The best books on philosophy

Sue Prideaux Author Of I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche
By Sue Prideaux

The Books I Picked & Why

A Little History of Philosophy

By Nigel Warburton

A Little History of Philosophy

Why this book?

Nietzsche said; “Today’s philosophers enjoy the divine principle of incomprehensibility.” This clearly written book takes the opposite tack. If you’re terrified of philosophy, this is the book for you. A great book to get the kids interested in the subject.


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How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

By Sarah Bakewell

How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

Why this book?

Nietzsche said; “Only those with very large lungs have the right to write long sentences.” Montaigne was of the same opinion. He pre-dated Nietzsche in couching his philosophy simply and clearly in short, sharp aphorisms. Like Nietzsche’s aphorisms, they are often very funny.


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In the Land of the Cyclops

By Karl Ove Knausgaard

In the Land of the Cyclops

Why this book?

Nietzsche said; “Art is the supreme task, the truly metaphysical activity in this life.” The relationship between life and art has always been a tough issue. Even more so today, in our unsettling age of post-truth and celebrity culture. Knausgaard writes not to provide answers, but to teach us to ask the proper questions of the time we live in.


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Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

By Tom Holland

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

Why this book?

Nietzsche said “God is dead, but in thousands of years there still may be caves where his shadow will be shown.” Tom Holland traces the effect of the long shadow on our lives.


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Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School

By Stuart Jeffries

Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School

Why this book?

Nietzsche said; “To greatness belongs dreadfulness, let no-one be deceived about that”, while he watched the rise of German nationalism with horror. This is a book about the Frankfurt School of Philosophers who got together in the 1920s to try to find answers to the rise of fascism in Europe. Brave voices, their words tell us a lot about how we arrived at where we are today.


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