Practical wisdom

A thought-provoking work that shows how philosophy isn’t just for stuffy classrooms, and can be usefully applied to life in the modern world

Philosophy for Life: And Other Dangerous Situations, by Jules Evans, Rider, RRP£11.99, 304 pages

During his time at university, Jules Evans struggled with panic attacks and depression. To “celebrate” his graduation, he had a nervous breakdown. Nothing he had learnt helped him cope; it was only during a course of cognitive behavioural therapy that he discovered how philosophy could provide a framework for how to live.

In Philosophy for Life, Evans has “assembled 12 of the greatest teachers of the ancient world to teach us things that are often left out of modern education”. Structured as an ideal curriculum, his book gives a flavour of “what it would be like to get a day-pass to the School of Athens” depicted in Raphael’s famous fresco.

The result is an instructive and thought-provoking tour of the big names and ideas of philosophy. And through interviews with soldiers, an astronaut, psychologists and even gangsters, Evans shows that philosophy isn’t just for stuffy classrooms, and can be usefully applied to life in the modern world.

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