The best 49 Western Philosophy books

The WEIRDest People in the World

The WEIRDest People in the World

Joseph Henrich
How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous
4.1 (93 ratings)

What's The WEIRDest People in the World about?

The WEIRDest People in the World (2020) describes why Westerners think and behave so differently from most other people. It also explains how the policies of the Western Church in the realms of marriage and kinship have helped cultivate these odd cultural attributes, transforming the world and helping the West flourish in the process. 

Who should read The WEIRDest People in the World?

  • Anyone interested in the confluence of history, anthropology, culture, and economics
  • Westerners seeking a greater understanding of cross-cultural differences
  • Fans of experimental psychology

Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche
How to free yourself from philosophical dogmas and assert your own values
4.7 (707 ratings)

What's Beyond Good and Evil about?

Beyond Good and Evil (1886) provides a comprehensive overview of the concepts and themes of Nietzsche's philosophy. It’s a work that dramatically parted ways from the Western philosophical tradition of the time, mocking philosophers for their narrow-mindedness and throwing into disrepute such fundamental concepts as truth, self, and morality. It has since proven to be one of the most influential texts of the nineteenth century, planting the seed for many European philosophical movements that followed.

Who should read Beyond Good and Evil?

  • Philosophy students looking for an overview of Nietzsche’s ideas
  • Generalists who like dipping their toes into the classics of Western thought
  • Anyone who’s in the mood to have their most deeply cherished beliefs tested

The Republic

The Republic

One of the most important philosophical texts ever written
4.6 (338 ratings)

What's The Republic about?

Plato’s Republic (c. 380 BCE) is a dialogue in which Socrates and his interlocutors discuss the attributes and virtues that make for the most just person and for the most just form of government. The Republic also examines the relationship between the citizen and the city, and considers how this relationship bears on philosophy, politics, ethics and art.

Who should read The Republic?

  • Anyone interested in history
  • Anyone interested in classical philosophy
  • Anyone interested in politics



Marcus Aurelius
The stoic thinking of a Philosopher-King
4.2 (708 ratings)

What's Meditations about?

Meditations (170-180 AD) is a journey through the mind of the great Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. These blinks offer philosophical ruminations on the meaning of death and justice, the nature of the world and why things happen the way they do.

Who should read Meditations?

  • Anyone interested in the philosophy of the ancient world
  • People with a fear of death
  • Anybody who has a sneaking suspicion that everything happens for a reason

Discipline Is Destiny

Discipline Is Destiny

Ryan Holiday
The Power of Self-Control
4.7 (1,299 ratings)

What's Discipline Is Destiny about?

Discipline Is Destiny (2022) draws on Stoic virtues to make a case for a life guided by self-discipline. It shows how being in control of your body, thoughts, and emotions is a prerequisite to mastering anything else – and uses historical figures to illustrate how things like sleep, discomfort, and kindness tie into greatness. 

Who should read Discipline Is Destiny?

  • Frazzled folks looking for more structure in their lives
  • Go-getters who want to optimize their time and energy
  • Anyone seeking actionable steps to improve their happiness and well-being

Lives of the Stoics

Lives of the Stoics

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius
4.4 (1,230 ratings)

What's Lives of the Stoics about?

Lives of the Stoics (2020) explores Stoicism through the lives of its earliest followers. Packed with insights into the leaders, wars, and politics of classical antiquity, these blinks provide a fresh yet historical look at this popular philosophy.

Who should read Lives of the Stoics?

  • Philosophy buffs seeking new insights
  • Strivers looking for inspiration
  • Budding historians looking for a fresh perspective

Four Thousand Weeks

Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman
Time Management for Mortals
4.5 (693 ratings)

What's Four Thousand Weeks about?

Four Thousand Weeks (2021) explores concepts of time and time management, arguing that our modern attempts to optimize our time leave us stressed and unhappy. Drawing upon the work of ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual leaders, this book proposes a path to cultivating a fulfilling life through embracing our limitations.

Who should read Four Thousand Weeks?

  • Time management gurus
  • Philosophy students
  • Aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs

Critique of Pure Reason

Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
A groundbreaking and influential philosophy classic about the limits of human reason
4.6 (472 ratings)

What's Critique of Pure Reason about?

The Critique of Pure Reason (1781) is one of the most groundbreaking, revolutionary, and influential books in the history of Western philosophy. Pointing out the limits of human reason, it argues that we can have knowledge about the world as we experience it, but we can never know anything about the ultimate nature of reality.

Who should read Critique of Pure Reason?

  • Skeptics 
  • Students of philosophy 
  • Adherents of both science and religion

Great Thinkers

Great Thinkers

The School of Life
Simple Tools from Sixty Great Thinkers to Improve Your Life Today
4.2 (330 ratings)

What's Great Thinkers about?

Great Thinkers (2016) provides a handy guide to some of the most creative and ingenious people who have ever lived. These are thinkers who have changed the way we perceive and think about the world, and their wisdom continues to be highly relevant to people everywhere. By keeping these ideas close at hand and not far from our minds, the great thinkers of the past can continue to help us live better lives today.

Who should read Great Thinkers?

  • Culture vultures
  • Wisdom seekers
  • Students of the humanities

How to Be a Stoic

How to Be a Stoic

Massimo Pigliucci
Ancient Wisdom For Modern Living
4.6 (384 ratings)

What's How to Be a Stoic about?

In How to Be a Stoic (2018), philosopher Massimo Pigliucci explores how the ancient philosophy of Stoicism can guide us toward a good life. He shows how Stoicism can help us focus on what we can change, come to peace with the prospect of death and deal with frustrations and problems in everyday life.

Who should read How to Be a Stoic?

  • Anyone interested in philosophy
  • People in search of a better way to live their lives
  • Anyone struggling to come to terms with things beyond their control

Man and His Symbols

Man and His Symbols

Carl Jung
An explanation of Jung's theories about archetypes and the unconscious
4.5 (245 ratings)

What's Man and His Symbols about?

Man and His Symbols (1964) was the final work of the influential psychologist Carl Jung, and the only one written for a general audience. It breaks down some of Jung’s most complex ideas, such as his theories about archetypes and the unconscious, and it explores the vast expanse of symbols and stories that dwell within our minds.

Who should read Man and His Symbols?

  • Students of psychology and philosophy
  • People who want to understand their dreams better
  • Lovers of myths, legends, folk tales, and parables



A foundational work in the history of Western political philosophy
4.7 (172 ratings)

What's Politics about?

Politics is a foundational work in the history of Western political philosophy. From Machiavelli to Thomas Hobbes to Karl Marx, few major Western thinkers have been able to avoid a dialogue with the arguments Aristotle advanced some 2,500 years ago. That’s hardly surprising. In his quest to define the purpose and nature of politics, Aristotle left no stone unturned. Justice, slavery, citizenship, class conflict, democracy, and the good life – all are addressed with rigor and nuance in this remarkable text.

Who should read Politics?

  • Political buffs
  • Historians
  • Thinkers and philosophers

A Little History of Philosophy

A Little History of Philosophy

Nigel Warburton
Discover the thinking that shaped the history of philosophy
4.4 (278 ratings)

What's A Little History of Philosophy about?

A Little History of Philosophy (2011) takes readers on a whistle-stop tour of the thinkers who shaped philosophy over two and a half millennia. From Ancient Greece to twentieth-century Germany, this book makes philosophy’s age-old questions feel as relevant today as when they were first posed.

Who should read A Little History of Philosophy?

  • History buffs interested in the development of philosophy
  • Ponderers drawn to questions about the meaning of life
  • Anyone daunted by typical philosophical jargon

The Beginning of Infinity

The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch
Explanations That Transform the World
4.2 (145 ratings)

What's The Beginning of Infinity about?

Everyday, we benefit from huge advances in both scientific theory and practice. What triggered this progress? In The Beginning of Infinity (2011) – a journey through the fundamental fields of science and philosophy – physicist David Deutsch argues that all progress results from one single human activity: the quest for explanations. Human creativity opens up limitless opportunities for progress, making knowledge the “beginning of infinity.”

Who should read The Beginning of Infinity?

  • Fans of science and philosophy
  • Anyone fascinated by the power of knowledge and creativity
  • Readers interested in the future of our species

The Art of Rhetoric

The Art of Rhetoric

Uncover Persuasion and the Principles Behind Oratorical Skill
4.6 (391 ratings)

What's The Art of Rhetoric about?

The Art of Rhetoric (4th century BCE) is a practical manual on the art of public speaking and persuasion. Written almost 2,500 years ago, The Art of Rhetoric remains one of the most incisive and comprehensive studies on rhetoric ever written.

Who should read The Art of Rhetoric?

  • Amateur orators who need to prepare for an upcoming speech
  • Businesspeople who frequently speak in meetings
  • Anyone who has an interest in the classics of western thought

A Brief History of Thought

A Brief History of Thought

Luc Ferry
A Philosophical Guide to Living
4.4 (259 ratings)

What's A Brief History of Thought about?

A Brief History of Thought (1996) chronicles the big moments in the history of Western philosophy in a lucid and accessible way – from the Stoicism of classical Greece right through to twentieth-century postmodernism. Not simply a description of abstract ideals, it shows how we can apply the wisdom of the world’s best thinkers to live happier and more meaningful lives.

Who should read A Brief History of Thought?

  • Those who find philosophy cryptic and confusing
  • History students not up to speed with the development of Western thought
  • Introspective humans searching for a meaning to life

On Being and Becoming

On Being and Becoming

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei
An Existentialist Approach to Life
4.6 (467 ratings)

What's On Being and Becoming about?

On Being and Becoming (2021) is simultaneously an introduction to the philosophy of existentialism and a guide to the good life. Drawing on a broad range of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century existentialist writers, the book unpacks the main themes and insights from the movement and explains what that means for how you should live your life.

Who should read On Being and Becoming?

  • Philosophically minded people looking for an introduction to existentialism’s key ideas 
  • Unhappy souls who dwell on the difficulties of existence
  • Anyone who wants to know how to live a happier and more authentic life

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

David Hume
A classic in modern philosophical literature
4.5 (259 ratings)

What's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding about?

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) presents a succinct summary of Hume’s empirical and skeptical philosophy, and is one of the most influential texts of the early modern period. In calling for the use of reason in rejecting the “superstitions” of metaphysical philosophy and religion, this text helped to furnish the philosophical basis for the scientific method that was then coming to prominence in Enlightenment Europe. Even today, Hume’s Enquiry remains one of the best introductions to modern philosophy.

Who should read An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding?

  • Philosophy students looking for an introduction to Hume’s most important ideas
  • Rationalists who want to sharpen their reasoning skills
  • Anyone interested in the classics of Western philosophy

The Art of Living

The Art of Living

The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness – A New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell
4.7 (582 ratings)

What's The Art of Living about?

The Art of Living (1995) is a clear and concise introduction to Stoic philosophy. This modern interpretation of Epictetus’s teachings gives timeless insight into living a stable and satisfying life.

Who should read The Art of Living?

  • Modern thinkers curious about ancient philosophy
  • Hectic go-getters needing advice on slowing down
  • Anyone seeking a more Stoic lifestyle

How to Live a Good Life

How to Live a Good Life

ed. Massimo Pigliucci
A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy
4.3 (444 ratings)

What's How to Live a Good Life about?

How to Live a Good Life (2020), edited by Massimo Pigliucci, Skye Cleary, and Daniel Kaufman, is an introduction to 15 philosophies for living our lives. Ranging from ancient ideologies, through the major religions, to contemporary schools of thought, 15 leading scholars enlighten us with the philosophies that guide their lives.

Who should read How to Live a Good Life?

  • Those in search of a new philosophy of life
  • People wanting to do good
  • People interested in learning about philosophy

Aristotle's Way

Aristotle's Way

Edith Hall
How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life
4.5 (189 ratings)

What's Aristotle's Way about?

Aristotle’s Way (2018) is a study of Aristotle, philosopher and polymath of Ancient Greece – but it’s not a scholarly guide to a historical artifact. Aristotle is simply far too alive to be relegated to that category. Friendship, happiness, talking, thinking, and living well were Aristotle’s great concerns. And what he had to say about those topics remains every bit as relevant today as it was when he first started exploring them some 2,500 years ago. 

Who should read Aristotle's Way?

  • Old-school self-helpers 
  • Miserabilists ready for some happiness 
  • Job-hunters struggling with their cover letters

The Ethics of Ambiguity

The Ethics of Ambiguity

Simone de Beauvoir
A foundational text of existentialist philosophy
4.5 (233 ratings)

What's The Ethics of Ambiguity about?

The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) is one of the foundational texts of existentialist philosophy. It's both a succinct summary of existentialist thought and a thorough interrogation of its ethical ramifications in the real world. By reflecting on what it means to be human, this book is a call to recognize and act upon one fundamental truth of our existence: that we are free.

Who should read The Ethics of Ambiguity?

  • Philosophically minded people who want to understand their existence.
  • Activists who seek to make the world a better place.
  • Anyone who exists and wants to know what to do about it.

That One Should Disdain Hardships

That One Should Disdain Hardships

Musonius Rufus
The Teachings of a Roman Stoic
4.6 (103 ratings)

What's That One Should Disdain Hardships about?

That One Should Disdain Hardships (2020) is a collection of lectures delivered in imperial Rome in the first century CE by the Stoic Gaius Musonius Rufus. Heralded as the “Roman Socrates,” Musonius’s philosophy is anything but academic. Designed to help listeners lead the best possible lives, his lectures hone in on practical, everyday questions. The result? A doctrine that you really can live by.

Who should read That One Should Disdain Hardships?

  • Philosophers and thinkers
  • History buffs
  • Practical-minded ethicists

The Myth of Sisyphus

The Myth of Sisyphus

Albert Camus
An influential existentialist essay about living your life with greater passion and freedom
4.7 (272 ratings)

What's The Myth of Sisyphus about?

The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) is an influential essay that contributed significantly to the philosophical movements of existentialism and absurdism. The essay asks whether life is worth living in a world emptied of religious meaning and considers whether suicide is the only appropriate response to the void of meaninglessness. Ultimately, the essay advises against suicide, arguing that the meaninglessness of existence is, in fact, the condition for a fulfilling life lived with freedom, passion, and happiness.

Who should read The Myth of Sisyphus ?

  • Atheists who want to know how to live a meaningful life without faith
  • Armchair philosophers interested in significant works of Western thought
  • Anyone who could use a boost of inspiration and passion in their lives

Meditations on First Philosophy

Meditations on First Philosophy

René Descartes
Descartes Most Famous Philosophical Classic
4.2 (169 ratings)

What's Meditations on First Philosophy about?

Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) is one of Descartes’s most influential works, known as the source of the classic quote: “I think, therefore I am” or “cogito ergo sum.” These blinks capture Descartes’ thoughts on how we know what we know, and his attempts to prove God’s existence along the way.

Who should read Meditations on First Philosophy?

  • Students of philosophy
  • People interested in philosophy and the foundations of Western thinking
  • Religious people who are interested in another view of the existence of God

Time of the Magicians

Time of the Magicians

Wolfram Eilenberger
Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy
4.4 (158 ratings)

What's Time of the Magicians about?

Time of the Magicians (2020) explores one of the greatest periods of German philosophy: the 1920s. In this decade of extraordinary intellectual productivity, thinkers like Martin Heidegger, Ernst Cassirer, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Walter Benjamin upended traditional philosophical thought completely and left a lasting mark on how we understand the world.

Who should read Time of the Magicians?

  • Armchair philosophers and critical thinkers
  • History buffs interested in Germany’s roaring twenties
  • Anyone who’s ever wondered about the meaning of life

Finite and Infinite Games

Finite and Infinite Games

James P. Carse
A Vision of Life as Play and Possibilities
4.1 (93 ratings)

What's Finite and Infinite Games about?

Finite and Infinite Games (1986) offers two contrasting viewpoints on how to live your life, whether you’re engaging in sexual relationships or warfare. Carse argues that any activity can be seen as either a finite or an infinite game, the former being end-oriented and the latter leading to infinite possibilities. He reveals how the world appears through the eyes of those who play with the finite or infinite in mind, and concludes that how and what games we play are our own choice.

Who should read Finite and Infinite Games?

  • Philosophy students
  • People fed up of playing the game of life
  • Anyone interested in game theory

The Constitution of Liberty

The Constitution of Liberty

Friedrich A. Hayek
In Defense of Freedom and a Free Society
3.9 (278 ratings)

What's The Constitution of Liberty about?

The Constitution of Liberty (1960) is a classic of economic philosophy. As one of the seminal texts of modern liberalism, it reminds us of the values of individual freedom, limited government, and universal principles of law. First published in the 1960s, it contends that social progress depends on the free market rather than on socialist planning. This work remains relevant in an age where socialist ideas are gaining new popularity. 

Who should read The Constitution of Liberty?

  • Students of twentieth-century history, politics, and economy 
  • Progressives and conservatives curious about liberalism 
  • Anyone interested in economic philosophy

First Principles

First Principles

Thomas E. Ricks
What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country
4.3 (98 ratings)

What's First Principles about?

Over the years, much has been made of the influence of Enlightenment ideas –⁠ particularly those of English philosopher John Locke –⁠ on America’s founding fathers. First Principles (2020) takes a different approach. It focuses instead on the ways in which Greek and Roman history and philosophy profoundly shaped the values and goals of America’s first four presidents, and how classical ideas are embedded in the nation to this day.

Who should read First Principles?

  • Anyone interested in American history, or political philosophy
  • Students of Greek and Roman classics

How to Be an Epicurean

How to Be an Epicurean

Catherine Wilson
The Ancient Art of Living Well
4.4 (189 ratings)

What's How to Be an Epicurean about?

How to Be an Epicurean (2019) brings the ancient philosophy of Epicureanism into the modern age. This fascinating “theory of everything” is about much more than seeking pleasure, and it can help you live an enjoyable, moral, and meaningful life today.

Who should read How to Be an Epicurean?

  • Pleasure seekers looking for a philosophical creed
  • Philosophy fans who want to learn something new
  • Modern-day Stoics seeking another ancient philosophical perspective



Thomas Hobbes
or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil
4.5 (111 ratings)

What's Leviathan about?

Leviathan (1651) examines the relationship of society and rulers and is widely held as a classic work on the nature of statecraft. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed that man’s natural inclination to war could only be tamed by a strong, centralized government. In these blinks, you’ll learn why Hobbes felt a commonwealth of men under a strong monarch was the only solution to securing peace and security for all.

Who should read Leviathan?

  • Sociologists, historians and political scientists or students of political science
  • People interested in how certain forms of government came to be
  • Students examining the origins of law and early government

Doubt: A History

Doubt: A History

Jennifer Michael Hecht
The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
3.5 (55 ratings)

What's Doubt: A History about?

Doubt: A History (2004) is a journey through one of time’s best kept secrets: the people who have stood up to accepted truths, even when it cost them their lives. These blinks share the stories of doubters with conviction from Ancient Greece and India to the modern era, and how they have shaped the way we live and think today.

Who should read Doubt: A History?

  • Anyone wanting to learn about the history of doubters and their observations
  • People who want to know what connects seemingly unrelated figures like Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin and Job
  • Anyone interested in religion and its critics



Simon Blackburn
A Very Short Introduction
4.3 (282 ratings)

What's Ethics about?

Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (2001) does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a clear and accessible introduction to the branch of philosophy that’s concerned with how we ought to treat each other. By exploring key challenges and theories within ethics, Simon Blackburn cuts through philosophical jargon so we can learn to think clearly about how we ought to behave.

Who should read Ethics?

  • Beginners looking to get started with philosophy
  • Cynics secretly wondering if an ethical life is even possible 
  • Altruists who want to live more ethical lives

The Social Contract

The Social Contract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
A cornerstone in modern political and social thought
4.5 (272 ratings)

What's The Social Contract about?

The Social Contract (1762) is a seminal work of political and social theory, and is Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s most important and influential text. In the book, Rousseau lays out the conditions required for the legitimate founding and governing of a nation state. Playing a role in both the French Revolution and the founding of the US Constitution, The Social Contract is a cornerstone of modern political thought and essential reading for anyone interested in political theory.

Who should read The Social Contract?

  • Students looking for an introduction to Rousseau
  • Politics buffs interested in the foundational texts of liberalism
  • Life-long learners who want to know all the classics of Western thought

What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader

What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader

Alison Reynolds
Learn how to use philosophical principles in your personal and work life
4.3 (127 ratings)

What's What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader about?

What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader (2019) explains how we've lost sight of some of the most important aspects of leadership, and it presents helpful philosophical perspectives to get us back on track. Drawing from both ancient and modern philosophy, the authors outline simple yet powerful approaches to rethinking strategy, management, and communication. And what’s even better is that these philosophical “hacks” aren’t just for CEOs. By using these thought experiments and insights, we can all flourish at work and outside of it. 

Who should read What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader?

  • Business leaders wanting to take their leadership skills to the next level
  • Managers who have already tried all the psychology hacks and need something more
  • Anyone interested in philosophy

The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking

Joan Didion
Lessons of loss
4.0 (76 ratings)

What's The Year of Magical Thinking about?

The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) is a poignant memoir about loss and grief. It tells the deeply personal story of Joan Didion’s experiences with the life-threatening illnesses of her daughter and the death of her husband. But more than that, it’s also a thought-provoking philosophical exploration of the meaning of mortality, the fragility of life and the mutability of everything that surrounds us.

Who should read The Year of Magical Thinking?

  • Anyone who’s felt anguish over another person’s life-threatening illness 
  • Those who have experienced the loss of a loved one
  • Anyone who wants to understand the nature of grief 

Doing Philosophy

Doing Philosophy

Timothy Williamson
From Common Curiosity To Logical Reasoning
4.2 (94 ratings)

What's Doing Philosophy about?

Doing Philosophy (2018) dispels some of the stereotypes that continue to hound philosophers. In particular, it takes aim at the pervasive idea that philosophy has become irrelevant in light of the success of the natural sciences, and makes a compelling case for why philosophy is still important and influential today.

Who should read Doing Philosophy?

  • Scientifically-minded people convinced that science can solve all problems
  • Skeptics unconvinced by philosophy’s pretense that it is a science
  • Anyone curious to know what exactly philosophers do all day long

For a New Liberty

For a New Liberty

Murray N. Rothbard
The Libertarian Manifesto
4.1 (94 ratings)

What's For a New Liberty about?

For a New Liberty (1973) is a classic work that lays out the foundational principles of libertarianism. It refutes the necessity of a central State and argues against government involvement in all areas of life, from education to the police. The result is a scathing critique of the inefficiency, overreach, and moral crimes of the State.

Who should read For a New Liberty?

  • Fans of political philosophy and theory
  • Disaffected conservatives and liberals
  • Libertarians or those with libertarian leanings

Becoming Beauvoir

Becoming Beauvoir

Kate Kirkpatrick
A Life
4.4 (81 ratings)

What's Becoming Beauvoir about?

Becoming Beauvoir (2019) recounts the story of French philosopher, writer and feminist icon Simone de Beauvoir for a contemporary audience. Making use of previously unpublished letters and diaries, Becoming Beauvoir describes how the famous intellectual became herself.

Who should read Becoming Beauvoir?

  • Those interested in feminism and gender studies
  • Budding existentialists
  • Philosophy students

At The Existentialist Café

At The Existentialist Café

Sarah Bakewell
Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails
4.6 (176 ratings)

What's At The Existentialist Café about?

At the Existentialist Café (2016) recounts the birth of existentialism in the early twentieth century. Both a biography and a philosophical text, it tells the stories of individual philosophers as well as their ideas. Above all, it explores how big philosophical questions can illuminate our lives and the way we live them.

Who should read At The Existentialist Café?

  • Philosophers who feel that philosophy has lost touch with everyday life
  • Francophiles looking for insight on their national treasures
  • Curious observers who want to learn how to look more closely at the world around them

The Entrepreneur's Weekly Nietzsche

The Entrepreneur's Weekly Nietzsche

Dave Jilk and Brad Feld
A Book for Disruptors
4.0 (88 ratings)

What's The Entrepreneur's Weekly Nietzsche about?

The Entrepreneur's Weekly Nietzsche (2021) is a how-to guide for disruptors, examining the surprising ways in which this nineteenth-century philosopher can instruct and inspire twenty-first-century entrepreneurs. From business pitches to pride, and from victory to progress, it offers food for thought from an unfamiliar but stimulating perspective.

Who should read The Entrepreneur's Weekly Nietzsche?

  • Entrepreneurs hoping to expand their conceptual toolkits
  • Businesspeople looking for a fresh perspective on innovation
  • All those interested in making practical use of philosophy



Jennifer Nagel
A Very Short Introduction
4.2 (81 ratings)

What's Knowledge about?

Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction (2014) is an accessible introduction to the complex field of epistemology. Epistemology is concerned with the nature of knowledge itself. What can we know? And how do we know that we know it? Knowledge surveys epistemological thinking from the ancient Greeks to contemporary philosophy, shining a bright light on this fascinating field of thought.

Who should read Knowledge?

  • Philosophy buffs and newbies alike
  • Skeptics who take everything with a grain of salt
  • Knowledge workers interested in delving deeper into knowledge itself.



Rob-Jan de Jong
The Art of Leading By Looking Ahead
4.5 (33 ratings)

What's Anticipate about?

Anticipate (2015) reveals what it takes to become a visionary leader. From Aristotle’s three pillars of leadership to practices and mindsets that strengthen your leadership abilities, these blinks show that having a vision isn’t something you’re born with – it’s something you work at.

Who should read Anticipate?

  • Ambitious types who want to know what it takes to be a visionary leader
  • Those in influential positions hoping to brush up on their leadership skills

The Soul of the World

The Soul of the World

Roger Scruton
In Defense of a Sacred World
3.7 (209 ratings)

What's The Soul of the World about?

In an age where science and atheism seek to explain everything we are, The Soul of the World (2014) argues for the continued importance of religion. It doesn’t preach for a particular doctrine; rather, it claims that in art, music, architecture, and interpersonal relations, there is a striving toward the sacred that science alone can’t explain or fulfill. Finally, it argues that by devaluing or ignoring the transcendent, we are willfully giving up one of the very things that makes us human.

Who should read The Soul of the World?

  • Atheists, agnostics, and scientists seeking a challenge to their worldview
  • Conservatives, traditionalists, and religious people
  • Lovers of philosophy, music, or art



Will Storr
How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us
4.2 (25 ratings)

What's Selfie about?

Selfie (2017) takes a hard look at today’s internet-driven age of self-obsession. Asking where our ideal of the perfect person came from, acclaimed British journalist Will Storr traces the history of the self from ancient Greece to the social-media-heavy world of selfies and Instagram brunch pics. Along the way, he picks out a multitude of fascinating facts about the political, cultural and economic factors that have shaped the Western world’s notion of who we should be and what we should look like.

Who should read Selfie?

  • Fans and foes of social media
  • Anyone who’s wondered where our culture’s heading
  • History and politics buffs

In Praise Of Love

In Praise Of Love

Alain Badiou
An Ode to Romance, Relationships, and Sex
4.3 (258 ratings)

What's In Praise Of Love about?

In Praise of Love (2012) is a passionate defense of love in an age when romance is threatened from all directions. The product of a dialogue between French philosopher Alain Badiou and journalist Nicholas Truong, the book lays bare how our sex-obsessed media, our individualistic striving, and our online-dating culture are all setting love up to fail. Its thesis: love needs to be reinvented for the modern world.

Who should read In Praise Of Love?

  • Restless singles afraid of commitment
  • Hopeless romantics longing for more than just shallow hook-ups
  • Long-term couples who want to rekindle their bond



Michael J. Sandel
What's the Right Thing to Do?
4.3 (33 ratings)

What's Justice about?

What is justice? How can we act in a just and morally correct way? Drawing on various examples from everyday life, Michael J. Sandel illustrates how differently the idea of justice can be interpreted, for example, by philosophers like Aristotle and Kant. Over the course of Justice (2009), he urges us to critically question our own convictions and societal conventions.

Who should read Justice?

  • Anyone interested in ethics and philosophy
  • Anyone who wants to find out more about the concept of justice
  • Anyone looking for philosophical answers to questions in life

Plato at the Googleplex

Plato at the Googleplex

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
4.1 (37 ratings)

What's Plato at the Googleplex about?

Plato at the Googleplex examines contemporary issues through the lens of Plato’s philosophical questioning. The book explores the life and times of Plato as well as how his philosophy and thoughts on love, education and ethics can be a model for us today.

Who should read Plato at the Googleplex?

  • Anyone interested in ethical and moral dilemmas
  • Anyone interested in education
  • Anyone interested in philosophy

Second Treatise of the Government

Second Treatise of the Government

John Locke
An Essay Concerning the True Origin, Extent and End of Civil Government
4.4 (37 ratings)

What's Second Treatise of the Government about?

Locke’s Second Treatise offers an in-depth analysis on the origin of our right to liberty and the rights of governments. It shows how, by respecting the laws of nature, we can limit the power of government to best protect ourselves and our property from destruction or worse, tyranny.

Who should read Second Treatise of the Government?

  • Anybody interested in politics
  • Anybody interested in the history of ideas and philosophy
  • Anybody interested in the foundations of liberalism and democracy

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