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Breakfast with Socrates: An Extraordinary (Philosophical) Journey Through Your Ordinary Day

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,113 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews

Have breakfast with Socrates, go to work with Nietzsche, head to the gym with Foucault, then have sex with Ovid (or Simone de Beauvoir).

Former Oxford Philosophy Fellow Robert Rowland Smith whisks you through an ordinary day with history's most extraordinary thinkers, explaining what they might have to say about your routine. From waking up in the morning through travel

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Free Press (first published October 22nd 2009)
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Riku Sayuj
The premise of the book goes like this - if it is true that the unexamined life is not worth living, instead of waiting for philosophy lectures, why not examine your life in the moment? The everyday is 99% of our lives and if we dont think about it, while we live it, we might miss the meaning hidden amongst our trivial lives. And if we do, we might get a few glimpses of this, with appropriate help, enriching it in the process.

To this end, various philosophers comment on various aspects of your
Natacha Maree
Not what I was expecting... but still pretty damn good. Reminds me of Barthes, essentially a book of essays that attempt to breakdown an event or action (going to the gym, waking up, arguing with your partner, etc) that occurs in the average day-to-day life. I was hoping to walk away learning a bit more about actual philosophical concepts and famous philosophers, but instead felt like I was listening to a person who just smoked a bowl and started having random existential conversations with me i ...more
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
What a great idea for a book, but what a disappointment to read. I mean I liked it well enough, but I was expecting something quite different, something a bit more philosophical. It makes me want to start writing my own version the way it should be done. For one thing, these chapters, such as "Going to the Gym" and "Taking a Bath" and "Having Lunch With Your Parents" are just a bit too yuppyish for me. And there are only touches of famous philosophers in each chapter. It would have been better t ...more
Marko Cindrić

Što bi rekli Sokratu kada bi se slučajno našli s njim za kavu? Ili bolje pitanje – što bi rekao on Vama kada bi čuo kako razmišljate i na koji način živite? I ono najvažnije- tko bi platio račun?

Izvrsna knjiga mladog, u filozofskim krugovima prepoznatljivog i nadasve elokventnog autora koji je na mene ostavio velik utisak. Ono što je izvrsnost ove knjige jest to što je uspjela približiti filozofiju svakidašnjice ''običnom'' čitatelju i što razmatra svakidašnja pitanja na jednostavnom jeziku filo
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Nov 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy

I was told I was going to have breakfast with Socrates himself, no less, and it turned out I was taken instead to Golden Corral buffet for some mushy, greasy meal. I am disappointed in the book.
This book is not about breakfast with Socrates. It made me feel as if I was listening to a person who just smoked a bowl and started having random existential chatter with me in some dark corner of a house party.

What a misleading title!
Feb 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Iš skambaus pavadinimo tikėjausi žymiai daugiau. Tačiau tikrai..perskaičiau paprastą kasdieninio gyvenimo filosofiją.

Gyvenimą iš tiesų nugyvename taip kaip kiekvieną savo dieną.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
How it made sense of our everyday tasks was so simple and easy to understand that I felt sad it ended already. I especially liked how the chapter ended in full circle and the fact that if you're impatient, you can read each chapter separately too. I know I've said it a million times that philosophy drags everything out and pretends to be all smart assed but thankfully this book had none of that pretentious stuff.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Confession: I did not read this book cover to cover. I picked it up because I need to summarize it for a book proposal I am writing, so I skimmed it and certain chapters with more depth than others.
However, the tastes that I did get left me with such a consistent sense of the most shallow, pathetic, ridiculous blandness I wish one of these stars was "I hated it" not just "I didn't like it." I am stunned that this actually passes for philosophical reflection even for the layman and published by
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging a book by it's cover would be fair in this case. Here we have a philosophical jaunt through the day, fueled by a provocative web of associations spun by author Robert Rowland Smith, running the gamut from psychological observations to tie-ins with Eastern religions. Smith has a good use of language and does a good job of making philosophy vivid, which could be a major plus, depending on what you want out of a book like this. I personally found it lacking as far as lasting impressions go ...more
Menglong Youk
2.5/5 stars

By reading the concept of the book, I carried a generous amount of expectation, hoping it would deliver what it promised. I mean, the thought of reading a book which describes what we do daily from waking up, going to work, having, em, sex, etc. from a philosophical viewpoint is quite anticipating, but it took me six months and five tries to go through it. The book is interesting by parts, yes, but not enough to fulfill expectation; moreover, the content isn't what I was hoping for.
Tarek Amr
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
“Given that Socrates was effectively assassinated by poison, you might think twice before accepting his invitation to breakfast”. This is how Robert Rowland Smith opened his book, Breakfast with Socrates.

People know I'm a slow reader. It takes me ages to read a book. Slow enough to get bored of books I am reading and leave them before finishing them. But this one was interesting enough that I couldn't but finish it. The thing about this book, not only that it introduced me to names like Jean-Pau
Sasha Martinez
It’s exactly what it says it is, but is exactly less hokey than it sounds. The book allows the reader to see various philosophical concepts and phenomena in the everyday—Nietzsche is with us when we commute to work, Foucault when we’re working out at the gym, Barthes when reading a book, and (of course) Freud when we’re having sexy times. It’s a book that makes us aware of what philosophers have gone on and one about, it’s a book that grounds usually lofty and hazy dogmas using the routines of o ...more
Rafael Bandeira
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ingenious idea of analyzing and questioning our day-to-day, mundane activities and situations with the insights and theories from several philosophers and thinkers, have such a great result that allows you to open your eyes for things you don't really care about, but that make big part in our life - even though we don't know it.

I was particularly amused by the "Waking up", "Going to the Gym", "Arguing with your partner" and "Having sex" chapters, as they made a lot of sense and also addresse
Nicole Rivera
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ipad
The idea of this book intrigued me from the moment I set eyes upon it - take a journey through an ordinary day with the great philosophers as your guide(s) and analyst(s). I thought, "This can either turn out to be amazing, or the most boring book I have ever read!" Well, luckily for me, Mr. Smith is an excellent writer - this book was excellent!

If you are so inclined to ask why certain things need to be done a certain way, or at least why it seems society deems them so, then it sounds like it
Mutasem Al-abweh
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really neat book on philosophy that relates to our everyday tasks that we do in a fun, educational way. If you would like to know why it's good to bunk off from work, never pay for dinner when out with your parents, to sleep early isn't a bad thing, and so many more great examples then this is the book for YOU! :)
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I was hoping for a new and interesting approach to the philosophies of the past and their application to today. Unfortunately, in the parts I read, this was all stuff I'd heard/read/studied before. It's a good intro for those who don't know much about early psychology and epistimology, just not for me.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an enjoyable smorgasbord of philosophy, sociology, literature and popular culture - i took pleasure in revisiting some known authors and discovering new ones.. a light-hearted look on what's considered "serious living", as deep as you want to see it be. it takes a quick-witted mind to produce such work, and i should look forward to enjoying any more of the same!
Mick Pletcher
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great read. It covers several of the great philosophers from Nietzsche, Jung, and Weber. The book demonstrates the importance philosophy plays in our everyday lives and how it can be used to improve living.
Philomel chowdhury
Definitely not an extraordinary journey but not a bad journey at all. Certain parts were interesting. However, a little boring at time with repetitive thoughts.Some witty comments are worth mentioning.
Josephina Kilzi
A well written book by Smith. A very good friend of mine (ironically, who I don't talk to anymore) got me this book. This book gave me a better insight into my daily life. Go ahead and pick it up!
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is such complete hokum! The implication that philosophy only comes down on one side of most issues, us a reuse. One can cite philosophy to support any side of any action (indeed often a single philosopher will support all contradicting positions on an issue). And the 'science' cited is the calibre of the Masaru Emoto's water consciousness experiments - which are NOT scientific in the least, and NOT EVEN WRONG!!! This book was a complete disappointment and an insult to reason and logic. ...more
Guðmundur Guðmundsson
A journey through the everyday of the modern professional, set to challenge our routine and ask if we're leading an examined life.
The author cleverly peppers the text, a monologue really, with quotations and references from the ancient Greeks through to our current great thinkers, make his points and provide unexpected insights. From the purpose of work to the function of make-up in the morning; all our usual activities get shown in a different light with new depth attached.

The style is lucid an
Raymond Nakamura
Fun, a bit meandering.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not for me. I got Lost. It confused me. I didnt agree with lots of the theories and answers to some common questions....
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not so extraordinary...
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Breakfast with Socrates by Robert Rowland Smith
Intriguing, unusual philosophy book

This book made me think.
There's a good thing already.
But the conclusions are not so forthcoming.
Breakfast with Socrates was a good read, but it still seems that I need to qualify that.
Being modern sounds in itself enticing else to put it? - good.
And if you look at the titles of the chapters, you are left in doubt about the contemporary feel of this work:
Waking up, Being at Work, Shopping, Going to the Gym
Youssef Abdelgawad
You'd think it would be more in depth, but a lot of it felt like rambling. Well written rambling though, which I enjoyed.
My notes...

The book was pretty light in terms of philosophy. I thought his applications to everyday life (beginning with waking and continuing through an average day's activities) were a stretch at times, or lacked impact. A few chapters are worth reading, and I took some scattered notes from those.

Chapter 1 Waking Up
The metaphor of an "awakening" works for spirituality (and other things) because it's something that is done to you--you cannot waken yourself.

Chapter 2 Getting Ready...
The point of
Justine Camacho-Tajonera
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Justine by: Book club
Just because it took me almost a year to read this doesn't mean that the book's content was the problem. It was probably my philosophy-resistant mind. Haha!

Some of my more memorable moments reading the book:
- Remembering a childhood experience of waking up early and watching the sky change color from black to orange to blue
- Encountering one of my favorite philosophers, Mikhail Bakhtin, again in the chapter on going to the gym (of all things! which I currently do!). "To Bakhtin, the b
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Pre-college text? 2 9 Sep 19, 2012 11:33AM  
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Robert Rowland Smith was for seven years a Prize Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford and is a consultant, lecturer and writer on philosophy, literature and psychoanalysis. He has written for The Independent and The Evening Standard, been profiled in The Sunday Telegraph, Time Out and The Observer, and contributed to books on philosophy for children. As well as broadcasting for BBC Radio and televi ...more
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“Although her disobedience is tragic, Eve’s innocence is not all bad. Certainly, that innocfence leads her to make a poor choice - the very worst - but the fact that she makes a choice at all, the fact that she engages the Devil in a debate which could go either way, the fact that she acts without God breathing down her neck - all speak for her free will or, what amounts to the same thing, her margin for error. It is from this margin for error that freedom springs, because you can’t be free to right unless you can be free to be wrong.” 7 likes
“Credit' comes from the Latin 'credere', 'to believe', for credit is the belief that the money you're borrowing will someday be returned, a belief that needs the future to function in.” 6 likes
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