The author of The Geography of Bliss returns with a tour through the ideas of history's greatest philosophers and the places crucial to their thinking, illuminating how their practical and spiritual lessons can be applied in today's unsettled world.
A smart, funny, engaging book full of valuable lessons, The Socrates Express is not an explanation—it's an invitation to think and experience philosophy filtered through Weiner's words ... Yes, it is a book about philosophy, but it's also a book about being human, travelling, learning and—sometimes—coffee ... The structure of this book is brilliant. Weiner starts each chapter with a scene on a train ride between cities and then frames each philosopher's work in the context of one thing they can help us do better. The end result is an engaging read in which we learn to wonder like Socrates, see like Thoreau, listen like Schopenhauer, have no regrets like Nietzsche, fight like Gandhi, and grow old like Simone de Beauvoir ... plenty of humor and straightforward prose. However, despite the simplicity of some of his writing, this is still a narrative that engages with deep thought and encourages us to focus on questions instead of answers ... a fun, sharp book that draws readers in with its apparent simplicity and bubble-gum philosophy approach and gradually pulls them in deeper and deeper until they're contemplating desire, loneliness, aging, and death.
Part travelogue, part soul-searching memoir and part intellectual matchmaker, Weiner’s book packs an extraordinary amount into 287 pages of text. Erudite, funny and frequently self-deprecating, Weiner serves as your interpreter and guide along the way. Bursting with amusing trivia, insights and cultural references, he is on a quest to make even Schopenhauer relatable ... each chapter begins with some kind of train trip, often to a far-flung site relevant to the philosopher at hand ... This extra framework serves as a sort of palate cleanser between big ideas ... This is not a book to race through and then shelve away. Let it take time to digest, because despite the humor and wit, it is still meaty stuff. All the same, the ticket for the Socrates Express is well worth your time and will lighten your metaphorical burdens.
... a delightfully entertaining, practical guide to navigating life ... Each section melting seamlessly into the next, Eric Weiner is the occasionally snarky engineer distilling each great thinker’s philosophical movement, translating complex ideas into relatable and useful advice for the 21st century ... Weiner crafts a seamless, engaging study of condensed knowledge crafted in graceful prose ... Alongside this interconnectivity with Weiner’s current mindset is the juxtaposition of occasional, delightful appearances of his suitably unimpressed daughter, the perfect foil to her father’s aesthetic ramblings. Her carefully crafted adolescent persona of world-weary boredom, negated by periodic demonstrations proving an impressive comprehension of complex ideas, tasks her with running the wisdom of the ages through a filter of 21st century skepticism. A brilliant stroke ... The Socrates Express presents universal concepts in an immediately accessible way, reminding us that, in an increasingly frenetic world, there is no more important lesson than the ephemeral nature of life.