Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between

Overview

Q. Why are there almost as many jokes about death as there are about sex?

A. Because they both scare the pants off us.

Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein first made a name for themselves with the outrageously funny New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. Now they turn their attention to the Big D and share the timeless wisdom of the great philosophers, theologians, psychotherapists, and wiseguys. From angels to zombies and...

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Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between

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Overview

Q. Why are there almost as many jokes about death as there are about sex?

A. Because they both scare the pants off us.

Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein first made a name for themselves with the outrageously funny New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. Now they turn their attention to the Big D and share the timeless wisdom of the great philosophers, theologians, psychotherapists, and wiseguys. From angels to zombies and everything in between, Cathcart and Klein offer a fearless and irreverent history of how we approach death, why we embrace life, and whether there really is a hereafter. As hilarious as it is enlightening, Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates is a must-read for anyone and everyone who ever expects to die.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

We won't spoil the title joke by providing its punch line, but we will tell you that Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein's Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through the Pearly Gates will leave you not just amused, but also enlightened. Retentive booksellers will remember that Cathcart and Klein are the philosopher quipsters who served up Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar and Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington. For every student who ever clock-watched his or her way through a philosophy class; now in rib-tickling, consciousness-raising paperback.

The Barnes & Noble Review
What do you do with a degree in philosophy? Some of us choose to become critics, but we're fortunate that others, like Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, go in for what they call "philogagging" -- telling jokes that illuminate often abstruse ideas about the nature of existence. The pair dedicated their last book, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes (2007) to their "philosophical grandfather," Groucho Marx.

Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates, a sort of Everything You Wanted to Know About Death But Are Sorry You Asked, hails their "philosophical mentor," king of the philogaggers, Woody Allen. As descendants of Socrates and Plato -- and comedians in need of a straight man -- the authors naturally structure their discourse as a dialogue. They kick off their discussion with the question, "Do you really think you're going to die?" Their point is that "We are the only creatures who comprehend that we are going to die and we are also the only creatures who can imagine living forever. It's that combo that drives us crazy."

Mixing jokes, bad puns, simplified philosophical exposition, somewhat tiresome patter, and New Yorker cartoons like those collected by Mort Gerberg in Last Laughs, Cathcart and Klein touch on René Descartes's dualism of mind and matter, Paul Tillich's "eternal now," Friedrich Nietzsche's "eternal recurrence," S?ren Kierkegarrd's "streetcar named despair," and "the Eternal Fruitcake Conundrum." There's more schtick than meat to their routine this time around, and their straight man, mortician Daryl Frumkin, is pretty lame. But the gallows humor is rich. My favorite joke, illustrating the will to live: A Death Row prisoner requests strawberries for his last meal. Told they're out of season, he says, "No problem. I'll wait." --Heller McAlpin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143118251
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 214,724
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.08 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Klein is the coauthor (with Thomas Cathcart) of the international bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar and Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates. The author or coauthor of thirty other books, including The Half-Jewish Book, the Elvis Presley mystery series (Kill Me Tender, Blue Suede Clues), and the award-winning novel The History of Now, Klein holds a degree in philosophy from Harvard University and lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife, Freke Vuijst.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Philosopy Made Fun

    I picked this up on a whim thinking my Son In Law might like it for Christmas. He has read it, and I now have two copies of my own -- Hb and ebook. Best series in existance for learning philosophy and enjoying it!

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Funny-and touching

    A really unique book. Lots of laughs, but also a good deal of wisdom, and at the very end a touching thought about the beauty of life. What an intriguing book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Christmas/Birthday gifts a hit

    After hearing the author interviewed on NPR, I decided that this book and two others by the same writer would be perfect gifts for my son, my grandson and my son-in-law, they all have finely tuned intellect and humor . The books were a hit with all three! Thank You!

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Making Fun of Philosophy

    From the authors of "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar," and "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington," "Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates" is another tongue-in-cheek look at the history of philosophy. In this third book in their series, the authors focus on death and what comes after it---if anything. Enjoyable, as always, but perhaps not as much as the first two books. These authors raise Woody Allen to the philosophical pantheon of people like Heidegger, Kant, and William James. Plato becomes the godfather of soul! What a hoot! Who knew philosophy could be such fun?

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    Posted January 6, 2010

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