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The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit Of Capitalism

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  7,037 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
Max Weber's best-known and most controversial work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, first published in 1904, remains to this day a powerful and fascinating read. Weber's highly accessible style is just one of many reasons for his continuing popularity. The book contends that the Protestant ethic made possible and encouraged the development of capitalism ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 27th 1985 by Routledge (first published November 1904)
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May 08, 2012 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think you could get away with reading just chapter five of this one - that is where the guts of the argument is. It is not that the rest of the book is completely uninteresting, but it is much less interesting. It is in this final chapter that the real thesis is worked out.

A thumbnail version goes like this. There appears to be lots more Protestant capitalists than there are Catholic ones. Also, Protestant countries tend to be more economically developed than Catholic ones - so why? Marxism w
Anthony Buckley
Feb 26, 2012 Anthony Buckley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the central disputes in Protestantism had long been that between the Calvinists and the Arminians. The Calvinist believed that every person had been chosen by God in the beginning to be either saved or damned, and that there was nothing anybody could do to change his decision. These “elect” individuals could not be certain of their salvation, but they might be identified by their tendency to live lives of piety and goodness. In contrast, the followers of Arminius thought that each individ ...more
Mar 13, 2010 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
For years we have been assaulted by politicians and religious leaders preaching the Christian "work ethic," yet I find little justification, if any, for the concept anywhere in the New Testament. I happened to be discussing this with my dad a while ago, who also happens to be one of the smartest people I know, and he recommended Weber’s book. First published in 1905, it provoked considerable controversy.

Weber's thought was grounded in a belief that history is of critical portance to the social
Even now, this is a profoundly interesting and detailed book, being the foundation of economic sociology, and is of considerable use today.

The main thesis is that several Christian denominations, mainly Calvinists, etc., believed that economic and social prosperity has a religious basis - that God has bestowed the gifts of success to these people, and therefore this should be imitated. Hence the Protestant Work Ethic - a religiously sanctioned form of capitalism.

As the prominence of religion wax
Hany Kalash
Mar 29, 2013 Hany Kalash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Protestants are truly enlightened. And their school of thought is the basis of western civilization today. I am a Muslim but out of fairness, I admire them.
Apr 22, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Protestantism is ballin'.

Amazing how much this book is about the hustler spirit: dude who'd buy in bulk, talk to his customers and push volume, figure out how to innovate to make a better product. Break with tradition. And apparently protestant women are very best at innovating, so says Weber.

Weber basically writes to Marx at a couple points, referring to "materialist" theories, basically saying that Southern US plantations had all the time and talk of capitalists but the northern homesteaders g
Mohammad Mahdi Fallah
این کتاب تجربه یک متن کلاسیک به تمام معنا بود. از نظر من یک متن به واسطه ظرایف، دقایق و نکات غامضی که در برداره بدل به چیزی میشه که میتوان مکررا به آن رجوع کرد و هر بار تفسیر نوینی ازش ارایه کرد و بهره تازه ای ازش برداشت.
فارغ از موضوع مورد تحلیل روش وبر سرنوشت سازه که میشه ازش به عنوان تیپیک کار علمی ازش نام برد. خوانش متونی که هرچند به نظر دم دستی باشند ولی میتوشه ازش تحلیل یک عصر و به قول وبر روح یک دوران رو استخراج کرد کاری بود که وبر متناوبا روی نوشته های فرانکلین و باستر انجام میده و حتی چ
It didn't exactly impress me nor did it convince me. I found Weber's notion of an "innocent" and idealistic capitalism where profit is not the objective and the entrepreneurs should work for the uninterrupted trading of goods and capital, totally utopian. It does not apply to our time and age, where capitalists have shown their true colours and their one and only concern: profit, whatever the cost.
So, The Protestant Ethic probably teaches us what good ideas can turn into. It is difficult to get
Aug 07, 2011 Amit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has and continues to recieve positive acclaim. However, Weber's work is not only Euro-centric and anti-Catholic, but relies on the use of a dichotamous inclusive-exclusive framework of logic.

At the introduction of the text, the author endeavours to demonstrate the uniqueness of ‘Western’ civilization relative to others as well as emphasize its alleged “universal significance and value” . At first glance, being different and universal appears to be paradoxical. However, the author over
Ai naibii de grea cartea, mai ales pentru o minte profană. Stilul lui e Weber e groaznic, cu fraze extrem de întortocheate, ceea ce face urmărirea firului ideii foarte dificilă. O bună parte din carte se axează pe analiza dogmelor diverselor curente protestante, iar dacă nu știi prea multe despre ele, argumentarea lui Weber e un vîrtej în care te pierzi și nu mai înțelegi nimic. Ideea de bază e însă interesantă și trebuie înțeleasă în toată specificitatea ei, de unde și minuțiozitatea argumentăr ...more
This review concerns the Norton Critical Edition of Weber's work. The Protestant Ethic is a dramatic, seductive, original work that, despite its controversial premise, deserves an edition such as this. The edition employs the classic 1930 Parsons translation along with the translator's preface.

The text is left almost entirely unchanged. The editor occasionally modifies a footnote to clarify a cross reference or explain a foreign phrase left untranslated. A glossary of key terms or controversial
Alaa Bahabri
Dec 23, 2013 Alaa Bahabri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب يقدم فكرة عميقة حول علاقة البروتستانتيةبالرأسمالية الغربية..و قد قرأت الفكرة قبل ذلك في كتاب ،المسيري(دراسات معرفية في الحداثة الغربية) بشكل أكثر وضوحاً وتنظيماً ،بل وتطوراً وتركيباً، وهي هنا بتفاصيل كثيرة عن المذهب البروتستانتي وشعائره وطقوسه
ما خرجت منه من هذا الكتاب:
1.نموذج لتحليل الظواهر ، و الذي يتكون من وجود بنية فكرية أولاً ، يمكن دراستها من النصوص ، ثم سلوكيات ترتبط بهذه البنية

2.فكرة الكتاب الرئيسية و التي تؤكد أن روح الرأسمالية هي نتيجة لعوامل كيرة أهمها البروتستانتية و التي تجعل
Jan 05, 2008 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Although this is very Eurocentric, it was ground-breaking at the time. Also, it is fascinating to look at the connections between religious beliefs and social practices. Having lived in Italy definitely brought me face to face with my own Calvinist origins, and the black and white vision that that philosophy brings with it.
Draco3seven Crawdady
Webber describes one of the mechanisms of modernity or more precisely influencing factors of capitalisms as the protestant ethic or as he puts it the ethic of greed. What he points out is that along with the development of capitalism so also a set of ethical standards developed conducive to these goals of capitalism.
this book was somewhat difficult to get through because of the footnotes (i have trouble with footnotes), once you get that point though, it’s a fantastic book. it discusses why the capitalist system we have now, and the morality we have now is the way it is. we have all heard of the protestant ethic yes? it is that you must work hard, without pleasuring yourself too much, for the sake of pleasing god. working as hard as you can allows a person to ‘most effectively’ utilize the gifts god has giv ...more
Hammam Nimrawi
Jul 11, 2016 Hammam Nimrawi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أعجز عن تذكر أول مرة تعرفت فيها على ماكس فيبر، والمصدر الذي وضعه إزائي، ولكنني منذ تلك اللحظة الأولى شغقت به. ولا زالت أفكار فيبر من الأكثر تأثيرا علي، وحفرا في طريقة تفكيري، حتى هذه اللحظة. وهذا الكتاب: الأخلاق البروتستانتية وروح الرأسمالية، وهو عمل فيبر الأهم، هو، بلا شك، من أهم ما كُتب في كل مجالات الأكاديميا الغربية على الإطلاق، وهو من أكثر الكتب تداولا ونقاشا وتأثيرا في القرن الماضي، بالإضافة إلى أنه يعد العمل المركزي، والمؤسس، لعلم الإجتماع الإقتصادي. وما تزال النقاشات حوله، ومحاولات استخد ...more
P.J. Sullivan
Aug 15, 2011 P.J. Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
When feudalism broke down in the Late Middle Ages, Weber argues, the capitalism that emerged in its place was an entirely new ethos, accompanied by a peculiar Puritan ethic that dignified the accumulation of wealth as a sign of divine favor. The "spirit" of capitalism was distinct from the impulse to acquisition, which was nothing new in the 16th century. It was the pursuit of perpetually-renewed profit, for its own sake, above and beyond the satisfaction of traditional human needs. But what was ...more
İsa Emiroğlu
Dec 12, 2014 İsa Emiroğlu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Çünkü 'azizlerin ebedi huzuru' öte dünyadadır; fakat kutsanmışlıklarını garanti edebilmek için insanlar bu dünyada 'gündüz olduğu sürece onları gönderenin işlerini yapacaklardır.' Tanrının kendi şanını arttırma ile ilgili açıkça görülen dileğine, boş zaman ve zevk ile değil, sadece çalışma ile hizmet edilir. Zamanı boşa harcama bütün günahlar içinde ilk ve ilkece en ağır olanıdır. İnsanın kendi mesleğini 'kesinleştireceği' yaşam süresi çok kısa ve değerlidir. Toplumsal yaşam içinde zaman kaybı, ...more
Jan 30, 2016 Matthew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worldview, history
Weber seems like an intelligent fellow, yet the book is filled with misrepresentations of Christianity, particularly Calvinism, and some of its adherents. The premise is very interesting: is there something inherent in Protestant theology that gives rise to pure capitalism? Weber says yes, but comes to a conclusion that it is owed to a "worldly asceticism" which brought Christians out of the monasteries and made them veracious savers. This may be in part true (monks aren't known to be players in ...more
Jun 07, 2007 Victoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2006
This book makes me think of Edward Said's Orientalism, in the way that it is now generally accepted that trying to construct religious or ethnographical archetypes to explain historical phenomena is methodologically useless (besides being insulting) (as per Said), but still no one critiques Weber for having done exactly that. It's as though it's perfectly reasonable for him to have done because 1. it's about Westerners, so it's not insulting and 2. he's got proof to back things up, so it isn't s ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sociology
Weber's sociological magnum opus on the relationship between Protestantism, specifically Calvinism and Puritanism, and the development of the capitalistic spirit in the West.

He goes through all of his evidence thoroughly; between the text and the notes it is often easy to feel lost in the ocean of detail in terms of the history of the Protestant sects he describes. The evidence is necessary to develop and support his thesis: at least part of the story of the development of capitalism as the defi
Guida Allès
Per entendre la relació entre el puritanisme-protestantisme i lemergència del capitalisme. El purità, que creu que els rics són persones beneïdes per Déu i que "en el fondo, sólo se ocupa de sí mismo y sólo piensa en su salvación" (pàg 123)... "El autodominio absoluto es el ideal del destrucción de la naturalidad del disfrute de la vida instintiva era la tarea más urgente" (pàg 144).

Lautor preten "averiguar los impulsos psicológicos que marcan la orientación del modo de vida y q
Feb 17, 2012 Conor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non_fiction
Essays like this don't leave much room for explaining what they're about; it's right in the title. I would have given this five stars, but it's a bit outdated, and I can't say I enjoyed reading it all that much. Despite Weber's exemplary powers as an essayist, and the continued importance of this essay in particular to sociology and anthropology, this was an assigned read that I never finished the first time, and still got a bit mired in the second time around.
Matias Dalsgaard
More than hundred years after its publication this book is still one of the greatest intellectual accomplishments in modern academic research. Through an impressive and truly inspiring reading of several centuries' Christian texts and traditions Weber shows how Calvinist Protestantism has shaped modern Capitalism - and at the same time offers deep insights into the Protestant tradition and the religious mind.
Farzaneh Shafah
Aug 07, 2015 Farzaneh Shafah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
این کتاب شاید قوی ترین نقد را به تئوری مارکس درباره روبنا بودن فرهنگ ارائه می دهد. مایه مرکزی جامعه شناسی دینی وبر این است که برای درک یک هستی شناسی بشری باید منطق درونی آن ها را بر اساس دریافت ما بعد الطبیعی یا دینی بیرون کشید و نه فقط به ارجاع نهاد های اجتماعی و رفتار های طبقاتی توجه کرد. باید باز هم بخوانمش
May 20, 2012 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A favorite read; this book offers a very insightful and plausible theory on the relation between Protestant asceticism and capitalism and of how the latter broke loose and became independent of religion. "The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so."
Shannon Cunningham
Weber had the development backwards, but it's still a fantastic work and I've found myself using it many times to explain other social-cultural-institutional-economic shifts.
Katariina Ub
Mar 05, 2015 Katariina Ub rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm not ready to read this book. His thoughts are way too far from me. I should read it again after I got my bachelors in Theology.
Aug 17, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب باید بارها و بارها خوانده شود، مانند چراغی است هم در تفکرات چپ و هم روح سرمایه داری...
Aug 10, 2010 Desiree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
Changed my view on capitalism.
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(Arabic: ماكس فيبر)

Maximilian Carl Emil Weber was a German lawyer, politician, historian, sociologist and political economist, who profoundly influenced social theory and the remit of sociology itself. His major works dealt with the rationalization, bureaucratization and 'disenchantment' associated with the rise of capitalism. Weber was, along with his associate Georg Simmel, a central figure in t
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“specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved.” 42 likes
“The purely emotional form of Pietism is, as Ritschl has pointed out, a religious dilettantism for the leisure class.” 4 likes
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