Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Ten Golden Rules by Michael Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas

The Ten Golden Rules by Michael Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas presents ten philosophical precepts drawing upon such Ancient Greek icons as Plato, Epictetus (a personal favorite), and Aristotle, among others. Taking one great thought from ten different philosophers, the authors offer the reader a sample of some of the great truths that do not rely on religion or dogma to retain relevance. And these authors have the credentials, holding more four Ph.D.s between them. With excellent authorial credentials, one would anticipate a well thought out and interesting discussion of philosophy. Unfortunately, what they offer is “Philosophy Lite.” Not even a basic discussion of philosophical schools nor offering much in the way of real life application, this book reads like a cotton candy sampling rather than an intellectual one. I can’t tell who the audience is supposed to be for this. Anyone who is interested in getting some interesting discussion on philosophy without the text becoming overly intellectual will be disappointed that the text doesn’t even come close to sounding academic. This reader would only walk away thinking the book doesn’t take the material seriously enough. But if the aim is to appeal to the reader who is normally intimidated by philosophy and would not want their philosophy presented under the onus of academia then this book fails to deliver because that reader probably wouldn’t get past the title, cover, or the author’s credentials. This is the Happy Meal of philosophy books coming in at barely over 100 pages, it tries to cover ten principles without offering any depth or real discussion. Frankly, if Plato et al had presented their thoughts in this superficial and shallow manner, we wouldn’t be discussing them today. Too bad the authors didn’t live up to their potential, an ironic statement after reading the too brief first golden rule about how important it is to live life to its fullest. I wish the editor or agent had returned this slender manuscript and said, “This is a good skeleton. Now flesh it out with more content so we can have a real book and not just a booklet.” I am sure the authors were up to creating an invaluable resource but without the necessary encouragement all they created was so much fluff.

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