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Publisher's Summary

Confucius knew all about life and told us how to behave, but we can't find out precisely what he was up to. His well-meaning platitudes, quaint maxims, and quasi-enigmatic anecdotes combined to produce an ideal philosophy for civil servants. It would appear that his aim was to turn his pupils into good government officials, but his teachings succeeded beyond his wildest expectations, providing rules of conduct and spiritual fodder for more than two thousand years.

In Confucius in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Confucius's life and ideas and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Confucius' work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Confucius within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

©1999 Paul Strathern; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Well-written, clear, and informed, they have a breezy wit about them. I find them hard to stop reading." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • DMC
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 06-07-06

The author seems to dislike Confucius

The author completely fails to elucidate any of Confucius's brilliance, and instead appears to be utterly bored by Confucius (begging the question of why he wrote the book). The narrator faced a difficult task of trying to breathe life into the book, and didn't. This was an ill-conceived 90-minute introduction that does little to introduce Confucius to the listener, nor is it well organized. Don't waste your time--this is not a good introduction to the subject.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gilbert
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 04-04-08

Could have been better

The western point of view and bias get in the way of the information and ideas. It is difficult to understand Confucian thinking when the author of this book is so sure that it is wrong. If you are buying a book to learn something, try one of the others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Abysmal

What disappointed you about Confucius in 90 Minutes?

Author amuses himself by spoofing and ridiculing Confucius. Arrogant, haughty. Filled with crude Western prejudices. As a beginner myself, I prefer a fine translation to this debased British-style comedy routine.

What do you think your next listen will be?

More reliable and scholarly translation that allows me to learn about Confucius for myself.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No. Author needs advice on where to place his "little sticks."

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

In 90 Minutes Series overview

If you could sum up Confucius in 90 Minutes in three words, what would they be?
aka Cliff Notes

Would you recommend Confucius in 90 Minutes to your friends? Why or why not?
Yes - I've listened to each book in the series about a major philosopher that is available on Audible. Strathern's books don't have the analytical depth found in Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" books, but he does a good job summarizing each philosopher's biography, major philosophical points, and criticisms. Additionally, Strathern's breadth is broader than Durant's in that he covers a greater number of philosophers. I believe that the time spent listening to these books has been well-spent.

My reviews for each book in the series about a philosopher are identical.

What about Robert Whitfield’s performance did you like?
Voice is clear, well-modulated, and easily understood, even at 1 1/2 speed.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

not what I expected

Not what I expected - too simplified view of Confucius. I was expected a little in depth review ... alas

  • Overall

Very good.

Gave me exactly what the title promised. It's well written, easy to follow, entertaining and narrated by one of my favourites: Robert Whitfield.