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Self-Reliance: The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson as Inspiration for Daily Living [Kindle Edition]

Richard Whelan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.00 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A finely honed abridgement of Emerson's principal essays with an introduction that clarifies the essence of Emerson's ideas and establishes their relevance to our own troubled era. This is the first truly accessible edition of Emerson's work, revealing him to be one of America's wisest teachers.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This abridgement of 16 of Emerson's essays claims to present the "essence of Emerson." By extracting what he considers to be Emerson's most spiritually satisfying passages, Whelan attempts to make him more accessible to those who may be inspired by his optimistic romanticism but balk at the sustained effort needed to read the full essays. The book aims to be popular, but that does not make the cavalier editing more palatable. Long passages are silently deleted from the essays; Emerson's substantial paragraphs are often divided into several bite-sized ones; and blocks of text are sometimes rearranged. Libraries that wish to strengthen their Emerson collection would be better off purchasing an additional copy of The Library of America volume of Emerson's essays and lectures, thereby giving their patrons the chance to decide for themselves which of Emerson's words offer the greatest sustenance.
- Steve Gowler, Wofford Coll. Lib., Spartanburg, S.C.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Emerson is the sweetest singer of our highest moments. For anyone in search of a tonic draft of his wisdom, this book, collecting some of his most radiant moods, is a rapture and an inspiration."
--Pico Iyer

"These selections from Emerson's essays, equally severe and consoling, are remarkably current in their wisdom. They are chosen with great care by Richard Whelan, and offer a special unextinguishable light."
-- Roger Rosenblatt

Product Details

  • File Size: 1150 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009IALV1A
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (April 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JC1UFG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,505 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally inspiring... November 21, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cannot pick up this book without feeling encouraged and inspired. The editor has gone through and picked out some of the best passages from Emerson's works, thus saving us the trouble of wading through hundreds of pages of prose for the really good stuff. Everyone needs a copy of this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspirational... January 29, 2001
This is the first book by Emerson that I've read, but hope to read more of his essays later. The book really is inspirational. Emerson is an excellent writer and his words flow together like nothing I've ever read. The essays in this book are pure poetry.... really beautiful. Even if you don't believe in the Transcendalist/Idealist view, you can still read this book and feel like you've gotten something out of it. I would recommend this for anyone who has a liking for beautiful writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"In Roxbury in 1825, I read Cotton's translation of Montaigne. It seemed to me as if I had written the book myself in some former life, so sincerely it spoke to my thought and experience."
-Emerson in his journal

I use the above quote from Emerson because it describes exactly how I felt when I opened this little book. Despite what other reviewers have claimed, the editor does make it explicit in his introduction that these selections are edited down for ease of reading:
"I realized that an abridged edition of his essays could introduce Emerson, and make his down-to-earth wisdom accessible to a readership that might otherwise be put off by his sometimes long, difficult, and overwritten passages."

This approach was perfect for me. If I had been exposed to Emerson's writing in its full strength, it may have been too much. Emerson's work does not lend itself to casual reading. Not only because the depth of his ideas but the vernacular he uses to explain them. Do not be disheartened though if you find his work abstruse. Many of his contemporaries who heard his lectures, which he later distilled into his written essays, had difficulty understanding him too.

In my case, this little book fulfilled the editor's stated goal. It won me over instantly and I have been an adherent of Emerson ever since.

If one is seeking to read Emerson unedited be sure to check out the Library of America collection of his works.
... Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars he saved my life September 12, 2009
when i was in college, RWE literally saved my life. when i thought i was crazy for the ideas swimming around in my head, he showed me i was just connected into something greater than just my immediate surroundings. now that i am 45 years old, it was nice to reconnect with the words that changed my outlook on the world. this book was like sitting down and having conversations with an old friend. the book is broken into 1/2-page and 1-page chunks. it is very easy to grab the book, spend 10 or 20 minutes, and reenter this crazy world with a fresh and enlightened face. keep it in your car, your purse, your briefcase, your backpack, or next to your bed. you'll reach for it often.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a daily journey into the soul June 11, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for use as a daily meditation. I understand how he has inspired great thinkers throughout time. It takes Emerson's work and does not change the essence but brings the language up to date. What a wonderful addition to anyone's daily readings. I have adapted one of his ideals as my yearly mantra " Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience." Emerson is a profound thinker who brought us to where we are today. It is sad that so many are immersed in ignorance. He addresses that too. Wish it were available in hard back. It's a keeper.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little Warning about Having Just Excerpts May 10, 2009
I note one of the descriptions provided by Amazon reviews mentions something like "[By providing just the most inspiring passages from each essay, the author makes Emerson more accessible and inspiring to the reader." Emerson is often quoted as he did come with some beautiful language. But, to really judge Emerson, I think it is crucial to read, for example, the entire essay "Self-Reliance" and "Love". These essays are short, and quite passionately written. Amazingly, Emerson's "Transcendentalism" is exactly the same as "The Secret" and the Law of Attraction, and also Carl Jung's concepts of Universal Spirit / Collective Consciousness. The problem is that Emerson's views expressed in essays such as "Self Reliance" and "Love" are incredibly inconsistent, and they are greatly inconsistent, over and over again, when compared to other famous speeches he gave such as "The Nature of Man", I believe. Emerson is famous for having written, in "Self Reliance", "Inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.", in other words, don't be afraid to be inconsistent as that is what "Great Men", as he calls them, must do. Many people glorify this aspect of Emerson as meaning he provides us with paradoxes. For you to judge his value as a spiritual or life guidepost, you just cannot rely only on excerpts; which, probably have been selected because they are beautifully written but, by only selecting certain excerpts, this author can avoid revealing Emerson's fatal inconsistencies. Emerson's inconsistent views seem to come from insecure, egotist who simply has a need to always be provocative (scholarly reviewers all point to the fact that Emerson was, indeed, greatly insecure due to his failures as both a Harvard professor and a Unitarian minister, as well as in his very unhappy marriage. Read more ›
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More About the Author

There are few people as quoted and quotable as Ralph Waldo Emerson, founder of the transcendental movement and author of classic essays as Self-Reliance, Nature, and The American Scholar. Emerson began his career as a Unitarian minister and later put those oratory skills to move us toward a better society. More remains written on him than by him.

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