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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  172,029 ratings  ·  5,896 reviews
Originally published in 1854, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, is a vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. It is one of the most influential and compelling books in American literature. This new paperback edition-introduced by noted American writer John Updike-celebrates the 150th anniversary of this classic work. Much ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 18th 2004 by Princeton University Press (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)
Adele It’s more of the same I’m afraid. I had to read it in little chunks to cope, but by the end I’d had enough. There are good bits, but you really have t…moreIt’s more of the same I’m afraid. I had to read it in little chunks to cope, but by the end I’d had enough. There are good bits, but you really have to work to get through the waffle.(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  172,029 ratings  ·  5,896 reviews

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Riku Sayuj
Jul 14, 2011 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
Jan 02, 2009 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
Jun 13, 2007 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. ...more
Jul 26, 2007 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
Sean Barrs
Walden is a phenomenal piece of writing that has the power to completely alter your way of thinking and the way in which you see the world.

To put it plainly, I feel like I have been looking for Walden (or a book like it) for my entire life. It is a book a about a man who has had enough of society and all its trappings; it is a book about a man who understands that modern life is inauthentic and false: it is not a reflection of how we ought to be living as per our biology and our natural animal
Henry Avila
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The never quite understood philosophy of a man who swam against the current of mainstream beliefs. Sorry I borrowed these words from comments about another review, a good friend, not stealing though, these are my own scribbles, repeating the impressions here. Henry David Thoreau a native of Concord, Massachusetts, a pencil maker, the family business which financed his expensive Harvard education and published the at first neglected books. A disciple of Ralph Waldo Emerson and at his urging in 18 ...more
Emily May
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, classics
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
Oct 05, 2007 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
Chris Bradshaw
Jun 01, 2008 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
John Wiswell
Mar 01, 2009 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
Jul 17, 2011 rated it 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.

Ahmad Sharabiani
Life in the Woods = Walden, Henry David Thoreau

Walden is a book by Henry David Thoreau, First published in 1854. The text is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.

The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and a manual for self-reliance. Walden details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond amidst woodland owned by his friend and ment
Jason Koivu
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
I love Thoreau's ideals. Taking care of nature is of paramount importance, especially these days as technology flings us farther and faster into the future than we've ever gone before.

I also love Walden because I grew up near the pond and would pass it on my way into Boston back in the days when I was a young English major in college. Back then I looked upon this book and its ethos as a rallying banner for people who gave a shit about Mother Earth.

Given a bit of reflection after a more recent r
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 nothin
Aug 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
Thoreau and I have an essential difference of philosophy: I am an Epicurean, and he's an asshole.

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.

Walden has some great moments. I appreciate that Thoreau was not just the original hippie, but the original of a par
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
Amor Towles
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing

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
Jan 13, 2017 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
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
Mister Jones
Mar 07, 2008 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
Walden is indeed a rather atypical and indefinable book: between autobiography, philosophy and poetry, Thoreau tackles very varied themes in the account of his original “experience” of life. Indeed, for two years, he lived isolated in a cabin near Walden Pond, to detach himself from material goods and have only the essentials for human life - namely food, shelter, clothes and heat. The story combines very concrete descriptions of his life in Walden (construction of his hut, planting of his field ...more
Whitney Atkinson
If I hadn't been reading this for class and skim reading it at 4 AM in a panic to find lines to talk about during class, this would definitely be five stars. But of all the classics I've read--especially essay collections that are usually dry--this one was actually immensely enjoyable! Thoreau created such a complex and interesting blend of social commentary, memoir, and call to action. It revealed a lot about myself that I need to improve on, and it also brought new perspectives of appreciating ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
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
Mar 06, 2011 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
• Lindsey Dahling •




*Matilda and Ms. Honey are excited to read Moby Dick at the e
This book is not long at all but took me forever to get through.

This may be a short book but was a long runoff of thoughts that I would have thought more appropriate for a private journal rather than a book for the public. It felt torturous at times to get through it. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had been shorter with the points he was trying to get across being more concentrated. However, over all it had good thoughts and information. I'm glad I've read it but I do not think I will
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
First Published: August 9, 1854

Thoreau's Walden is a masterpiece and timeless... a mandatory read in today's world..

A voyage of self-discovery and manual for self-reliance.

I don't even know how to describe, but there is that peace and calmth in Thoreau's words. It is so important to have peace of mind, in order to remain in one piece...

Wishing you all warmth, peace and fulfillment. You need to read Walden at least once.

Thoreau's words:

"Direct your eye right inward, and
you'll find
A thousand re
Patience K Phillips
Sep 16, 2015 added it
Recommended to Patience K by: Found this book while searching for information concering RV living
As a gift my son gave me $100 ’just because’.

I'd been eyeballing Annotated Waldens. Researched four available. 1970, 1992, 1995, and 2004.

The first edition I’d found we're super pricey. Then, as fate would have it found an original first edition from 1970. In awesome condition with a dust cover for $18.

Despite some copies being an exuberant amount managed to get all four copies for less than my gift and still some leftover to use for another present.

Why go through all this for virtually the s
Sarah Booth
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.

I’ve already started to reread this because it is a book to be studied. I want to once again feel like I am coming from the cabin and moving about the lake with him as he describes everything in such poetic detail and brings me by his side to show me what he means and to think about the ideas he is thinking about.
Aug 27, 2008 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 marriage bei
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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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