How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

Narrated by: Julian Baggini
Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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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

What listeners say about How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

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    3 out of 5 stars

Complex topic

Of course I knew that I would get myself into a complex topic and that the author could only scratch the surface, which he did, but somehow I was not captivated by the jumpy „story-line“. I did appreciate the insights into especially the Asian, Indian, and Arabic philosophy but again, it’s not a page turner.

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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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  • Peter
  • 12-22-19

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Vee
  • 09-12-19

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Pumaman
  • 08-03-19

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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  • Emma Jones
  • 07-21-19

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.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-19

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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  • RAUL
  • 07-11-19

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
  • 07-22-19

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-16-20

Not as Global as expected

I really enjoyed what was covered in this book and how the concepts were broken down and explored. The focus was on Western, East Asian, Indian and to some degree Islamic regions, cultures and ideas. This was all done really well. Unfortunately, save for a few very brief references, it didn't cover large portions of humanity, for example Africa. This would be understandably difficult but it wasn't even specifically explained as to why say African philosophies barely featured and it's a pity the book didn't cover it. To my mind, this is a real shame and undermines the notion of this providing a true Global perspective. Even Russia, which was also omitted until the concluding chapter, did get a short summary there of what constitutes philosophy in Russia, a recommendation of another author's book exploring Russian thinking and an explanation as to why it was not otherwise mentioned elsewhere in the book. I would happily have continued to listen to many more hours of this book, if only the author had included more.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A Olsen
  • 12-15-19

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
  • 10-02-19

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