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Walden

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  118,869 Ratings  ·  3,552 Reviews
This is one of the most important works by the most important American philosopher: Henry David Thoreau, vital figure in the Transcendentalist movement, hero to environmentalists and ecologists, profound thinker on humanity's happiness. First published in 1854, Walden collects the penetrating reflections from the two years Thoreau lived in solitude on the shores of Massach ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Createspace (first published August 9th 1854)
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Abner Rosenweig Spring in my youth;
Summer in mid-age;
Autumn in my senior years;
and Winter in old age.

Walden should be read many times.

It is truly a book for all…more
Spring in my youth;
Summer in mid-age;
Autumn in my senior years;
and Winter in old age.

Walden should be read many times.

It is truly a book for all seasons!(less)
Mark Andre' J.C.O. can be one mean puppy; ie. what she did to Flannery O'Connor in the N.Y.R.B.'s piece from a few years back. One wonders what she did for…moreJ.C.O. can be one mean puppy; ie. what she did to Flannery O'Connor in the N.Y.R.B.'s piece from a few years back. One wonders what she did for Thoreau?(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
...more
Jeremy
Jun 13, 2007 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2009 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2007 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
...more
Beth
Jul 23, 2008 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 01, 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
...more
Janet
Oct 05, 2007 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Lyn
Jul 17, 2011 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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John Wiswell
Mar 01, 2009 John Wiswell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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!
Diane
What a beautiful meditation on nature and simple living!

It's been about 25 years since I picked up Thoreau, and paging through Walden this time I realized I had never read the entire book before. Instead, I had only read excerpts that were included in a literature anthology. While a lot of this book's famous quotes come from early chapters, to fully appreciate Walden you need to read the whole text. Besides his thoughts about trying to live a more meaningful and deliberate life, there are some b
...more
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter

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"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away"


For years now I have had a dream: to take a sabbatical and live in splendid isolation, completely cut off from society in the depths of some forest. It is not necessarily the concept of self-sufficiency that fascinates me, but rather the need to experience the passing of time in a natural environment; living in harmony with
...more
James
Book Review
Walden, an American classic...few of us have likely read all 350+ pages, unless you were an English major. For most, perhaps 10-15 pages in high school or a college literature course introduced you to Thoreau and Walden. Famed philosopher and thinker, it's a book that transports you to nature and the simplicities of life... helping to discover who you are, what you want and where things are going. A bit of an existential crisis, so to speak. It's a good book. I have nothing agains
...more
Mister Jones
Mar 07, 2008 Mister Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Rosie Nguyễn
May 09, 2017 Rosie Nguyễn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chắc đây là quyển sách hay nhứt tui từng đọc á. Tui cảm thấy vậy. Ờ mà không. Lý trí thì nói là chắc chắn là có những quyển khác hay và hay hơn rồi, tui phải biết chứ. Nhưng mà đọc quyển này xong thì cảm xúc lên cao ngất trời làm lu mờ tất cả những quyển sách khác làm tui chỉ biết Walden thôi. Walden ơi Walden ơi.

Sách nói về những đề tài mà ngày xưa thời ông này viết quyển này chưa chắc là đã được quan tâm nhiều (nghe nói cuộc đời viết lách của ổng không ít lần rơi vào trường hợp sách viết rất h
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This utopian text by Thoreau is absolutely beautiful and something to read when you are in those sloughs of life. It will pick you up and transport you as if you, as I have done, were standing on the edge of Walden Pond (near Concord, Mass) and observing its beautiful circular shape before wading in and swimming across this natural monument (saved from developers in the 90s by a group of environmentalists including Robbie Robertson if memory serves). The prose is limpid and perfectly balanced an ...more
Luís C.
Thoreau makes us an apology for a healthy life away from the bustle of cities and constraints of modern society and castrating. Life as it should savor with nothing and everything around us and beyond us when we want others through profit prohibit enjoyment.
Unlike many philosophers understandable for a pretentious intellectual minority, Thoreau speaks true to all of the original life that we live simply and "naturally poetic."
An indispensable bible!
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
Alex
Aug 03, 2014 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 parti
...more
Amanda
Jan 13, 2017 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I had high hopes for this book written by a self-imposed hermit living in the woods. However, this is actually just the thoughts of an ignorantly privileged dude who thinks there's only one correct way to live your life and won't shut up about it. Whilst Thoreau had many ideas that horrifyingly still apply to our lives today, 170 years later, he presents them with a defensive and pompous tone. It was probably to the detriment of Walden that Thoreau published his thoughts almost 10 years after li ...more
Phạm Ngọc Hà
Vào rừng trong hai năm hai tháng hai ngày, Thoreau có một khoảng cách thuận lợi để chiêm nghiệm cuộc sống trước đây - cái mà hầu hết mọi người đang sống, kể cả tới tận bây giờ. Từ đó ông có nhiều bàn luận phủ nhận giá trị của văn minh, tiền bạc, tài sản, đám đông, từ thiện, lòng yêu nước, nghề nghiệp, kiếm sống, ... Một chi tiết mà mình rất thích là khi Thoreau băn khoăn nên làm công việc gì. Ông có 2 lựa chọn: buôn bán và dạy học. Buôn bán thì dễ tha hóa con người và mất nhiều thời gian để thàn ...more
Scarlet

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!

3.5
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
...more
Amor Towles
Oct 24, 2016 Amor Towles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FIVE EXPANSIVE BOOKS SET IN CLOSE QUARTERS (#4)

This summer, the Wall Street Journal asked me to pick five books I admired that were somehow reminiscent of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW. To that end, I wrote on five works in which the action is confined to a small space, but in which the reader somehow experiences the world. Here is #4:

Ironically, one of the most timely pieces of close-quarters literature is a work written over 150 years ago in which the author voluntarily commits himself to a one-room c
...more
Mamdouh Abdullah
Dec 14, 2013 Mamdouh Abdullah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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
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
Vincent Chough
Dec 26, 2011 Vincent Chough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Darwin8u
Mar 06, 2011 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely read books twice, but I already feel the need to come sit by the shores of this book again and again. Expansive and infinitely quotable, Walden is one of those books that shakes not just the ground you are standing on, but seems to shake the Sun as well. Certainly there are parts of this book that are unrealistic, a little bit crankish, and even a little too self-aware. However, it is also beautiful, magnificent, and compelling in Thoreau's desire to see man seek the greater, more compe ...more
Emily May
Aug 19, 2012 Emily May rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2016
If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, this book is a fantastic cure for insomnia. Just writing a review about it makes me want to lie my head down and close my eyes.

That being said, I suppose Thoreau's pretentious, self-righteous douchebaggery was extremely revolutionary for the time it was written. He went to live in a shack in the woods and decided that gave him the right to impart truisms about life. Some of them are almost interesting, too, except that Thoreau's prose is so overwr
...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.” 7579 likes
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 4347 likes
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