I don't think Sattler does much recreational reading due to a lack of free time, especially with tax season quickly approaching. But it appears that Ricky is a fellow bookworm, so I thought it would be neat for us to offer up a book review once in a while, as we finish off books.
I am just about finished with a book by Christopher Phllips called Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy. It's a relatively small book and it's a gem! Although it has no direct relationship to distance running, we all know that our best philosophizing takes place on the road where there are few distractions and the endorphins are bouncing around inside our brains!
Phillips is a philosopher who goes around the country holding what he calls "Socrates Cafes", which are informal forums where laypeople gather to kick around philosophical questions, such as "Is there a God?", "How do you define 'home'?", "What is a friend?", "What does is mean to be old?" and, that ageless question, "Who am I?". The locations include coffee houses, senior centers and senior residential communities, churches, prisons and elementary schools (the author claims that elementary school students are unrivaled philosophers!).
Phillips acts as the moderator in these discussions and, in keeping with the spirit of Socrates, he prompts the group's dialogue with thoughtful questions. The premise of these discussions is that there are no universal right or wrong answers to these big questions, and the group rarely, if ever, arrive at any kind of consensus. Instead, by employing reflective questioning, each participant arrives at his/her own personal answers to these questions. Participants put their own "inner philosopher" to work, so to speak. This results in absolutely fascinating and eye-opening discourse.
Phillips' overall goal is to bring philosophy down from the ivory tower and help people realize the benefits of taking a philosophical approach to life. He bemoans the materialism that has pervaded American culture since the 80's and how things like ethics and morality have been largely brushed aside. The average person never seriously struggles with the question of who they are or why they exist, and Phillips has set out to change that.
Overall, it's a great little book that can really change your perspective on life. It has certainly inspired me to put morephilosophy books on the 2008 reading list!