Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Walden and Other Writings” as Want to Read:
Walden and Other Writings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Walden and Other Writings

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,257 ratings  ·  135 reviews
The quintessential back-to-nature book, Walden is an account of Thoreau's attempt to find a spiritual awakening by returning to a simple life in the Massachusetts woodlands. Thoreau's rejection of the values of the then-burgeoning Industrial Revolution still reverberates for contemporary readers. His quest for something deeper and more meaningful than materialism created a ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by MetroBooks (NY) (first published 1854)
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 Walden and Other Writings, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Walden and Other Writings

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I am giving 5 stars to "Life without Principle," "On Civil Disobedience," and the following chapters from Walden: Economy, Where I Lived and What I Lived For, Reading, Solitude, Higher Laws, Conclusion. The rest of the book was about nature. While I'm thumbs up when it comes to experiencing nature, I'm thumbs down when it comes to reading about it. I wish I could appreciate the way he describes grass blowing in the wind and ants fighting with each other, but I just couldn't, so I'm not rating hi ...more
I never have understood why this dense book is assigned for schoolkids to read. Yes, it is unprecedented in American literature, a great book--without being particularly "good reading." It's formidable, and I have never gotten through it, chapter after chapter. I find it a great dippers' book, and maybe those who assign it are exactly that, dippers. Several of Thoreau's other works are more engaging and accessible, from the Maine Woods (perhaps my favorite) to Cape Cod, even A Week on the Concor ...more
I find Thoreau's command of the written language to be astounding. I very much liked this book and I'm surprised that I wasn't required to read this in high school or college.
This book is a treasure for lovers of the simplicity movement. It is now one of my favourite, and one which I would come back to again and again.

It’s not just Thoreau’s message of simplicity, self-reliance and independent thinking which resonates strongly with me. The passion, vigour and clarity in which he puts forward his arguments is incisive and convincing. His writing style is exactly as he is – straightforward, concise, uncompromising and often sarcastic and contemptuous against those he b
Aug 09, 2007 Steel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Business majors, mostly
This book just edged out the Richest Man in Babylon and Money: How to Get as Much as You Can of It!!!! as my favorite book of all time. Not getting results at work? This book can help! A classic self-help manual, this book can teach you how to make money and become the most popular person of all time, just like its handsome, wealthy, much adored author. You can even learn how much it costs to build a 1840's style log-cabin. Did you know that pumpkins make good chairs? I bet that even if you did, ...more
Barrett Brassfield
Have to agree with E.B. White (author of Charlotte's Web, among other things) who once said that every high school senior should be given a copy of Walden upon graduation. Many of course will choose not to read it but for those who do, and make it through the slog that is the first chapter, Thoreau's timeless classic offers much wisdom on thoughtful living. Why thoughtful living? Because Walden is full of what of what buddhists refer to as the fire of attention. Each chapter, even the dreadful f ...more
At long last. It took me a while to make it through this. It's not something that I could power through 30 pages of on my lunch break. Reading Walden is a lot like watching paint drying. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Like if you could really experience the paint drying.

Thoreau was way ahead of his time. A lot of people are starting to come to the same conclusions he came to some 150 odd years ago: Man has a deep connection to nature, and nature fills a need in man that
I was going to say something silly and Garden State-y about how Walden changed my life, but am rewording because the experience of reading this book was more like...confirmation. Which is to say, I've chosen a certain way to live that I believe is the right one for me, and reading Walden was like being told, "That's right, that's what you need to do. Keep on keeping on, you're heading in the right direction." Except that the life Thoreau writes about is not directional in the least. But you get ...more
Thoreau is kind of a douche. Not gonna lie. This is a guy who thought that he would get back to nature by living in a shack on mommy and daddy's property. He makes some good points of philosophy but so does the drunk at the end of most bars. All in all, I think that Thoreau is vastly overrated.
I class Walden with those works that are widely read yet gravely misapprehended. Its author is an oakum-unwinder, frost-skimmer or hermit indeed; and he does recommend the life lived by that philosopher's dictate, to Explore thyself. But he's an unsimple writer, and so his message is unsimple, because it is a straight message, and it alights upon unstraight, or straitened, ears. Walden is not about forsaking society. It is about coming closer to the living rock--and understanding the world more ...more
by Henry David Thoreau

I read Walden right after graduating high school, so it’s interesting that I pick it up now, one month after graduating college.

This book can be as dull as the wet leaves of winter, without life or color. That is the case when you read Walden just to get through it.

I learned something of how to read this time around. I learned that if I slow down, I can catch not only their words, but the richness of the intent. Even more, it can teach me things not on the pape
In this edition I read A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Civil Disobedience, and Walden: Economy, Complemental Verses, Where I Lived, and What I Lived For, Reading, Sounds, Solitude, and Conclusion.

In my 11th grade English class we did a unit on Transcendentalism, the focus being Thoreau and Emerson. Long story short, Transcendentalism helped me overcome some troubles in life. This book is not one that you can just sit down and read 50 pages in one sitting. Read a couple pages, and th
If Edgar Allan Poe was the original goth, Henry David Thoreau was the original obnoxious vegan. His tone at the beginning of the book is like a know-it-all kid in his first year of self-employment: smarmy and convinced he's cracked the code on the only right way to live. As the book goes on, he mellows out a little. I guess living in the woods was good for him. While still being condescending of his neighbors (“…his little broad-faced son worked cheerfully at his father's side the while, not kno ...more
dead letter office
i know i'm supposed to like this book, but i had trouble. walden read in large part like a compilation of shopping lists and an ode to miserliness. and really, thoreau wasn't nearly so far removed from civilization as he seems to have felt he was. there are moments when his philosophizing is worthwhile, but on the whole i thought it was a bit of a cranky, tedious diary.

civil disobedience and life without principle are something entirely different, though. if it weren't for the "other writings" t
S Moss
A Book for All Ages
The edition I read is dated 1937, 1950)

This classic rewards rereading at different stages in one’s life. According to a date in my copy, I purchased and first read Walden in 1960. I taught it in high school in the mid-seventies, and just last month reread it. From my different sets of markings in my copy I can see what struck me on my various readings, how my large view of the book in my late teens was complimented by my understanding of the more classical references in my lat
I remember reading My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George as a child. The book was about a boy who idolized Thoreau so much that he decided to run away from home and live inside of a hollowed out tree in the mountains. He experiments with algae, makes pancakes out of acorns, and befriends a hawk. Overall, it was an interesting read for a ten-year-old who had already read all of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love books about “roughing it”, which is why I was surprise ...more
I was torn between, three and four stars. I don't like to admit it, but, it's lengthy attention to detail did make it a chore to read in parts, and then at others I found it beautifully profound and the slog seemed insignificant. I've settled with three because it's not a book I can see reading in it's entirety again, a book I'll definitely flick through though.
Jim Dooley
There is no getting around it. This was one of the more difficult books that I have read in quite a while. It was difficult while also being worthwhile for a number of reasons.

First, there are many parts that are not well-written for those who appreciate the narrative form. The writer occasionally wanders in his writing as he wandered through the woods or over a river. This so often provoked a feeling of "Get on with it" that there were times when I had to drag myself back to reading.

Having sai
I reached page 249 and that was 249 pages too many. I majored in environmental studies, where Thoreau is regarded as a motherfucking SAGE. The guy is played off as a cross between Ghandi and Einstein. So, naturally, I always wondered why NONE of my professors ever assigned any of Thoreau's work and when I happened across this book cheap in a hole-in-the-wall book shop, I nabbed it.
Turns out, Thoreau was a little out-of-touch. You might even say he was an egotistical know-it-all. He was pro
Enamul Haque
In Walden, Thoreau wanted to get the most from his life by determining what was really important, and he did that by removing himself somewhat from the normal life of Concord, Massachusetts in the 1840's. Thoreau focuses a lot on details in his writing. Every sentence the reader reads is filled with captivity. The words he puts on paper come to live as one reads his book. It seems as though he sometimes gets carried away when writing about something, because it almost gets boring, however, the p ...more
This edition contains an excerpt from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, the essays Civil Disobedience, Life Without Principle, selections from the travel books The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and Thoreau's journal, in addition to his masterpiece, Walden. This, or any more complete edition of Thoreau's work belongs on every bookshelf in America. We hear a lot about how our Puritan heritage explains some prudishness and inconsistencies in our current law. We also hear of the arrogant imperial ...more
Chad Warner
Nov 25, 2009 Chad Warner rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chad by: James Huizenga
Shelves: non-fiction
We read some excerpts of Walden in my high school American Literature class, and I've heard Thoreau quoted many times over the years, so I decided to finally read the book. It was definitely a different type of book than I usually read, because Thoreau records his daily activities and philosophical musings while living an experimental, mostly self-sufficient life by Walden Pond.

He includes a lot of detail of the plants, animals, and people he saw and interacted with at the pond. These details h
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 02, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Walden and Civil Disobediance--Everyone. Other Writings, Not so Much
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading: 100 Significant Books
The introduction to the edition I read quoted American philosopher and Harvard professor Stanley Cavell as saying "Emerson and Thoreau... are the founding philosophers of America" and comparable in complexity to Plato. As you can tell from my disparate ratings below, I nevertheless found reading Thoreau a decidedly mixed bag. Given their influence on the environmental movement and non-violent mass protest movements, I'd highly recommend reading Walden and the article "Civil Disobedience" no matt ...more
I’ve been working on Hendy David Thoreau’s Walden for some time now…a couple of years at least. Read a little, think a lot, emulate (in some ways), and think some more. It is a worthy read, and one I shall read again, and dip back into often. What follows is a collection of thoughts that stood out for me from this reading of Walden. As I look back over some of my notes and highlighted passages, I realize that there is something of a theme, a connected thread that speaks to me.

Thoreau describes
George Shetuni
Walden is a long book, about 325 pages. Many people consider this length a piece of cake. But not me. It took me 10 months to read this book, mostly because I put it on and off. It is about Thoreau who goes to live in the woods for 2 years. He is for the most part a solitary man in a solitary land. He has no neighbors, except for nature itself and the occasional visitor. He is highly interested by nature. He spends lengths of time describing it and he likes observing birds and animals, especiall ...more
If you'd like to read more about what I thought of Walden, visit my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

I'm giving this 3 stars, although I feel it probably deserves a 2.5 or so. I was not impressed with Thoreau. I felt that his writing was presumptous and self righteous. He seems to condemn everyone and really speaks sometimes with this annoying air of superiority. I felt that there were many times he rambled on about nothing of importance, and that the 300+ pages could have probably bee
Chris Wojcik
Henry David Thoreau explores two worlds in Walden. The natural world and the world of the mind. The writing itself is largely divided into these two categories as well. Thoreau will go on for passages analyzing the mind, his ideas about humanity's place in the world, and the workings of society. Then he will turn to pure description, observing the world around him for pages at a time. It is at moments like these that the book becomes trying. I love the ideas that Thoreau muses on regarding human ...more
This book was like reading a long letter from an old friend. I've read excerpts by Thoreau for many years, read Civil Disobedience in junior high school, and as a Unitarian Universalist, have heard from Thoreau regularly. But to sit and read his work thoughtfully is a far different experience. Over and over while I was reading, the text would break into familiar words that have been true for me for decades, and it was a deep experience to read them in the original.

Unlike some of the transcendent
Reading Thoreau's writings is an inspiring experience. "Walden and Other Writings" collects Civil Disobedience, Life Without Principle, The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, The Journal and, of course, Walden. I highly recommend this edition for those who look forward to discover Thoreau's wisdom and to those who enjoy the wit and reflection of this wonderful author.
Adam Rabiner
Thoreau's contribution to American letters was not fully appreciated in his time nor even today. Hawthorne and others found him a bore and one of my college friends kind of gagged when I said I was reading Walden and his other writings collected in this book. Yes, Thoreau is not easy reading. But when he is not waxing poetic or citing Greek mythology or Indian Vedas, he's imparting a timeless wisdom and psychologically astute vision for productive living. He's funny, and cantankerous, and his cl ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man
  • The Best American Essays 2005
  • The Best American Essays 2006
  • Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture
  • The Golf Omnibus
  • The Discourses & Other Early Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Collected Writings: Common Sense/The Crisis/Rights of Man/The Age of Reason/Pamphlets/Articles & Letters
  • The Raven and Other Favorite Poems
  • Euthyphro/Apology/Crito
  • The Essays: A Selection
  • Selected Poems
  • Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys
  • A Kierkegaard Anthology
  • The Complete Plays
  • The Basic Works of Aristotle
  • Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind
  • Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings
Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau)was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books,
More about Henry David Thoreau...
Walden Walden & Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays) Walking A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers/Walden/The Maine Woods/Cape Cod

Share This Book

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” 1055 likes
“The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.” 41 likes
More quotes…