Robert Rowland Smith

Pub date
Fourth Estate
Demy 135x216mm
384 pages
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Book Overview

AutoBioPhilosophy is an astonishingly frank and original autobiography that explores the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Robert Rowland Smith’s life story involves a love triangle, office politics, police raids, illegal drugs, the academic elite and a near-death experience. It sees him grappling with the tragic fate of his father, going through a double divorce and encountering a living divinity. We witness him confronting his demons but also looking out for angels.

A former Oxford don, Robert uses these deeply personal experiences to generate philosophical insights that will resonate with everybody. What are the recurring patterns, unconscious motives and social forces that govern our behaviour? Through his experiences, and referencing writers from Shakespeare to Freud, he offers new models and ways into human psychology.

As we are led into Robert’s private world, we gain an understanding of what it means to be human that is relevant to all.

About the author

Robert Rowland Smith is the author of six books, including Breakfast with Socrates and The Reality Test. He has been a columnist for both the Sunday Times Magazine and the Evening Standard and is a regular contributor to BBC radio.


  • Praise for Driving with Plato:
  • ‘This is a fascinating and deeply impressive book’ Daily Mail
  • ‘Smith has the suave wit of the professional intellectual’ Financial Times
  • ‘I’ll never drive the same way again. Or have a midlife crisis the same way again, for that matter. This book is elegant proof that philosophy doesn’t have to be fusty and musty’ A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
  • ‘A friendly guide to the meaning of life’s milestones’ Guardian
  • ‘I am often asked to recommend a good introduction to philosophy – now I’ve discovered one … Smith’s work is witty, inventive and intelligent’ THES
  • ‘Roland Smith is a gifted communicator and each chapter is perfectly balanced, and several times my mind was asking ‘yes, but what about…?’ only to have Roland Smith anticipate this and provide answers in the very next paragraph’ Bookbag
  • Praise for Breakfast with Socrates:
  • ‘Philosophy made accessible … manages to be funny without underestimating the reader’ Financial Times
  • ‘This charming book wears its erudition with ease’ Publishers Weekly
  • ‘Smith has written a remarkable book, which goes through the seemingly mundane events of a day – waking up, having a bath, commuting, reading a book, and so on – and explores them with a philosophical eye to see what insights might be gleaned … joyously wise’ Church Times
  • ‘A very thoughtful and continuously entertaining picture of human behaviour … a filling mental meal that should leave you delightfully satisfied’ Wired