How to Live: Wise (and Not-so-Wise) Advice from the Great Philosophers

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It's philosophy, Jim - but not as we know it. Tackling the really serious questions such as: Which techniques can you use to make people fall in love with you? What should I eat for dinner? How would Aristotle really run General Motors? And where can we find the secret of happiness?

Here are 75 thought-provoking ‘life lessons’ based on tasty titbits of philosophy from the writings of the Greats. More

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About Martin Cohen

Martin Cohen is a well-established author specializing in popular books in philosophy, social science and politics.

He is best known for his two introductions to philosophy, 101 Philosophy Problems (Routledge 1999, 2001, 2007) and 101 Ethical Dilemmas (Routledge 2002/2007) which despite being originally aimed at the academic market, between them have sold over 250,000 copies and been translated into 20 different languages. He also published an "anti-history" of great philosophers, Philosophical Tales (2008) for Blackwell.

His most recent projects include the UK edition of Philosophy for Dummies (Wiley June 2010); Mind Games: 31 days to rediscover your Brain (Blackwell, July 2010) and The Doomsday Machine: The High Price of Nuclear Energy, the World's Most Dangerous Fuel (co-authored with Andrew McKillop). A project with Richard Stanyer developing resources for Philosophy for Children has led to a beautifully illustrated children's book called Milo and the upside-down Goggles. (The project website is http.//www.philosophystories.co.uk)

A book on Thought Experiments was well-reviewed despite being entitled (confusingly perhaps!) Wittgenstein's Beetle, (2004) and other more academic books include a mini book on Adam Smith; and a reference guide to philosophy and ethics for Hodder Academic.

Martin now writes full-time, but in the past has taught philosophy and social science at a number of universities in the UK and Australia, and was involved in a research project at Leeds University under George MacDonald Ross exploring ways to shift philosophy teaching away from the the mere study of philosophical facts and toward a view of philosophy as an activity.

A respected environmentalist, he wrote an influential series of articles in the Times Higher (London) about the politics of the climate change debate. He has written discussion papers on environmental concerns for the European Parliament and been invited by the Chinese government to discuss ecological rights and indigenous communities.

[Martin, be creative - include an anecdote - website editor]

Martin's PhD is actually in computers and education - not 'pure philosophy' - a fact that has often led to him being sneered at in philosophy circles, and the most-important-job-that-he-never-got was to be head of the UK's quango responsible for implanting information technology into schools.. He was invited to the organisation's headquarters for interview with a shortlist of one - and asked his research influenced his view of the use of computers in school. Naturally the questioners expected him to paint a very rosy picture, but being not only honest but a little contrarian, Martin instead described how in school after school that he had visited, he had seen computers reducing creativity, stifling learning and generally being very badly used.The moral of the tale? Honesty is rarely the best policy.

He is also the editor of THE PHILOSOPHER, a journal founded in 1923, which counts some of the best known names in Twentieth Century philosophy amongst its contributors. His editorial strategy is to allow as wide a range of ideas as possible a forum in the Journal, and this often prints papers by non-specialists with unusual and original ideas. He is currently based in Normandy, France, but travels often to the US and UK.

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Reviews

Review by: Emerald Gibb on Dec. 10, 2013 : star star star star star
How to Live is genuinely philosophical and truly entertaining – it deals with the insights and wisdom, as well as the absurdities expressed by several philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle in ancient Greece; Confucius and Lao Tzu in ancient China; Descartes and Rousseau from early modern times; Kant, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche from the Land of Abstruse Thinkers...

The book is genuinely philosophical in that it provides a competent examination of some characteristic doctrines in the work of these philosophical grandees on how to live, and how to argue and not to argue about how to live. It is also truly entertaining in that Cohen takes the mickey out of them by showing with great relish that the tiny gold nuggets of wisdom found in their work are mixed with masses of alluvial deposits and that much philosophical advice can seriously damage your moral and intellectual health if you accept it.

Young students are not necessarily going to be helped to pass their final BA by reading the book, but they will surely find in it pleasurable relief from the intolerable seriousness of Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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