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The Ordeal of Change Paperback – June 6, 2006


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The Ordeal of Change + The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Hopewell Publications (June 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933435100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933435107
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

He seems like a being who had just emerged from unknown depths, startled, overjoyed at what he saw about him -- Eric Sevareid, broadcaster, journalist

From the Publisher

Eric Hoffer--philosopher, author of the timeless tome The True Believer, and a truly great American thinker--gets to the essence of mankind through the ages in The Ordeal of Change.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
It helped me to understand much that goes on even today.
Ms barbara
I didn't get my copy back from the last person I loaned it to, and can't remember who it was, so I have to buy a second copy of one of my all time favorites.
Leffing
This work contains a mixture of autobiography and philosophical and social reflection.
Shalom Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Leffing on November 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Eric Hoffer is a remarkable individual, a self-educated philosopher and original thinker. He made an incredible impact years ago with his first book, The True Believer, which became a cult classic. A generation later, it has been (temporarily) forgotten, along with his second book, which never received the recognition it deserved. The Ordeal of Change relates how human beings deal with change in a series of essays that are both easy to relate to, meaningful to academics and lay people alike, and reflective of scholarship and common-sense. Why are we both attracted to and afraid of change? Hoffer's very readable book answers these questions in understandable and well-grounded terms. I have recommended this book to a dozen executives who have had to deal with resistance to change in their organizations, and somehow never came across this remarkable work by a San Francisco longshoreman who is a rival as a thinker to the best of more recognized intellectuals. Surprise someone whose mind you admire and wish to challenge with this as a gift, and do yourself a favor, proving that you can compete in the world of ideas. I didn't get my copy back from the last person I loaned it to, and can't remember who it was, so I have to buy a second copy of one of my all time favorites.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This work contains a mixture of autobiography and philosophical and social reflection. Hoffer wrote ," My writing grows out of my life, just like a branch out of a tree" And his lifelong journey in learning was really integral to his own life. He began reading Montaigne and spent a lifetime reading more and learning all the time. He makes it clear here that he like most human beings fears change, but understands that to truly thrive from change one must learn, understood that those who rely on what they have learned long ago will have the world pass them. In other words he recommended that Societies like individuals be engaged in a continual process of learning and developing.

Hoffer was a one- of - a kind original. A truly decent person, who walked to the sound of his own drummer. Admirable in his anti- totalitarian stance and his refusal to be cowed by intellectual trend or fashion. He was a believer in American freedom , and an example of what a free - society can produce- at its best.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dmitriy Golubkov on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Hoffer's essays are the best I have ever read on sociology. They are short, well organized and provide the deepest understanding of human nature. I hardly remember a thinker which could compete with Hoffer in this field.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. North on November 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although Eric Hoffer wrote in the sixties, his observations have remained timeless and spot on for truth. I highly recommend this short, terse book for anyone. His other books are equally fasinating and provide great insights. That Eric Hoffer was a longshoreman who writes well and profoundly is another added benefit for all those who suffer under the delusion that wisdom comes only from an ivory tower. I made this purchase now only because all my copies of Hoffer had been aged, torn, coffee stained and suffered from years in a back pocket and needed replacement. You can take the forty years of reading I have gotten as sufficient testimony as to its worth.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ms barbara on March 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just recently began reading Hoffer. I have been blown away by his insights and original thinking. This is a wonderful selection that helped me understand some of the problems our society has today. The split between 'intellectual elites' and the common man & for example why the media thinks so differently than the 'common man' and why College professors and teachers seem to say they are all for the little guy but in reality seem to have contempt for anyone who doesn't think like them. Hoffer talks about how Russia was the best example of an Intellectual experiment taken to the max. The Communist elites were intellectuals but the common man in Russia was simply fodder for these 'elite' rulers. They ate the common man up and spit him out without so much as a shred of conscience or apology to achieve their goals.

Amazing stuff. It helped me to understand much that goes on even today. Much of what he says applies to Islamic countries too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lazarus on June 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
Summary: This book is similar to Hoffer’s "The True Believer" in that its theme is the crisis of the self-esteem of those who cannot stand to be individuals—the “immature” and “undeveoped” (his words). However, this book does not merely rehash what was said in "The True Believer." Hoffer expands on his thesis that the undeveloped and immature latch on to groups to lose themselves and become something greater. Hoffer gives examples of this occurrence throughout history, and demonstrates the conditions necessary to create real mass movements. Hoffer explains the origin of the intellectual—his beginnings as a counter for the merchants, not part of the lower class but never part of the elite either—and how this motivates the intellectual to engender passion in the masses to gain power for himself. Hoffer warns the reader to beware of movements that claim to be “for the good of the people” as such movements seek to destroy individual liberty and control the population. One characteristic of Hoffer that really comes through in this book—one which makes him such a profound writer—is his nuanced analysis of mass movements. One the one hand, he describes them as destructive and oppressive, but on the other hand he acknowledges them to be purveyors of change for the good, even though often the good these movements create are not of the type imagined by participants in the movement. In my view, Hoffer views mass movements to be akin to a forest fire—destructive, uncontrollable, and mindless, but yet clearing the way and sowing seeds for new growth. Hoffer is highly critical, but not judgmental. He is probably the most objective analyst of culture that I’m aware of. He writes from the perspective of an acute and pervasive mind looking down on the world from high above it.Read more ›
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More About the Author



Eric Hoffer Biography

Former migratory worker and longshoreman, Eric Hoffer burst on the scene in 1951 with his irreplaceable tome, The True Believer, and assured his place among the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. Nine books later, Hoffer remains a vital figure with his cogent insights to the nature of mass movements and the essence of humankind.

Of his early life, Hoffer has written: "I had no schooling. I was practically blind up to the age of fifteen. When my eyesight came back, I was seized with an enormous hunger for the printed word. I read indiscriminately everything within reach--English and German.

"When my father (a cabinetmaker) died, I realized that I would have to fend for myself. I knew several things: One, that I didn't want to work in a factory; two, that I couldn't stand being dependent on the good graces of a boss; three, that I was going to stay poor; four, that I had to get out of New York. Logic told me that California was the poor man's country."

Through ten years as a migratory worker and as a gold-miner around Nevada City, Hoffer labored hard but continued to read and write during the years of the Great Depression. The Okies and the Arkies were the "new pioneers," and Hoffer was one of them. He had library cards in a dozen towns along the railroad, and when he could afford it, he took a room near a library for concentrated thinking and writing.

In 1943, Hoffer chose the longshoreman's life and settled in California. Eventually, he worked three days each week and spent one day as "research professor" at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1964, he was the subject of twelve half-hour programs on national television. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.

"America meant freedom and what is freedom? To Hoffer it is the capacity to feel like oneself. He felt like Eric Hoffer; sometimes like Eric Hoffer, working man. It could be said, I believe, that he as the first important American writer, working class born, who remained working class-in his habits, associations, environment. I cannot think of another. Therefore, he was a national resource. The only one of its kind in the nation's possession." - Eric Sevareid, from his dedication speech to Eric Hoffer, San Francisco, CA, September 17, 1985

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