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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling historian and philosopher Will Durant devoted his entire life to studying the most significant eras, individuals, and achievements of human history. Here is a summation of Durant's work, as he presents the best of world history, from "The One Hundred Best Books for an Education" to "The Ten Greatest Thinkers," "The Ten Greatest Poets," "The Ten Peaks of Human Progress," and "Twelve Vital Dates in Human History." Filled with Durant's renowned wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events in simple and exciting terms, it is a concise liberal arts education.
©2003 John Little and the Estate of Will Durant; 2002 John Little, Monica Ariel Mihell, and William James Durant Easton (P)2003 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

Critic Reviews

"This compact work is a gem that elevates historical writing to the level of superb literature." (Booklist)
"[An] engaging, accessible book of essays...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." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Summary

If you could sum up The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time in three words, what would they be?

Overview. Fascinating. Inspiring.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time?

The entire book was exceptional.

Which character – as performed by John Little – was your favorite?

Too difficult to choose.

Any additional comments?

This book is supposed to be an overview, so the reviews that criticize this book as being "too fast" do not seem to be taking in to account the very objective of this book in that it is meant to be a summary. This book is well worth the read, as are the other books by Will Durant. I highly recommend them.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Kinda like Wagner " not as bad as it sounds"

I bought this dispite the negative reviews. I am a total Durant fan. Read the History of the World, Yup that one.The first bit is great and engrossing, 100 greatest books does not make a great read. This might be better in hardcover. But have been through it twice and will plunge in again. I prefer books good for read after read, this qualifies , but you better like Durant.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Too Fast

Whilst the content was interesting, the narrator read way too fast. I could not absorb much of the content. As a result I did not enjoy the book. This is the first time I have had this issue with audio books. From now on I will always listen to sample before purchase.

25 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A "Greatest Hits" of History

This was my introduction to Will Durant. The writing is spectacular. The language at times is almost poetic and I felt the speed at which the text was read was a bit fast. It is short but meaty. I highly recommend it; you will find yourself skipping back a few times to fully enjoy the prose.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

He can do better!

Many on the list are antiquated. And the lists are read as quickly as the reasons for his choice. In some categories it's like hearing a hone book read. Durant does better on his history of the philosophers. In this book He leaves out all of the religious leaders on a purpose that I don't understand. Most of which held more sway, good and bad, than any of the others on a list. I'll order another from Durant just because he has been so good in the past. But I could have skipped this one and not lost sleep.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Mind changing

Really enjoyed it, Loved it, would listen to it again when i habe the chance to, will definitely recommend it to a friend

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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INDIGESTIBLE

Too much to digest at the reader's pace. Some interesting ideas, but not worth the time.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Incomplete

What would have made The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time better?

This is, as I understand, an incomplete work of Durant, and it is mostly a big disappointment. For the most part, it is a list of antiquated works put forth as the basis for a fundamental education. No kicks against his list, except that a lot of it was rather obvious and there is very little expansion on the whys of his picks. Begin elsewhere with Durant.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Puzzled

We purchased this title thinking it would be thought provoking and spur conversation regarding who was/was not included in each list. It was quickly apparent that the author was not modern and did not write in a lively manner. Granted, his essays were intended to be read rather than heard, but the rambling definitions were tedious. If you are unfamiliar with this author's work (as we were), we strongly suggest that you read some of the essays before buying the audio file. Better to discover his prejudices at the local library than after spending $$ on an antiquated world view.

37 of 68 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not what it seems to be

It's like a bad poem that doesn't rhyme - poetical tone about history which doesn't have facts, specific examples etc

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 07-11-07

Poor choice of narator lets excellent title down

This titlte is another jewel from Will Durant but I can not recommend it due to the poor naration. The voice is flat and makes the book unlistenable. This has nothing to do with the sound quality and is due to the reader. I advise listening to the excellenty narated 'The Story of Philosophy' by the same author and compare prior to purchase. I will be seeking to return this title.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 07-06-13

Durant being Durant, not a bad thing...

Will Durant was nothing if not an unashamed elitist and his personal take on the greatest minds and figure in history are fairly well justified, though he admits himself his choice of greatest poets is somewhat personal! Some of the other choices might be considered in the same light. Well worth as listen though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • citizenade
  • 09-03-15

Great recommendations

Great recommendations some of them are pure gold which I will try and buy. Epic

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Dawson
  • 11-24-17

Exceptionally interesting but

daunting amount I need to read now. great reference for impactful history and books that could transform your perspective of this world. I'll be using it for this

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna Maria Rusanova
  • 03-03-16

Brilliant!

This was an amazing book that I was happy to listen to! The narrator was doing an amazing job, as he made the experience outstanding - thank you!