Great Ideas

Useful Work v. Useless Toil

Useful Work v. Useless Toil

William Morris

Brings you the works of thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

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A Confession

A Confession

Leo Tolstoy

Describes Tolstoy's crisis of depression and estrangement from the world. This work describes his search for 'a practical religion not promising future bliss but giving bliss on earth'.

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Man Alone with Himself

Man Alone with Himself

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary thinkers in Western philosophy. Here he sets out his subversive views in a series of aphorisms on subjects ranging from art to arrogance, boredom to passion, science to vanity,...

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The Lamp of Memory

The Lamp of Memory

John Ruskin

States that ancient buildings must be conserved for their deep, mystical links with the past and that creative design is essential - not for financial gain, but to communicate eternal human truths. This title brings the works of...

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The Sickness Unto Death

The Sickness Unto Death

Soren Kierkegaard

Influencing philosophers such as Sartre and Camus, and still modern in its psychological insights, this work explores the concept of 'despair' as a symptom of the human condition and describes man's struggle to fill the spiritual...

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The Fastidious Assassins

The Fastidious Assassins

Albert Camus

Presents a critique of communism and how it had gone wrong behind the Iron Curtain. This work examines the revolutions in France and Russia, and argues that since they were both guilty of producing tyranny and corruption, hope for...

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The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin, J. A. Underwood

Explores how the age of mass media means audiences can listen to or see a work of art repeatedly - and what the troubling social and political implications of this are.

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Days of Reading

Days of Reading

Marcel Proust, John Sturrock

Features essays about why we read. This work explores the pleasures and trials that we take from books, as well as explaining the beauty of Ruskin and his work, and the joys of losing yourself in literature as a child.

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An Appeal to the Toiling, Oppressed and Exhausted Peoples of Europe

An Appeal to the Toiling, Oppressed and Exhausted Peoples of Europe

Leon Trotsky

Brings you the works of thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

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Books v. Cigarettes

Books v. Cigarettes

George Orwell

Explores everything from the perils of second-hand bookshops to the dubious profession of being a critic, from freedom of the press to what patriotism really means.

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Human Happiness

Human Happiness

Blaise Pascal

Created by the seventeenth-century philosopher and mathematician Pascal, the essays contained in this work are a curiously optimistic look at whether humans can ever find satisfaction and real joy in life - or whether a belief in...

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The Art of War

The Art of War

Tzu Sun, John Minford

Sun Tzu's teachings on how to successfully respond to and handle situations of conflict is a must-read for today's business leaders (and politicians, and many others).

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Why I Write

Why I Write

George Orwell

Whether puncturing the lies of politicians, wittily dissecting the English character or telling unpalatable truths about war, this title features essays that are suitable in today's era of spin.

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Civilization and its Discontents

Civilization and its Discontents

Sigmund Freud

Brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.

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A Room of One's Own

A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf's blazing polemic on female creativity, the role of writers and the silent fate of Shakespeare's imaginary sister remains a powerful reminder of a woman's need for financial independence and intellectual freedom.

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Why I am So Wise

Why I am So Wise

Friedrich Nietzsche

One of the most iconoclastic thinkers of all time, Friedrich Nietzsche continues to challenge the boundaries of conventional religion and morality with his subversive theories of the 'superman', the individual will, the death of...

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On Natural Selection

On Natural Selection

Charles Darwin

Brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.

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On Art and Life

On Art and Life

John Ruskin

John Ruskins insights into the need for individual artistic freedom, and his disdain for the mass-production art of the Victorian era, radically altered society's perception of creative design and remain powerfully relevant to our...

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On the Suffering of the World

On the Suffering of the World

Arthur Schopenhauer

Schopenhauer's perception of the importance of art, morality and self awareness in a blind struggle against a Godless, meaningless world radically transformed our understanding of the individual and remains a searing vision of the...

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The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto

Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx

The Communist Manifesto changed the face of the twentieth century beyond recognition, inspiring millions to revolution, forming the basis of political systems that still dominate countless lives and continuing to ignite violent...

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On the Pleasure of Hating

On the Pleasure of Hating

William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt's tough combative writings on subjects ranging from slavery to the imagination, boxing matches to the monarchy, established him as one of the greatest radicals of his age and have insspired journalists and...

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Common Sense

Common Sense

Thomas Paine

The book that created the modern United States, Paine's incendiary call for Americans to revolt against British rule converted millions to the cause of independence and set out a vision of a just society - free from corruption and...

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The Christians and the Fall of Rome

The Christians and the Fall of Rome

Edward Gibbon

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. This title brings you the works of the great thinkers,...

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The Social Contract

The Social Contract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau's explosive cry for human liberty helped to spark the French Revolution and has haunted our discussions of how we should rule one another ever since - seen as both a blue-print for political terror and as a fundamental...

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Writings from the Zen Masters

Writings from the Zen Masters

Various

Contains stories of wisdom and understanding from the Zen Masters. This book contains tales of swords, tigers, tea, flowers and dogs. It features the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas...

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On Solitude

On Solitude

Michel de Montaigne

Blending intellectual speculation with anecdote and personal reflection, the Renaissance thinker and writer Montaigne pioneered the modern essay. This selection contains his idiosyncratic writings on subjects as varied as the...

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Of the Abuse of Words

Of the Abuse of Words

John Locke

John Locke was one of the greatest figures of the Enlightenment, whose assertion that reason is the key to knowledge changed the face of philosophy. This book contains writings on thought, ideas, perception, truth and language.

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An Answer to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?'

An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant was one of the most influential philosophers in the whole of Europe, who changed Western thought with his examinations of reason and the nature of reality. This book investigates human progress, civilization,...

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Confessions of an English Opium Eater

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

Thomas De Quincey

Describes the surreal hallucinations, insomnia and nightmarish visions, the author experienced while consuming daily large amounts of laudanum. This book presents an account of the pleasures and pains of opium that forged a link...

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An Apology for Idlers

An Apology for Idlers

Robert Louis Stevenson

Offering an invitation to reject the work ethic and enjoy life's simple pleasures (such as laughing, drinking and lying in the open air), this essay on the joys of idleness contains writings on, among other things, growing old,...

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Why Look at Animals?

Why Look at Animals?

John Berger

Explores how the ancient relationship between man and nature has been broken in the modern consumer age, with the animals that used to be at the centre of our existence now marginalized and reduced to spectacle.

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The Horrors and Absurdities of Religion

The Horrors and Absurdities of Religion

Arthur Schopenhauer

Examines ethics, religion and psychology. This selection of Schopenhauer's works contains scathing attack on the nature and logic of religion, and an essay on ethics that ranges from the American slavery debate to the vices of...

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Decline of the English Murder

Decline of the English Murder

George Orwell

Explores the English love of reading about a good murder in the papers (and laments the passing of the heyday of the 'perfect' murder involving class, sex and poisoning), as well as unfolds author's views on everything from boys'...

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Great Ideas for Tired Parents

Great Ideas for Tired Parents

Michael Grose

Full of practical ideas and examples of how to take control over the way you live, and prevent the demands of others from completely swamping you.

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The Evils of Revolution

The Evils of Revolution

Edmund Burke

Written at a time when most of Europe supported the French Revolution, Edmund Burke's prescient and, at the time, controversial denunciation of its mob rule predicted the Terror, began the modern conservative tradition and still...

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On the Shortness of Life

On the Shortness of Life

Seneca

The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca offer powerful insights into the art of living and the importance of reason and morality and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless...

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Meditations

Meditations

Marcus Aurelius

The Mediations of the great Roman philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius are simple yet profound works of stoic philosophy that continue to offer guidance and consolation to many with their eloquence, wisdom and humility.

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On Friendship

On Friendship

Michel de Montaigne

Expresses the author's views on relationships. This title contemplates the idea that man is no different from any animal, argues that all cultures should be respected, and helps us to understand the nature of humanity.

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The Prince

The Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli, Anthony Grafton

Today The Prince is still seen as the Bible of realpolitik, read by strategists, businessmen and political animals everywhere as the ultimate guide to gaining and maintaining power in a dangerous world.

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Nature

Nature

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Brings you the works of thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

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The Invisible Hand

The Invisible Hand

Adam Smith

Adam Smith's landmark treatise on the free market paved the way for modern capitalism, arguing that competition is the engine of a productive society, and that self-interest will eventually come to enrich the whole community, as...

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The Spectacle of the Scaffold

The Spectacle of the Scaffold

Michel Foucault

Argues that punishment has gone from being mere spectacle to becoming an instrument of systematic domination over individuals in society - not just of our bodies, but our souls.

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Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Fundamental to Chinese philosophy and religion, this title...

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Utopia

Utopia

Saint Thomas More

Paints a fantastical picture of a distant island where society is perfected and people live in harmony. This work is also an attack on the author's own corrupt, dangerous times, and on the failings of humanity.

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