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3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  105,708 Ratings  ·  3,040 Reviews
Walden, or, Life in the Woods, is an American book written by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amid w ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 18th 2004 by Princeton University Press (first published 1854)
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Allison Either autumn because it's so characteristic of New England, where the whole event takes place, or winter because it's a good time to be contemplative…moreEither autumn because it's so characteristic of New England, where the whole event takes place, or winter because it's a good time to be contemplative and introspective.(less)
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Riku Sayuj
Sep 01, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 01, 2007 Jeremy rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 02, 2009 Amanda rated it did not like it
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
Sep 08, 2008 Clare rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 23, 2008 Beth rated it liked it
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
Chris Bradshaw
Jun 02, 2008 Chris Bradshaw rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Oct 05, 2007 Janet rated it it was amazing
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
Jason Koivu
Aug 30, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
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
Mar 01, 2009 John Wiswell rated it did not like it
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 it was amazing
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
Mar 21, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Poetic prose or prosaic poetry?

Either way a beautiful work. It has the social commentary of a husbandry lesson and the spiritual depth of a prayer.

It's also apparently timeless. Thoreau's ideas about simplicity and spiritual cleanliness are as relevant today as they were in the 1840s.

I cannot help but mention a college English professor's description of him: "he lived in a shack out on the outskirts of town - he was a bum". Still makes laugh.

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

This was my first attempt at philosophy, and although there are lots of great ideas and some beautifully phrased passages here, the meandering structure of it impeded my enjoyment. I guess philosophical essays are not quite my thing. I'm still glad I read it though - my boyfriend loves this book and lent me his own much-read copy - so now I won't be totally lost when he refers to snippets from this book in our conversations!

May 05, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
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
Nov 13, 2008 Jim rated it liked it
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
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
Vincent Chough
Jan 18, 2012 Vincent Chough rated it it was amazing
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
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
Luís Blue Yorkie
Walden is the lake name on the shores where Henry David Thoreau built a hut and live for more than two years. There he observes and writes about trees, leaves, water, ice, the seasons... Is a book about life, written in a way so simple and so profound that I often need to re-read and reflect on a sentence or chapter to understand... I confess that sometimes I realized that the author spoke of things that were simply beyond my ability to comprehend and my life experience. Walden changed my outloo ...more
Chris_P a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice. Yet some can be patriotic who have no self-respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less. They love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads.

I take ra
Aug 29, 2015 Giovanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Walden è il lago sulle cui sponde Thoreau ha passato due anni due mesi e due giorni, applicando nella pratica le teorie del gruppo trascendentalista di cui faceva parte: «Per essere filosofi non basta avere pensieri raffinati, né fondare una scuola, ma occorre amare la saggezza al punto di vivere secondo le sue leggi: […] risolvere alcuni dei problemi della vita, non solo in teoria ma nella pratica», spiega l'autore in uno dei capitoli iniziali. Thoreau con questo libro dà conto del suo esperime ...more
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
3.5 stars - It was really good.

So many powerful and resounding quotes in this one, but classic or not, it really needed a strong editing. There were a couple of entire chapters that were pointless and there was also far too much detail about mundane things that no one aside from the author could possibly care to know. I wasn't in love with the writing style, in particular because there were often sentences that seemed to ramble on forever (see the first sentence of the book below for a prime exa
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
Jason Pettus
Oct 20, 2010 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. 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
Whitney Archibald
Mar 05, 2009 Whitney Archibald rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Kevin Slater
Mar 19, 2009 Kevin Slater rated it it was amazing
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
There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
Jul 06, 2015 Nahed.E rated it it was amazing
Shelves: أمريكي

يقول البطل :
لو حاولت أن أقص عليكم كيف رغبت في قضاء حياتي في السنوات الماضية ، قد يعترى الاندهاش القراء المطلعين إلى حد ما على تاريخي الحقيقي ؛ وبالطبع سوف يستحوذ الذهول على من لا يدرون شيئاً عنه ، سوف ألمح ليس إلا إلى عدة مغامرات أضمر لها كل الإعزاز ، في أي جو ، في أي ساعة من النهار أو الليل تولتني اللهفة على اغتنام اللحظات الحرجة وحفرها أيضاً على عضاي ، اللهفة على الوقوف عند ملتقى أبديتين ، الماضي والمستقبل ، أي اللحظة الحالية بالضبط ، الوقوف بأطراف أصابعي على ذلك الخط ، سوف تغفر لي بعض النقاط
David Lentz
Jun 21, 2011 David Lentz rated it it was amazing
"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
Oct 15, 2007 Donald rated it really liked it  ·  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
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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.

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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.” 7350 likes
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