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4.3 out of 5 stars
26
4.3 out of 5 stars


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on 6 April 2015
I choose to read this when I'm feeling wide awake and fresh!
It was written in the mid 1800's, I find the sentence structure a little convoluted.
However, the message is very strong and relevant. Worth sticking with it - in my opinion!
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on 27 March 2015
Excellent Book.
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on 20 April 2015
Ralph Waldo Emerson has a very unique way of writing and to be honest, I had to read the entire book again after I went through it the first time because his style is hard to adapt to. But the wisdom is excellent once you get it.
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on 11 February 2015
Good price for a great mind
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on 30 April 2017
Essential reading!
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on 15 May 2012
Great book, refreshing to read and opens your eyes to nature and the beauty of life. Hard to understand at times so has to be re-read but you will not be dissappointed after reading this book!
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on 19 May 2013
I've loved Emerson since my university days, so I had to own this collection. Buy it and see why he's one of the best writers of all time.
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on 7 October 2014
I've seen lots of quotes by the author that I have always found to be very thought-provoking and profound. However, I am finding this piece hard going. It meanders all over the place without much point. Disappointed.
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on 9 February 2015
Classic Emerson piece. Every young adult should read this. Delivered quickly.
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on 24 August 2017
A lot of what is said in this can be summed up by "To thine own self be true", one of Shakespeare's most famous quotes. This is no easy read and a more attentive re-read is probably necessary, however I don't intend to any time soon so I'll share my impressions as they are.

Emerson's ideas may have been revolutionary and eye-opening in the 19th century, but I believe there is little in it now which I have not heard elsewhere in a more relevant, straight-forward and comprehensive manner. There is some wonderful quotes in this short essay no doubt, but it seems to be more of an ambiguous poetic piece of literature instead of an analytical persuasive expression of an idea. Some may find his criticism of society, culture and institutions to be thought-provoking and revealing but I've been immersed in such ideas so they are of little use to me. I'm sure some of the writers, speakers, musicians etc who have spoken out about individuality and not blindly following have been influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I believe Emerson put too much value into this idea that it got to the point of dismissing the benefits of listening to other peoples ideas and learning from the external. Emerson encourages self-contradiction at one point, it was difficult to understand what his point was which happened several times in the essay. One point I completely disagree with is "travelling is a fool's paradise" and this point I fully understood. He is not discouraging travelling he just find's it disappointing, and I find it ridiculous how he comes out with such a quote. There was no purpose in him including his disappointment in travelling into this text nor in condemning those who hold it to high regard.

It took a while for me to look past his religious and sexist views, but after doing so it wasn't worth it. I would not recommend this book, if individuality and non-conformation interest you I think you would learn and enjoy listening to a Terence McKenna talk more. Emerson may be one of the most famous and influential to speak on such topics but he's far from the best.
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