How to Get Out of Bed like Marcus Aurelius


The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers by Eric Weiner
Avid Reader Press, August 1, 2020

What would it mean to "Fight like Gandhi" or "Grow old like Beauvoir"? In his most recent book, The Socrates Express, Eric Weiner searches for nuggets of wisdom that the living can take from philosophers long deceased. Weiner makes use of the train motif throughout The Socrates Express. The book itself is a journey. It begins with "How to Get Out of Bed like Marcus Aurelius," ends with "How to Die like Montaigne," and in between brings the reader on a trip spanning a small town in New England to a province in Southern Japan. Socrates makes up but a chapter, leaving space for the lessons of thirteen other philosophers, from Confucius to Nietzche. The Socrates Express is part self-help guide, part personal diary. Throughout his fourteen essays, Weiner interweaves autobiographical vignettes with philosophical fragments and brings the ethereal down to the train tracks. He makes frequent and intentional references to past chapters, helping to reinforce ideas. The essays in The Socrates Express are humorous, practical, and approachable. These are not in-depth analyses of philosophical treatises; this is the express route perhaps suited for a long train ride.

Submitted By: Darian Reid, Roxbury Latin School, Boston, MA

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