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Greatest Minds and Ideas Of All Time Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Audio Partners; Unabridged Edition edition (Oct. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572703482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572703483
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 14.1 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 127 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #480,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This engaging, accessible book of essays from Pulitzer Prize-winning philosopher and historian Durant, author of the authoritative 11-volume Story of Civilization, should be essential reading for anyone interested in the evolution of thought. Little, the founder and director of The Will Durant Foundation, includes in his slim compendium such works as "The One Hundred 'Best' Books For an Education" and "Twelve Vital Dates in World History." Durant's "The Ten 'Greatest' Thinkers" details minds as enlightening as Confucius and as influential as Darwin, whom Durant says "reduced man to an animal fighting for his transient mastery of the globe." "The Ten 'Greatest' Poets," charts a course from Homer's brilliance to Dante's haunted heart to Whitman's "frank and lusty" originality, in prose peppered with biographical bon mots and excerpts of the world's loveliest poems. Lay folks especially will find this a delightful introduction to Durant's irrepressible style. What else would one expect from Durant, an intellect who, when asked, "Whom in all of history would you most like to have known?" drolly replied, "Madame de Pompadour."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

By the time of his death in 1981, it was fashionable for many scholars to deride the works of Will Durant; his faith in human progress and emphasis upon the great achievements of individuals seemed outmoded in circles that stressed pessimism about the fate of humanity and lauded the power of mass movements. So it is refreshing to again encounter historical writing that brims with optimism and pays just tribute to individual minds and ideas that have shaped history and advanced both moral and material progress. Editor Little is a lecturer on philosophy, a documentary filmmaker, and director of the Will Durant Foundation. His compilation of Durant's essays is divided into sections on the greatest thinkers, poets, books, and landmarks of human progress. Even Durant acknowledges that his efforts to rate "top tens" borders on the frivolous, but there is nothing frivolous about Durant's elegant prose and cogent insight into the lives and minds of men as diverse as Confucius, Voltaire, and Darwin. This compact work is a gem that elevates historical writing to the level of superb literature. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
OF THE MANY IDEALS which in youth gave life a meaning and radiance missing from the chilly perspectives of middle age, one at least has remained with me as bright and satisfying as ever before-the shameless worship of heroes. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In these modern times of cynicism, worn as a garb of superiority, it has become intellectually fashionable, a pose of small minds, to negate greatness, revealing that our heroes are not heroes at all, but mere historical constructs with feet of clay. Unfortunately, this is a pathological symptom of democracy, where mediocrity must be exalted at all costs, to maintain the notion of equality. Men and women must be viewed as equal under the eyes of the law and society, for this is justice. But we are not equal in health, wealth, intelligence and talent. What Will Durant has shown us unashamedly is "...that at the beginning and summit of every age some heroic genius stands, the voice and index of his time...the guide and pioneer into the future." (10)
This necessary little book presents six essays on the greatest thoughts, minds and books of all time. The reader may disagree occasiionally with his choices, though Durant compellingly argues his choices from his informed view as a recognized historian, philosopher and teacher.
The text is a snap shot of history; an opportunity to see the past and its great historical figures through the eyes of a man who made it his life mission to celebrate what it means to be human. Durant's humanism and enthusiasm is highly infectious - one comes away from his texts with a renewed hope that civilization was once great and can be great again. We have been submerged into the pessimistic, fragmented and distilled perspectives of Modernism far too long. Durant's optimism slices like Excaliber through our fashionable cynicism about the world; he is the intellectual white knight, celebrating the miracle of existence and the endless potential of humanity.
At the moment the world is filled with uncertainty and pessimism, therefore this text is highly recommended, for it might cast a glimmer of hope, and a renewed optimism about the world, the future and us.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been working my way through The Story of Civilization, and loving it. Fast, fun, educational, and entertaining. So when I found this audiobook before a long car trip, I thought I would enjoy it.
I was wrong. Okay, from time to time it provides some interesting insights. But it is full of "insights" that are obvious (Plato was one of the greatest philosophers), and odd (Whistler's paintings are faddish), with lots of fluff in between (long paragraphs about why people might object to Aquinas being called one of the world's greatest philosophers, with very little time left to explain what Aquinas' contribution was).
Skip it unless someone gives you a copy for free.
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Format: Hardcover
It's said that good things come in small packages. Sometimes great things do, too. This book may be only 118 pages long, but between these covers you will find reasoned and inspired discussion of some of the people and works who have truly ennobled mankind.
Will Durant, in partnership with his wife Ariel, spent his lifetime celebrating our highest and best achievements as a people. His essays on the greatest thinkers, greatest poets, best books, peaks of human progress and vital dates in world history should not only serve as a compact education, it should also fill you with a sense that for all of humanity's folly and waste, we have actually accomplished much that is worthwhile these past few thousand years. It's also very likely this book will spark within you a desire to know and to learn more about our rich heritage.
My only wish for this book is that compiler John Little had included the dates these works were originally written. The chapter on the best books for an education, for example, while including many timeless classics, also includes some volumes which have been surpassed by later works--including the Durant's own magisterial lifework, the "Story of Civilization." But this a minor quibble over what is on the whole an exceptional work.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was a wonderful overview of Great Moments in Western Civilization, and presented a wonderful reading list and survey of the great minds of our time, and some of the most important ideas captured on paper. However, it is fairly out of date and does not include more contemporary works which merit inclusion in such a compendium. Contemporary gurus such as Robert Kyosaki, Tony Robbins, Stephen Hawkings, John Grey, and Clint Arthur are not included due to their relative youth and modern messages. Highly advised would be going directly to the source, experiencing first hand the groundbreaking works "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" or "Men are from Mars," or Clint's "9 Free Secrets of New Sensual Power" which are all life-changing and life-affirming books. The Greatest Minds and Ideas is just a book report for intellectuals -- Rich Dad, Mars, and 9 Free Secrets are the books to read, savor, and profit from by way of enhanced quality of life & authentic connection with Great Authors.
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Format: Hardcover
At present, I am happily plowing through the 11-volume "Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant. It was nice to take a break and read this newest book, packed with lots of little gems of Durantian wisdom.
Who did Will Durant think were the 10 greatest thinkers of all time? Or the 10 greatest poets? Or the most significant dates and developments in world history? It's all here. Also included is a list of the 100 books a person should read to become educated and free. While the list is somewhat dated, it is still full of valuable suggestions. Because of it, I am soon reading Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and some of the plays of Euripides, for example.
If you're a Durant fan, definitely buy this book and set it on the shelf alongside that other great work of concise wisdom, "The Lessons of History." And kudos to editor John Little for bringing us this fine volume. I'm already looking forward to the next one!
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