I attended a book launch for Stephen Trombley’s Fifty Thinkers Who Shaped The Modern World recently, having met Stephen a few years ago and discovered we have a mutual acquaintance in Richard Strange. Stephen is a stunning personality. An American author, filmmaker and musician. He has undertaken a mammoth task here. The concise history of modern thought from the enlightenment up till now. Tombley has undertaken meticulous research and achieved the astonishing result of combining brevity with depth – that’s a rare achievement. Fifty Thinkers Who Shaped The Modern World makes a superb Christmas gift if you love elegance in thought and writing.
Trombley’s book contains chapters on Kant, Hegel, Darwin, Marx, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Emerson, Kierkegaard, Weber, Satre, Wittgenstein, Gandhi, Hitler, Freud, Einstein, Derrida and many more. Of course, I was also personally looking for Madonna, Prince, Lady Gaga and a few other rock philosophers, but I guess I’m not being entirely serious here. Perhaps Stephen will oblige with a follow up on rock philosophers.
Whilst we get our thinkers classified by their ‘genre’, Trombley also makes the connections between these genres, helping the reader make useful comparisons and contradictions between the various schools of thought. This is extremely useful in helping novices and experienced readers join the dots up.
If you are after a rapid introduction to philosophical thought then Trombley’s book is a must have. As life throws up ever more challenges, we need quality thinking more than ever. Thinking is the precursor to innovation, thus this book is an invaluable resource for those wanting to innovate.
To finish. let’s see quintessentially English Punk band, The Jam performing “This is the Modern World”. Paul Weller’s lyrics hardly reach the dizzy philosophical heights of Stephen’s book, but their works are just as exciting:
image credit: atlanticbooks.com
Peter Cook is Rock’n'Roll Innovation Editor at Innovation Excellence. He leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock, and provides Keynote speaking, Organisation Development and Business Coaching. You can follow him on twitter @Academyofrock and contact him for a copy of his book Punk Rock Business.