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How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

Written by: Julian Baggini
Narrated by: Julian Baggini
Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

All cultures are different and have different ways of thinking. 

In How the World Thinks, Julian Baggini travels the globe to provide a hugely wide-ranging map of human thought. He shows us how distinct branches of philosophy flowered simultaneously in China, India and Ancient Greece, growing from local myths and stories - and how contemporary cultural attitudes, with particular attention to the West, East Asia, the Muslim World and Africa, have developed out of the philosophical histories of their regions. 

Interviewing thinkers from all around the world, he asks why, for instance, do our European systems of governments and justice differ so widely from the East? Why can Islam not easily incorporate secular knowledge? How do we understand China? By gaining greater knowledge of how others think, we can become less certain of the knowledge we think we have, the first step to greater understanding.

©2018 Julian Baggini (P)2018 W.F. Howes Ltd

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How the World Thinks - Kitabi Karwan Review

Listening to an Audiobook on a serious topic is a tough endeavour simply because we are generally not trained to train our auditory senses to function as stand alone inputs of absolute information processing. I say this to emphasise how this book stands out. Dispensing information about abstract issues is in itself difficult, and a challenging narrative makes the situation worse. But somehow Baggini manages to surmount these hurdles and reaches out to the reader(listener) in a beautiful manner.
This aside, I feel this book is a much required one as it dispels the notion of western philosophy being the de facto, all encompassing idea of philosophy. It explores the largely ignored concepts from East Asia and South Asia, including the fundamental difference in the very conception of the idea of philosophy. A lot of inter-generational and political conflict in a highly globalised world can be sourced to deep rooted philosophical differences. Something as basic as the emphasis of the west on individualism as opposed to the Asian emphasis on collectives and community is largely reflective in day-to-day events. Perhaps a better understanding of where each party to an event is coming from may result in mutual appreciation of standpoints.
I would have preferred for the book to have also covered African and South American outlooks as well for the book to live up to the word “World” in its title, as it largely focuses on the Northern Hemisphere. Yet, I would say the book should form an integral part of anyone’s intellect building to-read list. Perhaps it’s time we actually make sense of the inane trend of the #fromwhereistand hashtag
PS: Baggini ‘s credentials are readily available online, and it heartens me to know that he has more than enough authority to talk on the topic.

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  • Philomath
  • 17-04-19

A look at Philosophy of different cultures

Too often we mistake philosophy as a western idea, derived from the great Greek thinkers.

What this book shows is that the history of the world is full of philosophical ideas just as relevant.

This book provides is a perspective of different cultures and religions that have influenced its own strands of philosophy.

Such a wider approach gives insight into how the people’s of the world think and why, something very much needed in this day and age of globalisation.

Good read.

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  • Pumaman
  • 03-08-19

interesting book, sometimes a bit subjective

definitely worth a read. i liked that parallels and contrasts are often highlighted. Sometimes certain thoughts or comments could be argued about as they are quite subjective.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Vee
  • 12-09-19

Cute but colonial

Despite including many world views in this book, the author sadly investigates each culture’s philosophy from a largely western perspective. For example, a misunderstanding of Karma as fatalism, and a very biased interjection of opinion at various points. Nonetheless a good read.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Jones
  • 21-07-19

Really struggled with narration of audiobook

I was really excited to find this book on audible as I've been wanting to read it for a while, but after two attempts to listen to the prologue have given up. The narrator is clearly spoken, but the intonation of every sentence seems to be the same and the result is a text that washes over me. Dates and names go in one ear and out of the other. Still looking forward to reading the book - but in print, next time.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-07-19

Loved it

an insightful and understandable introduction to world philosophy. would reccommend to anyone looking for a starting place in philosophical reading

8 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 22-12-19

Monotonous delivery

I was really looking forward to listening to this as find the subject fascinating, however as I listen whilst driving the droning monotony of the delivery was knocking me out, I found that I kept having to rewinding as I'd drifted off and couldn't remember anything I'd just listened to... maybe good if you have trouble sleeping, so listen at bedtime.
I really don't like giving a poor review as I appreciate the hard work an author has put in, this review is purely on the performance which prevented me from becoming familiar with the content.
I would recommend downloading a sample first and seeing if you can get along with the tone.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RAUL
  • 11-07-19

Get enlightened and acquainted with other perspectives

Get enlightened and acquainted with other perspectives. The author has studied, analyzed and compiled an impressive amount of knowledge about philosophies and philosophical views. I consider mysel openminded and internationally experienced. But I have mearned so much. I will come back to this book again. Maybe also buy a paper copy.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Matt Norris
  • 22-07-19

So much knowledge wish I’d bought the book

Truly amazing the length and breadth that’s covered by Julian. He’s a great speaker too. Not an audiobook to power through, as there is much to understand.

6 people found this helpful

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  • A Olsen
  • 15-12-19

Don’t listen in the car

Barely got started before I gave up. The narration is monotone and so tedious I had to give up. The whole narration washed over me to the point I couldn’t actually recall what had just been said.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BEN
  • 02-10-19

Interesting and engaging

Starts a little slow but builds and kept my interest throughout.

Felt balanced and interested rather than pushing a view.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. H. Hillman
  • 24-08-19

Very easy to listen to and very engaging.

I dont know if the author reading his own book always help but in this case if found it very easy to listen to and every engaging. A broad subject very well covered. I found him insightful and it gave me plenty to consider. A pleasure to listen to.

1 person found this helpful