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am 13. April 1998
My son, age 14, and I read this book together. He loved the philosophical material and did not seem discouraged by the rather onerous plot. I am glad to have Nick's mind opened to new paths of inquiry. I am concerned about an aspect of the plot. The adolescent Sophy repeatedly lies to her mother and runs off to have clandestine meetings with a middle-aged man, completely unknown to her, in a variety of isolated settings, following the lure that he will teach her new things. She finally runs away with him. Am I the only one who considers this a bizarre "model" to give to children? Even my 14 year old said, "Isn't that the sort of thing you told me never to do? He could molest her." The intro to philosophy is fine, but I found more to object to in the story than a cumbersome plot.
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am 29. November 2001
Eigentlich ist Sofies Welt kein echtes Kinderbuch, auch wenn es als Jugendbuch deklariert ist. Wer einen Einstieg in die Welt der Philosophie sucht, dem würde ich in der Tat dieses Buch empfehlen. Es schildert in spannender Weise die Geschichte der Philosophie als Krimi.
Absolut empfehlenswert, auch in der deutschen Übersetzung.
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am 31. August 1999
This is an incredibly boring history of philosophy that won't even stick with you ten minutes after you read it. The author puts this behind a weak novel. Maybe if it was half novel and half philsophy, the book would have more impact on readers, but ten to fifteen pages of the incredibly boring history of philosophers and then two to three pages of novel is unacceptable. The only people who I would recommend this to are masochists and sadistic English teachers (can we say Mrs. Quinn?) Basically, this is an uninteresting and stupid novel that was not meant to be read.
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am 24. Mai 2005
Young or old, male or female, mad for philosophie or not - the only thing that I can recommend y'all is to read this book! Sophies World is one of the best books I ever read and I wouldn't wanna miss the great experience of Jostein Gaarder carrying me along into his great course of philosophie. Gaarder wraps the complicated and twisted thoughts of all significant philosophers into a nested story bout Sophie and explains every philosophical train of thought in a way that everybody's invited to dive in this matter easily. Alberto - a modern philosopher - gets in touch with teengirl Sophie and gives her an impressive lecture including every philosopher from acient times till these days. Thus Sophie experiences many (philosophical) adventures. Furthermore you can be sure that not only these lectures are full of profound thoughts but that Sophies story itself's a very astonishing, philosophical statement!
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am 18. September 2000
As the title "Sophie's World : A Novel About the History of Philosophy" says, this sure is a novel about the history of philosophy. Jostein Gaarder did a reasonable good job in holding the reader's attention through the philosophical lessons using a very novel plot (it is not very difficult for the history of philosophy to be dry.) I developed a very keen interest in philosophy recently but I never had a formal education in philosophy. This book was like a text book in philosophy for me. I think this is a must read for every novice philosopher (might still be a good read for others too)
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am 13. Juni 1997
Sophie is a young girl who recieves instructional letters in philosophy in her mailbox. As the book progresses, she becomes acquainted with her mysterious teacher and Gaarder begins to track the progress of Hilde, a girl about Sophie's age. Somehow, Hilde and Sophie's lives are linked through Sophie's philosophy course.

"Sophie's World" was an exciting read, in a sense - that may be because I was taking an introductory course to philosophy when I read it, and was able to push through pretty fast. There's a clear division in the beginning, between Sophie's life and the text of the letters she's receiving. Here, I admit I was reading the book more for the Sophie part than the philosophy. This changed, however. Truth is, there's not much to the character of Sophie. After awhile, her part of the dialogues between her and the teacher became nothing but mindless prompts. What are her interests? She goes camping, once, and she has one friend, but other than that, she hardly has an identity.

Gaarder follows the history of philosophy chronologically, and does an excellent job of illustrating how it develops over the centuries. Contrary to first approach, I began reading for the philosophical parts of the book rather than for Sophie. Or Hilde. (There's not much to Hilde, either.) Gaarder's characters are shamefully underdeveloped, but he makes up for this with the philosophy, which he presents with pure genius. In the second half of the book, the focus is on individual philosophers, rather than philosophy as a historical/intellectual movement. The chapters devoted to Democritus, Darwin, Kant, Hegel, Sartre, and particularly Søren Kierkegaard, are fascinating.

The ending to "Sophie's World" was outrageous. I think that this, in addition to the faceless characters, is the main drawback of the book. In my opinion, there's a lot of buildup throughout the book that goes to waste. Perhaps I didn't fully comprehend what was going on. Then again, something tells me that even if I did completely understand the ending, it would be inconsequential anyway.

My recommendation? Do not read this book if you are looking for a literary masterpiece. You must read this book from a philosophical point of view. Whether you know much about philosophy or not doesn't matter - it serves well as an introduction to the subject, or simply presents a new way to look at philosophy for the more learnèd. I even recommended it to my religion instructor, a PhD in philosophy. I think that it's worth the time, because it's something unique and different; unlike any book you've ever read.
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am 21. Januar 2000
Sophie's World attempts to hold the reader's interest though the plot, while the actual philosophy lessons are embedded within it. As a textbook, it was separated into sections that dealt with stages in philosophic development, whether it is a time period or a famous philosopher. Each section stated the situation during the introduction of the specific philosophy and explained the development of each philosophy step by step, through the thought process of Sophie and the guidance of Alberto. Each section also had a summary at the end, and had examples and metaphors on how the philosophy can be applied or thought of. These lessons were fascinating during the beginning of the book, but then it began to become tedious. The refreshing style of the book started to wear off. As a novel, it had a weak plot. Although the mysteries were interesting during the beginning, it quickly began to get repetitive. The mysteries are dragged out too much and they are solved long after the reader loses interest. The pace begins to pick up in the middle however. Unfortunately, this pace is not carried out through the rest of the book, as the plot gets more and more absurd, probably as an attempt building up to a climax. Although I found this a hard book to get through, I felt it was worth it.
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am 25. Juni 2000
la filosofia, vista por muchas personas como una maraña de ideas extranas y que no son de facil lectura son expuestas en este libro de manera amena y divertida. vemos como cada idea es puesta una sobre la otra, como cada filosofo contradice y sucede al proximo y apoyados en las ideas anteriores hacen sus tesis. aun la filosofia no ha podido contestar las grandes inquietudes humanas, de donde venimos y hacia donde vamos, que somos realmente, porque estamos aqui, tenemos una mision o nuestra vida es solo una sucesion de eventos sin direccion alguna que es el tiempo corremos a traves de el, o es el quien nos atraviesa mientras permanecemos estaticos y a merced de sus garras. somos acaso la invencion de los dioses, un sueno que alguien sono? o un libro que alguien escribe y nosotros simples personajes de historieta a merced de nuestro dios escritor, nuestro dios interprete.
la novela, escrita en esa forma tan didactica que ensena sin ser sentenciosa y sin juzgar, solo exponiendo las ideas de manera clara para que sean entendidas en la medida de lo posible y para que nosotros hagamos nuestros propios juicios y nuestras propias filosofias hacen de este libro una joya para cualquiera que desee comenzar a estudiar literatura sin el estorbo de la exposicion de las ideas y la oscuridad de los conceptos. ya que un adolescente no entenderia la tematica de un schopenhauer o de un paine, pero es mejor que lea una exposicion de sus ideas de manera clara y despues puede leer el original. ojala todas las sofias contaran con maestros asi.
LUIS MENDEZ luismendez@codetel.net.do
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am 21. Januar 1999
What a disappointing book! This isn't, as subtitle suggests, a novel ABOUT the history of philosophy. It merely retells the history of Western philosophy, classical Greece through existentialism.(Aren't there any Eastern or modern philosophers?) As such it is competent enough, but if you've had the usual smattering in school you know most of this already. Though much of it is presented in dialogue, it is really a monologue with occasional, mostly content-free interruptions. Innovative rebuttals, connections, and perspectives are conspicuous by their absence. There certainly is a fantasy story here too, and what there is of it is entertaining, though it rarely rises to fully realized characters or to a true sense of wonder and ambiguity that might render it three-dimensional. But it is sparse indeed - the first significant developments occur on page 293 - and it does not, as I hoped it would, engage with the historical narrative as illustrative metaphor, as dissent, or as counterpoint. With the exception of some rather heavy handed dramatic irony, the two stories seem almost shuffled together at random: interspersed certainly, but hardly interwoven. As a clearly explained, unintimidating introduction to philosophy it is fine, but as a novel it comes up pretty short. If you want a philosophical novel, I'd suggest Rebecca Goldstein's The Mind Body Problem instead.
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am 30. November 1998
I read through quite a few of the reviews here before writing my own, and was kind of surprised at what I read. I think I read Sophie's World through far different eyes than most of the people who posted reviews. I'm a 16 year old high school sophmore who's familiarity to philosophy is limited to what material I can borrow from my school library, not what I was taught at an expensive college. Sophie's World is delightful for it's purpose: to introduce people to the basics of philosophy and apply it to a fictional situation. Gaarder suceeds wonderfully in doing that. What the world needs is a clear concise history of philosophy that helps HUMAN BEINGS understand philosophy without having to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. Sophie's World is that book, not just another overanalysis of Kierkegaard or Sartre which might as well be written in Latin, because God knows most people wouldn't understand a word of it. Sophie's World is a book for PEOPLE who want to understand the world of philosophy, not a bunch of stuck-up intellectuals who think that only a select few should be able to enjoy such information. Yes, for people who know everything, this book would probably be a bore, but for your 99% percent of the country; this book would be a gem, and it is.
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