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Self-Reliance (Limited Deluxe Edition)

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Redefining the classic essay, this modern edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous work, Self-Reliance, includes self-reflections from both historical and contemporary luminaries. With quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Helen Keller to modern-day thought leaders like Jesse Dylan, Steve Pressfield, and Milton Glaser, we're reminded of the relevance of Emerson’s Redefining the classic essay, this modern edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous work, Self-Reliance, includes self-reflections from both historical and contemporary luminaries. With quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Helen Keller to modern-day thought leaders like Jesse Dylan, Steve Pressfield, and Milton Glaser, we're reminded of the relevance of Emerson’s powerful words today. Emerson’s words are timeless. Persuasive and convincing, he challenges readers to define their own sense of accomplishment and asks them to measure themselves against their own standards, not those of society. This famous orator has utter faith in individualism and doesn’t invoke beyond what is humanly possible, he just believes deeply that each of us is capable of greatness. He asks us to define that greatness for ourselves and to be true to ourselves. At times harsh, at times comforting, Emerson’s words guide the reader to challenge their own beliefs and sense of self. This modern edition of Self-Reliance is ideal for graduates or those who are in the midst of a career or lifestyle change. Emerson's sage guidance wrapped in modern-day reflections is a great reminder about the potential within us all and that life is what you make of it.


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Redefining the classic essay, this modern edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous work, Self-Reliance, includes self-reflections from both historical and contemporary luminaries. With quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Helen Keller to modern-day thought leaders like Jesse Dylan, Steve Pressfield, and Milton Glaser, we're reminded of the relevance of Emerson’s Redefining the classic essay, this modern edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous work, Self-Reliance, includes self-reflections from both historical and contemporary luminaries. With quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Helen Keller to modern-day thought leaders like Jesse Dylan, Steve Pressfield, and Milton Glaser, we're reminded of the relevance of Emerson’s powerful words today. Emerson’s words are timeless. Persuasive and convincing, he challenges readers to define their own sense of accomplishment and asks them to measure themselves against their own standards, not those of society. This famous orator has utter faith in individualism and doesn’t invoke beyond what is humanly possible, he just believes deeply that each of us is capable of greatness. He asks us to define that greatness for ourselves and to be true to ourselves. At times harsh, at times comforting, Emerson’s words guide the reader to challenge their own beliefs and sense of self. This modern edition of Self-Reliance is ideal for graduates or those who are in the midst of a career or lifestyle change. Emerson's sage guidance wrapped in modern-day reflections is a great reminder about the potential within us all and that life is what you make of it.

30 review for Self-Reliance (Limited Deluxe Edition)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    6.0 stars. This book seriously affected me in a very postive way. It's not really even a book but rather a long essay. Essay or book, it had a profound impact on me. In fact, I was utterly floored while reading this and it has become one of my "All Time Favorites." Other then gushing and throwing great heaps of praise on the work, I am not sure how best to describe the contents so as to do it justice. If I had to try and sum up Emerson's Self Reliance I would say that it is first and foremost 6.0 stars. This book seriously affected me in a very postive way. It's not really even a book but rather a long essay. Essay or book, it had a profound impact on me. In fact, I was utterly floored while reading this and it has become one of my "All Time Favorites." Other then gushing and throwing great heaps of praise on the work, I am not sure how best to describe the contents so as to do it justice. If I had to try and sum up Emerson's Self Reliance I would say that it is first and foremost the quintessential statement in support of the individual and the individual's right (and obligation) to think for themselves and to question EVERYTHING. Related to this first point, Emerson holds that you must never give in to the easy momentum of the status quo just because it is pulling you along. Rather you must investigate the world around you, take in the evidence of your senses and experience and use your own powers of reason to determine the correct path your life should follow. In short, it is an anthem to the individual and a battle cry to everyone to think for themselves. At first blush, this may sound a little like an appeal for anarchy, but that is certainly not the case. He is simply expressing the case for “individualism” and believing in yourself and not blindly following the herd because you "assume they knoiw where their going." Knowing that I could never do justice to Emerson's own words, I thought I would list of few of my favorite quotes from "Self Reliance" so as to hopefully provide some context for my review. Quotes # 1 and #2 : “Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.” “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.” These quotes illustrate what I found to be the most important message of Emerson’s work, namely to always keep an “open mind” and be willing to question your own beliefs and ideas rather then feeling "boxed in" because you may have previously voiced a contrary opinion. These quotes may have had the most powerful impact on me. It is the twin goals or both being forceful with your beliefs and opinions while at the same time always being willing to question them and listen (not just hear) to contrary opinions and never be afraid to change your mind if you find an error in your thinking. Quotes #3 and #4 : “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” These quotes demonstrate the central concept in Emerson’s work, namely that you must be true to your instincts and beliefs and always willing to stand by what you (rather than others believe). Emerson felt strongly that “you” are the most important voice you will ever hear and you must trust yourself in your thoughts and endeavors. Quotes #5 and #6 : “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” “Insist on yourself; never imitate.” These quotes are an expression of what Emerson saw as the most fundamental obstacle against self reliance, namely the conventions and habit of life that everyone gets used to following without examination. I think it is important to note here that Emerson was not an anarchist or a hater of society and did not believe in an individualism of selfishness. Rather, he simply argued that the path to true happiness for any individual should be a unique journey and not one that follows the “unquestioned” paths of others simply because society or history tells us to do so. Quote #7 and #8 : “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” “To be great is to be misunderstood.” These quotes are examples of Emerson's belief that you should never be afraid to speak a “new” thought or one that goes against conventional wisdom if you believe it to be true. Emerson says that to often we are afraid to speak a thought and then later some “great thinker” will say something that was what we had previously thought but been afraid to speak. He talks of Jesus and Plato and Socrates as people who were terribly misunderstood and even persecuted in their own lifetimes but whose genius and “original ideas” came to shape the lives of millions. This work was brilliant, insightful and very, very powerful and one that will be given a permanent list on the most important works I have read. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    Book Review This review was written during a college course years ago; it's funny how basic and immature my thoughts were... LOL Aaaah! That’s all that I can say to Emerson. Last time when I read “The American Scholar,” by mistake, I thought the world of Emerson. Now that I read “The Poet” and “Self-Reliance,” I can no longer say that I like all his work and that I understand him. I was so lost by what I read last night, that I tried rereading it again today, but it was to no avail. I could Book Review This review was written during a college course years ago; it's funny how basic and immature my thoughts were... LOL Aaaah! That’s all that I can say to Emerson. Last time when I read “The American Scholar,” by mistake, I thought the world of Emerson. Now that I read “The Poet” and “Self-Reliance,” I can no longer say that I like all his work and that I understand him. I was so lost by what I read last night, that I tried rereading it again today, but it was to no avail. I could not understand what he was saying. I found his work to be too wordy and over-exaggerated. The language was magnificent and it flowed wonderfully, but it was complicated and it often bored me. I understood parts of it, but not enough to grasp the entire concept and most of the important lessons. I know “we should free ourselves from restraints” and “learn to love ourselves and seek what is best for us.” I however, inferred this for myself rather than actually picking it concretely up from the text. I got very angry at Emerson, which is rather silly when I think about it now. I loved his first essay and was thrilled to finally understand it. I looked back at “American Scholar” and compared the language and flow to “Self-Reliance.” I saw very little in common between the two. It was almost like they were two totally different styles, yet I could also see that it was written by the same author - although I wasn’t positive at times. "The Poet” through me for an absolute loop. I had no clue as to its meaning. I tried at two different times, but I could not get it. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat swanushthitaat; Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah. The Bhagavad-Gita, 3.35 (Chapter 3, Verse 35) [Better is one's own Dharma, though devoid of merit, than the Dharma of another well discharged. Better is even death in one's own Dharma; to attempt the Dharma of another is fraught with danger.] I felt that Self-Reliance is a book length homage to this verse. Emerson, while talking loftily of originality seems to have not the slightest Shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat swanushthitaat; Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah. The Bhagavad-Gita, 3.35 (Chapter 3, Verse 35) [Better is one's own Dharma, though devoid of merit, than the Dharma of another well discharged. Better is even death in one's own Dharma; to attempt the Dharma of another is fraught with danger.] I felt that Self-Reliance is a book length homage to this verse. Emerson, while talking loftily of originality seems to have not the slightest compunction in drawing heavily from oriental philosophies to achieve the grandeur that is reflected in his thoughts and writings. Of course Emerson was no stranger to the beautiful verses of Gita nor to the Upanishads. Emerson and Thoreau, both, were greatly drawn by the philosophy of The Gita. As Thoreau says, "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial." Emerson has also been vocal in his praise - "The Bhagavad-Gita is an empire of thought and in its philosophical teachings Krishna has all the attributes of the full-fledged monotheistic deity and at the same time the attributes of the Upanisadic absolute." I just wish that the book itself had a reference to The Gita and did not depend on my memory to make the connections. Self-Reliance is a great and inspirational work, but would have been the better for quoting its own inspirations.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sohaib

    Very quotable. I've found myself slumping hard over this one. In this essay, Emerson emphasizes the importance of solitude, the place where the only voice we can hear is ours. This is self-reliance—listening to that voice. "These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world." I have one problem with Emerson in this piece. I don't appreciate his grave insistence on Presence and his dismissal of the values of past experiences, books and Very quotable. I've found myself slumping hard over this one. In this essay, Emerson emphasizes the importance of solitude, the place where the only voice we can hear is ours. This is self-reliance—listening to that voice. "These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world." I have one problem with Emerson in this piece. I don't appreciate his grave insistence on Presence and his dismissal of the values of past experiences, books and learning from others. Yes. I do realize the spiritual significance of solitude, but I've found his take on it rather one-sided. Always take the middle road, I say. Really enjoyed this. Recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Loy Machedo

    Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a collection of thoughts published by the author in the year 1841. It is indeed a very rare manuscript as it urges its readers to do the unthinkable – trust your gut feeling, your intuition, your common sense, your heart, your spirit and soul – rather than follow the will of the majority or the popular opinion of the masses. Personally, I consider this, his masterpiece But herein lies the twist. I will request you not to read the book. Simply because this book Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a collection of thoughts published by the author in the year 1841. It is indeed a very rare manuscript as it urges its readers to do the unthinkable – trust your gut feeling, your intuition, your common sense, your heart, your spirit and soul – rather than follow the will of the majority or the popular opinion of the masses. Personally, I consider this, his masterpiece But herein lies the twist. I will request you not to read the book. Simply because this book will bring out reactions. Strange reactions. In my case, it frustrated me, irritated me, made me think and it confused me. On one hand this was a very small book. But on the other hand it turned to be the book that took me the longest time to read. On one side it proved to be a book that was supposed to be easy. On the other hand it proved to be a book that was hardest to distill & absorb. On one aspect it gave this sense of joy as it was a book of timeless wisdom. On the other, it gave this immense sense of guilt as it proved to be a book that questioned ones values. I would classify this book as being selfless while asking to be selfish. For instance, consider the following quotes taken from the book: • Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. • Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. • What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. • Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. • Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. • Travelling is a fool's paradise. • Insist on yourself; never imitate. • An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man. It is a very deep, very powerful and very philosophical book containing the timeless wisdom of a genius, a gem of a man, and a great soul. But if you are looking for a nice story, interesting read or an attention grabbing book – please avoid this book at all costs. This book has the virtue and the power to give you a splitting headache. It is not a read for the faint hearted. It is rather a manuscript to reflect, mediate and have the courage to act upon. I rate this book a perfect 10 out of 10 and would request you – buy this book at your own risk. The side effects being – a splitting headache, a confusing vocabulary and a frustrating mindset when you cannot understand the simplicity of thought. Loy Machedo loymachedo.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maryam Rajee

    "It's easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it's easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elsa Qazi

    Edit: (31.12.18) I absolutely love this essay. Just like last time if not more. I read this because 1. I needed to complete the reading challenge for this year and 2. Self reliance was becoming increasingly hard without the person who recommended this :/ First review: This essay was beautiful, thought-provoking and transformative for me. "It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in midst of a crowd keeps Edit: (31.12.18) I absolutely love this essay. Just like last time if not more. I read this because 1. I needed to complete the reading challenge for this year and 2. Self reliance was becoming increasingly hard without the person who recommended this :/ First review: This essay was beautiful, thought-provoking and transformative for me. "It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in midst of a crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." "Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." Society tries to make us what we are not, people try to mold our thoughts into that of the collective thinking of the society. On the road to success and eternity people will misunderstand that person but as Emerson says Pythagoras, Jesus, Newton, Socrates, Copernicus, Galileo and Luther were misunderstood too. Yet they were the ones who broke from the narrow dimensions of thought of society as a collective unit and dared to question the world and it's ways. They dared to believe in themselves. They were self-reliant. "To be great is to be misunderstood."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    For Emerson, the greatest good is to elevate and worship ones’ self, and the greatest sin is to look outside ones’ self. While who we are is a product of what has come before and will contribute to what will go on, Emerson sees a danger of looking to the past or considering the future in our actions. He preaches that we should have a focus entirely on the present. Being true to ourselves in the moment may cause inconsistencies and misunderstandings, but this is all part of his greater good. For Emerson, the greatest good is to elevate and worship ones’ self, and the greatest sin is to look outside ones’ self. While who we are is a product of what has come before and will contribute to what will go on, Emerson sees a danger of looking to the past or considering the future in our actions. He preaches that we should have a focus entirely on the present. Being true to ourselves in the moment may cause inconsistencies and misunderstandings, but this is all part of his greater good. Emerson’s self-centered virtues are not derived from anything outside himself, but from himself alone. More than any other work, Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” seems best to embody the spirit of our age. We focus on ourselves and our thoughts and our words. We are ardently individualistic. We have lost all respect for sages of old, parents and grandparents, politicians, and preachers. Our society does not look outside itself for light, but from within. I like to dialogue with writers and philosophers as I read, so I kept coming back to a couple thoughts as I surveyed Emerson’s influential work. The first thought I had was that if I am a product of evolutionary greatness from my past, as Emerson points out, then why should I not study how greatness was achieved in the past and rely on that past to promote greatness in the future? While Emerson decries any reliance on the past or the non-self and any “standing on tiptoes” to see the future, I think he misses the point. We are nothing apart from the history which has made us and the future which lies ahead. To lose sight of these poles is to lose ourselves. Even Emerson doesn’t follow his advice here either. He continually refers to events and people of previous ages even at times in a positive light. And who would really enjoy living in a world filled by people who live by Emerson’s virtues? People who have no thought for anyone besides themselves and never look to the past or to the future are often the cause of some of the greatest harms we have experienced. The father who walks out on his family in order to pursue his pleasures and the careless politician who engages in wars of aggression without considering the warnings of history are not characters we admire, but people whom we abhor. This world of self-love and self-pity is not a world we wish to live in. It is not the most selfish people who leave the world a better place, but the most sacrificial. The second thought I had was: why? Why must I be true to myself? Why is this a virtue? Why should someone’s look to the past or the future be such an unpardonable sin as Emerson portrays it? What makes the self the law of virtue and vice? Perhaps it is this underlying question, which Emerson refuses to answer directly, which is of the greatest importance. What Emerson seems to avoid is the implication that if every man must obey his inner man, his conscience, then how much greater the allegiance is due to whatever might be the source of this great, mysterious, metaphysical, and spiritual aspect of man. Indeed, the greatness of man and the law of his conscience points to the possibility of some Being who is greater than man and a Law which is imprinted on every heart of mankind. Overall, I think this work has great value for those who wish to understand the narcissistic and individualistic culture in which we live. Further, if a reader is open to probing philosophical questions regarding the nature and value of man, the existence of the soul, the chief end of man, and so on, this work provides a voice which should be placed into the overall dialogue. Further, there are a number of witty sayings that provide much color for daily life. While I don’t agree with Emerson’s viewpoint, I do think that such a valuable work should not be ignored.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pequete

    This is a short essay, dense with wise words and food for thought. I struggled a bit with the XIXth century English but after a while I have got used to it and the reading became somewhat easier. “A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back This is a short essay, dense with wise words and food for thought. I struggled a bit with the XIXth century English but after a while I have got used to it and the reading became somewhat easier. “A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.” “But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.” “He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins. (...) At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.” These are only a few of the passages that most resonated with me. And all of them left me thinking that although these words were written 200 years ago, not much seems to have changed during all this time...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I THUS PROUDLY DENOUNCE LOGIC - What Mr. Emerson is really trying to say. I would like to start this review with a quote. Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote thusly: “Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think’, ‘I am’, but quotes some saint or sage”. I think - I say again, I think - Mr. Emerson is a good writer; his way with words is undeniably extraordinary. As a philosopher, however, he demonstrates nothing but utter failure in this essay. “Self-Reliance” is I THUS PROUDLY DENOUNCE LOGIC - What Mr. Emerson is really trying to say. I would like to start this review with a quote. Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote thusly: “Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think’, ‘I am’, but quotes some saint or sage”. I think - I say again, I think - Mr. Emerson is a good writer; his way with words is undeniably extraordinary. As a philosopher, however, he demonstrates nothing but utter failure in this essay. “Self-Reliance” is pointless, powerless, logicless and therefore useless. Do not get me wrong. I have no problem with Mr. Emerson’s philosophical ideals. Whether I agree with his almost extremist belief in self-reliance and non-conformity or not is of no importance; I acknowledge his ideas, and that is enough. After all, one can never criticize a work simply because one thinks the thesis is wrong. The reason why “Self-Reliance” is on the brink of being a piece of crap is Mr. Emerson’s blatant denouncement of logic, which, after all, is the very keystone of philosophy. To Mr. Emerson’s great displeasure, I must hereby quote him yet again: “Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself, what then?” “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.” My thought upon reading this can only be expressed thusly: Are you fucking kidding me, Mr. Emerson? We need not read anymore to know that this essay is already useless. Applying his own logic to his own essay, we can say that why bother with this essay on self-reliance today, when Mr. Emerson could just as easily conjure up another essay on Not-to-be-self-reliance tomorrow? He does not give a single shit about consistency, so what is the point of his word today, when he may have completely different things to say tomorrow? Essays build upon premises, use logic, and then extract out a theory. However, as Mr. Emerson gives zero fuck about logic, how can we ever trust or believe any of conclusion he makes? All his words, all his beautiful proses, have turned to shadow and dust. I would go into detail to show how ridiculous his evidences are, how incomplete his argument is, if not for the fact that he has already turned over on himself. My friends, Lo and behold the great Ralph Waldo Emerson, who has just disproved his essay with his essay.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    A veritable treasure trove of vague aphorisms and pithy quotations perfectly suited for: 1- the covers of glittery pink notebooks for teenage girls 2- young artists with cape-and-beret syndrome 3- sociopaths No wonder Poe made fun of Emerson.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    ***** one of the greatest works I've ever read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Johnrh

    Comments and passages. Although this 1841 essay is somewhat imbued with “Divine Providence”, Emerson makes a cogent as well as eloquent argument for being your own person. As per John Ruskin, you must read this 19th century English work “letter by letter”, but it is worth it. A few sample passages: “Ne te quaesiveris extra.” (“Do not seek outside yourself.”) “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men- that is genius. Speak your Comments and passages. Although this 1841 essay is somewhat imbued with “Divine Providence”, Emerson makes a cogent as well as eloquent argument for being your own person. As per John Ruskin, you must read this 19th century English work “letter by letter”, but it is worth it. A few sample passages: “Ne te quaesiveris extra.” (“Do not seek outside yourself.”) “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men- that is genius. Speak your latent conviction and it shall be the universal sense; for always the inmost becomes the outmost, and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton, is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they, thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.” “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.” “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint stock company in which the members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued adviser who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested- “But these impulses may be from below, not from above.” I replied, “They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the devil’s child, I will live then from the devil.” No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it." (IMO not an exhortation that evil can be “good” or appropriate. Ayn Rand echoes similar in The Virtue of Selfishness, Chp. 1, The Objectivist Ethics. She says: [Fyi the Latin word 'qua' means 'as', in the capacity of; by virtue of being-JH] "An organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil. A being who does not know automatically what is true or false, cannot know automatically what is right or wrong, what is good for him or evil. Yet he needs that knowledge in order to live. Such is the meaning of the definition: that which is required for man’s survival qua man. It does not mean a momentary or a merely physical survival. It does not mean the momentary physical survival of a mindless brute, waiting for another brute to crush his skull. It does not mean the momentary physical survival of a crawling aggregate of muscles who is willing to accept any terms, obey any thug and surrender any values, for the sake of what is known as “survival at any price,” which may or may not last a week or a year. “Man’s survival qua man” means the terms, methods, conditions and goals required for the survival of a rational being through the whole of his lifespan—in all those aspects of existence which are open to his choice. Rationality is man’s basic virtue, the source of all his other virtues. Man’s basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know. Irrationality is the rejection of man’s means of survival and, therefore, a commitment to a course of blind destruction; that which is anti-mind, is anti-life." …And so on, doing what is “right” is exercising “rational self-interest”. - JH) (Emerson again: ) Then, again, do not tell me, as a good man did to-day, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my¯poor? I tell thee, thou foolish Philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. There is a class of persons to whom by all spiritual affinity I am bought and sold; for them I will go to prison, if need be; but your miscellaneous popular charities; the education at college of fools; the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now stand; alms to sots; and the thousandfold relief societies; though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by-and-by I shall have the manhood to withold. So use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God. In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt always drag her after thee. A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other quite external event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. It can never be so. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. (Worth repeating: ) Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hans

    Emerson has a way with words that I find seldom matched by others. His prose is rich with imagery that it feels as though I am constructing a physical edifice out of his ideas as I read. My own bias is apparent in the fact that part of the reason I like Emerson so much is that my own meditations on life are similar to his. This particular book, for which is he is most well known for, emphasizes that nothing of true value can come from without and only from within. I can see though how his Emerson has a way with words that I find seldom matched by others. His prose is rich with imagery that it feels as though I am constructing a physical edifice out of his ideas as I read. My own bias is apparent in the fact that part of the reason I like Emerson so much is that my own meditations on life are similar to his. This particular book, for which is he is most well known for, emphasizes that nothing of true value can come from without and only from within. I can see though how his philosophy of individualism might have been bastardized by later Americans to think that the individual is supreme over everything and everyone else, thus creating the frustrating sense of isolation that so many feel today. (Likely this bastardization occurred when some clever person found a way to use the philosophy of individualism to exploit his fellow man for his own end). I believe what Emerson was focusing on was the primacy of the individualism of the soul's journey. That no one but yourself can give your life meaning that will be accompanied by an inner peace. Life is not disconnected from life, but how we experience life and recognizing it is very personal and only seen through the eyes of our own souls. In going completely against what Emerson expounded upon in his book I am going to here list some quotes that I found quite moving: "This is the ultimate fact which we so quickly reach on this, as on every topic, the resolution of all into the ever-blessed ONE. Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause, and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree in which it enters into all lower forms". "Man does not stand in awe of man, nor is his genius admonished to stay at home, to put itself in communication with the internal ocean, but it goes abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of other men. We must go alone. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching". "I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions". "And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others! " "We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born." "Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul". "Everywhere I am hindered of meeting God in my brother, because he has shut his own temple doors, and recites fables merely of his brother's, or his brother's brother's God".

  15. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

    "If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in "If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not 'studying a profession,' for he does not postpone his life, but lives already." Basically I ended up underlining the crap out of this short book/long essay. It was brilliant. The main point Emerson gets across is in the title "Self-Reliance." Being yourself to the best of your abilities. Not imitating others. "I must be myself." Another wonderful thing he brings up is "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do." It's okay to change your mind based on new evidence presented to you. It's okay to "speak what you think today in words as hard as canon balls, and to tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything you said today." Though I may not agree with absolutely everything written, I can identify with most of it and chew on everything in it. So much thinking is going to happen for the next few days. And it's short and to the point, so I will definitely be reading it again, dissecting it more thoroughly, because it was AMAzing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Neha Azhar

    "Probably no writer has so profoundly influenced American thought as Emerson." Self-Reliance, a term we often hear. Never realized the individuality, the "me, myself, and I" factor that Americans are known for, came from this man.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Soplada

    “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.” This essay was waiting for me at this time of my life as a respond to my need at this strange stage that am undergoing beside its being required among the 'Comparative Lit' texts. I quote some others; “My life is for itself and not for spectacle.” This is a good bomb for our societies ha-ha! :D “It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.” This essay was waiting for me at this time of my life as a respond to my need at this strange stage that am undergoing beside its being required among the 'Comparative Lit' texts. I quote some others; “My life is for itself and not for spectacle.” This is a good bomb for our societies ha-ha! :D “It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”” “Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye makes, but the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night; and history is an impertinence and an injury, if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming.” And.. “This is the ultimate fact which we so quickly reach on this, as on every topic, the resolution of all into ever-blessed ONE.” Good now Mr. Emerson, But my debate is on how we can secure our good coming days when our capability is deficient? could we reach some far untouched things? are ourselves are really capable for us to rely on? Also now mister you haven't told us how that self-reliance is achieved what if we are hearing other certain wrong voices?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zey Ka

    this is full of beautiful and elegant quotations but that's just it, they are just beautiful, nothing else. most of them are actually stupid. He was a transcendentalist and I can understand why he had all these pathetic romantic opinions but come on we've passed that era, it's bullshit. of course, there were some good parts but as a whole not impressed. "self-reliance" is good but it has some limitations, sometimes you should actually imitate the great artists because your own style is shitty. this is full of beautiful and elegant quotations but that's just it, they are just beautiful, nothing else. most of them are actually stupid. He was a transcendentalist and I can understand why he had all these pathetic romantic opinions but come on we've passed that era, it's bullshit. of course, there were some good parts but as a whole not impressed. "self-reliance" is good but it has some limitations, sometimes you should actually imitate the great artists because your own style is shitty. yes, be yourself but at the same time try to hear the criticism, and always remember that Hitler was "himself" too!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gator

    One word to describe both Emerson and his essay Self Reliance, profound. If you have been board as of late and feel like you want to intellectually challenge yourself and think, then I suggest you pick up Emerson. I've been saying to a few friends of mine how I've been mentally unsatisfied with some of the books we've been reading in our book club and how I've wanted something to challenge me more and make me think, well this is where i found it. Self Reliance is great and don't think your gonna One word to describe both Emerson and his essay Self Reliance, profound. If you have been board as of late and feel like you want to intellectually challenge yourself and think, then I suggest you pick up Emerson. I've been saying to a few friends of mine how I've been mentally unsatisfied with some of the books we've been reading in our book club and how I've wanted something to challenge me more and make me think, well this is where i found it. Self Reliance is great and don't think your gonna just sit and turn pages, rather prepare yourself to sit and think about each page after reading it a few times. Great read and I highly recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paras2

    This essay was full of brilliant ideas and sometimes it was like an inspirational speech, and if anything it was the whole essence of it. trust yourself :) this was the 1st essay I read from R.W Emerson and I think I'll read more if I can.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    New Year's Eve Thoughts and Reflections... It's difficult, no make that impossible, to understand how a clear-thinking mind like Emerson got eclipsed by that idiot-bum-hobo Thoreau. If there was ever a disingenuous fathead who fashioned god in his own image, then HDT was it. But enough about that fool, let's talk RWE. "Self-Reliance" boils down to the need to avoid conformity and follow your own instincts. In other words (paraphrasing), "God gave you a brain, so use it!" Naturally, if people New Year's Eve Thoughts and Reflections... It's difficult, no make that impossible, to understand how a clear-thinking mind like Emerson got eclipsed by that idiot-bum-hobo Thoreau. If there was ever a disingenuous fathead who fashioned god in his own image, then HDT was it. But enough about that fool, let's talk RWE. "Self-Reliance" boils down to the need to avoid conformity and follow your own instincts. In other words (paraphrasing), "God gave you a brain, so use it!" Naturally, if people followed that advice political candidates on both sides would never get elected, TV stations would go off the air for lack of viewers, and high-end manufacturers would go bankrupt because people would realize they don't need fancy shoes and glitzy jewelry to begin with. We wouldn't worship sports heroes, oh, and best of all, we'd never have to hear about the Kardashians ever again. Ah, such is the dream. Emerson preaches nonconformity, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist." I assume that applies to women as well. Unfortunately "nonconformity" no longer means what it used to. When everyone dresses the same and shouts the same slogans then it's not nonconformity but just conformity to a different idea. And when people hold up Thoreau as a great nonconformist, without taking a close look at his life and the absolute BS of his "Walden Pond" experience, it degenerates into a complete joke. I first read this essay in high school and have embraced it ever since. It's one of those needed crutches that keeps me from going crazy in this world. Today is New Year's Eve. While others gather in Times Square (and similar places) getting drunk while waiting for a stupid ball to drop, I'll be home with a couple of close friends, a nice book, and Jimi Hendrix's "Band of Gypsies" CD, recorded on New Year's Eve, enjoying some really fine music and singing along to Buddy Miles scatting, "Do-do-dodo-de-doody, da, da-dat dah..." And I'm sure come 12:01 I won't have missed a thing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Goldfarb

    The first time I read "Self-Reliance," I didn't. It was assigned summer reading before my senior year AP English class and I was too busy golfing and playing pick-up basketball to waste my summer on a book written by a dead guy with weird sideburns. At age 23, I read it the second time, printing out a public domain edition using a temp job's laser printer then plowing through it on my lunch break. This week was my third time to read it and by far the most valuable thanks to the Domino Project's The first time I read "Self-Reliance," I didn't. It was assigned summer reading before my senior year AP English class and I was too busy golfing and playing pick-up basketball to waste my summer on a book written by a dead guy with weird sideburns. At age 23, I read it the second time, printing out a public domain edition using a temp job's laser printer then plowing through it on my lunch break. This week was my third time to read it and by far the most valuable thanks to the Domino Project's beautiful new special edition. Stunning design by my friend Alex Miles Younger places all of Emerson's original text on the right side of the page in this slim 73 page volume, with notable pull-quotes from the book as well as complementary and supplementary quotes from famous people on the left side. OK, fine, it's a bit ironic that a book that preaches you needing to think for yourself highlights the lines that you SHOULD think are the most important. Except for the fact, those ARE the most important lines. They were to me at least. I somewhat always dismissed and ignored Emerson because I thought he was like his friend Thoreau, who I kind of hate. But, whether it was because of my age or this special edition, "Self-Reliance"--finally!--resonated with me on this third read like few books have ever before. (It could be a fitting companion to my beloved Meditations even.) "Self-Reliance" is truly a book about artistic confidence and belief in one's own genius: "To believe your own thoughts, to believe what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius." It's a book about not sitting around waiting for someone else, someone anointed, to say the things you want to say: "Else, tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly sense what we have thought and felt all time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another." Devastating, and often so sadly true. "Self-Reliance"--just like my more curse-filled book How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide--preaches that one force himself to reject the conformity around him if he truly wants to live: "...for he who does not postpone his life, but lives already." It wonders why we're scared to bring our deepest, most private thoughts out into the real world: "These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world." You're betraying yourself when you're not letting your voice be heard and I'm reminded of both poet Alexander Pope and pimp Iceberg Slim. Alexander Pope who said: "Whatever is, is right." Iceberg Slim who said: "Chumps prefer a beautiful lie to an ugly truth." Don't be a chump. Quit lying to yourself. We all lie to ourselves and to the public far too often. We need to stop doing that. We need to believe in ourselves, worship at our own altar, be our own philosopher. No one can do a better job of teaching you to be you...than YOU. "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles." This book could have been written yesterday.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    If your idea of "philosophy" is reading a text that presents itself as the be-all and end-all, while simultaneously contradicting itself every few sentences, you'll enjoy this. If you enjoy reading the self-satisfied elucubrations of Ivy League intellectuals, dig in. It's not for me, and this is at least the second or third time I've found myself obliged to read this wordy, convoluted, self-congratulatory text. I am reminded of what an old woman said about Natural Law in the Spiritual World: "I If your idea of "philosophy" is reading a text that presents itself as the be-all and end-all, while simultaneously contradicting itself every few sentences, you'll enjoy this. If you enjoy reading the self-satisfied elucubrations of Ivy League intellectuals, dig in. It's not for me, and this is at least the second or third time I've found myself obliged to read this wordy, convoluted, self-congratulatory text. I am reminded of what an old woman said about Natural Law in the Spiritual World: "I can read sense, and I can read nonsense, but this is neither." There are a couple of sentences in here that under close examination mean precisely nothing at all, but hey, if sound and fury is what you're after, help yourself. I am preparing to tutor a college student in the writing of text commentary, and I would like to thank GR user Kevin for his review, as it points up all the problems I had with Emerson's essay. In my own opinion it should have been titled "Self-Will" or "Self-Centredness", as it is an apologia of whatever happened to be floating through the author's mind at the time. He unabashedly admits that yes, he contradicts himself, but what of it? "No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature." In other words, Imonna do what I want, and f. u. (Easy to do when you recieved an elite education and get paid for travelling around the country telling other people how wrong they are if they don't do as you do.) "The doctrine of hatred must be preached as the counteraction fo the doctrine of love, when that pules and whines." ie, when it doesn't chime with my wants"....I would write on the lintels of the doorpost, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation." Oh, OK. So you set yourself up as an example and teacher, and can't be bothered to explain. But then this is the guy who says at the very beginning of the essay, "To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men--that is genius." No, dear. That is egocentrism on a toddler's level. Most two year olds believe that everybody is just like me (or should be), it's all about whatever I want or feel right now, and if you disagree you're just a mean old meanie!! This kind of selfishness is what laid the foundations for the socioeconomicalpolitical crises of the present day. If Emerson were alive today he'd be doing the talkshow/seminar circuit and he'd be a freakin' millionaire.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    An attack on all the sheep of the world! Emerson stresses figuring out the world for yourself, doing what you feel is the right thing to do right now (even if you haven't always felt that way), honesty, living in the present, and never caving to things simply because other people do. Full of great points, GREAT quotes and funny lines. The irreverent Emerson gets a little extreme for me sometimes ("If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own." An attack on all the sheep of the world! Emerson stresses figuring out the world for yourself, doing what you feel is the right thing to do right now (even if you haven't always felt that way), honesty, living in the present, and never caving to things simply because other people do. Full of great points, GREAT quotes and funny lines. The irreverent Emerson gets a little extreme for me sometimes ("If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own." "Travelling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places."), but on the whole it was refreshing to read someone pulling back the bullshit for a minute and telling us that every person we revere today was "misunderstood" and went against the grain in their own time. "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion." "It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." "Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day... To be great is to be misunderstood." "These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence... But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stand on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time." "Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed, does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jowayria Rahal

    Emerson and Thoreau are easier compared than contrasted since they both were proponents of the same trend; transcendentalism_ the idea that man, by meditating the self and examining nature can transcend his humanity and fuse into the soul of God to end up being one with Him. Their themes are pretty similar : know yourself, trust yourself, examine nature to figure out what/who you are, do not rely on the government and man is inherently good. They both_as transcendentalists- were non-conformists Emerson and Thoreau are easier compared than contrasted since they both were proponents of the same trend; transcendentalism_ the idea that man, by meditating the self and examining nature can transcend his humanity and fuse into the soul of God to end up being one with Him. Their themes are pretty similar : know yourself, trust yourself, examine nature to figure out what/who you are, do not rely on the government and man is inherently good. They both_as transcendentalists- were non-conformists and it shows in the way they had with words that was seldom matched by others ( I'm getting there) In his essay ' self reliance' Emerson says that ' imitation is suicide' as he felt that one should stay true to one's convictions in order for one to engage mind, heart and soul in self-definition. To make sure that he'd have a lasting impact on his audience( the article was initially a speech), Emerson used the language of the masses. He - nonetheless- used Latin expressions as he also quoted Shakespeare and some great thinkers of the past to make his audience feel that he knew what he was talking about. It's a trick practiced by almost all politicians of our world today. What he did was merely setting down an idea as he paved the way for people to think the way he wanted them to think. Thoreau is more straightforward, when it comes to Emerson, I have some kind of arrière-pensées .As I read self-realiance, I kept questioning a couple of things. One of the major things that irritated me is that the man kept deliberately contradicting himself. I am am the culmination of a long process of greatness _as Emerson points out_ then why shouldn't I examine this greatness of the past and try to promote it in the future ? Emerson didn't seem to like my question and instead he kept referring to 'great people of the past ' who can stand as modern models . It's almost funny and ironic to rely on an article to know how to rely on yourself.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sokcheng

    Admittedly, this was the first time I read Emerson's work. I was in awed with his use of language. As a non-born English speaker, I have quite a lot of difficulties trying to understand his points most of the times. However, I have come to the conclusion that this whole essay wants to prove only a handful of statements- namely, "be true to yourself", "trust your guts", "contradict yourself", "do not conform". While these advices are helpful in trying to establish your own thoughts, it borders too Admittedly, this was the first time I read Emerson's work. I was in awed with his use of language. As a non-born English speaker, I have quite a lot of difficulties trying to understand his points most of the times. However, I have come to the conclusion that this whole essay wants to prove only a handful of statements- namely, "be true to yourself", "trust your guts", "contradict yourself", "do not conform". While these advices are helpful in trying to establish your own thoughts, it borders too close on extremes individualism. Some of the passages urges the readers to throw thoughts from the past, history, knowledge out of the windows altogether, and just embrace your gut feelings. That, to me, is faulty for no men is born with pre-equipped knowledge. I believe we all have to learn to continually improve ourselves. While self-confidence is good, over-confidence can kill. This essay raises people who would have so much confidence in their decisions that no other evidence would convince them otherwise. (And that we know would lead to war, and a lot of other destructive occurrences). All in all, I urge people to read this, but beware not to abide by everything that is written. Think for yourself just like what Emerson has preached!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leah Angstman

    This is really tedious and bloated and booorrrring. I must honestly tell you that the language is so overly-flowery, pretentious, rambling, and disorganized, that I don't actually know what the essay is about. The gist is to be your own man and to stand out from the crowd, but with that is also the bashing of society's norms, a patriotic(?) attempt to get Americans to be better than people in other countries, a diatribe on religion that (I guess) culminates into you having 'one maker' who made This is really tedious and bloated and booorrrring. I must honestly tell you that the language is so overly-flowery, pretentious, rambling, and disorganized, that I don't actually know what the essay is about. The gist is to be your own man and to stand out from the crowd, but with that is also the bashing of society's norms, a patriotic(?) attempt to get Americans to be better than people in other countries, a diatribe on religion that (I guess) culminates into you having 'one maker' who made you unique in his own way (snoozefest), and rambling notions of how we have lost touch with our inner strengths and the ability to navigate and tell time by the stars. I'll shelve this right next to Thoreau as 'books I'll never be revisiting.'

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Review to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mohamad Hosein Eqbali

    Great essay. Can be shorter, too!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Clouther

    As for the first half of the essay about trusting your instincts instead of following the crowd (even in charitable giving): If you are an excellent person and follow the advice in this essay, then it's probably going to work out well. If you're a horrible person, or if you think you're an excellent person but you're really kind of a low-grade specimen, and follow this essay, it's a recipe to be a huge jerk. I like the second half of the essay better. I appreciate it's anti-consumerist bent. Even As for the first half of the essay about trusting your instincts instead of following the crowd (even in charitable giving): If you are an excellent person and follow the advice in this essay, then it's probably going to work out well. If you're a horrible person, or if you think you're an excellent person but you're really kind of a low-grade specimen, and follow this essay, it's a recipe to be a huge jerk. I like the second half of the essay better. I appreciate it's anti-consumerist bent. Even it's anti-technology section has some good points.

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