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The Desiderata of Happiness: A Collection of Philosophical Poems

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  311 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In a uniform format with Desiderata and The Desiderata of Love (with all-new illustrations and a fresh new jacket), this is a collection of life-affirming poems by a writer who has inspired and comforted countless readers. Line drawings.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published August 25th 1992 by Crown (first published April 1st 75)
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Cathy DuPont
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Unlike many poets, Max Ehrmann's poetry is easily and immediately understandable.

I have had a copy of The Desiderata in my home for many years, a gift from my mother, but was unfamiliar with the poet/philosopher, Ehrmann. He wrote the Desiderata in 1927 and it represents his philosophy which boils down to peace on earth and peace within your soul. Be kind, always. The Desiderata is the first and opening essay or prose poem of a small book of Ehrmann's poetry.

Lovely book, simply lovely. So glad
...more
Paula
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 4-5-stars
This is better than any self-help book, any religious advice, anything a therapist could say. Those poems are the best instruction on how to live a good, honest, happy life. Ehrmann was wise way beyond the time he lived in.
Rosanna Threakall
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This most perfect collection of poems you could ever wish for. Picked it up from a rare bookstall on the market and read it whilst I was locked out of my house ^_^
Betty Bleen
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
The poems in this book are wonderful, very thought provoking and just beautiful. I recommend it to any poet who enjoys romanticism and philosophical views on life.
Marty
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given a copy of this wonderful prose poem by my ex-fiancee a few years ago. I had first discovered it many years before that. It is full of wisdom and good intention, a valuable, if simplistic, moral blueprint that we should all try to live by. As for my ex-fiancee, she was even more wonderful, and remains the most special lady in this universe or any other. I hope this proves that I am living by the Desiderata !! As it says "Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity an ...more
James
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gentle contemplation of the world which encourages a serene and aesthetic outlook without being naive or airy-fairy. Having said that, it sometimes borders on being twee and corny, but perhaps that's just the cynicism of the postmodern age colouring my perspective.
NJ
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indulgence
A book among the most precious readings I had. Of these sorts are good reminders about what really matters.
Audrey Greathouse
This is a very elegant collection of uplifting poems. I very much enjoy how Max Ehrmann finds meters that are both unconventional and very consistent within his poems. He is not the most profound literary genius, but he has a beautiful way of looking at nature and transcribing highly philosophical thoughts in enjoyable, concise language. I don't feel the poems are layered in the complicated way most good poems are, and yet his straightforward language manages to capture truths about our natural ...more
Guillermo Lugardo
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I'm not a big fan of poetry, I can recognize that this was definitely a good read for developing oneself and appreciating the world.
Mike Rice
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a wonderful and timeless, albeit short, collection of poetry from a wonderfully insightful man of the early 20th Century. The poetry focuses most on the aspect of human nature having to do with the adaptation of power and influence into every day lives,on the musings of love and laughter and on the fragile balance between the chaotic ebb and flow of life and the necessary moments of peace, contemplation and stillness.
Stephen
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the poetry is very contrived and very much of an age and style. But Desiderata itself (and the folk value of all the poems) has become my favourite declaration and description of how to handle the Human Condition - so, after searching for it on the net many times at times of great angst, I finally found and bought a tattered old copy.
Thirza
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gifted by my brother who found it through Reddit.
Some really amazing poems like Desiderata.

Desiderata was my absolute favorite. I liked the other poems too, but they did not resonate with me as much as the first.
Haylea
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went to university with a woman who has this love poetry that reinspired it in me. This book has brought warmth and happiness to me life and I think every person on the planet should read the prose of Max!
Shannon
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, inspiring...

"And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."
Emily Mellow
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love the Desiderata. I could read it every day. There are some other very good poems in this book, and they all have a calming voice and sweet message.
Joey
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Short read. Does not contain the poem "The Desiderata of Happiness"
Haley
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book of poetry. It reflected all of my thoughts and said it more precisely than I could have.
Rajesh Kavasseri
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetic and wishful. A nice book to reflect in solitude.
Velma
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This was the perfect chapbook of sentiments for a 16 year-old girl, finding her way slowly in a sea of typical teen angst; a go-to volume of wisdom in my 70s camp counselor world.
Michelle
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Great poems. This is another book given to me by a boyfriend...at least the love for the great poet has lasted!
Keinwyn Shuttleworth
Mar 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Hideously sing-song, insufferably dull and much too optimistic for my liking. I almost wish I didn't have to give this a single star at all.
Venisha Ready
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, wishlist
With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
...more
Kim Schofield
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
dad gave me this in h.s. too. read from it at mom's wedding too.
Andd Becker
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars for the world-famous "Desiderata." But don't expect the other pieces in this slim volume to rock your world.
Tomas Stender
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Mar 07, 2020
Sarah
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Jan 10, 2019
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Nov 05, 2018
Lindsay
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Mar 02, 2015
D.P.
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Sep 09, 2013
Melanie Kulbaba
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Aug 06, 2018
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Max Ehrmann (September 26, 1872 - September 9, 1945), an attorney from Indiana, was best known for writing the prose poem "Desiderata" (Latin: "things desired as essential") in 1927.

Ehrmann, who was of German descent, received a degree in English from DePauw University, followed by a degree in Philosophy from Harvard University. He then returned to his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana to practice
...more

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When you work at Goodreads, it's pretty tough to keep that Want to Read shelf under control. (And let's be honest, most of us don't even t...
120 likes · 29 comments
“-Desiderata-

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.”
25 likes
“And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
8 likes
More quotes…