A reading club with a view to the future

557 Rebecca Goldstein: Plato at the Googleplex

“Plato at the Googleplex” explores the relevance of ancient philosophy in modern society, tackling big questions and engaging with contemporary issues.



"Plato at the Googleplex" by Rebecca Goldstein takes readers on a captivating journey that bridges the gap between ancient philosophy and contemporary society. Through a series of imaginative and thought-provoking encounters, Goldstein brings Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, into the modern world, imagining him participating in a variety of encounters, including debates with neuroscientists, appearances on television shows, and lectures at Google headquarters. By intertwining Plato's timeless ideas with contemporary issues and debates, Goldstein demonstrates the enduring relevance of philosophy in navigating the complexities of human existence. Engaging and accessible, "Plato at the Googleplex" invites readers to ponder the big questions of life, ethics, knowledge, and the meaning of it all, fostering a deeper appreciation for the enduring wisdom of ancient philosophy.


  1. Title: Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away 
  2. Author: Rebecca Goldstein 
  3. Publishing Year: 2014 
  4. Publisher: Vintage 
  5. Length in Hours: 16 hrs and 43 mins


5 main ideas

  1. Plato Reimagined: The book presents Plato in a contemporary setting, engaging with modern thinkers and grappling with contemporary issues, demonstrating the timelessness and ongoing relevance of his philosophical ideas.
  2. The Power of Philosophy: Goldstein explores the profound impact of philosophy in addressing enduring questions about human nature, ethics, politics, and the quest for knowledge.
  3. Ancient Wisdom, Modern Insights: By juxtaposing Plato's ideas with contemporary debates, the book highlights how ancient philosophy can shed light on contemporary dilemmas and offer new perspectives.
  4. The Relevance of Socratic Dialogue: The book emphasizes the value of engaging in Socratic dialogue as a means of questioning assumptions, examining beliefs, and promoting critical thinking.
  5. Philosophy in Everyday Life: Goldstein reveals how philosophy can enrich and inform our daily lives, providing tools for navigating complex moral choices, understanding societal issues, and cultivating intellectual curiosity.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Imagine Plato giving a TED Talk, sharing his timeless wisdom with a captivated audience armed with smartphones and tablets!"
  2. "Plato at the Googleplex: where ancient philosophy meets Silicon Valley, and Socrates debates the merits of the latest tech gadgets."
  3. "Plato's reincarnation as a modern philosopher navigates the perplexities of reality TV and Twitter feuds, reminding us that philosophy is everywhere."
  4. "In the age of search engines and algorithms, Plato might just be the ultimate 'philosopher search result' for those seeking intellectual enlightenment."
  5. "If Plato could access the internet, he'd have a field day engaging in online forums and challenging the virtual Socratic dialogues."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Plato's ideas continue to resonate in our modern world, challenging us to question our assumptions and examine the foundations of our beliefs."
  2. "Bringing Plato into the Googleplex forces us to confront the tension between ancient wisdom and contemporary technological advancements."
  3. "Plato's philosophy offers a powerful antidote to the superficiality and distractions of the digital age, reminding us of the importance of introspection and self-reflection."
  4. "Engaging with Plato's ideas can ignite a sense of wonder, encouraging us to explore life's big questions and pursue a more examined and meaningful existence."
  5. "By bridging the gap between ancient philosophy and modern society, 'Plato at the Googleplex' demonstrates the enduring relevance and vitality of philosophical inquiry."

5 dilemmas

  1. The tension between ancient wisdom and modern advancements, and how to reconcile the two in a rapidly changing world.
  2. The challenge of applying timeless philosophical concepts to contemporary ethical dilemmas and societal issues.
  3. The role of philosophy in an age dominated by technology and the potential pitfalls of relying solely on data-driven decision-making.
  4. The question of how to balance the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual curiosity with the demands and distractions of modern life.
  5. The dilemma of whether philosophy can truly make a meaningful impact on individuals and society or if it remains confined to academic discourse.

5 examples

  1. Plato vs. Neil deGrasse Tyson - The book presents a dialogue between Plato and renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, exploring the intersection of philosophy and science.
  2. Plato's Encounter with Oprah Winfrey - The book imagines Plato appearing on Oprah's talk show, discussing the relevance of philosophy in the modern world and engaging in a thoughtful conversation.
  3. Plato at a TED Talk - The book envisions Plato delivering a TED Talk, captivating the audience with his philosophical insights and challenging their perspectives.
  4. Plato's Debate with Bill Gates - The book presents a fictional debate between Plato and Bill Gates, exploring the impact of technology on society and the role of philosophy in shaping our relationship with it.
  5. Plato's Conversation with Serena Williams - The book portrays Plato engaging in a thought-provoking discussion with tennis champion Serena Williams, exploring the nature of excellence, competition, and the pursuit of greatness.

Referenced books

  1. "The Republic" by Plato
  2. "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius
  3. "The Art of Loving" by Erich Fromm
  4. "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche
  5. "The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir

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"If Plato could access the internet, he'd have a field day engaging in online forums and challenging the virtual Socratic dialogues."

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