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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully witty aphoristic philosophy, 19 Oct 2009
This review is from: The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) (Paperback)
Lichtenberg is a wonderfully witty writer who exemplifies an alternative current in German writing and culture that seems to have more in common with the French or British tradition. He writes pithily and aphoristically as Nietzsche and Wittgenstien do, rather than heavily and ponderously as Kant and Hegel and Heidegger do. He reminds me of other 18th century wits like Voltaire, Diderot, Pope, Swift and Sterne. He was a professor of Physics and the Waste Books are informal journals of thoughts, fancies and ideas that came to him. Reading them offers the pleasure of observing a brilliant mind following its own thoughts for it's own sake. They are a joy to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pithy abundance, 27 July 2011
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This review is from: The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) (Paperback)
"Man loves company, even if it is only that of a smouldering candle."

Lichtenberg's THE WASTE BOOKS is a book I've been dipping into for years and years. Chock-full of humorous, insightful, wise and quirky thoughts and observations, it is a great book to have on one's bedside table. Within its pages the reader will discover a mix of brilliantly crafted aphorisms, philosophical jottings and sketches, linguistic experiments, proverbs, jokes and curious phrases - 1,085 entries in all. Highly recommended to those who enjoy "wit and wisdom" in equal measure.

"The most successful tempters and thus the most dangerous are the deluded deluders." - Notebook F, aphorism 120.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gimlet-eyed brilliance, 23 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) (Paperback)
Alfred Brendel chose this as his desert island book - and planted the seeds across the world as a result. A non-stuffy polymath, Lichtenberg despised most writers who failed to come up to his demands of intelligence and applied wit. A physicist to begin with, his logic, observation and ironic slants make this the ideal bedside book - or even better, one to be kept in the loo. Imagine a mix of Oscar Wilde, Voltaire and La Rochefoucauld, and you're not far away. 'The fly that does not wish to be swatted is safest if it sits on the fly-swat.' - and more than a thousand other resonating maxims for illicit use.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A philosopher with esprit ..., 20 Aug 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) (Paperback)
"The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery." This is a cynic notation considering the fate of the Red Indians. "A handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments..." sounds like George W. Bush - but is written down by Professor (not Condoleezza Rice), by Professor Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1742-1799. He has been a philosopher, but his writing-style was more comfortable to any reader, than the work of the other German genius of that time: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Lichtenberg loved the ideas of the French Enlightenment and he tried to explain the ideas of empiric science with humor. He was critical against Christian dogmatics. He once shortly noted: "An Amen face." Or longer: "Nothing offers me such clear proof of how things stand in the world of learning than the circumstance that Spinoza was for so long regarded as an evil, worthless person and his opinions as dangerous." Lichtenberg has been a philosopher - but writing with esprit. If you can tolerate his bile, buy his book: "Who has two pairs of trousers turn one of them into cash and purchase this book." But bear in mind: "A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it, - an apostle is unlikely to look out!"
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The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics)
The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (Paperback - 1 Oct 2000)
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