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Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise
Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

20 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I write such good reviews, 1 Nov 2005
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. After reading this work one can not help but see the similarities between Nietzsche's radical philosophy and the philosophy of the Nazi Party.
The main problem of this work in my opinion is the fact that although Nietzsche claims to be an optimist one can clearly see, through the way that he writes, that he has a very sad and sordid mindset. To see Nietzsche as a role model would be to seek after unhappiness and seek to follow someone who offers a very select reward, one that does not inspire me especially. Despite of this Nietzsche constantly makes biblical references; to give an example Nietzsche makes a very bold statement in the Forward of "Ecce Homo" by referring to his readers as "his disciples."
One can not help that find Nietzsche contradictory on several occasions e.g. he shows excessive hatred for Christianity and all Christians throughout his book by making subtly derisive links and derogatory jokes in an attempt to build a negative stereotype in the mind of his readers. This shows that Nietzsche is negatively disposed toward Christianity as a whole and that there is clearly a factor of personal difference. Despite this in chapter one section 7 Nietzsche states: "I only attack things where any kind of personal difference is excluded." Although later in the chapter Nietzsche does attempt to justify his hatred of Christianity as an exception to this rule I personally find his explanation inadequate as I'm sure others would.
Contrary to what it might seem I do respect Nietzsche as a philosopher and I do think that one can gain from some his philosophical ideas. I do not however see Nietzsche as an inspirational figure or someone that people would idolise and follow as he claims that they should. Nietzsche, in my opinion, does not seem to me to be an individual that would evoke a sense inspiration in the common man and so I see fault in a lot of is claims. My advice therefore is thus; by all means read this book as a philosophical text and decide for yourself whether or not you agree with Nietzsche but this probably isn't the book to go for if you fancy a bit of light reading. The book isn't easy going and I didn't find it particularly enjoyable to read if I'm honest. Nevertheless a lot of good ideas came out of it so for that I would recommend it. To sum up the book in a phrase: "A controversial and thought provoking read. Good luck!


Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise
Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why i write such good reviews, 24 Oct 2005
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. After reading this work one can not help but see the similarities between Nietzsche's radical philosophy and the philosophy of the Nazi Party.
The main problem of this work in my opinion is the fact that although Nietzsche claims to be an optimist one can clearly see, through the way that he writes, that he has a very sad and sordid mindset. To see Nietzsche as a role model would be to seek after unhappiness and seek to follow someone who offers a very select reward, one that does not inspire me especially. Despite of this Nietzsche constantly makes biblical references; to give an example Nietzsche makes a very bold statement in the Forward of "Ecce Homo" by referring to his readers as "his disciples."
One can not help that find Nietzsche contradictory on several occasions e.g. he shows excessive hatred for Christianity and all Christians throughout his book by making subtly derisive links and derogatory jokes in an attempt to build a negative stereotype in the mind of his readers. This shows that Nietzsche is negatively disposed toward Christianity as a whole and that there is clearly a factor of personal difference. Despite this in chapter one section 7 Nietzsche states: "I only attack things where any kind of personal difference is excluded." Although later in the chapter Nietzsche does attempt to justify his hatred of Christianity as an exception to this rule I personally find his explanation inadequate as I'm sure others would.
Contrary to what it might seem I do respect Nietzsche as a philosopher and I do think that one can gain from some his philosophical ideas. I do not however see Nietzsche as an inspirational figure or someone that people would idolise and follow as he claims that they should. Nietzsche, in my opinion, does not seem to me to be an individual that would evoke a sense inspiration in the common man and so I see fault in a lot of is claims. My advice therefore is thus; by all means read this book as a philosophical text and decide for yourself whether or not you agree with Nietzsche but this probably isn't the book to go for if you fancy a bit of light reading. The book isn't easy going and I didn't find it particularly enjoyable to read if I'm honest. Nevertheless a lot of good ideas came out of it so for that I would recommend it. To sum up the book in a phrase: "A controversial and thought provoking read. Good luck!


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