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Siddhartha [Paperback]

Hermann Hesse
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 April 2013


It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha.

The book, Hesse's ninth novel (1922), was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s

The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in the Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (meaning or wealth), which together means "he who has found meaning (of existence)" or "he who has attained his goals". In fact, the Buddha's own name, before his renunciation, was Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilvastu. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as "Gotama".

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Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (7 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 148406741X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484067413
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book but don't buy this version 29 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Siddartha by Herman Hesse is a utterly beautiful creation. I can't better the good things that have been written about it so I won't try.
This translation is, however, a poor one. It feels like a year 1 undergraduate translation project. Very unusually there are 5 translators mentioned at the start of the book. I'm guessing each took every 5 sentence. Here's an example from page 2:

"To reach this place, the self, myself, the Atman, there was another way, which was worthwhile looking for?

It doesn't make sense with a question mark. It's nnot the only bit of poor translation and I've only reached page 6, sadly. This book is a poor translation. There are better translations out there which preserve the beauty and rigour of the original writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sharing Siddarthas journey 13 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the book because I am a big fan of the Yes album Close to the Edge. I didn't actually think it would be for me, because I have a tendency to write things off as wishy washy or silly when people think too much to the point where they can no longer relate to everyday things in a normal manner anymore. Knowing this was to be very philosophical and somehow relating to buddhism (I'm an atheist), I didn't think it would resonate with me and didn't expect much.

So, I was a little sceptical going into it, but found it to be a refreshing read. The ideas that Hesse brings up often seem abstract and perhaps even a little silly when seen from the "outside" (even after reading). But while your mind is on the story, these difficult concepts actually make sense. And the reader is never bombared with philosophical ideas either. Rather, the book opens up gradually, as does Siddarhas understanding - even if there are a few epiphanies throughout. As a reader, there were a couple of times when I felt a slight wow of revelation when I understood something that the book was trying to tell me. In a way, that's similar to what the character in the book goes through, As Siddartha achieved some profound understanding, so did I - even if it was on a much more trivial scale. I think that's the greatest achievement of this book and a credit to Hesse's writing - its ability to make its reader share Siddarthas spiritual journey.

I know some people have been profoundly moved by this book, and I imagine Yes' vocalist Jon Anderson may have been one of many. I have to say I remain a sceptic and as the book fades in my mind, I don't think it changed my general outlook on things, but I still found it enjoyable to read and cleverly written. I can definitely see why it's regarded as a classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars creating the connection. 4 Oct 2013
Short, simple story with a deep message. What I liked about 'Siddhartha' was it was an easy read but forced me think. Though late in the day, I am glad I discovered this book. Would definitely recommend this as I explore other works by Hermann Hesse. Suggestions are welcome.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Literary Classic, but not about Buddhism. 23 May 2013
By David P. Putney - Published on Amazon.com
I cannot help from giving this classic Five Stars. My difficulty is that so many people ignore Hesse's disclaimer that he is not writing about the historical Buddha, but about an imaginary relative. There is no doubt that Hesse's "Siddhartha" is one of the classics of modern literature. There is also a beautiful film based on the book.

The problem is that some people do not notice the disclaimer and take the book as having something to do with Buddhism. My students come to me all the time asking if this is a good introduction to Buddhism. It isn't. Hesse never claims it is. There is very little if any Buddhism in the book. Even when the two Siddharthas meet,the discussion is not about Buddhism. It is so generic it could be about any number of religions. It seems to me to even have a bit of a Daoist flavor. Hesse was an avid reader of Nietzsche. Most, if not all his books, at some level, have something to do with Nietzsche. The irony is that Nietzsche was one of the most knowledgeable Europeans of his day about Buddhism.

I cannot deny the quality of this great book: I just want to stress the disclaimer, so that it has a better chance of being read for what it is.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, short, classic novel 30 July 2013
By Jess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read through the first few pages of a few different translations of this book, and settled on this edition as I liked it best. The story itself is simple, about finding meaning and peacefulness in life. Many people have a misconception that it is about Buddhism and that is not the case. While Buddha makes an appearance in the story, he is a passing character and nothing of his lessons are really conveyed. Very poetic, good relaxing weekend read. Thoughtful but not overly preachy. I enjoyed it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book 16 Nov 2013
By sujay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. This book has given me a lot of things to think about.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Search for Our Own Truth 25 Sep 2013
By Kenny of LA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book in my teens and now again, in my 50's. While I am at a much different stage of life (and dare I say it, a much different person), the search for meaning that this book speaks to goes on. The lessons of this book--that we must find our own meaning, that lessons can be learned from all experiences, that all things are one thing, that life is circular--remain as compelling to me now as it did those many years ago. This book hides its deceptively complex message in its short, simply written presentation, but its depth is profound.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great 7 Sep 2013
By Mark C. Haynie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Read all his works in college. Love Hesse's writing. A beautiful story about living and life. A must read for everyone.
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