Nihilism Paperback – 13 Feb 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Disclaimer: I will not judge the book on my expectations since that would be a very unfair thing to do. Instead I will judge it only on what is presented. I only wanted to point out from the get go, for people thinking about purchasing this book, that it might not be what they expect.
Like I said before, I think that the topic of nihilism doesn't bring enough to have a full book written about it unless other topics were to be brought in, and this is what the author did; in fact, this is most of the book. While that is definitely not what I was looking for and something I wanted to shy away from, I went ahead and tried my best to give it a chance. Now if only the writing was adequate enough.
Honestly, most of what is presented here seems to be in a jumbled mess of not so well thought out rants from a blogger, and it never really surpasses that description to me. One example of this --which is accomplished to an extent-- was the act of looking at US society, religious beliefs, society's morals and beliefs, ecetera; and apply the nihilistic viewpoint to them as a way to undermine them and possibly take away some of their fortitude. What happens though is the author telling you how it is, and how nihilism counter-acts that. That's all I got from it.
One other major issue that this brings up is that it does not let nihilistic beliefs stand on their own strength. Instead the writings rely on pointing out flaws in all of the topics, making the book less about nihilism and more about poking holes in everything. One good example is a chapter called "The Holy Fool" where about half of the chapter consists of facts about weird cult like groups and religious beliefs and the commentary from the writer that could all be boiled down to: "Look how wacky the people are with their crazy beliefs."
Everything just comes off as amateurish. All this ground my patience with the work down to the point where I wanted to quit the book 150 pages in. Instead I opted to skip around, reading the beginnings of each chapter and every section within said chapter to see if it was any different or something I liked. Because of that I ended up skipping good portions of the book.
While I do try my best to find something I like about any piece and not bash it, I also have to tell the truth, and this was the worst book I have read in awhile.
The reason I did give it two stars, instead of one, was because I did have some enjoyment in the first few dozen pages and the "Profiles in Nihilism" chapter gave me some interesting people to look up. Along with that, the short but beautiful chapter "Nihilism in Art" was a treat and showed that the author had a great appreciation for art. Now only if the rest was like those three sections.
Now, if I were to describe this book in one sentence, the phrase would be the same as one of the book's taglines: "And now one iconoclastic author and radical thinker delivers what may be the most revolutionary book in print since Darwin's "The Origin of Species.". I say that the tagline fits not because it's true, but because it shows the ego that is presented throughout most of the text that you will have to deal with.
enheartened me greatly.
I have found this book and its associated website ([...] quite comforting.