Book Review: The Book of Dead Philosophers

The Book of Dead Philosophers
8.5 of 10
Writer: Simon Crtichley
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Admittedly, I don't know much about philosophy or philosophers. I only know Socrates and Plato by name, which is a shame. The only philosophy I've read, and kept re-reading, is The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. But I don't know if he's even considered as a philosopher because he's a Samurai (a warrior philosopher maybe?). I've also read a tiny bit on Nietzsche, Voltaire, Confucius and Lao Tzu. But that's about it. That's why I picked up The Book of Dead Philosophers so I could acquaint myself with various philosophers.

At first, when I was reading the book's introduction, I thought my brain was going to explode due to philosophical overload. It was just too intellectual for me. But, later on, after getting through the long introduction and foreword by the author, it became an enjoyable read. The book isn't what I expected it to be -a long arduous read about philosopher's lives and deaths. Instead, it's a miscellany that contains anecdotes and other short writings about the deaths of 190 philosophers, from classical to modern times.

As morbid as it sounds, the book is actually quite funny. Because the deaths of the philosophers, as featured in this book, are quite ironic -most of them died because of their philosophy. Take Empedocles, for example, who believes that heat is the source of life, threw himself into a volcano (Mt. Etna) in his quest for immortality. Then there's also Francis Bacon who, in his efforts to study refrigeration, caught pneumonia while stuffing a chicken with snow on a cold day and died.

This book is really entertaining to read. While it wasn't the book I was looking for -the one that'll give me a detailed information regarding philosophers and their philosophy- I still learned a lot from it: The unsung philosophers and the deaths of philosophers. So if you're looking for a book to read this summer, a quick and enjoyable one, I highly recommend The Book of Dead Philosophers.

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