Philosophy: 100 Essential Thinkers

By Philip Stokes

Synopsis: This is a compilation of the essential ideas of what the author feels are history's 100 most influential philosophers. Each chapter is a brief (3 or 4 pages) explanation of each philosopher, sorted roughly by time and into categories of thought.

Strong Points: I've long wanted a book like this, which can give me a brief rundown (of only of few pages) of important figures in the world of philosophy and their ideas. When I found this book at a very cheap price ($4.99), I snatched it up. It can act as a handy reference.

Weak Points: Unfortunately, the book has several weak points. Try as the author did, he didn't always succeed in making many of the philosophical opinions easily understandable for the reader. Also, a small glossary would have been helpful for those not especially familiar with philosophical terms, but instead such jargon was thrown by the reader, sometimes without an accompanying definition (or a definition given in a hard-to-find place several chapters ago). For these reasons I found the book to become rather boring about half way through. No index was provided. Conspicuous typos and incomplete sentences appeared in the text. Also, annoyingly, the author's bias could be felt strongly against Adam Smith and the philosophy of capitalism, as almost an entire page was devoted to what the author thought were the failings of capitalism (it was this point that showed the level of the author's ignorance of things not strictly philosophical). Few other figures in the book were subject to such criticism - and this book also featured the likes of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Charles Darwin, and John Maynard Keynes. I'm afraid that's what we can expect from a liberal academic.

Interesting: 2.4/5

Must Read: 2.4/5

Overall: 2.5/5

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