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21 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I write such good reviews
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...
Published on 1 Nov. 2005 by Peter Young

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why this selection is unwise!
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...
Published on 8 April 2009 by Samuel J. Tunnicliffe


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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why this selection is unwise!, 8 April 2009
By 
Samuel J. Tunnicliffe (Winchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise (Mass Market 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. Nietzsche's philosophy of becoming by overcoming - the philosophy of the 'ubermensch' (superman); a great and terrifying man of 'nature' - the extension of Rousseau's 'noble savage' to the point of fault, as Nietzsche's 'ultra-man' tears free of the restraining and inhibiting factors of pity, fear, ignorance, and especially of 'common morality' and religion - is Nietzsche's lasting testament to the world, and one which led some to condemn him as the 'philosopher of fascism'. Nietzsche's books are full of fantastic metaphors and aphorisms - statements to the effect that man ought to be tested as to how much truth he could 'bear' to know. He is the man who infamously "philosophised with a hammer" (as he himself wrote in the subtitle to 'Twighlight of the Idols'), to a morally devastating effect, but always provokes a response from, challenges, and sometimes even attacks, his reader.

The reason I have gone off on such a tangent about Nietzsche's writing in general whilst supposedly writing a review of a specific product is that, if you buy this edition, this is what you are missing!

Unfortunately the edition is not only an abridgement of a longer work, but it is also one in which Nietzsche talks about himself the most: this you might think, is no bad thing since you long to know more about the man, but he is introspective and often exaggerates - pretends - to have had certain experiences, certain emotions in this text. You oughtn't to judge him just yet for falsifying his experiences, but as a one-time avid reader of Nietzsche's canon, I personally didn't enjoy ecce homo much (the work this text is extracted from), if even at all, until I had read his others, since it is those works of his mature philosophy such as Thus Spoke Zarathustra which truly provide the key which unlocks a new level of understanding of the work I am reviewing.

I am not saying that you should go out and buy the collected works, but I do have a recommendation which not only gives one a way in to Nietzsche, but also gives you an idea of his mature thought in general - I would certainly recommend 'Beyond Good and Evil', and if that is a little too long for you (around 225 pgs) then 'The Genealogy of Morality' is certainly worth a look - Nietzsche at his passionate best - no nonsense about destroying metaphysics, this book is just Nietzsche vs. common morality...

If however, you have read a brief biography (Hollingdale's is very good), or feel sufficiently acquainted with Nietzsche that you feel reading this work will benefit you as much as if you had read most of Nietzsche's books, you are probably right - but this is by no means a reason for buying this version, since it is an appropriation of two works, and it is probably best to buy the Penguin edition of 'Ecce Homo' (Hollingdale translation). Sorry but I really can't recommend this volume!
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21 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I write such good reviews, 1 Nov. 2005
This review is from: Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise (Mass Market 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. 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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3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why i write such good reviews, 24 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise (Mass Market 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. 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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Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Am So Wise by Friedrich Nietzsche (Mass Market Paperback - 2 Sept. 2004)
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