Driving With Plato (Ebook)

The Meaning of Life's Milestones

Robert Rowland Smith

Everything you'll need to know about history's greatest thinkers on life's big moments

If life is meaningless as Sartre suggests, what is the point of being born? What does Freud have to say about losing one's virginity or Nietzsche about having a mid-life crisis? From birth to death (and beyond), the best brains in history have thought long and hard about the meaning behind the landmarks that shape our lives - and now acclaimed popular philosopher Robert Rowland Smith brings their genius together for the first time in this smart, witty and accessible journey through life's ups and downs.

Drawing on philosophy, art, literature and psychology, Driving with Plato explores the real meaning of the hoops we all have to jump through. You'll hear from Aristotle on starting school, learn from St Paul about falling in love, and get tips from Cicero on becoming wise in your old age. Whether you are learning to drive or about to get married, Driving with Plato is certain to enlighten and entertain.

Publication date: 13/01/2011


ISBN: 9781847654236

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B004GHN8E8

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Philosophy & Ideas

Reviews for Driving With Plato

'I am often asked to recommend a good introduction to philosophy - now I've discovered one ... Smith's work is witty, inventive and intelligent'


'I'll never drive the same way again. Or have a midlife crisis the same way again, for that matter. This book is elegant proof that philosophy doesn't have to be fusty and musty.'

A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically 

'Take a seat and become thoroughly absorbed in this fascinating journey. Great stuff.'

Frank Furedi 

'...fascinating and deeply impressive book.'

 Daily Mail

'...not only will this book entertain you, educate you and amuse you, it may very well help you stay younger...'


'A friendly guide to the meaning of life's milestones.'

 The Guardian

'Smith has the suave wit of the professional intellectual.'

 The Financial Times

'A remarkably varied and eclectic introduction to the great philosophers and a defense of their continuing relevance...'

 Publishers Weekly

'Apart from his genial, translucently beautiful writing - a treat in itself - Smith (a Former Prize fellow of All Souls College, Oxford) reconnects us to the ancients and not so ancients whose sagacity is too often relegated to dusty university libraries.'

 SA Jewish Report

'There are no ivory tower views. The author draws from many sources as well as making his own acute observations and reflections [...] The range of sources, both serious and trivial, is breathtaking.'

 Oxford Times

'This is a fascinating and deeply impressive book.'

Marcus Berkmann Daily Mail

'As with the companion book (they can be read alone or together) Driving With Plato has a clever structure. But it's not just the overall structure that makes this book so good. Roland Smith is a gifted communicator and each chapter is perfectly balanced, and several times my mind was asking 'yes, but what about...?' only to have Roland Smith anticipate this and provide answers in the very next paragraph.'


'Here is food for the mind and the soul, in a book leavened with many witty anecdotes, leaving one refreshed and entertained.'

Mary Ann Elliot Toowoomba Chronicle

Robert Rowland Smith

Robert Rowland Smith

Robert Rowland Smith began his career as a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He lectured internationally on philosophy, literature and psychoanalysis. He published the award-winning Derrida and Autobiography in 1995 and laid the ground for two later academic works. These are Death-Drive: Freudian Hauntings in Literature and Art and On Modern Poetry: From Theory to Total Criticism, which received a Choice award for 'outstanding academic book' of 2013.

In 1998 Robert left Oxford to go into management consultancy, first in Los Angeles and then in London, where he was a partner in a firm specialising in leadership and organisation development. It was during this period that Robert trained in Constellations.

With the 2009 publication of the bestselling Breakfast with Socrates, Robert began working on a portfolio basis that today involves: (1) writing books: Driving with Plato came out in 2011, and 2013 year saw the publication of Robert's book for business leaders, The Reality Test. He's now researching a project with the working title of The Architecture of Being. (2) advising businesses: alongside his work with leaders, Robert has set up Ennovation.Co to help organisations innovate by drawing on unconscious energy. (3) running New Constellations: Robert runs regular workshops for people facing challenges in their personal or professional life, or with creative projects.
(4) giving talks: Robert has spoken to audiences from Tokyo to El Salvador on subjects including love, enlightenment, the self and innovation.
(5)doing journalism: Robert has had a column in both the Evening Standard and the Sunday Times, and continues to write articles for newspapers and magazines.

Robert sits on the board of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, and the editorial board of Angelaki, the journal he helped to found. He is a founding faculty member of both The School of Life and the London Graduate School. He holds a top First in English and a D. Phil., both from Oxford University.

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