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Great Thinkers: Simple Tools from 60 Great Thinkers to Improve Your Life Today

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  591 ratings  ·  67 reviews
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4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  591 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Bessy Espina
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, really good. I think I'm learning more from this compared to my philosophy class in university. I'm reading this book in Alain de Botton's voice. If you're not familiar with his work, go to The School of Life channel on YouTube. I think the way he delivers philosophy stands out because he's able to put it in today's context. Philosophy has this reputation of being archaic. A lot of students I know have headaches just reading assigned philosophical works. But, I am thoroughly enjoying thi ...more
Pouting Always
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Always a fan of people distilling down philosophy for me so I don't have to do something unfortunate like actually read Hegel. I really like that it gave a sampling of people who have contributed Big Ideas and explains those ideas in a way relevant to daily modern life. I actually didn't know quite a few of the people mentioned in the book and eventually plan on picking up those people's writing to learn more.
Nyamka Ganni
What a wonderful and wise compilation.

"Anger is caused by violent collision of hope and reality. "
"What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears" - Seneca
"Friendship teaches us what we ought to be. "
"The art lies in concealing the art."
"True modesty comes from confidence. Modesty is a lack of anxiety about being ignored"

personal favorites
- Stoics
- Epicurus (interesting how his ideas influenced Karl Marx)
- Michel de Montaigne
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Arthur Sch
Spencer Fraye
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thought-provoking. Learned a lot and opened my eyes to some new perspectives on things. If you were unaware, just about everything mentioned in the book is available in video format on their YouTube channel (@TheSchoolofLife)
Miguel Miranda
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bought it on a whim, I always enjoyed the quality of the YouTube videos. I'll forever treasure this book in my bookshelf to use as a constant reference. I marked my favorite thinkers because I plan to digest those pages like a priest would do to the Bible.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
A mixed bag, this. The School of Life is overly enamored by nihilism and finding value in meaninglessness and the eventuality of death.
Koen Van den Eeckhout
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What a deliciously straightforward, open-minded, positive book!
Joeri Kooimans
From time to time I try to read accessible introductory works on philosophy in order to improve my own didactical skills to explain philosophy in a more concise and understandable manner. Since the growing popularity of the School of Life and because I can sympathize with their mission I thought to give their book a go.

In the book they manage to convey important philosophical insights in a simple manner and they tried to assemble a diverse canon, at which I think they could have done a better jo
Steve Hitchcock
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should be made to read this. The world would be a better place.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many life-changing ideas from great thinkers and artists, written for all kinds of readers to grasp and enjoy.
Rrezearta Elezi
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book if you're interested in having most fundamental informations about some of great minds that helped shape our vision for art, architecture, social interactions, lifestyle choices and over introspective. Its very well written and thought of, eloquent, and focuses mainly on the very carefully paragraphed highlights of the works of the people portrait in the book!
Kholoud Fathi
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
all the non fictional books should be written in this way
I never felt bored , very informative , rich , touching , warm and tender book
I highly recommend their books and YouTube channel !!
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderfully combined book. I cried and laughed, and agreed and had some of the deepest conversations in my life - with this book, an imaginable storyteller for whom I felt the deepest admiration. It is an eye opener for me, since lots of these ideas resemble with me daily.
While reading this book, it felt that I had a partner for debates and discussion for several weeks. The book is wonderfully written and possibly the strongest five stars awarded so far by me on Goodreads.
Engo Koc
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's like having the practical solutions of 60 wise grandpa's.
Elliot Richards
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable read, though it took me a little while to get through the 400+ pages and it is a very heavy book, but worth it. I found the book enlightening and invaluable.
Tiago Faleiro
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, art
Very enjoyable read. From its title, I was expecting to be entirely about philosophy, but to my surprise that was only a relatively minor part of it. From political theory to sociology, psychotherapy, architecture, and literature, one thing this book doesn't miss is diversity.

I didn't find some of the people selected very interesting, particularly in sociology. In fact, in some, I got quite bored and felt like dropping the book. Thankfully, I enjoyed the rest so much that it definitely paid off
Felipe CZ
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Great book that summarizes great thinkers of the past's wisdom that is still relevant today. Stoicism that can help overcome anxiety; Aquinas reconciliation of faith and science; Smith's capitalism principles; Lao Tzu's teachings on how life can be sweet if we follow its natural flow and contemplate; anthropological research of Margaret Mead; Freud's ideas about childhood pleasure; Jane Austen's teachings about judging people carefully. Some of humanity's great thinkers still have something to t ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of some of the great thinkers history has produced over time.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
Beautiful introduction to some of the most important people in human history. School of life rules!
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Great Thinkers is a compilation of 60 short essays -- about 1,500 to 3,000 words each -- published by The School of Life, which dedicates itself to “developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture”. It describes the book as a volume of some of the most important ideas of Eastern and Western culture, drawn from the works of philosophers, political theorists, sociologists, artists, and novelists “whom we believe have the most to offer us today”.

The individual essays are well written
Max Persson
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam McNamara
"[Great Thinkers] gathers together the canon of The School of Life: it is our selection of the greatest thinkers from the fields of philosophy, political theory, sociology, psychotherapy, art, architecture and literature whom we believe have the most to offer to us today.”

The book is organized into 60 chapters; about ten pages for each great thinker. Each follows a similar format: introduce the thinker, discuss their 1-5 big ideas, and conclude with how those ideas might influence our lives toda
Jannik Faierson
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
"True modesty comes from confidence. Modesty is a lack of anxiety about being ignored."

This quote is an excerpt of the chapter about Dieter Rams. A key figure in designing every-day objects simple and compelling. I must admit that I didn't know him before I read about him, just like many other original thinkers that I encountered.
This book is a masterpiece in many respects. First of all, introduces it to you the personalities, lives and most important ideas of sixty great thinkers in the histor
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An entertaining mixture of intellectual and emotional education; and in some way therapy.

This books contains the lives and thoughts of 60 "Great Thinkers" who The School of Life chose by searching for what might help us most in our everyday lives. It stretches across several fields of study: Philosophy, Political Theory, Eastern Philosophy, Sociology, Psychotherapy, Art & Architecture and Literature.

Reading this was insightful in the two ways I've mentioned: It gives you an educational over
Eduard Barbu
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a collection of very short descriptions of some of the ideas developed by people that the editors call "Great thinkers". Of course, such a collection will not satisfy everybody and your reviewer is no exception. My appraisal is based on the collection as such and not on the criteria of selection. In any case, I don't think Coco Chanel could be described as a "great thinker" in any possible collection:), but the editors disagree and include her under the "Art & Architecture" category. ...more
Shalom Rapoport
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
The ambition to present these ancient ideas in a relatable format is laudable but one surely has to consider at what point the gross oversimplification of an idea amounts to a distortion. Many of the explications of philosophical ideas in this book are so remote from their initial form as to be virtually unrecognisable from them. De Botton can hardly expect to escape the cynical charge that he is disingenuous in his glossy portrayals and benign projection onto historically complex figures and id ...more
S. Jess
So don't mind me, finishing this book five months later.

Great Thinkers introduces sixty influential people in "bite sized" chapters that are both engaging and inspiring to read about. I do consider this book more "self-help" than biographical, since it looks for and pinpoints certain ideas that the School of Life coincides with (and, yes, it does tend to get redundant after awhile). However, this is not your typical upbeat "life is wonderful and the power is inside you" kind of self-help. Great
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best physical representation of this book is to picture a room with many doors, one signifying each topic. Inside each of these doors is a smaller room with a collection of windows, one for each 'thinker'. This book offers itself as a gateway, or a map to many great thinkers, as the book is titled. It doesn't offer any tools per say, but is a starting point for exploring many different facets of literature, art, philosophy and so forth. It has helped me to discover some new literature and ma ...more
Janīna Valērija
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book that everyone must have! (and I have never thought that I would EVER say this phrase about a book, seriously) The summary of each person is very well made, you get the main idea and a couple of interesting details, but it does not bore you. Very thought provoking. I was reading it when something was troubling me and to read this was the best choice! It comforts you, it explains you things you know and don't yet know, it makes your existence more understandable. +I got inspired not only be ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this British book of profound insights from the most eminent thinkers and culture creators of all time—it is a brilliant distillation not just of their ideas but of the *application* of those ideas to everyday life. I loved it! My two major gripes with this work are that everyone (with the exception of the eastern thinkers) is white. Are there truly no great thinkers of African, Indian, Native, Latino heritage, etc.? Second, this volume comes from an organization (the School ...more
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Sadly, tools and techniques for developing self-knowledge and finding fulfilment are hard to find – they’re not
“But simplicity is really an achievement – it follows from hard-won clarity about what matters.” 6 likes
“Anger is, in the Stoic analysis, caused by the violent collision of hope and reality. We” 2 likes
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