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4.17 out of 54.17 out of 54.17 out of 54.17 out of 54.17 out of 5 4.17 (18 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Will Durant Narrator: John Little Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2003 ISBN: 9781482975505
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A wise and witty compendium of the greatest thoughts, greatest minds, and greatest books of all time—listed in accessible and succinct form—by one of the world’s greatest scholars.

From the “Hundred Best Books” to the “Ten Greatest Thinkers” to the “Ten Greatest Poets,” here is a concise collection of the world’s most significant knowledge. For the better part of a century, Will Durant dwelled upon—and wrote about—the most significant eras, individuals, and achievements of human history. His selections have finally been brought together in a single, compact volume. Durant eloquently defends his choices of the greatest minds and ideas, but he also stimulates readers into forming their own opinions, encouraging them to shed their surroundings and biases and enter “The Country of the Mind,” a timeless realm where the heroes of our species dwell.

From a thinker who always chose to exalt the positive in the human species, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time stays true to Durant’s optimism. This is a book containing the absolute best of our heritage, passed on for the benefit of future generations. Filled with Durant’s renowned wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events and ideas in simple and exciting terms, this is a pocket-size liberal arts and humanist curriculum in one volume.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Essential reading for anyone interested in the evolution of thought.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time] brims with optimism and pays just tribute to individual minds and ideas that have shaped history and advanced both moral and material progress…There is nothing frivolous about Durant’s elegant prose and cogent insight into the lives and minds of men as diverse as Confucius, Voltaire, and Darwin. This compact work is a gem that elevates historical writing to the level of superb literature.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerry Della | 12/19/2013

    " Great philosopher who viewed history not as a dreary succession of impersonal dates and reigns, but as taking place through human beings who loved, fought, dreamed and achieved. . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 12/11/2013

    " With eloquence, Will Durant weaves an objective map of history's genius. Although some parts lengthy (mostly because I had trouble following references to pieces of history I was not familiar with) , most of the book was inspiringly beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 4/6/2013

    " Will Durant was an amazing historian. He and his wife Ariel wrote The Story of Civilization series. As well, he wrote a list of the top 100 books any historian should read (although there are many to be added since he died). This is a great, concise compilation... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Freddie williams | 3/16/2013

    " Philosophy, very good book of lists- if you want to study Philosophy this book is a great start. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evalyn | 9/30/2012

    " The book is mostly made up of lists of the top thinkers, poets, etc. It's fairly easy to read but is it conclusive? The idea is put forth that there are great thinkers and then the rest of us who appear to be content to let others do the thinking for us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally Conrad | 9/7/2012

    " This book contained all the "greats" I wanted to either review or read about for the first time. It afforded me that opportunity. I only gave it 3 stars because the writing style was not for me. Perhaps I'm just not erudite enough to appreciate it but it felt too choppy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 AndreaZ | 8/10/2012

    " God, this book is awful. To be fair, it was compiled & edited by someone else, so hopefully it's excuse is that its parts and pieces were never meant to coexist, much like a literary Frankenstein. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyn | 6/25/2012

    " Insightful, witty, concise, entertaining. Surprisingly eloquent and considered despite its extreme brevity. A must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matt | 1/23/2012

    " Excellent as a brief, broad view of Western history and literature. I also loved "100 Books for an Education" just for the fact that the task was undertaken. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amit | 8/9/2011

    " Interesting read given how controversial the title is. The writing style is rich and is a treat in itself. A list of books for a complete "education." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 3/26/2011

    " A must read for every history buff. Thoroughly enjoyable from cover to cover. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Freddie | 11/14/2009

    " Philosophy, very good book of lists- if you want to study Philosophy this book is a great start. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 8/6/2009

    " This book contained all the "greats" I wanted to either review or read about for the first time. It afforded me that opportunity. I only gave it 3 stars because the writing style was not for me. Perhaps I'm just not erudite enough to appreciate it but it felt too choppy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bigdaddrock | 5/26/2009

    " Great philosopher who viewed history not as a dreary succession of impersonal dates and reigns, but as taking place through human beings who loved, fought, dreamed and achieved. . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amit | 3/2/2009

    " Interesting read given how controversial the title is. The writing style is rich and is a treat in itself. A list of books for a complete "education." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 1/2/2009

    " With eloquence, Will Durant weaves an objective map of history's genius. Although some parts lengthy (mostly because I had trouble following references to pieces of history I was not familiar with) , most of the book was inspiringly beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 6/5/2008

    " Will Durant was an amazing historian. He and his wife Ariel wrote The Story of Civilization series. As well, he wrote a list of the top 100 books any historian should read (although there are many to be added since he died). This is a great, concise compilation... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evalyn | 1/26/2008

    " The book is mostly made up of lists of the top thinkers, poets, etc. It's fairly easy to read but is it conclusive? The idea is put forth that there are great thinkers and then the rest of us who appear to be content to let others do the thinking for us. "

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About the Author
Author Will Durant

Will Durant (1885–1981) was an award-winning American writer, historian, and philosopher. He and his wife were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1968 for Rousseau and Revolution, and he was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Durant spent over forty years writing the critically acclaimed eleven-volume Story of Civilization, the later volumes with the help of his wife, Ariel. He sought to revitalize history by unifying and humanizing the great body of historical knowledge, which had become voluminous and fragmented into esoteric subcategories. He also strove to bring philosophy to the common man. Durant was a champion of human rights, social reform, and the brotherhood of man long before they became well-known issues.

About the Narrator

John Little is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bruce Lee and Will Durant. He’s the only person who has ever been authorized to review the entirety of Lee’s personal notes, sketches, and reading annotations, giving him an insider’s look at Lee’s training methods and philosophies.