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Essays in Humanism [Kindle Edition]

Albert Einstein
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An inspiring collection of the great thinker’s views on a rapidly changing world
Nuclear proliferation, Zionism, and the global economy are just a few of the insightful and surprisingly prescient topics scientist Albert Einstein discusses in this volume of collected essays from between 1931 and 1950. Written with a clear voice and a thoughtful perspective on the effects of science, economics, and politics in daily life, Einstein’s writings provide an intriguing view inside the mind of a genius addressing the philosophical challenges presented during the turbulence of the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the dawn of the Cold War.
This authorized Philosophical Library ebook features rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Editorial Reviews


“What is the situation? The development of technology and of the implements of war has brought about something akin to a shrinking of our planet. Economic interlinking has made the destinies of nations interdependent to a degree far greater than in previous years.” —Albert Einstein, “Towards a World Government”
“If we want to resist the powers which threaten to suppress intellectual and individual freedom we must keep clearly before us what is at stake, and what we owe to that freedom which our ancestors have won for us after hard struggles.” —Albert Einstein, “Science and Civilization”

About the Author

Albert Einstein (1879–1955) was born in Germany and became an American citizen in 1940. A world-famous theoretical physicist, he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics and is renowned for his Theory of Relativity. In addition to his scientific work, Einstein was an influential humanist who spoke widely about politics, ethics, and social causes. After leaving Europe, Einstein taught at Princeton University. His theories were instrumental in shaping the atomic age.

Product Details

  • File Size: 687 KB
  • Print Length: 182 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1453204636
  • Publisher: Philosophical Library/Open Road (March 14, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Q9U0MY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,520 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Einstein: Essays in Humanism (1933-1949)

Albert Einstein was undoubtedly the most famous and revolutionary scientist of the 20th Century, known especially for his special and general theories of relativity, his explanation of the photoelectric effect, his realization that matter could be converted into immense amounts of energy, and his studies in cosmology. But he also had wide-ranging beliefs about politics and social affairs. This book, now available as a Kindle e-book, is a collection of 43 essays and talks that were written for specific occasions. They cover a variety of topics that interested him and in several cases provide useful lessons for our own time.

The first part of the collection, through Essay 20, is concerned with pre- and post-World War II concerns. Einstein, himself a lifelong pacifist, argued for a world government that shared a common pool of armaments and was capable of keeping the peace among fractious national governments. He didn't think that the United Nations, as constituted with a Security Council and permanent-member veto power was going to work in the long run. He recommended a world government where delegates were directly elected by the people on a proportional basis. He recognized the great danger of atomic and nuclear weapons and advocated their strict control by the world government.

In politics, Einstein was a socialist and strongly advocated for such things as a planned economy, free education at all levels, and regulation of capitalist ventures. Today, he would be branded a Marxist, but he disapproved of the Soviet system as being too rigid and corrupt.

He advocated an active role for scientists in society and that science should help to shape government policies.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read January 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I remember as a teen reading a biography of Einstein. I came away with the idea of a person who was clueless in everyday matters and, though I didn't know the term, Asperger's. Reading this collection of writings and speeches I would came to very different conclusion. Einstein cared deeply about people and the world around him. He was very empathetic to the plight of others.

As written in another review, this is divided into broad subject matters. I had to smile at the more political writings since they read like the current Occupiers: the biggest problem with the US is that the majority of the economic power is in the hands of a very small percentage of the people.

I had 2 problems. Since this is a Kindle book I couldn't easily jump back to the bibliography as I started each new essay. I was always curious about the date and circumstance. On a rare occasion it was included in the text, but most of the time I had to guess. The other problem is there was a lot of repetition. The writings came from different sources - he often said pretty much the same thing but aimed at different people.

OK, those are very minor problems. Over all I found the essays fascinating. Einstein was a very good writer and these essays were easy to read yet put a lot of information in their few words. Highly recommended as a way to see a different side of Einstein.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book May 6, 2004
Einstein's ideas on the social questions of the day were very interesting. He made some very logical deductions about politics, which were refreshing. I plan to re-read this book soon, because I don't think I got the full effect the first time I picked it up. His ideas were a strong mixture of logic and compassion, two powerful qualities, a very positive synergistic effect.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book... October 21, 2012
By BrentW
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Have read quite a bit of Einstein but not much about his humanitarian views. Was surprised to see he held some of the views that were presented in this book. Though he was a brilliant scientist, when looking at history and the dark side of man, I think the views he had regarding the world coming together as one under a global government and military are a bit naive. It's one thing for the people of the world to come together using social tools on the Internet, but national governments relinquishing their sovereignty and power is another thing altogether.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Don't be misled by the title, or the Preface by Corliss Lamont (prominent member of the American Humanist Association, and author of books such as The Philosophy of Humanism), into thinking that this book contains Einstein's musings on the Humanist movement. This book of essays is "Humanist" only in the sense that Lamont says, "Einstein of course supported the Humanist position that human problems are best solved through the use of reason and scientific method. He never suggested supernatural aid."

This 1950 book contains 43 essays written by Einstein on a wide variety of subjects, such as: Why Socialism?; Towards a World Government; Science and Civilization; A Message to Intellectuals; Atomic War or Peace; The Menace of Mass Destruction; On Military Service; International Security; Mahatma Gandhi; Why Do They Hate the Jews?; The Goal of Human Existence; Our Debt to Zionism; The Calling of the Jews; The Jews of Israel, etc.

He wrote, "Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends." (Pg. 2) He suggests, "Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society." (Pg. 5)

He observes, "Reason, of course, is weak, when measured against its never-ending task. Weak, indeed, compared with the follies and passions of mankind, which, we must admit, almost entirely control our human destinies, in great things and small. Yet the works of the understanding outlast the noisy bustling generations and spread light and warmth across the centuries." (Pg.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Not just brilliant in math and physics, Einstein was simply brilliant period
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book by an Interesting Man
I'd never read anything by Einstein but I found his views and writings on Humanism to be very interesting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by E. Reeves
5.0 out of 5 stars in keeping with his brilliance in science....
This incredible mind is was able to adroitly apply his scientific training to social problems. Early chapters are a masterpiece.
Published 5 months ago by dougs
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
I wish I had read these when I was much younger. The essays are lucid, thought-provoking, and have current applicability in spite of having been written so many years ago.
Published 7 months ago by Seeker
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read
These were very dry and difficult to read. I guess I am just not smart enough to "get it", but I couldn't finish the book.
Published 7 months ago by Art Queen
5.0 out of 5 stars Essays in Humanism
Love Einstein and enjoyed reading his thoughts and comments. Would recommend this to anyone who would like to see another part of Einstein revealed.
Published 9 months ago by Marylouise Flynn
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic
I found this book totally disappointing because although Einstein was a genius mathematician and physicist he thought very shallow on humanist subjects. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dianne and Ken Duncan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting...
What great insight Albert Einstein had. We should have learned so much more from his brilliance. If only we had listened in order to understand.
Published 10 months ago by be mine
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book
I think that it is refreshing to read a humanist book that is less anticlerical and more uplifting of humanity's pressing concerns. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jason Frye
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Worthwhile Reading
The essays are broken into three broad categories. The first deals with Einstein's notion of a world government to settle man's issues. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Shawn Vogel
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More About the Author

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was born in Germany and became an American citizen in 1940. A world-famous theoretical physicist, he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics and is renowned for his Theory of Relativity. In addition to his scientific work, Einstein was an influential humanist who spoke widely about politics, ethics, and social causes. After leaving Europe, Einstein taught at Princeton University. His theories were instrumental in shaping the atomic age.

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