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The Essential Schopenhauer

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
“We should be grateful to Schopenhauer for managing to express the truth about life so beautifully.” —Alain De Botton, author of The Consolations of Philosophy

“Schopenhauer’s philosophy has had a special attraction for those who wonder about life’s meaning, along with those engaged in music, literature, and the visual arts.” —Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Essenti
ebook, 368 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1818)
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Esteban del Mal

No, that's not George Washington. It's Arthur Schopenhauer. And he wants to tell you a few things, like reason is a servant of your baser instincts; your individual existence means nothing because it merges into the existence of your species; your species doesn't mean much because it merges into life writ large and LIFE itself is only an expression of blind, groping WILL.

He also hates opera. I bet he'd even hate J.J. Who could hate J.J.?


When I started this book on Christmas Eve, it dawned on
Stephen Hughes
Ugh. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for it. This is the longest 368 page book I have ever read.

I would urge any feminist to avoid the chapter "On Women".
This was the other philosophy book I managed to (almost) make it through during my week in the woods. Finally picked it up again this week and polished it off.

One of the first philosophical ideas that I remember really getting into my head was the idea of good and evil espoused in Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica (or at least the first 150-200 pages of it - spoiler alert, that book gets way down in the weeds). This idea, in short, was that God is good, and the absence of good was evil. I got tha
Rachel Brune
May 20, 2013 Rachel Brune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my blog,

This book, The Essential Schopenhauer, translated and edited selections from The World as Will and Representation, was one of those books that I found on one of my many rambles through the local Barnes & Noble. The only reason I picked it out, from among the many other offerings on philosophy, was because I remembered the name “Schopenhauer” from the movie “Life is Beautiful.” Sometimes, my reading gets eclectic and the reason behind my selectio
Paul Labonte
Nov 26, 2013 Paul Labonte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah. I owned this and lent it to a pretty girl after I raved about it...knowing full-well of course, that I'd never see it again.

In any case, what I did get to read was memorable. I will find another copy. I could open this book to any page and just start reading. There is a wisdom and truth in his words that spoke quite simply to me. I felt in sync with rationale while confirming within myself things that I'd always understood, but was distracted from.

I can see how some might develop an exis
Kirk Plankey
May 15, 2012 Kirk Plankey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have long wanted to read Schopenhauer and other than being familiar with his ideas in general this is my first real reading of his works. I was not dissapointed. Schopenhauer not only has a penetrating intellect he is also extremely honest. He was able to live on the money passed down from his father so he was beholden to no one academic or otherwise. This I believe enabled him to be much more honest than many philosophers who need to keep certain folks happy with what they say for their jobs ...more
Sep 08, 2014 Shahenshah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a tumbling, erring child, Schopenhauer was the sinew whose words flexed and retained my connxion to the Olde World. One of the gems of Continentalism. But, of course, so much more.
Jan 21, 2012 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read through the selections unavailable in other form (Primarily through e-books at Project Gutenberg):

"Freedom of the Will"
"Principle of Sufficient Reason of Knowing"
"Metaphysics of the Beautiful and Aesthetics"
"On the Basis of Ethics"

Found even these selections shorn--not only excepted but also elided. (Of course, I'm never a fan of abridged works--even if nothing important is missing, cuts give you no way of determining this on your own. Hopefully with the rise of electronic copie
Aug 04, 2012 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like great music artists who end up in "Best Of" collections. If you're going to read this guy, you need to go to the source. I'd rather have a front-to-back edition of "The World As Will" in its entirety. But maybe I'm just being a pessimist.
Ling Xuan
Jan 24, 2016 Ling Xuan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great compilation of key ideas of the moody philosopher.
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Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher best known for his work The World as Will and Representation. Schopenhauer attempted to make his career as an academic by correcting and expanding Immanuel Kant's philosophy concerning the way in which we experience the world.

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“Just as a brook forms no eddy so long as it meets with no obstructions, so human nature, as well as animal, is such that we do not really notice and perceive all that goes on in accordance with our will. If we were to notice it, then the reason for this would inevitably be that it did not go according to our will, but must have met with some obstacle. On the other hand, everything that obstructs, crosses, or opposes our will, and thus everything unpleasant and painful, is felt by us immediately, at once, and very plainly. Just as we do not feel the health of our whole body, but only the small spot where the shoe pinches, so we do not think of all our affairs that are going on perfectly well, but only of some insignificant trifle that annoys us.” 0 likes
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