Emerson and Thoreau are THE two greatest writers regarding transcendentalism in American Literature. Emerson is a genius according to his own definition and the ideas he presents are truly part of what it means to be an American. He preaches to us about self-reliance, basically saying that if we want to make it, if we want to be geniuses in our own niche, if we want to succeed, it needs to come from inside of us. It cannot be from anyone else. These traits define the American. The American is self-reliant. He succeeds on his own. He builds his own dream, and despite impossible odds, succeeds. It is no coincidence that the most stories of rags to riches, 1 week millionaires, and overnight successes are of Americans. The language he uses is beautiful, and simply stated (yet complex in the number of ideas expressed in each word). For these reasons, some people may find it a hard read. I had to read it two or three times myself. But I assure you, the knowledge gained from this book is worth it, and truly gives one deep insight into the power of the self. Therefore, I give this book 5 stars. Emerson paints such a vivid picture of an American trait, that this book has already become an American classic, and thus I believe it should be made an essential component of every American Library.