Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Out of My Life and Thought (Schweitzer Library)” as Want to Read:
Out of My Life and Thought (Schweitzer Library)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Out of My Life and Thought (Schweitzer Library)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  264 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
" "Out of My Life and Thought" shatters the old myth and allows us to glimpse the real Albert Schweitzer, a man whose moral example is as relevant and compelling in the 1990s as it was in the 1930s on first publication. Eloquent and heartfelt."-- "Los Angeles Times"

Of the many highly esteemed books Albert Schweitzer penned in his life, he valued his autobiography the most.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 14th 1998 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published 1931)
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 Out of My Life and Thought, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Out of My Life and Thought

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 959)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 12, 2009 Dana rated it liked it
Albert Schweitzer was undoubtedly a genius. He was a trained theologian and organist who published scholarly works in a variety of disciplines. At the age of 30, he decided to devote his life to the serving humanity. He wanted to go to Africa as a doctor, so he resigned his faculty position and enrolled in medical school. Over the next 50 years, he spent much of his time in Africa. His wife and daughter mostly stayed in Europe. The conflict between Schweitzer's devotion to his practice and his f ...more
Joseph Gascho
Jan 25, 2016 Joseph Gascho rated it it was amazing
One of those depressing books in that when it is done you ask yourself what have I done with my life?
Mar 10, 2016 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been more of the sort of autobiography that chronicled his life experiences. Instead, a good portion of it read as a condensed version of his previously published works. While interesting, it was not quite what I was expecting and made for some dense reading.
Aug 18, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
A remarkable man shares his amazing life in an astonishingly humble way. A theologian, professor, lecturer, author, authority on comparative religion, philosopher, professional musician, humanitarian, physician, and much more I am surely forgetting, spends most of his adult life providing medical care in the depths of Africa. The reason for only three stars has nothing to do with the story of his life, but in many places the story didn't move along, and I wanted more of his thoughts on philosoph ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Josiah rated it liked it
Two quotes I leave you with. On why he went to Lamberene:

"It is unthinkable that we civilized peoples should keep for ourselves alone those means for fighting sickness, pain, and death that science has given us. If there is any ethical thinking at all among us, how can we refuse to let these new discoveries benefit those in distant lands who are subject to even greater physical distress than we are? In addition to the physicians who are sent out by the governments, and of whom there are never en
Ron Henderson
Sep 20, 2011 Ron Henderson rated it it was ok
As an autobiography, uneven and disjointed. I admire his emphasis on social action and reasoned thought as opposed to tradition and external control in religion. However, in this my first exposure to his writing, I find him just a touch too arrogant when he describes his philosophy, a little too confident that he has answered all questions. It's as if coming up with the phrase Reverence for Life suddenly settles every philosophical question. Then, in another moment, he's a self-proclaimed expert ...more
P.J. Sullivan
Apr 07, 2013 P.J. Sullivan rated it liked it
A philosopher and mystic argues for rational thought and what he called reverence for life. "I am in complete disagreement with the spirit of our age, because it is filled with contempt for thought." The primary issue of philosophy was to achieve an active ethic, a realistic confrontation with reality. His active ethic was to serve the poor and the sick in West Africa.

"Rational thought boils over into mystical thought. Mysticism is knowledge of the infinite. Mysticism is not the flower on the p
Apr 09, 2012 Val rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Love, love, love Albert and all his wonderful accomplishments, however, this particular book didn't make the grade for me. His command of English prose cannot be denied, but I was hoping for highlights and insights rather than tedious description of reminiscence and recollections, whole paragraphs of which a good editor would have tossed out today. For example, pages of painstaking description of his Hebrew studies finally got to the point which was why he persevered in these studies and its eff ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 05, 2012 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Einar & Anne-Lise Graff
Shelves: biography
Self-actualizers, particularly young ones, take note: Albert Schweitzer had degrees in musicology, philosophy, theology and medicine, practicing throughout his life as both an organist and as a physician--mostly as a medical missionary, his musical performances and many publications supporting his aid work. Beyond this he was both a peace and environmental activist. Polylingual, he did charitable fundraising and political work throughout much of the world and throughout virtually all of his life ...more
Sean Howard
May 18, 2009 Sean Howard rated it really liked it
This book was part of an exercise a friend gave me. He had me take my Myers-Briggs and then to search for famous people with the same final profile.

What grew on me as I read this book was a realization that the traits I most downplay in myself were actually Albert's greatest strengths. He even spoke openly of them. Which made me realize they are my greatest strengths as well.

And I fell in love with his yearning to not only be in service but to redefine civilization to unite ethics with a real vi
Jul 13, 2015 Spencer rated it liked it
Certainly an interesting guy with lots of fingers in different pies. Probably better as a philanthropist than a philosopher. He certainly seems to know his way around an organ.
Craig Robertson
Jan 15, 2013 Craig Robertson rated it liked it
Well worth reading. Schweitzer is a commanding character of the early 20th century, an humanitarian of the highest class. The book reveals may personal insights and glimpses into his soul. We read of a pious missionary, a dedicated physician, and a staunch anti-war advocate. We also glimpse his mania and his religious zeal. Much can be learned from an excellent man such as Schweitzer and hearing it in his own voice is a precious gift. The book is definitely dated in its style and he does writing ...more
Jul 06, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when a freshman at the University of South Florida in 1960. About the only thing I remember is the phrase “Reverence for Life.” This time I realized our much fuller of ideas and experience this book contains. Whether one is religious or not Schweitzer impresses me with his thought and the process he goes through in developing his ideas. Most impressive are his many accomplishments during these early years, ranging from his religious, philosophical, music to his medical studies.
Les Wolf
Feb 14, 2013 Les Wolf rated it it was amazing
An introduction to the life and thought of a great missionary, doctor to the tribes of Equatorial Africa, man of letters and theologian who was also an expert on the music of Bach and played the world's greatest music on the world's greatest church organs. From the simple truths he learned from everyday living to the deeper truths he discovered through extensive research, the book is filled with wisdom.
Mar 15, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing
This book made a profound impact on my life when I encountered it as a teenager. Schweitzer's philosophy of 'reverence for life' struck a chord that inspired me even though it has been a difficult standard to try to live by.
Jun 15, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book.
It wasn't an easy read because of his philosophical/theological ideas. It was hard to totally understand what he was saying. But he was an amazing man and it was worth the effort.
Nov 13, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
A memoir by a great thinker and a great humanitarian. Not always interesting; but when it is, it ascends to heights of astonishing clarity rarely attained by even the greatest classics. A rewarding read.
Nov 28, 2009 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Truly an amazing man, but I used this book to help me fall asleep at night. Just a page, page and a half would do it. I'd sleep like a baby.
Apr 27, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
See, I put this book in a lot of categories because if there ever was a renaissance man, Albert Schweitzer fits the bill. Brilliant.
Aug 09, 2010 ara133photography rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, biography
This is a really wonderful book; so inspiring. This book is the reason I've been a vegetarian for 18 years!
Aug 21, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it
recommended...I can't wait to reread this after recently reading "Things Fall Apart"
Dec 10, 2012 Peter marked it as to-read
Recommended by Roman Krznaric.
Carl Hesler
Sep 09, 2012 Carl Hesler rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy, biography
Inspiring, then sad.
Ryan Cole
Ryan Cole marked it as to-read
Sep 28, 2016
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2016
Chris marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
Daniel rated it it was ok
Sep 22, 2016
Tara rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2016
Víctor R. Ramos
Víctor R. Ramos rated it it was amazing
Sep 19, 2016
Justyna rated it it was ok
Sep 17, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 31 32 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Grow Younger, Live Longer: Ten Steps to Reverse Aging
  • Dancing Naked in the Mind Field
  • How the Swans Came to the Lake
  • The Enlightened Mind: An Anthology of Sacred Prose
  • The Last Barrier
  • Religio Medici & Urne-Buriall
  • Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #4)
  • Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom
  • Who Dies?
  • Seeking Enlightenment... Hat by Hat: A Skeptic's Guide to Religion
  • A Third Testament: A Modern Pilgrim Explores the Spiritual Wanderings of Augustine, Blake, Pascal, Tolstoy, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky
  • Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs
  • Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?
  • Buddhism for Busy People: Finding Happiness in an Uncertain World
  • Vida De Don Quijote Y Sancho/ the Life of Don Quijote and Sancho (Letras Hispanicas / Hispanic Writings)
  • Mirrors of the Soul
  • Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World
  • Christianity Rediscovered
Albert Schweitzer, M.D., OM, was an Alsatian theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Kaisersberg in Alsace-Lorraine, a Germanophone region which the German Empire returned to France after World War I. Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of historical Jesus current at his time and the traditional Christian view, depicting a Jesus who expected the imminent end of the ...more
More about Albert Schweitzer...

Share This Book

“By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive.

Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

- Albert Schweitzer”
“But merely accepting authoritarian truth, even if that truth has some virtue, does not bring skepticism to an end. To blindly accept a truth one has never reflected upon retards the advance of reason. Our world rots in deceit. . . . Just as a tree bears the same fruit year after year and at the same time fruit that is new each year, so must all permanently valuable ideas be continually created anew in thought. But our age pretends to make a sterile tree bear fruit by tying fruits of truth onto its branches.” 14 likes
More quotes…