hike. I appreciated the author's growth as he moved from viewing the journey as a c ...more
Nathan  Jones-Croft
Fully loved this account of JOGLE. It was a very good mix of philosophy and the journey and how both Gary and his wife grew as people from it. I've read three books on the LEJOG/JOGLE journey now and this one is by far my favourite.
I'm leaving for my own LEJOG journey next month so now I have a little more knowledge of what to expect and I'm planning to pack The Way of Zen Audiobook by Alan Watts for good measure!
Florent Chua
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I cannot help chuckling at the humorous anecdotes. I never know Hayden can be so funny at times. Perhaps this book is a reminder that our lives are transient before nature, making it all the more important for us to reflect upon the meaning of life itself. Some call it Zen, or Tao, but ultimately the answer has to come from within yourself. In a way, the philosophical aspect appeals to me.
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Joyful, thought-provoking and provided a beautiful calm at the end of each day when I cozied up to read. I loved the combination of Andy's reflections on his experiences and the links with philosophers throughout the ages.
Warren Gossett
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book demanded to be read in one day. With a little sadness that the last page came so quickly. Just as the author had a bit of sadness that he and his wife's walk from John o'Groats to Land's End, after weeks of struggling to adapt and joyous surprises, also finished.
Adeptus Fringilla
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quite a short book for such a long walk, but its a good and interesting story, especially I enjoyed the philosophical musings. They make this book worthwhile.
Sep 25, 2016 added it
"The point in life is to know what's enough." Gensei.
Tanya Waller
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliantly realistic explanation of what it's like to walk just for the enjoyment of being outside.
Ian Hodkinson
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, history
I did enjoy this, a thoughtful review of life in general with numerous philosophical insights set against a trudge across the UK from JOG to LE.
Tineke Dijkstra
I really enjoyed Hayden's account of his hike from John o'Groats to Land's End with his partner Wendy. It was an easy read, often plain. Hayden also reflects on this during his writing, stating that he has written as he had walked: not noticing every single flower of leaf, but considering himself a "nature-lover" in Emerson's terms. He also mentions that he had no intention of writing the book while he was walking, therefore not having made any real notes during the hike - something he's happy a ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
After spending 5 years in Viet Nam, Gary and his partner Wendy walk from the northern tip of Scotland at John o Groats to the southern tip of England at Land’s End – about 1000 miles. The author tells you that he is not really an outdoor person (Wendy is) and that he does not notice things when he is walking. He basically gives detailed information on the route, the weather, and the accommodations, be it their tent, a B&B or a hostel. He also reflects on various philosophies (for me ad nause ...more
Mubeen Irfan
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Comfort is relative.
Simplicity is the essence of life.
Nature is all and everything around us and not just field, trees, plants & hills.
When you finally reach your goals, things start to appear meaningless.
Life needs motivation to work towards be it financial, personal or communal.
Uncertainty is the beauty of life.
Beauty is appreciated by soul and no true definition can comprehend it.

And above all, walking frees your mind to wander, think, appreciate and bear with yourself.

These are a few im
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My main issue with this book was that consistently the author bemoans any expenditure on accommodation yet has the luxury of being able to take 3 months off work (to which we later find out that he is still writing a paid column for a newspaper whilst doing JoGLE) and prior to moving back to England, paints living a life of luxury in Vietnam.
To me it came across as someone who is comfortable trying to pretend that money is an issue and that pissed me off for the entire book, so much so that when
It's not so much about where he walked. In fact, Hayden makes the point that his version of nature-loving (backed up by C. S. Lewis) is not about the details but the experience as a whole. I'm more in the details camp as nature lovers go, and the surroundings felt out of focus. But that's not an entirely fair evaluation of a book that was largely an interesting interior journey. Hayden's point of arrival is a thought-provoking and peaceable appreciation of the state of just being.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
While I wasn't crazy about the philosophical musings on walking, I did learn one thing - even w/ my hiking obsession, i will NOT attempt the British "End to End." Too many highways. And "midges!" (Which I believe are a certain tiny/nasty mosquito). Nevertheless this author's 1200 mile trek was impressive. (And if I'm lucky I will walk "The Heart of England Way," and possibly "The Cotswold Way.")
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book. But it's a lot of "I walked in some places I don't really remember. And at the end of the day we pitched a tent. Or splurged on a BnB. Or stayed at a youth hostile. Sometimes I thought about things, but not for very long. There was a nice view now and again." If you are looking for the magic captured by other writers like Robert McFarlane, this isn't it.
A Hudak
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not a typical hiking memoir, but rather a philosophical musing prompted by the author's experiences as he walks from John O'Groats to Lands End. I have done a little hiking in England and more in the United States so I appreciated his descriptions and feelings about the effect walking in nature can have.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
A bit disappointing- author drops in some interesting thoughts but never really follows them through. He admits that he never intended to write a book about his journey, so has forgotten lots of details. Impressive achievement, though, to walk the whole length of the country!
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A little gem of a book and I now want to embark on a mammoth walk. A short but rewarding little book.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is lovely. It’s like somebody’s dad telling you about his holiday.
Zoe Clark
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Very enjoyable and easy to read book. Somehow says not a lot but also some quite poignant and meaningful things. Overall definitely worth a read.
Beth Withers
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This review is of an advance uncorrected proof. I was given this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.
I found myself disappointed in this book, overall. It is an account of a 3-month walking journey in Britain, extending from the northern portion down to Lands End. I felt like I was peeking into someone's travel diary with a few philosophical thoughts and quotations thrown in. I was hoping for more descriptions of the British countryside, the villa
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Being from America, it made this book a tad bit more challenging to follow. I am not familiar with any of the cities he referred to in the book, not familiar with the trail they walked, and there were numerous words and sayings that were new to me. However, I really enjoyed the book. I loved how he weaved the philosophy throughout, and how he gave a great testament of the beneficial aspects of spending time in nature and in hiking. I also enjoyed hearing about the little bed and breakfasts that ...more
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If you look at the ratings I give, here on Goodreads, you might think that I'm very easy to please, since many of them are five-star. But that's because I tend mostly to rate books I love and admire, rather than just anything that comes my way.
I love classic literature, particularly classic British literature, especially Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope.
As a writer, I'm influenced