‘Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition’ Book Review

Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 71/100


Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition By Grant Hardy

Audiobook edition

Finished on 7/23/2017


Description: Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. When most of us study philosophy, we’re focusing only on the Western intellectual tradition brought about by people such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Nietzsche. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to only get half of the story.

Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition is an epic, comprehensive survey of the East’s most influential philosophers and thinkers. In 36 lectures, award-winning Professor Grant Hardy of the University of North Carolina at Asheville introduces you to the men and women responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, including Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism, Sufism, and Buddhism. By focusing on these key thinkers in their historical contexts, you’ll witness the development of these rich traditions as they shaped and defined Eastern cultures through the rise and fall of empires, the friendly and hostile encounters with each other and with the Western world, and the rapid advancements of the modern age.

Genres: Philosophy, History, Nonfiction, Religion, Asian, Mythology

A not-so-brief introduction to various Asian Philosophies

Spoiler-tastic review

Mr. Hardy discusses a large number of Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tibetan Philosophers and religions. Instead of focusing on the philosophies in question, this is a series of lectures about the men (and women) who influenced history. Starting in ancient history and going to nearly the modern day, this is an excellent first stop for someone looking to learn more about the world at large.

Discussing topics from Animism to Zoroastrianism, this is a comprehensive appraisal of the major people who went out and made history. He also discussed cultural exchange of and by the East, including the legacy of European Colonialism, Chinese Communism and Ghandi’s Indian liberation movements. This series of lectures was only 19 hours long so it was by no means ultra detailed nor did it cover more minor influencers of world history.

I would highly recommend this to someone who’s  even just a little bit interested. My one reservation is that it is a little dated- it discusses the Taliban of Afganistan in the present tense, so this was created almost a decade ago and is thus not ultra up-to-date.

Audiobook notes: The narrator did a fine job.


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