'A Little History of Philosophy' by Nigel Warburton - Book Review [Video]


As someone with an interest in philosophy, I was very curious about the book 'A Little History of Philosophy' by Nigel Warburton. Here is my review.

By Ahmed khalifa

Have you ever thought about the topic of philosophy and how it can help you as a person, spouse, parent, business owner, employee, etc.?

You'd think that I would focus my readings more on topics such as business, marketing and personal development.

But reading about philosophy can have an indirect impact on all of those and more, so it was time for me to get right into.

To get me started with the topic of philosophy, I picked up 'A Little History of Philosophy' by Nigel Warburton.

And with 40 mini-chapters about different philosophers, it's ideal for those who are just starting off and wants to get a feel of this topic.

You can purchase the book here

Once you have read this book, it will then open up your mind on the subject of philosophy and perhaps interest you further about the different philosophers.

Check out the video below, or you can read the transcript below the video:


Some people out there might be thinking that philosophy is a bit "woo-woo" and it's just all talk, from people who say, "Here's what life is all about and here's what you should do."

But I didn't think it like that. And I just thought I'll get more information about it before I listen to the perception of it. And I got interested. I got interested in the topic of philosophy and I didn't know where to start.

So I picked up the book called, "A Little History of Philosophy" by Nigel Warburton, just to get an idea of what philosophy is all about.

And just get really a feel of it and whether it's something that will interest me even more.

But in this, video I want to talk about this book and why, not only it will benefit you if you want to learn about philosophy, but also about the idea of personal development, whether it's in your career or in your personal life, your self-awareness, just about improving yourself as a person.

And this book can help with you with that.

Now, Nigel Warburton, he is someone who's well-known in the industry of philosophy. He has his own podcast, and he is a host of "Philosophy Bites" and he interviews various people in the industry as well.

And this book is really good for you to get kind of started into the area of philosophy.

Basically, the way it's structured is, there are 40 mini chapters and it goes on topic of different people for each chapter. So you can start off from the very, very beginning the the father of philosophy, some people call him.

And it's going start off with Socrates and Plato, it goes on and on to Aristotle, Pyrrho, Epicurus and it goes on through the history and until to the modern philosophers including Alan Turing and Peter Singer, as well.

So there are 40 different chapters there, and you get a feel of each of them as well.

And the great thing there, you can kind of get an understanding of what they are good at talking about, what are they knowledgeable about, and you can get an understanding about maybe which one you prefer if you want to learn more about them.

For example, the father of philosophy, Socrates. You can learn about him in more in depth in a different book but to get a taster, this book with give you that idea, as well.

I quite like the structure because it can be a bit heavy for some people, especially for those who have absolutely no idea what is philosophy and I think this structure of this book is a really, really good way to get you into it and get you good flavour of how to improve yourself as a person from different philosopher and different perception.

Having said that, though, there are times where it can get very heavy on the religion side and maybe even politics side, as well.

I did find myself maybe skipping a few things, not skipping chapters as such, but skipping a part of a paragraph where it just did not really resonate with me, it did not interest me as such.

Which is fine because it is not about liking every single person in this book. It's just about getting an idea what they're all about.

And I'm glad I've learned about them, but sometimes it just not relevant for me at my own life. But it might be more relevant to you.

But there are so many interesting things I picked up from the book and so many quotes, and even just understanding the kind of story of what philosophy is about, and I've made so many notes in this book, as well.

And a few quotes I picked up on about philosophy in general is:

"Being philosophical simply means accepting what you can't change."

They have touched upon a lot of ideas such as using the word stoic, which is something that I'm going to learn more about, as well.

But the basic idea was that we should only worry about things we can change. We shouldn't get worked up about anything else.

And I like that because that's something that I'm guilty of personally and I'm sure a lot of people are guilty of. And you learn little snippet of different useful advice and tips from different people.

And even for those that are not that interesting, you still, make you think. It makes you think really deeply and in a different angle.

And sometimes that's what I'm looking for in a book. And the good thing about this book is that it does make you think in a different way. Even those famous quotes that we have all heard of, and I didn't know a lot of them like where it had origin.

And one of them is about:

"I think, therefore I am."

I've heard that so many times, you may have heard it yourself, and it's all about existing and working out whether you exist or not.

And sometimes it can make you think, "Oh, that's what it comes from." And it's like, makes you open your mind up even more.

So, for example, the whole concept of "I think, therefore I am" is all about having existed and whether you exist or not. And basically it was trying to say is if you are thinking, you must exist.

And I know that sounds a bit weird to think about it, but you have to read the whole story behind it, on why people are thinking like that. Why are they questioning their existence?

Like, for example, talking about true happiness and it's saying that it can only come from the inside. And you know how people always talk about "I wish I have this, this or that...". Most of the time, monetary value or something physical in order to be happy.

But it's saying here that true happiness can only come from inside, from the things that human beings can control. Not from anything that bad luck can destroy.

So again, just thinking about your own life and think about what is it really that's making you happy.

So if you got a brand new car, is that your life sorted? Is that you're happy now, forever and that's it? Nothing can get better than that?

Because then it makes you think, like, "Hmm, maybe that's not what I really want. Maybe I should really think at a deeper level of what really makes me happy.

Is it the car or is it something about comfort? Is it something about having a status? Is it something about being successful? Giving you an impression that I have this car, which means that I am successful and that's what I want in my life. I want to be successful.

And your perception of success might be different from one person to the other, that is fine but everyone has their own version of happiness and again, that's what this book has kind of highlighted.

One thing I did find that, from reading this book, is I tend to prefer the notes, the kind of quotes and philosophy from those who have thought that it in the year Greek times and many, many millenniums ago, and they tend to be a bit more interesting for me at the moment but that's only because I've just learned about it right now, and they have a lot to share.

But also, they  set that foundation for the modern philosophers to kind of build on that.

And as you can imagine, as well, it's mainly focusing on western philosophy because there are so many different types of philosophy in different places. They all have kind of this same concept, but I think there are differences.

And that's something that, again, I want to read more about, as well.

So it's a good thing that I've read this book because then I realised that I want to learn more about it. I want to learn about all these different people that interest me from this book, and yeah, I think it's something that could interest you, as well.

It's not an everyday book that you pick up, it's not something a person who runs the business will think about picking up, but it does help you a lot.

And the way I see it as well is, if you're improving yourself as a person, then the rest will follow.

If you think about your happiness, your health, your, I don't know, your way of living. If that is something that you focus on and you improve that, then it can have a knock on effect to everything else in your life around you.

So you should always focus on yourself, improve your own internal happiness and your health so that you can help other people.

So that you can improve your relationship with your family, your spouse, your kids. So that you can also do the best that you can for your own job, for your business.

That you've got domino effect, really. So check it out down below in the description where you can learn more about this book, and there's a link to it if you want to buy your own copy.

And let me know what you think as well, if you have read this book or not.

And also, have you ever thought about reading philosophy?

Have you ever thought about getting an understanding what it's about?

If you've never done it, what is your perception of philosophy, as well? Let me know in the comment below, I'd love to hear your thought.

In the meantime, here's a great book for you to get into.

Check it out in the description down below, let me know what you think, and I'll see you next time.

Take care.

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