Books,  Must Read

10 best easy to read philosophy books

The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: philosophía, meaning “love of wisdom.” existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, justice, validity, mind, and language. It’s a wonderful tool for thinking about the deepest questions that arise for human beings, so that we can decipher the ways which can lead us to a better life.

To help guide you on that path we have assimilated a list of 10 best easy to read philoshy books. Let us take a look at them and choose a partner to begin our journey.


Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy

Author: Simon Blackburn

Synopsis: This is a book about the big questions in life: knowledge, consciousness, fate, God, truth, goodness, justice. It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them. Think sets out to explain what they are and why they are important. This book is ideal for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking, shape our existence.

Review: The book delves straight into what you need to be thinking about, how to organise your brain and why studying philosophy is useful and transferable to so many areas of life. It teaches you how to think and gives you insight questions to ponder.

Quote that we loved:

How you think about what you are doing affects how you do it, or whether you do it at all.


The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

Author: Dorling Kindersley

Synopsis: What is the meaning of life? What is the Universe made of? This book covers not only the big ideas, but explains what our eminent philosophers thought about the nature of reality, and the fundamental questions we ask ourselves.

It demystifies the concept of phiosophy, by presenting key ideas with the use of powerful visual guides such as mind maps, diagrams, and timelines for the progression of idea.

Review: It has a concise explaination of almost every philosophical idea known to humanity (the ones that matter), containing key works of some top philosophers spanning Eastern and Western philosophy, and covering from ancient and medival to the modern and contemporary world. Art work in the book makes you stare at it and think, and then bring a smile on your face. I would recommend buying the physical book over the Kindle edition as the glossy pages and colourful pictures have their own charm.

Quote that we loved:

“wonder is very much the affection of a philosopher; for there is no beginning of philosophy than this”

Plato

Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy

Author: Jostein Gaarder

Synopsis: One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

Sophie’s World is an international phenomenon which has been translated into 60 languages and sold more than 40 million copies.

Review: Sophie’s world is a beautiful amalgamation of fiction and history of western philosophy. It covers ideologies of a host of philosophers in a single big canvas which makes it a standout book on the subject. It shed light on the significance of various discoveries and advancements of civilization in our reality, and the influence they exerted throughout the ages on our thoughts and philosophies.

Quote that we loved:

“Where both reason and experience fall short, there occurs a vacuum that can be filled by faith.”


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Author: Robert M. Pirsig

Synopsis: This book narrates a story of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, and focuses on a personal journey into how he came about his concept of Metaphysics of Quality and relationship of these ideas to motor cycle maintenance on the account of his journey across the States.

Review: This book is for people who are looking to read something at intermediate philosophy level and contains few concepts which might be pretty daunting to understand at first but they are interwoven with a story that helps give time to digest the content. The beauty of this book is one always ends up going back to it and each time comes out with something new.

Quote that we loved:

“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.”


The Tao of Pooh (Principles of Taoism demonstrated by Winnie-the-Pooh)

Author: Benjamin Hoff

Synopsis: In This book, Benjamin Hoff intends to introduce people to the eastern belief system of Taoism and employs Winnie-the-pooh to explain its basic principles. The book shows that Pooh’s Way is amazingly consistent with the principles of living, envisioned by the Chinese founders of Taoism, It calls for living without preconceived ideas about how life should be lived-but it’s not a preconception of how life is.

Review: Hoff introduces the concepts of Taoism in humorous and enlightening way coupling with a child like energy of Winnie-the-pooh, which makes it super easy for the reader to absorb invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.

Quote that we loved:

“Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you’ve got.”


Seneca : Letters from a Stoic

Author: Seneca, Robin Campbell (Translator)

Synopsis: This book is a collection of 40 letters (which were translated by Robin Campbell) out of the total 124, that Seneca wrote towards the end of his life from approximately 63 AD to 65 AD to Lucilius Junior, who was incharge of the financial affairs of Sicily. The topic of those letters range from friendship to wealth, to world and eventually to death. This selection of Seneca’s letters shows him endorsing the rigid ethical ideals of Stoicism which is a moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.

Review: These letters are a treasure chest for anybody wishing to incorporate philosophic wisdom into their day-to-day living and it shows the reader, depth of reasoning that stoic philosophy has and explains about mental pitfalls, illness, friendship, society & death, basically how to live a good life.

Quote that we loved:

“In the case of some sick people it is a matter for congratulation when they come to realise for themselves that they are sick”


Finite and Infinite Games

Author: James P. Carse

Synopsis: “There are at least two kinds of games,” states James P. Carse as he begins this extraordinary book. “One could be called finite; the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.”

Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end.

What are infinite games? How do they affect the ways we play our finite games? What are we doing when we play—finitely or infinitely? And how can infinite games affect the ways in which we live our lives?

Review: Carse explores the questions of finite and infinte games with stunning elegance, He surveys our world from the finite games of the playing field to the infinite games found in culture and religion. Along the way, Carse finds new ways of understanding everything, from how an actress portrays a role to how we engage in sex, from the nature of evil to the nature of science. Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory, but infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander.

Quote that we loved:

“To be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.”


A Little History of Philosophy 

Author: Nigel Warburton

Synopsis: This book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about the world and how best to live in it. In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton guides us on a chronological tour of the major ideas in the history of philosophy. He provides interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers from Socrates, who chose to die by hemlock poisoning rather than live on without the freedom to think for himself, to Peter Singer, who asks the disquieting philosophical and ethical questions that haunt our own times.

Warburton not only makes philosophy accessible, he offers inspiration to think, argue, reason, and ask in the tradition of Socrates. A Little History of Philosophy presents the grand sweep of humanity’s search for philosophical understanding and invites all to join in the discussion.

Review: This book offers an aerial view of western philosophy in an uncomplicated and intuitive way and presents a great starting point to decide which philosophies one wants to delve further into.

Quote that we loved:

“Life, he declared, is only worth living if you think about what you are doing. An unexamined existence is all right for cattle, but not for human beings.”

~Socrates

Meditations

Author: Marcus Aurelius, Gregory Hays (Translator)

Synopsis: A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus Aurelius’s “Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. In many important ways, the reflections of Marcus Aurelius (121 AD-180 AD) crystallize the philosophical wisdom of the Greco-Roman world. This little book was written as a diary to himself while emperor fighting a war out on the boarder of the Roman Empire and today this book is known to us as The Meditations.

Review: Most call it the greatest philosphical book ever written, Marcus’s insights and advice on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others have made the “Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style.

Quote that we loved:

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”


Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One

Author: Friedrich Nietzsche

Synopsis: This book describes how the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra descends from his solitude in the mountains to tell the world that God is dead and that the Übermensch (Superman), the human embodiment of divinity, is his successor.

Zarathustra’s teachings include the ubermensch or the enlightenment stage, the concept of will to power, the fear of the pointless eternal recurrence, and the understanding that mass movements are for the weak who can’t think for themselves and as a result they take the easy escape route to religion, nationalism, democracy or some other movement.

Review: This book is for those who are willing to use it for introspection. With poetic brilliance, Nietzsche argues that the meaning of existence is not to be found in religious pieties or meek submission to authority, but in an all-powerful life force: passionate, chaotic and free.  

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which was written during a time of physical and emotional deterioration in Nietzsche’s life, is as chaotic and unpredictable as his health. At a time, when humanity needed a moral code, Nietzsche’s ideas were a bright beacon of hope that no one believed or understood, “Thus spoke Zarathustra.” is indeed “A book for none and all”.

Quote that we loved:

“The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”


We would love to hear your thoughts about our picks, what are some of your favourite books that everyone should get their hands on and also which one are you most excited to read ? do let us know in the comment box down below.

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