Editor reviews

In just one hour you can now learn Arthur Schopenhauer’s theories on pessimism with the audiobook Schopenhauer: Philosophy in an Hour, written by British author and academic Paul Strathern and narrated by British actor Jonathan Keeble. Schopenhauer was the principle philosopher who theorised on pessimism. He imagined that people are not dictated by fate but by a metaphysical 'will' that acts to fulfill itself through our experiences of life. He attempted to explain why there is suffering in the world. His theories were revolutionary and this book is vital for anyone interested in philosophy. Available now from Audible.
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Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Schopenhauer in just one hour.
Arthur Schopenhauer, the ‘philosopher of pessimism,’ makes it clear that he regards the world and our life in it as a bad joke. However, if the world is indifferent to our fate it doesn’t thwart us deliberately – its façade is supported by what Schopenhauer calls the universal Will. He saw this as a force that is blind and without purpose, bringing on all our misery and suffering. Schopenhauer taught that our only hope is to liberate ourselves from the terrible power of the Will and from the trappings of individualism and egoism that are at its mercy.
This audiobook is an expert account of Schopenhauer’s life and philosophical ideas – entertainingly written and above all easy listening. Also included are selections from Schopenhauer’s work, suggested further reading, and chronologies that place Schopenhauer in the context of the broader scheme of philosophy.
©2012 Paul Strathern (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
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Critic reviews

"Well-written, clear and informed, they have a breezy wit about them... I find them hard to stop reading" ( New York Times)
"Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise" ( Wall Street Journal)
"Each of these little books is witty and dramatic and creates a sense of time, place, and character... I cannot think of a better way to introduce oneself and one's friends to Western civilization" ( Boston Globe)
"A godsend in this era of the short attention span" ( New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Richard Fairley on 09-08-17


The writer, Paul Strathern, obviously thought the purpose of this series was to provide biographies of the philosophers concerned - as biography rather than philosophical explanation this is. Strathern patently loathes Schopenhauer and this is nothing more than a sarcastic diatribe and character assessment.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Alan on 23-03-14

One miserable philosopher..

Would you consider the audio edition of Schopenhauer: Philosophy in an Hour to be better than the print version?

The audio has the advantage of being delivered by an accomplished orator. A really enjoyable listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Schopenhauer: Philosophy in an Hour?

Can't pick out one bit. The whole experience was like wading through a swimming pool of miserable treacle. Schopenhauer is so miserable, so fatalistic and misanthropic I needed to take a shower after having listened to his analysis, lest I become infected with his pessimism. Despite the depression, I strangely enjoyed myself.

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His delivery is perfect. It felt like he was talking just to me about someone he actually knew on personal terms.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Disgusted but educated.

Any additional comments?

Schopenhauer is a pessimistic old soul, but we can at least thank him for giving birth to psychoanalysis. Freud, often cited as the originator behind the idea of the subconscious, can thank this wild-haired German philosopher for asserting the notion with his idea of world as representation and will. Freud definitely read Schopenhauer and would have been fascinated by his licentious lifestyle and his odd relationship with his father who committed suicide long before the thinker flourished.

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