Though I agree with Patrick in general--and with Barzun's take, especially on James--for I'm not after a system or a coherent plan so much as new ways of thinking about the world, I have to break with him over Spinoza. I find Spinoza's rigor and determination oddly comforting--and thus even his precise, dry, logical progressions of thought to be fascinating.
Patrick thinks that ". . . Spinoza is among the most humanly compelling, even loveable of great philosophers . . . ." See, for example, among others, his series of blog postings "Defending Spinoza."
You are not alone in that, Levi. And I think you are right that what we need are ways of thinking, not systems of thought.The latter can be interesting, but philosophy doesn't involve adopting somebody else's answers. It involves finding your own.