Here is my review of “Plato and a platypus walk into a bar…” by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein. As the surtitle on the book-cover states, it’s a book about “understanding philosophy through jokes”.
Cathcart and Klein takes us through all sorts of different branches of philosophy. They do it through jokes and fun facts, just like promised. That’s really all there is to summarize!
I picked this one up at an airport (I don’t recall which one) because it said “Plato and a platypus […]”. I thought it looked fun at the time and it can never hurt brushing up on the old philosophers, right?
As I’ve encountered most of the commonly known philosophies of life through university courses, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar to me. I did remember some things, but mostly just the names. I’ve always been terrible at matching up who said what and when.
But here in this little book, is basically everything I had to read about at university! Just explained through very tangible examples that most people actually understand; jokes. Granted, not all of them made me laugh, but they all had that tongue-in-cheek geeky air around them. Exactly as you’d expect from two philosophy nerds writing about how jokes are philosophy and vice versa.
Fun or academic?
It’s been a super fun read and I’m happy I picked it up. Not only was it entertaining but it is informative without ever getting boring. The format of the book makes it seem like a breeze to run through all the philosophers and their ideas. I wouldn’t call it suitable for writing long essays for university. But if you’re looking to get a better idea of what everyone is on about, this would be my go-to book.
I don’t think you need to know a lot about philosophy or Heidegger/Kierkegaard/etc. before diving into “Plato and a platypus […]”. Not at all! If you read in in smaller bites it’s even easier to comprehend.
It’s a keeper and a definite re-read for me. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an intelligent but humorous walk through philosophy. Also, there are a ton of jokes, about one on each page, and some of them actually made me giggle. Just saying 😉.
Are you into philosophy or joke books? Have you ever read “Plato and a platypus walk into a bar …” ?
Please share your thoughts or leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you think!
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