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Why I Am So Wise (Penguin Great Ideas) Paperback – September 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Great Ideas
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Printing edition (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143036343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143036340
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in 1844. After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1879 when poor health forced him to retire. He never recovered from a nervous breakdown in 1889 and died eleven years later. Known for saying that “god is dead,” Nietzsche propounded his metaphysical construct of the superiority of the disciplined individual (superman) living in the present over traditional values derived from Christianity and its emphasis on heavenly rewards. His ideas were appropriated by the Fascists, who turned his theories into social realities that he had never intended.
R. J. Hollingdale has translated eleven of Nietzsche’s books and published two books about him. He has also translated works by, among others, Schopenhauer, Goethe, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Lichtenberg and Theodor Fontane, many of these for the Penguin Classics. He is Honorary President of the British Nietzsche Society, and was for the Australian academic year 1991 Visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Melbourne.

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Foreword

Seeing that I must shortly approach mankind with the heaviest demand that has ever been made on it, it seems to me indispensable to say who I am. This ought really to be known already: for I have not neglected to ‘bear witness' about myself. But the disparity between the greatness of my task and the smallness of my contemporaries has found expression in the fact that I have been neither heard nor even so much as seen. I live on my own credit, it is perhaps merely a prejudice that I am alive at all? ... I need only to talk with any of the 'cultured people' who come to the Ober-Engadin in the summer to convince myself that I am not alive . . . Under these circumstances there exists a duty against which my habit, even more the pride of my instincts revolts, namely to say: Listen to me! for I am thus and thus. Do not, above all, confound me with what I am not!


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By arpard fazakas on August 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an exhilarating, sobering, beautiful, sad, scary book. The product of a great intellect on the brink of madness, it clearly reflects the encroaching grandiosity characteristic of general paresis, the form of neurosyphilis which together with the meningovascular form ultimately killed him. Within three months of writing Ecce Homo, Nietzsche suffered a complete mental breakdown from which he never regained his sanity. He was nursed by his mother and sister until his death in 1900. They suppressed publication of Ecce Homo until 1908 due to its disturbing content. Yet it provides valuable insights into his philosophy. Before we yield to the temptation to feel sorry for him, let us remember that Nietzsche's philosophy was first and foremost about affirming life in all its tragedy. As he once remarked, "all philosophers are united in their low estimation of pity."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if you are not a fan of Nietzsche, this little book is a great place to get a snippet of what he was all about. Granted, it's only a snippet, so there are naturally better places to turn to if you wanted more; Walter Kaufmann's Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) or The Portable Nietzsche (Portable Library) for example. That said, this 90 page book does contain several of Nietzsche's more famous ideas and frequent quotations: "revaluation of all values", "I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful - of a crisis like no other before on earth, of the profoundest collision of conscience.", "From the military school of life - What does not kill me makes me stronger.", "I have need of washing my hands after contact with religious people".

The book contains excerpts from Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (Oxford World's Classics) and Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize With the Hammer. In sum, even if you are not interested in learning more about Nietzsche, this is such a short introduction that everyone could benefit from this brief induction to Nietzsche.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in understanding Friedrich Nietzche's philosophy this little book is a great place to start. In this book the philosopher
who coined the phrase "God is dead" brings us two two other ones in this little book "What does not kill you makes you stronger" and "Do not spit against the wind". He was the first immoralist who believed that freeing the world from a make believe God and our accountibilty to him was the true way to redemption. He was one of the first antagonists to Christianity and disagreed with Christian morality. He thought guilt was terrible. Buy this book if this sounds interesting. I have always found his writings deep and memorable, he was way ahead of his time in the 19th century. He was truly a great thinker whether you agree with him or not. This book can be read in a little over an hour.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in understanding Friedrich Nietzche's philosophy this little book is a great place to start. In this book the philosopher
who coined the phrase "God is dead" has two other ones "What does not kill you makes you stronger" and "Do not spit against the wind", I did not know he was the originator of these more popular ones. He was the first immoralist who believed that freeing the world from a make believe God and our accountibilty to him was the true way to redemption. He was one of the first antagonists to Christianity and disagreed with Christian morality. He thought guilt was terrible. Buy this book if this sounds interesting. I have always found his writings deep and memorable, he was way ahead of his time in the 19th century. He was truly a great thinker whether you agree with him or not. This book can be read in a little over an hour.
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