The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time

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Will Durant. 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.


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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. However, unless you happened to purchase those magazines, or were fortunate enough to attend one of those lectures, it would not have been possible to learn of his conclusions in these matters. To formulate a ranking system and then apply it to such a broad array of human achievement is a difficult undertaking, to be sure, but Durant as always succeeds brilliantly; he not only presents compelling evidence for his selections, but also stimulates the reader to form his or her own opinions and to look beyond immediate surroundings and present culture and into a timeless realm, which he called "The Country of the Mind," a sort of cerebral retirement home wherein the heroes of our species dwell after having served their time and purpose in their respective eras and where to be human is something to be lauded.

Indeed, the title of the first chapter of this book serves to frame its very thesis: "A Shameless Worship of Heroes. In fact, Durant was known as the "gentle philosopher" and the "radical saint," as he always sought to report on the positive achievements in human events and history. In a sentence, Durant chose to illuminate with his pen the mountain peaks of greatness in our species' history.

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The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time is a book containing the absolute best of our heritage passed on for the edification and benefit of future generations, replete with Durant's renowned erudition, wit, and unique ability to explain the profoundest of events and ideas in simple and exciting terms.

It is a book that serves both as a wonderful introduction to the writings of Will Durant and as a summing up, a quantification of genius, a travel guide to the "must-see" stops in the landscape of human history.


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In many respects this book is a wonderful and logical companion volume to Durant's Heroes of History. Most notably, whereas Heroes of History is an overview of over one hundred centuries of human achievement, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time provides Durant's personal assessment of it. Through prose that rises at times to the heights of poetry, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time is an extension of Durant's long-standing invitation to enter the world of the "best of the best," and a means by which one can come to recognize and befriend genius.

The greatest minds and ideas of all time

The dividends from such an enterprise are many, for as Durant once noted: We cannot live long in that celestial realm of all genius without becoming a little finer than we were. And though we shall not find there the poignant delirium of youth, we shall know a lasting, gentle happiness, a profound delight which time cannot take from us until it takes all. See All Customer Reviews.

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Will Durant---The Greatest Minds And Ideas of All Time

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The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time

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