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on January 9, 2004
This book makes sense of a VERY misunderstood philosopher. Solomon and Higgins debunk thirty myths about Nietzsche--a much needed task, to say the least. Did Nietzsche hate Jews? No. Was he a Nazi? No. Did he believe in truth? Yes, but not in an "absolute" sense of the word. Did he hate Christianity? Well, that depends; he hated parts of it, especially its nihilistic morality, yet he admired Jesus.

The book then launches into Nietzsche's big ideas: The Will to Power, the Death of God, the Ubermensch. Finally, it ends on Nietzsche's importance for today.

'What Nietzsche Really Said' is a good book for someone who is coming to Neitzsche for the first time. It's also a nice summary for the seasoned reader of Nietzsce. The language is simple, and Nietzsche's ideas are broken down into mentally digestible pieces.

The book is also a corrective to religious conservatives who think Nietzsche was "evil" and wanted to "destroy" Western civilization. This is nonsense. Nietzsche cared deeply about theology and about how humans should live in the wake of God's death. If God is dead, humans are still alive. Consequently, we should take life more seriously and be *more* moral than we were before the death of God. Enter the Ubermensch. Nietzsche didn't want to destroy Western civilization; he wanted to save it.

Nietzsche was a good man and a good philosopher. He's not always a pleasant read, not just becasue of his difficult prose, but more becasue of what he says. Yet the man had enough honesty to face the hard facts of life and, perhaps most of all, to do something about it--that is, to live gracefully after God's funeral.

Also recommended: "Jenna's Flaw," a novel about Friedrich Nietzsche, the death of God, the crumbling of Western civilization, and what the West can do to stop it.
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on May 20, 2015
I found this book excellent.
It's well written and presents mature philosophical thought and reflection.
The books cuts through a lot of the conventional beliefs/misunderstandings about Nietzsche.
It presents a mature, scholarly, balanced review of Nietzsche's life and thought in language that never mistakes academic jargon for clear unpretentious expression.
Readers with a small understanding of Nietzsche may find this unnerving!
The chapters by Solomon's partner, I found OK - but much less interesting philosophically.
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on August 28, 2006
This is a good overview and introduction to Nietzsche, although the writing is sometimes a bit repetitive. But the book is pitched at the right level for someone who knows little or nothing about Nietzsche, but who would like to know more before delving into the original texts. There are a number of books around that analyze Nietzsche's work, but they tend to be advanced studies written for other Nietzsche experts, promoting some particular view or approach. Here you'll find a valuable chapter entitled "Faced with a Book by Nietzsche," that gives short synopses of each of his works, and in the order in which they were published. That latter is important, because Nietzsche's ideas developed and changed somewhat from one book to another; to make sense of those variations you need to know where in the stream you are dipping your toe. The chapters on God and morality are also quite good, and the glossary of favorite images at the back is well worth having around. The authors are also careful to warn the reader that "The Will to Power" is not really a book by Nietzsche, but rather a selection and arrangement by others of jottings from his notebooks, material that he did not choose to publish; those notes are sometimes interesting to Nietzsche scholars for the light they may throw on the things he did publish, but other uses are much harder to justify.

Solomon has a later book, 'Living With Nietzsche,' that overlaps a good deal with this one. This is the better written and more useful of the two. If you are looking to follow this one with a somewhat more advanced analysis, I'd recommend Brian Leiter's 'Nietzsche on Morality,' which is excellent.
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on December 9, 2013
I found in this book the usual Solomon: fluent and elegant writing and idiosyncratic thinking. I feel his reading of Nietzsche to be somewhat misleading, although this may not be entirely his fault since Nietzsche himself was somewhat contradictory and cryptic. Yet considering him basically as a moral philosopher misses the point. He was basically a critical philosopher in the sense of analyzing what lies behind the facade of established thinking and institutions, of exposing the untold connections between power and knowledge, culture and life. An authentic precursor of postmodernism if you will, as was correctly understood by Bataille and Foucault, among others.
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on April 9, 2013
I suppose this was purported to be the Nietzsche For Dummies. It seems to me a jumble of teaching notes written for different purposes.

The most ridiculous part is the first 30 "Rumors" part.

Does Nietzsche need apologists? It seems Nietzsche would have done a better job presenting himself.

The best part is Nietzsche's "Top Ten". Yet even this part is unbalanced and lacking.

In summary:

The good part too short; the long part too bad.

The part that is good was written by Nietzsche, it comprises of quotes of him; the rest I am happy to ignore.
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on November 7, 2012
If you want to know about Nietzsche, by all means read this book. But if you want to wake up your mind be sure and read this book. The authors manage to convey complex, intriguing ideas (relativism and the eternal return to mention two) using a clear, simple format that can be grasped by those of us who have not studied philosophy. A stroll through Nietzsche's mind is an education, an education that is necessary to an understanding of contemporary thought. Be sure to read this book if you want to get the most out of John Cleese's "A Fish Called Wanda" and Milan Kundera's "Unbearable Lightness of Being."The Accordion
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on May 4, 2013
"What Nietzsche Really Said," by Solomon and Higgins, is a great introduction and overview of main ideas/concepts in Nietzsche's philosophy. I would highly recommend this book for anyone unfamiliar with Nietzsche's works.
While the book is interesting and provides info even for those of us who are more familiar with Nietzsche's philosophy, I gave it a 4-star rating because it doesn't go as in-depth as I would have liked when covering important ideas like the "eternal recurrence" or the "will to power."
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on October 14, 2017
Very interesting, well written, and a good starting point in learning about Nietzsche. Highly recommend for anyone who isn't sure where to get started with his philosophy.
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on March 9, 2006
My first encounter with Friedrich was reading "Beyond Good and Evil." Being from a religious background, I had somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to what I thought was a destructive and hateful philosophy. Nevertheless, something about Nietzsche fascinated me and I proceeded to investigate further. An avid Nietzsche fan recommended this book. My first reaction to any book that claims to know what someone else was really saying is skepticism. But, I bought the book anyway, and I came away from it with a much different opinion of Herr Nietzsche. While I don't agree with all his views, I can now see this man's brilliance and insight into the human condition. They say that Nietzsche is the most misunderstood of all philosophers. For me at least, this book helped diminish that misunderstanding.
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on October 10, 2015
If you are a novice like me, this book is a good place to start.
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