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Walden

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  83,312 ratings  ·  2,436 reviews
First published in 1854, Henry David Thoreau's groundbreaking book has influenced generations of readers and continues to inspire and inform anyone with an open mind and a love of nature. With Bill McKibben providing a newly revised Introduction and helpful annotations that place Thoreau firmly in his role as cultural and spiritual seer, this beautiful edition of Walden fo ...more
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Published July 15th 2004 by Beacon Press (first published 1854)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Riku Sayuj

The first half is written by Thoreau, the accomplished philosopher and soars much above my humble powers of comprehension; the second half is written by Thoreau, the amateur naturalist and swims much below my capacity for interest.

After reading about the influence the book had on Gandhi, I had attempted reading Walden many (roughly four) times before and each time had to give up before the tenth page due to the onrush of new ideas that enveloped me. I put away the book each time with lots of fo
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Jeremy
Or "The Guy Who Liked to Go Outside and Do Stuff". If Thoreau were alive today, I bet he'd be one of those guys who won't shut up about how he "doesn't even own" a television. Curiously, however, I don't think he'd smell bad. And he'd find Radiohead neither overrated nor God's gift to modern music. Just a talented band with a few fairly interesting ideas.
Amanda
I will go against the grain of society here and say that this was not worth it. There are a few gems of wisdom in here, maybe the Cliffs Notes or a HEAVILY abridged version would be more tolerable. Here's what I didn't like: Thoreau went off to "live by himself", when in actuality he was a mere 2 miles away from town and could hear the train whistle daily. Not exactly out there roughing it. He lived in a shack on land that a friend of his owned so he was basically a squatter. Most of the food he ...more
Clare
Reading Walden was kind of like eating bran flakes: You know it's good for you, and to some degree you enjoy the wholesomeness of it, but it's not always particularly exciting. The parts of this book that I loved (the philosophy, which always held my interest even though I sometimes didn't agree with Thoreau), I really loved, and the parts that I hated (the ten pages where he waxes poetic about his bean fields, for instance), I really hated.

I also got the impression that Thoreau was the kind of
...more
Chris Bradshaw
Jun 02, 2008 Chris Bradshaw rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone

When Henry Thoreau went to Walden Pond in 1845, I wonder what he really thought he was doing there. I wonder if he had second thoughts about the whole idea; although when he began it was July, and July is a good month to be outdoors, whatever the weather. The man, and what he did and how he lived and what he lived for have always been a source of inspiration to me, and to many others... Walden is much more than one man's account of the years he spent in the woods communing with nature; it is a s
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Janet
Oct 05, 2007 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in ecology and/or personal growth
I've read Walden many times now since that first time in high school. I will always love this book, and it reveals itself anew with each reading.

When I first encountered Thoreau in high school, his words rang in my soul like a prophet's manifesto. I admired what seemed to be his unique courage and absolute integrity. He inspired me to want to "live deliberately," but I knew that a solitary life in a cabin was beyond my abilities. His will seemed so much more resolute than anything I could ever
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Beth
Oh my gosh, I don't need to mention the good things I've learned reading Thoreau, but I MUST say that every passionate Thoreau fan I ever met in college was a COMPLETE DOUCHEBAG in a very eco-friendly, pseudo-hipster, sweetly male-centric way. Ugh one time when I was a sophomore I had to choose a topic for a group presentation in Eng 253 and I was like ooh, transcendentalist literature! And suddenly I found myself stuck in a group with two fucking PERFECT Thoreau-head douchebags, all scruffy wit ...more
Jason Koivu
Thoreau and his smug attitude need a solid bitch-slap by true reality. Just because you can survive in the woods for a couple years with no one else to care for but yourself, doesn't mean it's easy. I'm not saying Walden doesn't have some commendable theories and ideals, but spending a little time in the rural Massachusetts suburbs doesn't cut it, imo. Try doing it your whole life with no reprieve and a family in tow, then let's see what kind of book you write, buddy boy!
John Wiswell
Woefully overwritten to the point where most modern readers who might be moved by Thoreau’s transcendentalism will be put off by the prose alone. If that doesn’t get them, his elitist attitude probably will. Thoreau took Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ideals of choosing for yourself and added, “but you’re an idiot if you don’t choose mine.” Too many of his asides are condescending views of society or normal people, evidencing that Thoreau was stuck on other people even if he claimed to be independent or ...more
Mister Jones
Mar 29, 2008 Mister Jones rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature, open minded readers
The very first time I read Walden my immediate response was to begin torching its pages one by one and sacrificing each page as literary cow paddies written by a pompous celibate pretentious boob who masqueraded as self-appointed demigogue for the collective conscience of the gods; and of course, when read this way it certainly fits at times Thoreau's rhetoric.

Many years later, I took my paperback copy off my shelf and was ready to pack it up to be dropped off at the nearest thrift shop, but the
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booklady
Walden has really slowed me down. I love how Thoreau makes me see things. It takes time to see, to hear, and to use the senses properly. Usually, I’m in too much of a hurry to really look, listen, smell and savor. When I able to now, I’m looking at the little things around me and thinking about a certain pond...

While reading Walden you can expect to enter another realm. During my recent journey there I developed an appreciation of so much which I might otherwise have discounted as detail or back
...more
Jim
His whole 'back to nature' & simplistic look at life do have their appeal. I don't subscribe to transcendentalism, but did find his musings broken up by the seasons to be interesting. Like most philosophers, his view on life tends to ignore minor details (like reality) that don't fit into his worldview, but he does stay in the real world most of the time. Luckily, he had some money, good health & people he could borrow from.

I don't particularly like the man, though. His comments on marr
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Cheryl
The essentials of living an authentic life. Highest recommendation!
Vincent Chough
Thoreau's observations are incredibly relevant today. He was an environmentalist, but not because he was so worried about the planet -- but rather because it made sense to him. We just don't need so much stuff. It's a waste of our time, energy and spirit. He went to the woods to prove this and to prove himself. What would Henry say to us now in this age of disposable cell phones and multiple mortgages hanging over our heads?

Walden is just good writing. It's insightful and witty. It's even quirky
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Alex
A puritan may go to his brown-bread crust with as gross an appetite as ever an alderman to his turtle. Not that food which entereth into the mouth defileth a man, but the appetite with which it is eaten. It is neither the quality nor the quantity, but the devotion to sensual savors.
Thoreau and I have an essential difference of philosophy: I am an Epicurean, and he is an asshole.

Walden has some great moments. I appreciate that Thoreau was not just the original hippie, but the original of a partic
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Mamdouh Abdullah
ليس بمقدرونا أن نكتفي من الطبيعة قط. يجب أن ينعشنا مشهد يشي بقوة لا تنضب، معالم فسيحة جبارة، ساحل البحر بحطامه، برية بأشجار حية ومتعفنة، سحابة تبعث رعداً وبرقاً، أمطار تتواصل ثلاثة أسابيع ويجري الطوفان على أثرها. نحتاج إلى أن نشهد تخطي حدودنا، وحياة ترعى بحرية في مكان لا نجول فيه على الإطلاق.
هنري ديفيد ثورو- والدن.

ليس من الصعب، بل ومن المستحيل أن يتم ذكر اسم هنري ديفيد ثورو دون أن يأتي رفيق دربه معه: رالف والدو إيمرسون. الواحد ظل للآخر رغم تعدد اتجاهاتهم، وإن كانوا يتفقون في العموميات. ومن الصع
...more
Whitney Archibald
I read this in high school, college, and am skimming it now for book club. I have a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in this book, partly because I have the same copy I first read and by now have lots of highlighted sections and notes in the margins. I learn something new each time I read it. Mostly, it reminds me that I am a nature girl at heart and that after living almost exclusively outdoors during my childhood (hiking, fishing, rock climbing, swimming in the river, etc.), I now spend waaay to mu ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #50: Walden (1854), by Henry David Thoreau

The story in a nutshell:
Although not published until 1854, Henry David Thoreau's Walden is a chronicle of events that
...more
Cheryl
Yes, Thoreau had such pointed and poignant rhetoric at twenty-seven years old:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdi
...more
Kevin Slater
This will probably become the most profound book of my life. I felt a connection while reading what Thoreau said more than any book I've read in years. So much time I spent reading it I wanted to jump up and shout "YES!" I totally understand. I have spent my life in slowly developing a personal ideology of our connection with each other and the need for people to stop concerning themselves with wealth and the accumulation of things to "keep up with the joneses", to understand that the only thing ...more
Karen
Oh dear god, this man is both boring and infuriating (is that even possible?). Perhaps he should have heeded his own advice, to "suck out all the marrow of" his book and "reduce it to its lowest terms." But no, he instead drags on and on about the most inane details, throwing in obscure literary allusions left and right. Now, let me ask, if the book is addressed to "poor students," what are the chances that they will understand any of these references? Which leads to the question, then why does ...more
David Lentz
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." I grew up in New England near Walden Pond and first read Thoreau's Walden in college. It has had a profound influence upon my life over the thirty years since then. One of the great tragedies of life in our time is that many people spend their lives working like slaves to accumulate w ...more
Dan
I feel a bit pretentious putting this book on as my first review, but I've read it twice in the last two years (once independently and then for my book club), so I figured I'd put it on.

This is a really good book. One of the things thats nice is that it's very hard to pigeonhole. It's not just an environmentalist screed, nor is it a practical survival manual or a scientific journal of nature; at any given moment it can appear to be any of these things, but it never stays there long. It's alterna
...more
Bruce
Have I ever returned to Walden without a sense of anticipation and delight? Thoreau’s iconoclastic humor is delightful and his aphorisms always memorable; I learn new truths and old truths afresh with each reacquaintance. I find myself pausing frequently to underline passages or simply to muse on them. It is not worthwhile to quote all or even some of them here, they are so familiar; but it is refreshing to be reminded of them again and to measure them against my own experience, affirming what I ...more
Lindsay
Aug 26, 2007 Lindsay is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this right now on my travels around Illinios and Michigan. How many other books are you going to read that devote four entire pages to describing the way the ice on a pond in winter looks and feels? Thoreau is very disapproving of his fellow humans and society (in a very self-righteous punk sort of way) and it makes you feel like a) maybe you're not just a grumpy misanthrope for feeling that way and b)nostalgia for a better time is pretty stupid. After all, who really wants to live i ...more
Jacqueline Valencia
"I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up."

In the 1840s, Thoreau went to jail for not paying his taxes. He refused to. Friends paid his tax bill and during this time he wrote "Civil Disobedience." Walden struggled with trying to be an individual in society and from that he experienced and created Walden.

His dry wit and cynicism is at its best at the beginning of the book where he ba
...more
هالةْ أمين

حدثني صديق ذات يوم أن هذا الكتاب لأهميته قامت ثلاثين دار نشر في الصين بترجمته ونشره
تخيلوا كتاب واحد بثلاثين ترجمة مختلفة !
.
هذا كتاب للطبيعة وعن الطبيعة وكل مافي هذه الطبيعة
تفاصيل, تفاصيل, تفاصيل, كتاب مغرق بالتفاصيل
عن كل شي في هذه الطبيعة
.
كيف قرر فجأة أن يعتزل سنتين في غابة والدن , كيف بنى كوخه وكيف كان يقضي لياليه وأيامه, كيف كان ياكل كيف تكونت أفكاره وكيف كانت قراءاته ؟
إنسان قضى مع نفسه سنتين صافيتين, حري به أن يعرفها حق المعرفة
.
كان سيستحق بلا شك النجمات الخمس لولا أن النسخة الإلكترونية
...more
Meg North
This was the first book I read AFTER college. No tests, no discussion questions, no trying to get some sort of meaning out of it. But from page one, Henry's sardonic style, his enduring message, and his astonishing environmental legacy have made this my favorite nonfiction work of all time. I turn to it and reread passages constantly. Henry is my compass and keeps me pointing true north towards ... myself. He urges me to strip away everything that could not be needed and to embrace essences and ...more
Donald
Oct 15, 2007 Donald rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Who doesn't admire Henry David Thoreau? A social outcast who invented the tactic of civil disobedience that inspired Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Thoreau is best remembered today for his book "Walden." Unlike most literary classics, this book is not a work of fiction, and it really has no characters outside of himself. Thoreau's writing ability was never more evident than here, when he takes the seemingly boring subject of a man going back to nature and makes it something special ...more
Sheri
Walden is clearly a classic. I have not checked the stats, but it is a book that is so often cited that it appears to have been read and appreciated by everyone. After reading Leopold this fall, I realized I had no real excuse for not having read Thoreau and so, I pulled it from Project Gutenburg.

And, alas I found it to be rather disappointing. I was not surprised by the conservationist writing (after all, that is not much different than Sand County Almanac); I was disappointed in the lack of ph
...more
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  • American Boys Handy Book
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  • A Sand County Almanac with Other Essays on Conservation from Round River
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  • The Frontier in American History
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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
More about Henry David Thoreau...
Walden & Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays) Thoughts from Walden Pond Walking A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers/Walden/The Maine Woods/Cape Cod (Library of America #28)

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“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 6847 likes
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 3526 likes
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