Skip to main content

Imprint: Oneworld Publications

Subject: Philosophy

The Philosophical Life

Twelve Great Thinkers and the Search for Wisdom, from Socrates to Nietzsche

Prof. James Miller


Before the good life was reduced to a bottle of Prozac, it was philosophers who offered answers to the most fundamental questions about who we are and how to live well. In The Philosophical Life, James Miller returns to this vibrant tradition with short and spirited biographies of twelve famous thinkers, examining the interplay of their life and thought. From Plato, who risked his reputation to tutor a tyrant, to Kant, who wrestled with hypochondria while advocating arch-rationality in his writings, each thinker took their own unique approach to ‘the good life’, but often struggled to put their theories into practice.

With a flair for rich anecdote, Miller provides a captivating insight into some of history’s greatest thinkers – and confirms the continuing relevance of philosophy today.

  • Publication date: January 3, 2013
  • ISBN: 9781851689569
  • RRP: £9.99
  • Pages: 432
  • Publication date: February 1, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781851688678
  • RRP: £7.99
  • Pages: 416


Admirable…his book gains a novelistic richness.

The Guardian

"An engaging wealth of personal detail woven into each philosopher's quest for wisdom … Refreshing …an ideal book to dip into before another night of sleepless worry."


“A vivid set of philosophical tales . . . a fresh treatment of subjects who are often served up stale.”

The Economist

Endlessly rich . . . An earnest, wistful collection of biographical sketches of a dozen preeminent 'lovers of wisdom'

The Wall Street Journal

A set of beautifully written and richly informative mini-biographies of a dozen philosophers... Each of them is a little gem in its own right.

A.C. Grayling

Engaging… an ideal book to dip into.


Excellent… [James Miller] is to be commended for leaving behind the sterile practices of his colleagues and speaking to civilian readers.

Alain de Botton, for the New Statesman

Pitch-perfect ... Miller's prose is insightful, anecdotal, warm, and nuanced.

irish times

Relevant, interesting, and accessible... Miller's deep knowledge of his subject is matched by a passion to share what he knows with others.


'Beautifully written, full of anecdotes and interesting historical facts, this is an inspiring read.’

The Good Book Guide

More books by Prof. James Miller

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.
Select mailing lists