These books offer two different approaches to anyone who wants to be introduced to western philosophy. They both range from the Greek Pre-Socratics to contemporary German, French and English speaking thinkers. One of them even gets to talk about the Big Bang Theory.
“Sophie’s world” is genius, no wonder it’s been a worldwide success among readers of all ages and walks of life, although it deals with such a tough topic. Jostein Gaarder decided that the best way to introduce new people to philosophy is by telling them a fictional story. It is a marvelous and instructive voyage through western philosophy that also deals with tangent topics such as reality and illusion, wonder and indifference, compassion and suffering.
Bertrand Russel’s work, on the other hand, is a classic, a traditional overview of western philosophy written by one of the greatest contemporary thinkers. Yet, it’s not just a didactic and detached textbook. Russel is original and bold, unafraid to tell us that a great master has made a gross mistake or inspired tyrants and warmongers. Plus, even though it is much more challenging than Gaarder’s book, it’s not inaccessible to people who are not familiar with the subject.
Philosophy is one of the best topic I know. If you’re new to it take your pick. Or, better even, read them both!
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