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The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill Paperback – November 29, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Stuart Mill (1806-73) was educated by his father and through his influence obtained a clerkship at India House. He formed the Utilitarian Society which met to read and discuss essays, and in 1825 he edited Bentham’s Treatise upon Evidence. In 1826 he suffered an acute mental crisis and found that poetry helped him recover the will to live, particularly the work of Wordsworth. Having reconsidered his aims and those of the Benthamite school, he met Harriet Taylor and she inspired a great deal of his philosophy. They married in 1851. Utilitarianism was published in 1861 but before that Mill published his System of Logic (1843), Principles of Political Economy (1848) and On Liberty (1839). His other works include his classic Autobiography (1873). Mill retired in 1858 and became the independent MP for Westminster from 1865 to 1868. He spent the rest of his life in France and died in Avignon. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 122 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439297649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439297643
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

And he is VERY liberal, which isn't necessarily a problem but means that his perceptions are slanted.
Jason Goetz
A long and tiresome journey for such an interesting character leads to the conclusion that bios are at times best left to others.
Lewis S. Gossette
This book will be "must reading" for anyone studying Mill, or Harriet Taylor, or this period Victorian English philosophy.
Steven H Propp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on November 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is so wonderful on so many different levels that to give it a review at all would be a disservice. My recommendation is not on whether or not to read it but instead on how to read it. I suggest a quiet room, comfortable chair or couch, cup of coffee and a few hours of uninterrupted reading time. After completing the book, rest and repeat as desired.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mill meets his opening promise to track his astounding and slightly disturbing early education, moral/intellectual development, and allotment of credit to those who shaped his ideas. Mill chooses not to share many narrative details of his colorful life, but instead focuses on the plethora of theories that shaped one of the greatest minds of his century. At times references to obscure works or persons can be tiresome as he "gives credit" to them. Mill's relationhsips with his wife and father and his embracing of poetry after a corrosively reasoned childhood education are the most fascinating facets of the work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mill's remarkable childhood education prepared him to be one of the leading intellectuals of his day (far surpassing his father, James Mill, who was no slouch, but not in his son's league) but while I admire his erudition and achievements, one has to wonder if the deep depression he fell into in his mid-20s had something to do with that.

Mill's contributions are better remembered than many of the other famous British intellectuals of the period--such as Herbert Spencer--whose particularly invidious version of the theory of Social Darwinism is best left languishing in obscurity. Who today remembers the prolific Spencer, whose collected works run to over 20 large volumes?

Mill is frank about his depression and how debilitating it was, and what a struggle it was to pull through it. But with the help of his best friend, he pulled out of it and went on to write many important works in philosophy, logic, political science, and economics.

Mill's I.Q. was certainly very high (estimated by psychologist Katherine Cox using a modified ratio I.Q. method to be at least 200), but very likely his father's misguided efforts to produce a prodigy and homegrown, British Wunderkind (to compete with the legendary "Infant of Lubeck," no doubt :-)) were the cause of his long, serious depression.

Mill's text on econonics, which was called Political Economy back in those days (also the title of his book, if I remember right), was the longest running and most successful college text of all time, being used for the next 50 years until the 1920s when the "New Economics" of the day, championed by the field of microeconomics and the theory of the firm, made a more modern, updated text necessary.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
John Stuart Mill was raised by his father to be his intellectual heir, and a great genius. There is something moving about the care taken by the father to teach his wunderkind son all that he knew. The father was with Jeremy Bentham the guiding spirit of the philosophical movement Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism was a mechanical kind of philosophy which thought it possible to measure the goodness of action by measuring the amount of pleasure against the amount of pain. Mill followed the path his father set out from him, adopted his father's values and social conscience and was already by the tender age of twenty a distinguished intellectual figure. But then he asked himself the question if the realization of all his social schemes and all the grand social ideals would bring him happiness. And he understood that it would not. He understood in other words that all this focus on outward good and action, on mechanical measures for human life was missing some vital component in life and in himself. Mill went into a great depression. What brought him out was the reading of the poetry of Wordsworth and the understanding that there is a dimension of feeling, a dimension of the inner life which is somehow more important than all the social thought. This did not mean that Mill abandoned the path of social reform but rather that he changed its direction. Part of this change had to do with his meeting his relationship with Harriet Taylor, his embracing in a certain sense of liberal ideas on the role of women in society. Mill found himself and continued on his intellectual path, a path which would lead him to produce one of the masterpieces of modern political thought, "On Liberty ".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erez Davidi on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should have been called The Education of John Stuart Mill. Mill's autobiography is mostly about Mill's education which made him one of the greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century. Mill also discuses, in length, the influences he was subjected to during the years. I found the book to be interesting and rather revealing. Mill was educated almost completely by his dad. Just to give an example of how demanding his dad was, Mill started learning classic Greek by the age of three. By around the age of twelve he already taught his younger brothers and sisters. Like every great thinker, Mill suffered from a severe depression, where he lost all interest in life. Mill thought the reasons for his depression were the neglect of his emotions and feelings by his dad, who didn't regard "feeling" as something important that needs to be developed. Another interesting thing to note is the development of Mill thinking along the years.

In conclusion, this book is recommended to people who are rather familiar with Mill's work and would like to expand their knowledge of Mill's education and how his thinking evolved during the years.
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