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Man Alone with Himself

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Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary thinkers in Western philosophy. Here he sets out his subversive views in a series of aphorisms on subjects ranging from art to arrogance, boredom to passion, science to vanity, rejecting conventional notions of morality to celebrate the individual's 'will to power'.


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Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary thinkers in Western philosophy. Here he sets out his subversive views in a series of aphorisms on subjects ranging from art to arrogance, boredom to passion, science to vanity, rejecting conventional notions of morality to celebrate the individual's 'will to power'.

30 review for Man Alone with Himself

  1. 4 out of 5

    AJ Dehany

    Aphorisms are like horoscopes; they are tied to no specific facts, describe broad tendencies rather than situations, so are freely adaptable, made to measure, with an aura of profundity that isn't grounded, and therefore can not be said to be truly profound.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I summarize Nietzsche's thoughts in this book through the following short tale: I must have followed the hippie couple in my Volvo station wagon for seventeen miles or more. They finally pulled their Volkswagon Vanagon in to a Stop-and-Save in Ventura. I eased the wagon in behind them. I hesitated, not sure whether to approach. After sitting and sweating for several minutes, watching the hippie surfer check the engine in the back, watching the hippie chick head to the ladies room, I banged my I summarize Nietzsche's thoughts in this book through the following short tale: I must have followed the hippie couple in my Volvo station wagon for seventeen miles or more. They finally pulled their Volkswagon Vanagon in to a Stop-and-Save in Ventura. I eased the wagon in behind them. I hesitated, not sure whether to approach. After sitting and sweating for several minutes, watching the hippie surfer check the engine in the back, watching the hippie chick head to the ladies room, I banged my hands on the steering wheel, muttered my motto, “All life is will, dammit,” and slowly got out of the car. The hippie did not even notice me until I was standing right beside him, looking at the dead bugs on the windshield. “Howdy,” I said. “Nice day for it,” I gestured at the board he had up on top. “Yeah,” he said. He seemed shy, hesitant to address me, because of my age (I was getting on) or perhaps my appearance—my crumb encrusted beard, my bushy mustache, my wildly unkempt hair, my bulging eyes. “I always wanted to live free,” I said. “Never got the chance. Ended up calculating trajectories for the government. Grinding my shoulder for the wife and kids.” He stared at me, unsure where I was headed. He glanced back at his hippie chick, who was looking at snacks in the store. “Nothing is a given,” I said. “Except passion. Don’t deny it. Those who deny it are dead.” Was I getting through to him? “Sure thing, man,” he said, checking the oily rag he had used on the dipstick. “You … you are lucky,” I continued. “You got your freedom. Living out of a van. That’s what life is. That is what it should be. Get in a van, and just go. Hit the road. Search for the truth. Ain’t that right?” I was nodding my head, encouraging him to agree. He slowly stuffed the rag into his cargo pants. Finally he looked up and said, “Could you lend me some cash? Me and Jackie are short and we haven’t eaten since yesterday.” Typical hippies. Some gall. Procreating and nourishment—they truly are the one problem—the will to power. Well I was going to show them some will power. Teach them, if necessary. “What do I look like?! Some kind of money bags? Besides, why should I help you? You think there is such a thing as the common good? To hell with that. What can you do for me?” The hippie looked disappointed. “You won’t help us out? That’s okay. I understand.” What a degrading display of shame and belief in goodness. It left a bad taste in my mouth. So bad I had to spit. Then I went back to my car. “There is no such thing as truth!” I yelled as I pulled past them, fools, lollygagging the days away instead of having convictions—but I had convictions, convictions enough for everyone. Then I drop clutched, spun my wheels, and in a cloud of dust and sand screeched back out onto that long, hard road to nothingness.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    FAVOURITE QUOTE: "Every superior human being will instinctively aspire after a secret citadel where he is set free from the crowd, the many, the majority."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suha Hallab

    Ripe Avocado with honey. I read this 77 page book in 2 months, savoring it bit by bit. Nietzsche is brilliant, he is deep and sometimes too deep or just high I loved this book. This is my second book for Nietzsche after Thus Spake Zarathustra, and it is quite heavier. Speaking of the philosopher, he is the preacher of “aloneness” and solitude; he is the prophet against the promise of a great purpose or love or a deity. This book is a brief list of this great philosopher’s ideas, with each Ripe Avocado with honey. I read this 77 page book in 2 months, savoring it bit by bit. Nietzsche is brilliant, he is deep and sometimes too deep or just high  I loved this book. This is my second book for Nietzsche after Thus Spake Zarathustra, and it is quite heavier. Speaking of the philosopher, he is the preacher of “aloneness” and solitude; he is the prophet against the promise of a great purpose or love or a deity. This book is a brief list of this great philosopher’s ideas, with each requiring a pause to reflect on, or to laugh at or even to think of it as some crazy philosophical nonsense. Within the ideas, I witnessed ones that represent mistrust of feelings, passions and youth. Also, there are ones related with going against the flow and daring to be different. He is not one of those who want to improve the world or make a difference, in the contrary, he is okay with life going worse. Even more so, he insinuates ideas that the world is made good for the great and not the mediocre which in my opinion is a tough idea to digest. The ending of the book is so beautiful and so powerful; I felt as if he was celebrating his solitude and mocking the world in an amazing way. It is clear that his solitude is his sole goal and through it a person can be superior. I quote: “Friend. Shared joy, not compassion, makes a friend.” “The most refined hypocrite. To speak about oneself not at all is a very refined form of hypocricy.” :)) “Out in nature. We like to be out in nature so much because it has no opinion about us.” “Human lot. Whoever thinks more deeply knows that he is always wrong, whatever his acts and judgements.” “it is the intellect that saves us from turning utterly to burnt-out coals; here and there it pulls us away from justice’s sacrificial altar, or wraps us in an asbestos cocoon. Redeemed from the fire, we then stride on, driven by the intellect, from opinion to opinion, through the change of sides, as noble traitors of all things that can ever be betrayed – and yet with no feeling of guilt.” “Choose the good solitude, the free, wanton, easy solitude which gives you too a right to remain in some sense good!” “Am I another? A stranger to myself? Sprung from myself? A wrestler who subdued himself too often? Turned his own strength against himself too often, checked and wounded by his own victory?” “Now the world is laughing, the dread curtain is rent, the wedding day has come for light and darkness…” Read this book <3

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sehar Moughal

    “Few are made for independence – it is a privilege of the strong. And he who attempts it, having the completest right to it but without being compelled to, thereby proves that he is probably not only strong but also daring to the point of recklessness. He ventures into a labyrinth, he multiplies by a thousand the dangers which life as such already brings with it, not the smallest of which is that no one can behold how and where he goes astray, is cut off from others, and is torn to pieces limb “Few are made for independence – it is a privilege of the strong. And he who attempts it, having the completest right to it but without being compelled to, thereby proves that he is probably not only strong but also daring to the point of recklessness. He ventures into a labyrinth, he multiplies by a thousand the dangers which life as such already brings with it, not the smallest of which is that no one can behold how and where he goes astray, is cut off from others, and is torn to pieces limb from limb by some cave-minotaur of conscience. If such a one is destroyed, it takes place so far from understanding of men that they neither feel it nor sympathize – and he can no longer go back! He can no longer go back even to the pity of men!"

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rayhan Ghanchi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. All kicks off 5 pages from the end 'Not to cleave to another person, though he be the one you love most, every person is a prison, also a book and corner' 'Not to cling to our own virtues and become as a whole the victim of some part of us...' 'Did I seek where the wind bites keenest, learn to live where no one lives...unlearn to pray and curse, unlearn man and god, become a ghost flitting across glaciers?' Dude's a 12/10 rager

  7. 5 out of 5

    Woody

    [section from Human, _All Too Human_. lots to work through.]

  8. 4 out of 5

    Oneflwover

    "That something is irrational is no argument against its existence, but rather a condition for it."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hawra Alq

    A 2 because I didn't understand 3/4ers of the philosophical aphorisms. I'm sorry Nietzsche but you lost me wo many times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Henrik Haapala

    “Enemies of truth. Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” p.1 “Conviction is the belief that in some point of knowledge one possesses absolute truth. Such a belief presumes, then, that absolute truth exist; likewise, that the perfect methods for arriving at them have been found; finally, that every man who has convictions makes use of these perfect methods. All three assertions prove at once that the man of convictions is not the man of scientific thinking; he stands before “Enemies of truth. Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” p.1 “Conviction is the belief that in some point of knowledge one possesses absolute truth. Such a belief presumes, then, that absolute truth exist; likewise, that the perfect methods for arriving at them have been found; finally, that every man who has convictions makes use of these perfect methods. All three assertions prove at once that the man of convictions is not the man of scientific thinking; he stands before us still in the age of theoretical innocence, a child, however grown-up he might be otherwise. But throughout thousands of years, people have lived in such childlike assumptions, and from out of them mankind’s mightiest sources of power have flowed. The countless people who sacrificed themselves for for their convictions thought they were doing it for absolute truth.” p.40 “Out of passions grow opinions; mental sloth lets these rigidify into convictions.” p.46

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nadin Soliman

    I think am having a cultural shock ! the guy is witty and street smart which is a surprise for all the depth there is in his ideas. i wonder how the nazis did it? used his words to wage a masscre? the book is short glimpses of his ideas, i think its a nice choice for someone , who like me is exploring philosophy..

  12. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    “Books for everybody are always malodorous books: the smell of petty people clings to them. Where the people eats and drinks, even where it worships, there is usually a stink. One should not go into churches if one wants to breathe pure air.” Okay boomer. This collection started out promising; the first chapter a collection of Nietzsche’s aphorisms which he is so famous for, albeit arranged in a slightly haphazard way (in my opinion). Then chapter two onwards felt slightly bizarre to read. “Books for everybody are always malodorous books: the smell of petty people clings to them. Where the people eats and drinks, even where it worships, there is usually a stink. One should not go into churches if one wants to breathe pure air.” Okay boomer. This collection started out promising; the first chapter a collection of Nietzsche’s aphorisms which he is so famous for, albeit arranged in a slightly haphazard way (in my opinion). Then chapter two onwards felt slightly bizarre to read. Initially I thought I would attain some sort of vindication for my views about people and my relation to them. But it turned out to be a collection of rants boiling down to: (a) people’s perception that they have perceived and are beaters of the truth and fancy being martyrs for them; history has shown time and again instances of violence when people defend their beliefs, which Nietzsche of course finds unnecessary because one can never say or know with conviction that he knows the absolute Truth; (b) contrasting between the independent and strong willed philosopher who is determined to get to the truth and can stomach it no matter how ugly it is, and the poet and artist who love beauty and fluidity and hence could not perceive the truth. There was a brief moment I enjoyed however, when he critiqued the Americans and (presumably) the rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, because it aligns with my work ethic: “... They belong among the falsely named “free spirits”— eloquent and tirelessly scribbling slaves of the democratic taste and its “modern ideas”, good and clumsy fellows who, while they cannot be denied courage and moral respectability, are unfree and ludicrously superficial [...] With all their might they would like to strive after is the universal green pasture happiness of the herd, with security, safety, comfort and an easier life for all: their two most oft-recited doctrines are “equality of rights” and “sympathy for all that suffers” — and suffering itself they take for something that has to be abolished. We, who are the opposite of this, think that how the plant “man” has grown up most vigorously has always happened under opposite conditions, that the perilousness of his situation had first to become tremendous, his powers of invention and dissimulation had, under protracted pressure and constraint, to evolve into daring, his will to life to be intensified into unconditional will to power— we think that severity, force, slavery, peril in the street and in the heart, concealment, stoicism, the art of experiment and devilry of every kind, that everything evil, dreadful, tyrannical, beast of prey and serpent in man served to enhance the species “man”.” To end off, a random collection of aphorisms which stood out to me: *** People are always angry at anyone who chooses very individual standards for his life; because of the extraordinary treatment which that man grants to himself, they feel degraded, like ordinary beings. Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy’s staying alive. Men who are unable to make their merit completely clear to the world seek to awaken an intense enmity towards themselves. We forget our guilt when we have confessed it to another, but usually the other person does not forget it. It takes a stronger gaze and a better will to further that which is evolving and imperfect, rather than to penetrate its imperfection and reject it. It is a new step towards independence, once a man dares to express opinions that brings disgrace on him if he entertains them; then even his friends and acquaintances begin to grow anxious. The man of talent must pass through this fire, too; afterwards he is much more his own person. Some people fear their higher self because, when it speaks, it speaks demandingly. In addition, it has a ghostly freedom of coming or staying away as it wishes; for that reason it is often a gift of the gods, while actually everything else is a gift of the gods (of chance): this, however, is the man himself.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fabrizio Bianchi

    The book starts with a collection of what we could call aphorisms, even if it is obvious that they were not crafted as such, regarding the idea of the challenges that life offers to the Man (of course, term used to mean woman just as much), what it means to behave according to science, being a profound soul and how a conflictual behavior is just something we inherited from a prehistoric age. The second part of the book is kind of a fractured essay going deeper in the topics of philosophy in a The book starts with a collection of what we could call aphorisms, even if it is obvious that they were not crafted as such, regarding the idea of the challenges that life offers to the Man (of course, term used to mean woman just as much), what it means to behave according to science, being a profound soul and how a conflictual behavior is just something we inherited from a prehistoric age. The second part of the book is kind of a fractured essay going deeper in the topics of philosophy in a scientific society and ending with a "vision" of the philosophers to come (strikingly similar in behavior to what one may think drives a "serial entrepreneur", I may say). The book ends with an Ode wishing for the modern philosophers of the time to sever their bindings with the thoughts of their youth and the "philosophy of yore" to join the New Wave Nietzsche sees himself as a precursor of. Not exactly a transparent or flowing reading, nonetheless it is a powerful book offering views and solutions to some of the questions we keep seeing repeated still nowadays. Particularly interesting are the bits where Nietzsche appears angry, namely the ones about youth and the ones about Germany. At the same time these bits, exactly because of the anger that transpires through them, are the ones offering the view of the author one may least relate to.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Jean-Jacques

    "Young people love what's interesting and odd, no matter how true or false it is. More mature minds love what's interesting and odd about truth. Fully mature intellects, love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, boring to the ordinary person; for they have noticed that truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity." - Nietzsche. The above quote is an example of why I enjoyed reading this much more than 'Why Am I So Wise'. In this short book, I found Nietzsche's "Young people love what's interesting and odd, no matter how true or false it is. More mature minds love what's interesting and odd about truth. Fully mature intellects, love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, boring to the ordinary person; for they have noticed that truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity." - Nietzsche. The above quote is an example of why I enjoyed reading this much more than 'Why Am I So Wise'. In this short book, I found Nietzsche's aphorisms and ideas more accessible and easier to digest. Also, his thoughts were presented concisely and in smaller paragraphs. Although, in truth I don't think I have the patience or stamina to read 300+ pages of Nietzsche.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Indy

    Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary thinkers in Western philosophy. Here he sets out his subversive views in a series of aphorisms on subjects ranging from art to arrogance, boredom to passion, science to vanity, rejecting conventional notions of morality to celebrate the individual’s “will to power”. Re-reading this book in the future would definitely give me insights that’s different from this read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Nietzsche's meditations on philosophy, the importance of the individual, and the future of mankind are enormous. This short collection of thoughts and poetry is easily the best way to approach the great philosopher's works as they are simple, categorized and have titles. I strongly recommend this Penguin Great Ideas edition for its simplicity. Read this if you are seeking to explore the metaphysical foundations of the Western philosophy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stewart

    A good introductory text to Nietzsche, and a nice quick weekend read. My favourite quote: “The first thought of the day - the best way to begin each day well is to think upon awakening whether we could not give at least one person pleasure in this day. If this practice could be accepted as a substitute for the religious practice of prayer, our fellow men would benefit by this change.” Not a bad approach :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Braeden Giaconi

    I picked up this book after I had read The Magic Mountain, thinking that it would be a mental break since it is very short. This book taught me that reading 70 pages of aphorisms is not entertaining.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abrar

    I love Nietzsche's way of thinking. Throughout the book, I highlighted some of my favourite quotes. I took my time reading the 77 pages as it took me a while to understand what he was talking about quite often. I am sure I'll keep reading this book on a regular basis.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ahmet Tekin

    Aphorisms in this book are prone to hit-and-miss, but they are also the fun side of philosophy. For people like me who want to explore philosophy but don't want to delve too much into it, it's one of the best books available.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Neeraj Shukla

    Unlike what the title would suggest, this book "Man Alone with Himself" is not about a lonely man who plays with himself, but a serious philosophical book. I probably need to read this again to understand it because I am not sure I have fully understood this.

  22. 4 out of 5

    BookAmbler

    What is he talking about?!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Its fun, if a little all over the shop. Worth reading for the formal and stylistic aspects if nothing else. Would recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kirtida Gautam

    "To speak about oneself not at all is a very refined form of hypocrisy." This book. THIS BOOK. Wow. No words. It's just wow.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy

    Agreed with almost everything he said, especially in the first section of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dean Luce

    Good book, sometimes difficult to read though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Man Alone with Himself Among Friends: An Epilogue The Free Spirit From High Mountains: Epode

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Nankivell

    An excellent observation of the human condition. As an observer of life, Nietzsche's words make me feel less alone.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Issam Hajaly

    A brillinatly concised introduction to the great philosopher's life and philosophy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Neminem

    This one is gonna need another read.... A fresh look at how the mind thinks, and also how it should be thinking.

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