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Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise [Paperback]

Friedrich Nietzsche
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Sep 2004 Penguin Great Ideas
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.

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Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise + Penguin Great Ideas : On the Shortness of Life + Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Write
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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Rev Ed edition (2 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141018976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141018973
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.4 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in 1844. After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1879 when poor health forced him to retire. He never recovered from a nervous breakdown in 1889 and died eleven years later.

Known for saying that "god is dead," Nietzsche propounded his metaphysical construct of the superiority of the disciplined individual (superman) living in the present over traditional values derived from Christianity and its emphasis on heavenly rewards. His ideas were appropriated by the Fascists, who turned his theories into social realities that he had never intended.

Product Description

About the Author

Friedrich Nietzsche was born near Leipzig in 1844, the son of a Lutheran clergyman. At 24 he was appointed to the chair of classical philology at Basle University, where he stayed until forced by his health to retire in 1879. Here, he wrote all his literature, including Thus Spake Zarathustra, and developed his idea of the Superman. He became insane in 1889 and remained so until his death in 1900.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE fortunateness of my existence, its uniqueness perhaps, lies in its fatality: to express it in the form of a riddle, as my father I have already died, as my mother I still live and grow old. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why this selection is unwise! 8 April 2009
Format:Paperback
The trouble with this selection is that it just doesn't present Nietzsche as he would have presented himself

There are two reasons to buy this book: one is that it is of an aphoristic style which is not only indicative of Nietzsche's witty, ironic, deriding and even at times searingly passionate and ultimately persuasive writing style in general
another reason to buy is that reading this gives the reader not only a greater understanding of Nietzsche's philosophy, but also to be able to learn some biographical details from Nietzsche himself - not of the kind that historians might report, but moreover a psychological account of what it is like to view the events of Nietzsche's life through Nietzsche's own eyes. Much like Rousseau's 'confessions', whilst the philosophy discussed within 'ecce homo' (a part of which makes up this book) may not be substantial, it actually, by the medium of autobiography through which it is presented, it can be seen to provide a key to really getting inside the mind of this great thinker and in so doing really living out his philosophy.

Nietzsche's ability to expose so called 'ugly' truths of human nature is his lasting testament. His grim pessimism is tempered, brilliantly contrasted with, and in many ways outweighed by his boundless optimism concerning the possibilities of man in the future - of the strength and conditioning of man's soul.
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20 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I write such good reviews 1 Nov 2005
Format:Paperback
As a philosophy student I stumbled across this book in a local bookshop and was attracted to it due to my familiarity with the name Nietzsche. I had heard a fair amount about Nietzsche's Übermensch philosophy and thought that by purchasing this book I could clue up on his ideas. The title of the book: "Why I am so Wise" is deceiving as the book contains the two works: "Ecce Homo" and "Twilight of the idols." The title "Why I am so wise" is in fact the name of chapter one chapter of the first work: "Ecce Homo." So in fact the title of the book should not be "Why I am so wise" but in my opinion an explanatory title. When I first started reading the book I was annoyed at the way in which the book was written; the words did not seem to scan well and the work did not seem to be overly coherent. I found the work overly pretentious in its linguistics meaning that I could not really fathom Nietzsche's intentions to a sufficient degree of clarity. To try and increase my understanding of the text I attempted to research Nietzsche's book titled "Why I am so wise" which I later found to be an inaccurate title as explained above. Having realised my mistake I searched for "Ecce Homo" and discovered that the book is in fact Nietzsche's autobiographical account of why people see him as so wise and "how he has become what he is." Even the title itself is a taste of things to come. (Translated into English "Ecce Homo" is equivalent to "behold the man" which were the words said by Pilate about Christ when was on trial.) Nietzsche has very controversially likened himself to Christ in this statement which creates a powerful initial impression of Nietzsche as an arrogant individual. Read more ›
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3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why i write such good reviews 24 Oct 2005
Format:Paperback
As a philosophy student I stumbled across this book in a local bookshop and was attracted to it due to my familiarity with the name Nietzsche. I had heard a fair amount about Nietzsche's Übermensch philosophy and thought that by purchasing this book I could clue up on his ideas. The title of the book: "Why I am so Wise" is deceiving as the book contains the two works: "Ecce Homo" and "Twilight of the idols." The title "Why I am so wise" is in fact the name of chapter one chapter of the first work: "Ecce Homo." So in fact the title of the book should not be "Why I am so wise" but in my opinion an explanatory title. When I first started reading the book I was annoyed at the way in which the book was written; the words did not seem to scan well and the work did not seem to be overly coherent. I found the work overly pretentious in its linguistics meaning that I could not really fathom Nietzsche's intentions to a sufficient degree of clarity. To try and increase my understanding of the text I attempted to research Nietzsche's book titled "Why I am so wise" which I later found to be an inaccurate title as explained above. Having realised my mistake I searched for "Ecce Homo" and discovered that the book is in fact Nietzsche's autobiographical account of why people see him as so wise and "how he has become what he is." Even the title itself is a taste of things to come. (Translated into English "Ecce Homo" is equivalent to "behold the man" which were the words said by Pilate about Christ when was on trial.) Nietzsche has very controversially likened himself to Christ in this statement which creates a powerful initial impression of Nietzsche as an arrogant individual. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars prelude to madness 13 Aug 2009
By arpard fazakas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an exhilarating, sobering, beautiful, sad, scary book. The product of a great intellect on the brink of madness, it clearly reflects the encroaching grandiosity characteristic of general paresis, the form of neurosyphilis which together with the meningovascular form ultimately killed him. Within three months of writing Ecce Homo, Nietzsche suffered a complete mental breakdown from which he never regained his sanity. He was nursed by his mother and sister until his death in 1900. They suppressed publication of Ecce Homo until 1908 due to its disturbing content. Yet it provides valuable insights into his philosophy. Before we yield to the temptation to feel sorry for him, let us remember that Nietzsche's philosophy was first and foremost about affirming life in all its tragedy. As he once remarked, "all philosophers are united in their low estimation of pity."
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little snippet of Nietzsche. 21 Feb 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even if you are not a fan of Nietzsche, this little book is a great place to get a snippet of what he was all about. Granted, it's only a snippet, so there are naturally better places to turn to if you wanted more; Walter Kaufmann's Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) or The Portable Nietzsche (Portable Library) for example. That said, this 90 page book does contain several of Nietzsche's more famous ideas and frequent quotations: "revaluation of all values", "I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful - of a crisis like no other before on earth, of the profoundest collision of conscience.", "From the military school of life - What does not kill me makes me stronger.", "I have need of washing my hands after contact with religious people".

The book contains excerpts from Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (Oxford World's Classics) and Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize With the Hammer. In sum, even if you are not interested in learning more about Nietzsche, this is such a short introduction that everyone could benefit from this brief induction to Nietzsche.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be wise like Nietzsche 10 Mar 2008
By Steve Burns - Published on Amazon.com
If you are interested in understanding Friedrich Nietzche's philosophy this little book is a great place to start. In this book the philosopher
who coined the phrase "God is dead" brings us two two other ones in this little book "What does not kill you makes you stronger" and "Do not spit against the wind". He was the first immoralist who believed that freeing the world from a make believe God and our accountibilty to him was the true way to redemption. He was one of the first antagonists to Christianity and disagreed with Christian morality. He thought guilt was terrible. Buy this book if this sounds interesting. I have always found his writings deep and memorable, he was way ahead of his time in the 19th century. He was truly a great thinker whether you agree with him or not. This book can be read in a little over an hour.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche's little book of wisdom 8 Jan 2008
By Steve Burns - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are interested in understanding Friedrich Nietzche's philosophy this little book is a great place to start. In this book the philosopher
who coined the phrase "God is dead" has two other ones "What does not kill you makes you stronger" and "Do not spit against the wind", I did not know he was the originator of these more popular ones. He was the first immoralist who believed that freeing the world from a make believe God and our accountibilty to him was the true way to redemption. He was one of the first antagonists to Christianity and disagreed with Christian morality. He thought guilt was terrible. Buy this book if this sounds interesting. I have always found his writings deep and memorable, he was way ahead of his time in the 19th century. He was truly a great thinker whether you agree with him or not. This book can be read in a little over an hour.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be wise like Nietzsche 10 Mar 2008
By Steve Burns - Published on Amazon.com
If you are interested in understanding Friedrich Nietzche's philosophy this little book is a great place to start. In this book the philosopher
who coined the phrase "God is dead" brings us two new ones "What does not kill you makes you stronger" and "Do not spit against the wind". He was the first immoralist who believed that freeing the world from a make believe God and our accountibilty to him was the true way to redemption. He was one of the first antagonists to Christianity and disagreed with Christian morality. He thought guilt was terrible. Buy this book if this sounds interesting. I have always found his writings deep and memorable, he was way ahead of his time in the 19th century. He was truly a great thinker whether you agree with him or not. This book can be read in a little over an hour.
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