• The Socrates Express

  • In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers
  • By: Eric Weiner
  • Narrated by: Eric Weiner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (364 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of The Geography of Bliss embarks on a rollicking intellectual journey, following in the footsteps of history’s greatest thinkers and showing us how each - from Epicurus to Gandhi, Thoreau to Beauvoir - offers practical and spiritual lessons for today’s unsettled times.

We turn to philosophy for the same reasons we travel: to see the world from a dif­ferent perspective, to unearth hidden beauty, and to find new ways of being. We want to learn how to embrace wonder. Face regrets. Sustain hope.

Eric Weiner combines his twin passions for philosophy and travel in a globe-trotting pil­grimage that uncovers surprising life lessons from great thinkers around the world, from Rousseau to Nietzsche, Confucius to Simone Weil. Traveling by train (the most thoughtful mode of transport), he journeys thousands of miles, making stops in Athens, Delhi, Wyoming, Coney Island, Frankfurt, and points in between to recon­nect with philosophy’s original purpose: teaching us how to lead wiser, more meaningful lives. From Socrates and ancient Athens to Beauvoir and 20th-century Paris, Weiner’s chosen philosophers and places provide important practical and spiritual lessons as we navigate today’s chaotic times.

In a “delightful” odyssey that “will take you places intellectually and humorously” (San Francisco Book Review), Weiner invites us to voyage alongside him on his life-changing pursuit of wisdom and discovery as he attempts to find answers to our most vital questions. The Socrates Express is “full of valuable lessons...a fun, sharp book that draws readers in with its apparent simplicity and bubble-gum philosophy approach and gradually pulls them in deeper and deeper” (NPR).

©2020 Eric Weiner (P)2020 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about The Socrates Express

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Wisdom, Wit and Warmth

I absolutely LOVED this book — just what I needed in this time of anxiety and uncertainty (a pandemic, political zaniness, etc). Eric Weiner is a reassuring, witty and worldly companion who takes us on his quest around the world (damn, have I missed being able to travel!) Experiencing wonder and gaining wisdom with a down-to-earth guide (and exceptional writer) was a welcome joy and absolute delight.

15 people found this helpful

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An approachable take on philosophy

I do not have a background in philosophy. I have heard a philosopher speak exactly once for about 30 minutes in my entire life. This book was a great introduction not only to the thinking of several great philosophers, but into how those philosophies might be practically applied to my day-to-day life, or at least my thinking. Weiner takes a lofty subject and makes it both relatable and practical. The reading is pleasant to listen to.

8 people found this helpful

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  • TM
  • 09-01-20

Suprisingly Worthwhile

I was a bit worried at first that this book might be a bit slow and self-indulgent. But the more I listened, the more I liked.

Gentle overviews of significant philosophers, each with a theme on how their thoughts could improve the author’s (and of course your) life.

Strongly recommend.

6 people found this helpful

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Perfect for the novice philosophy enthusiast

Found this book to be incredibly insightful and entertaining. The author does a brilliant job weaving all the different players and schools of thought into a thought provoking and digestible journey.

5 people found this helpful

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Highly Recommend - Much enjoyment and educational.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

I really enjoy this audio book – there is a lot of wisdom in it. And the presentation is pleasurable. As, I felt like I was taken along on the journey. Also, the author narrative voice is both amusing and entertaining. I enjoy this book so much: I have listen to it several times and still want to listen to again. As there is so much info, insight, and discernment in his writings. I would like to see more from the Author along the same materials. Anyone interested in expanding their horizons & gain useful and practical understanding of philosophy and interpretation of life. I highly recommend this book…It is a great enjoyment while educating yourself. Peace…

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hideous

5 stars na this is a waste come on guy you have to do better

3 people found this helpful

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Lovely book, perfect on Audible

How does traveling the world by train with a fun guy who has a deep side sound? If this appeals to you, Eric Weiner’s audio book will be a joy. This is not a typical travelogue in the sense that the majority of the writing does not focus on the experiences of the trip itself, though there is some of that to set context. Eric uses the train locations to launch his reflections about some of his favorite philosophers’ lives and thought. And it works, because he is a very knowledgeable student of philosophy and a very approachable writer and narrator, having worked as an NPR radio correspondent for years.
If going on a field trip around the world with your favorite philosophy teacher sounds like something you would enjoy, this will be a joy.

2 people found this helpful

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Enough Wisdom for the Rest Of Your Days

I am a 19 year old ivy league scholar. I spend my days searching for words of the wise and sermons of the sages. Eric Weiner has written a tome of wise words and sages sermons. This book will be one that rests upon my bedside table for all times. If you don't have your life completely figured out, read it. Hear it. Taste it. Smell it. Do anything, something, just buy this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Fine

This is how I became an philosophy enthusiast. The lessons on how to live are powerful and enlightening. Thank you Mr. Weiner.

1 person found this helpful

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The part about Socrates is adorable

The book starts slow, but from part 2 onward is very enjoyable. He actually tries to present main ideas instead of biographies

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ash Roskell
  • 04-10-22

Well, “Expressed.”

Probably what most people are hoping for (and are usually disappointed by) when they buy a book of this type?

Nicely read, with charm and a warmly expressive voice, the author takes us on a journey from birth to death, visiting his favourite philosophers on the way.

Each has something to say about different aspects of our lives and he cleverly curates them into a personalised package, sharing intimate details of his own life with his daughter, whilst offering the listener an entertaining and thought provoking experience; often funny and irreverent, but never trivial or obtuse.

Respectful of the various schools of thought, whilst remaining level headed about their shortcomings.
I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and I suspect I’ll be taking others with this guy.

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  • Miss B. March
  • 09-18-20

A potted philosophy

I did so enjoy this book . I have not studied philosophy and the philosophers' names are not familiar to me so this was not just helpful but very accessible. I also enjoyed the train journeys and discovering the locations. I would recommend this book to anyone who want to discover what philosophy is all about.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-22-21

The book I always hoped existed.

Philosophy has lost its way; instead of seeking wisdom with passion, curiosity and awe we've succumbed to fierce duels over semantics, tied our thoughts to Gordian knots and turned philosophy into a dusty corner of the library. Socrates Express brings back what has been lost: the love of wisdom.

I first found philosophy in my adolescence as an alternative to nihilistic materialism and faith-based superstition - I have ever since argued that philosophy belongs in elementary school curriculum. Philosophy teaches us how to think more clearly and better make sense of the world, something much more important than merely memorising what we as humanity have already learned. The rise of populism, conspiracy theory and alternative medicine is evidence people sorely lack the wisdom to tell true from false, sense from nonsense and right from flat earth wrong.

I haven't had much luck persuading people to get excited about these mummified relics of ancient wisdom, though. We no longer yearn to ponder the great questions in life, we've come to prefer answers. I hope Socrates Express is the book to turn the tide and get people excited about philosophy again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-19-21

Easy Listening

I enjoyed this book. The author conveys his work well in a style that is easy to listen to. The tone of the book encourages reflection and doing philosophy as much as reading about the philosophy of others. His content is well measured for the philosophical novice who may not be familiar with more than the names of his various subjects.

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  • Hiro
  • 01-16-21

Highly recommended

Great ‘train’ of thoughts, well written and wonderfully presented.
Also liked the author’s good sense of humour.

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  • Igor A. Jakubowicz
  • 12-10-20

Entertaining and informative introduction to philosophy

An easy introduction to the philosophies of 14 famous and lesser known thinkers written to make the ideas relevant to our times. Well worth the time and even a second visit.