Before reading this, I was only marginally familiar with Descartes and his contributions to philosophy and science. This book made catching up him and realizing his contributions to, and influence on, modern society very accessible and entertaining. The story of his bones traveling around was at times interesting, though it was definitely overshadowed by the history of his life and his influence after death.I thought the author did a pretty good job of handling the balance between religion and secularism/science. I wondered if he might go the route of Dawkins and his ilk who completely denigrate all religion. Instead he gives an accurate representation of both sides of the issue and treats it fairly, recognizing that secularism runs the risk of having the similar downfalls to the dark side religion if taken to the same extremes that religion has been taken to in the past (e.g. Sept 11).On the whole, I'd say it's a great intro to Descartes and does a great job of putting his philosophy into the context of the world today.