Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What Is Man?” as Want to Read:
What Is Man?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What Is Man?

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  458 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
The Shelf2Life Literature and Fiction Collection is a unique set of short stories, poems and novels from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. From tales of love, life and heartbreaking loss to humorous stories of ghost encounters, these volumes captivate the imaginations of readers young and old. Included in this collection are a variety of dramatic and spirited poems th ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 308 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research) (first published 1906)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What Is Man?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What Is Man?

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,215)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rania Chokor
Nov 01, 2015 Rania Chokor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-first, فكر

"ما الإنسان؟"

رحلة فكرية شيقة في أعماق الإنسان من خلال
محادثة طويلة جدلية بين شيخ عجوز وشاب
حول عدة موضوعات مثل الارادة الحرة ،الضمير
الغريزة والتفكير والفطرة

يمكن تلخيص الكتاب في جملة واحدة

"إن الدافع الوحيد للإنسان ضمان إرضاء الذات"

-من المهد إلى اللحد لا يقوم الإنسان بأي عمل إلا ويكون الدافع إليه أولاً وقبل كل شيء هو أن يضمن لذاته راحة البال وأطمئنان النفس.
-إن ضمائرنا لا تعنيها آلام الآخرين حتى تصل إلى حد تغدو فيه مبعثا لآلامنا نحن”
- “نحن مصنوعون بطريقة تجعلنا ندفع أي شئ ثمنا لإ
hanan al-herbish al-herbish
كتاب بمثابة صفعات متوالية
تعيد ترتيب الأشياء في ذهنك ..

رغم قل عدد الصفحات .. إلا أن الكتاب أستغرق صاحبه
زمناً طويلاً .. درساً ، بحثا ، و مراجعة .!

أحببت أسلوب مارك توين كثيراً ..
أسلوب سلس مميز و فريد ..

تدور فكرة الكتاب حول الإجابة عن سؤال :

" ما الإنسان ؟ "

الإجابات رغم معرفتنا بها .. إلا أنها اتخذت
شكلاً صادماً ..

هذه الكتب ... بالفعل تستحق القراءة و التأمل ..!

Jan 30, 2014 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, non-fiction
Twain gives a powerful argument in this work about the nature of man. Through a dialogue between an old man and a young man, Twain argues through the voice of the former that everything about a man is the product of his 'conditioning', that (get this) "From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object but one - to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself." (And all that is written in big letters.)


The Old Man further argues tha
May 28, 2014 Jonathon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What Is Man?

Apparently man is a selfish prick that can't think for himself and relies on "outside influences". He is a chameleon. He is nothing but a mere machine. Well, at least according to Twain. Man is a fraud and only lives for himself. He is really driving home this point that everyone is selfish and acts out of selfish needs (big surprise?), even if viewed (publicly and personally) as a self-sacrificing person. My question is; who cares? If the end result is the same, what does the action
As someone who is not a fan of Mark Twain's other works, I picked this up only when a friend recommended it to me and I can that I was caught in awe as this essay does not disappoint. This is quite different from Twain's other works and showcases him in a whole different light. His ideas are very well-executed and thought out, though the only objection I would have is that he does not seem to acknowledge any flaws in his idea and only seems to bring up examples that play into his theory. Though ...more
Emy Jabran
Nov 28, 2013 Emy Jabran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تجربتي الاولى مع مؤلفات توين... كانت خارج المجال الذي اشتهر فيه (الكوميديا),

الكتاب حوار فلسفي هميق صاغ فيه توين افكاره حول الانسان ومفاهيم مثل التضحية,
الانسان من وجهة نظره "عبد" للأنا وغايته ارضاء الأنا حتى يتمكن من العيش, ما نظن اننا نفعله للآخر ليس في الواقع الا فعل لارضاء انفسنا اولا وللتجنب احساس الذنب او اسعاد الانا بموقف شهم

خلاصة الكتاب ان هدف الانسان في كل ما يقوم به "ارضاء الذات".ت
Apr 14, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this, but certainly not because of the bleak reality of the human condition! This is certainly a book to get your head working, and you may find yourself going into various bouts of self-analysis just to find out how much of Old Mark's theories are true, and how much they apply to your own life.
It is frighteningly obvious sometimes, that we are indeed blinded by what we go through on a daily basis. I have trouble accepting ( as did Young Mark! ) that we are selfish by nature, an
Nada Abdalla
Because philosophy takes control and philosophy is above all a relative thing .

this is one of the books which i read twice

once because it was a recommendation from a friend of mine .

and this second time because of an illustration needed to finalise a new belief i got my self and because it has some good points that i could relate to scientific things..

it holds a quite good theory , a brain stormer one ,but it has a few downs , it's kinda non complete, with missing parts , and contradicted in s
Apr 28, 2014 Maarten rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
'What is Man?' is een filosofisch dialoog in de traditie van Plato. De gesprekspartners zijn een oude en een jonge man; de een Socrates, de ander eerder een Thrasymachus dan een Glaukon, of te wel, iemand die de filosofie van de hoofdspreker probeert te weerleggen en zich hand en tand er tegen verzet.

Het hoofdprincipe die de Oude Man uiteenzet is heerlijk eenvoudig: wij doen altijd datgene wat onze geest of ons geweten tevreden stelt; Twain toont zich hier een ware hedonist van de simpelste snit
محمد الفره
ما الإنسان لـ مارك توين

ما الإنسان كتاب ضربلي فيوزات مخى الصراحة
كيف انه الإنسان كل شي ايقوم بيه في حياته من عمل خير وتضحيات ومساعدات هو في الأول والأخير لمصلحته الشخصية أو الأصح إرضاء للسيد المتحكم فيه سميه "الضمير" لو تحب.
لكن طريقة السرد في الكتاب تذكرني بأسلوب الراحل مصطفى محمود في كتاب حوار مع صديقي الملحد، هالنوع من الكتابة لا يعجبني لأنه كل الحجج تكون في ابهى صورة ولا يكون الرد عليها من الطرف المقابل إلا بطريقة تزيد في تأكيد حجة الكاتب.
يستحق ثلاث نجمات
اقتباسات من الكتاب
حيث إن الإنسان ليس
Ahad Elfateh
Philosophy is something I despise, people burn their brains out making things too much complicated, sometimes ridiculous .... Even in this book after all the argument about " What is man ?" , in the end he concludes " the whole human race content, always content, persistently content, indestructibly content, happy, thankful, proud, NO MATTER WHAT ITS RELIGION IS, NOR WHETHER ITS MASTER BE TIGER OR HOUSE-CAT"
Still I enjoyed it was simple and clear though deep ... expressing his ideas through a d
Sep 07, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
there were a lot of holes, I think, but it was wonderfully weird and the ant part was mind-boggling.
Muhammad Emadeldin
This is the third work of Twain that I've read so far, it was recommended to me for about 3 years ago, and I can say it's far different from the regular sarcastic style of Mark Twain.
This is serious. The matter discussed on these pages has been around my head for quite sometime. The truth about will and determination. The truth about weather our lives are bound to decisions and fate, or it's just a parade made by design. I would not be lying by saying that I had in my mind every thought put the
Aug 16, 2013 Drsina121 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very truthful book.
Jun 12, 2015 Christiane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mark-twain
All those who think of Mark Twain as „only“ a humorist might be surprised at this collection of essays. Not only did he have a huge store of general knowledge, he also concerned himself with the larger questions of life.

In the title essay „What is Man“ the author knocks man off his self-constructed pedestal and puts him where he belongs : among the other animals (and not on the top rung of the ladder, either !).

Unfortunately, a hundred years after Mark Twain’s death the majority of people – agai
Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle
A non-satirical work by Twain in the form of Socratic-like dialogue between an Old Man arguing that man is merely a machine with no free will or self-sacrifice (a determinist) and a Young Man who is hesitant to believe him without requiring much elaboration first.

This has been on my mental to-read list for quite some time; nearly a year now. I read snippets of it when I had first began learning about Determinism here and there. Reading it now I can't say it really told me anything I didn't know
Abdalrhman alzoabie
هو حوار .. شيق .. !

لا ادري .. كنت احاول ان انقد ما يقول وقد دونت بعض ما خطر ببالي ...

لكن الملاحظة انه لا يرى ان دافع كون الانسان يفعل الافعال ليرضي ذاته ليس بدافع ذميم

القضية كلها لديه ان كل فعل يقوم به الانسان دافعه وهدفه ان يرضي ذاته ..

Ibrahem Alhilal
Dec 11, 2014 Ibrahem Alhilal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book the continuously keeps reminding you of what a human being is, essentially. A great read, better listen to as an audio book to capture the two men having the conversation perfectly.
Siddharth Sainath
Jun 06, 2015 Siddharth Sainath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would have given it 5 stars but somehow I felt any argument against the principles of this book will defy it by itself. But it will give you a different perspective on life.
Mahmoud Fouad
May 24, 2014 Mahmoud Fouad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
كما تصل المنزل جائعا فتجد طعامك المفضل بانتظارك..تصطدم أحيانا بكتاب ما بالصدفة يعبر بدقة وتفصيل عما تفكر به في هذه الفترة بالذات !
Jan 26, 2016 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressively cynical read, but I didn't totally disagree. If you want to confirm that you have no original thoughts, this is for you!
Jan 19, 2016 Holly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Maybe I'm just impatient, but I found this book tedious and more than a little depressing. Back on the virtual shelf it goes, for the time being.
Aug 14, 2015 Jonathon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twain makes a great argument that Shakespeare was really Francis Bacon. He states "Did Shakespeare practice law?" I guess a lot of Shakespeare references law, which Shakespeare had little exposure to, but Bacon was very fluent in. Anyways, the case is strong that Bacon is Shakespeare. Towards the end he goes on an arrogant rant stating he is more well known than Shakespeare. Whatever. I have not read Shakespeare nor Bacon (Shakespearebacon?), though I feel I need to now....

The only philosophical
Donny Joseph
May 07, 2015 Donny Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
All men are selfish. nothing are self sacrifice men. external influences are very powerful factor that push the men mind to create new ideas.
Mar 04, 2015 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick, witty read. I don't agree with all of his deductions, but it certainly gives one something to think about.
Amani Nour
Sep 22, 2014 Amani Nour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
“From his cradel to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object but one–to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself.”
Oct 16, 2015 Ivan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So repetitive, and generous with its definition of selfishness.
Ally Wheeler
this is Twain's philosophy of man, his anthropology. Man is a machine--Twain I think was relatively disappointed in man...
Josh Hanagarne
Apr 27, 2013 Josh Hanagarne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great little Socratic dialogue occurring between an Old Man and a Young Man.

The OM's premise is that man is a machine, we each perform according to our make and model, and that everything we do is according to the Gospel of Self Approval.

Twain admitted that many of the thoughts expressed in What Is Man? made him very uncomfortable, but that he did think he had it right. It's easy to see why. Letting go of the idea of free will is certainly unnerving, and prompts many discomfiting questions. A
Jacob Waite
May 19, 2014 Jacob Waite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance
  • Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. One
  • Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
  • The Collected Writings Of Ambrose Bierce
  • [Citation Needed]: The Best of Wikipedia's Worst Writing
  • The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman: Including The Brother
  • The Liar's Tale: A History of Falsehood
  • Sinister Forces-The Nine: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft
  • Captain Maximus
  • I Burn Paris
  • The Brunist Day of Wrath
  • The Manufacture of Madness
  • Flying to America: 45 More Stories
  • The Last Coin
  • Slavoj Žižek
  • Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
  • The Secret of Evil
  • The Devil's Dictionary and Other Works
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
More about Mark Twain...

Share This Book

“The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.” 198 likes
“It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions. ” 25 likes
More quotes…