Recommended Book: Sophie's World

By: Jostein Gaarder


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By: jostein Gaarder



  • Who are we?
  • Where did the world come from?
  • What kinds of questions should we ask when we think about the world around us?
  • And biggest of all … What is the meaning of life?



I’ve read this novel a number of times. Each time, it feels like a wake-up call. Like the main character, Sophie, I find myself drawn into the philosopher’s lessons. Each new question he introduces stretches my mind in a new direction. As he walks through this history of philosophy, I walk through the development of my own thinking. I ask myself, “What questions have been most useful in my life? Where have those questions led me so far, and where might they lead me next?

In one of his early lessons, the philosopher says, “My concern is that you do not grow up to be one of those people who take the world for granted, Sophie dear.” Too often, I do take the world for granted. I slowly slip back into the day-to-day rush, and I forget to ask those larger questions.

Whenever I re-read this book, my mind fills with important questions. Instead of asking myself what’s next on my to-do list, I’m asking questions about meaning and importance. As a result, I find myself walking a little more slowly, looking a little more closely, and listening a little more carefully.


A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie’s World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning―but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

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