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The Essay on Self-Reliance

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  5,098 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally importan ...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published April 6th 2009 by BiblioLife (first published January 1st 1841)
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6.0 stars. This book seriously affected me in a very postive way. It's not really even a book but rather a long essay. Essay or book, it had a profound impact on me. In fact, I was utterly floored while reading this and it has become one of my "All Time Favorites."

Other then gushing and throwing great heaps of praise on the work, I am not sure how best to describe the contents so as to do it justice. If I had to try and sum up Emerson's Self Reliance I would say that it is first and foremost t
Riku Sayuj
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, r-r-rs

Shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat swanushthitaat; 
Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah.

The Bhagavad-Gita, 3.35 (Chapter 3, Verse 35)

[Better is one's own Dharma, though devoid of merit, than the Dharma of another well discharged. Better is even death in one's own Dharma; to attempt the Dharma of another is fraught with danger.]

I felt that Self-Reliance is a book length homage to this verse. Emerson, while talking loftily of originality seems to have not the slightest compunctio
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-fiction
Book Review
Aaaahhhh! That’s all that I can say to Emerson. Last time when I read “The American Scholar”, by mistake, I thought the world of Emerson. Now that I read “The Poet” and “Self-Reliance”, I can no longer say that I like all his work and that I understand him. I was so lost by what I read last night, that I tried rereading it again today, but it was to no avail. I could not understand what he was saying. I found his work to be too wordy and over-exaggerated. The language was magnifi
Loy Machedo
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a collection of thoughts published by the author in the year 1841. It is indeed a very rare manuscript as it urges its readers to do the unthinkable – trust your gut feeling, your intuition, your common sense, your heart, your spirit and soul – rather than follow the will of the majority or the popular opinion of the masses.

Personally, I consider this, his masterpiece

But herein lies the twist.

I will request you not to read the book.

Simply because this book
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For Emerson, the greatest good is to elevate and worship ones’ self, and the greatest sin is to look outside ones’ self. While who we are is a product of what has come before and will contribute to what will go on, Emerson sees a danger of looking to the past or considering the future in our actions. He preaches that we should have a focus entirely on the present. Being true to ourselves in the moment may cause inconsistencies and misunderstandings, but this is all part of his greater good. Emer ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-livros
This is a short essay, dense with wise words and food for thought. I struggled a bit with the XIXth century English but after a while I have got used to it and the reading became somewhat easier.

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back
Maryam Rajee
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay
"It's easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it's easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
Sanjay Gautam
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the greatest works I've ever read!
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comments and passages.

Although this 1841 essay is somewhat imbued with “Divine Providence”, Emerson makes a cogent as well as eloquent argument for being your own person. As per John Ruskin, you must read this 19th century English work “letter by letter”, but it is worth it. A few sample passages:

“Ne te quaesiveris extra.”

(“Do not seek outside yourself.”)

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men- that is genius. Speak your late
Emerson has a way with words that I find seldom matched by others. His prose is rich with imagery that it feels as though I am constructing a physical edifice out of his ideas as I read. My own bias is apparent in the fact that part of the reason I like Emerson so much is that my own meditations on life are similar to his. This particular book, for which is he is most well known for, emphasizes that nothing of true value can come from without and only from within. I can see though how his philos ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I THUS PROUDLY DENOUNCE LOGIC - What Mr. Emerson is really trying to say.

I would like to start this review with a quote. Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote thusly: “Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think’, ‘I am’, but quotes some saint or sage”.

I think - I say again, I think - Mr. Emerson is a good writer; his way with words is undeniably extraordinary. As a philosopher, however, he demonstrates nothing but utter failure in this essay. “Self-Reliance” is
"If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in suc ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.”

This essay was waiting for me at this time of my life as a respond to my need at this strange stage that am undergoing beside its being required among the 'Comparative Lit' texts.
I quote some others;

“My life is for itself and not for spectacle.”
This is a good bomb for our societies ha-ha! :D

“It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after t
Elsa Qazi
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
This essay was beautiful, thought-provoking and transformative for me.

"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in midst of a crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

"Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members."

Society tries to make us what we are not, people try to mold our thoughts into that of the collective thinking of the society.
Aaron Goldfarb
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first time I read "Self-Reliance," I didn't. It was assigned summer reading before my senior year AP English class and I was too busy golfing and playing pick-up basketball to waste my summer on a book written by a dead guy with weird sideburns. At age 23, I read it the second time, printing out a public domain edition using a temp job's laser printer then plowing through it on my lunch break. This week was my third time to read it and by far the most valuable thanks to the Domino Project's ...more
Jowayria Rahal
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Emerson and Thoreau are easier compared than contrasted since they both were proponents of the same trend; transcendentalism_ the idea that man, by meditating the self and examining nature can transcend his humanity and fuse into the soul of God to end up being one with Him.

Their themes are pretty similar : know yourself, trust yourself, examine nature to figure out what/who you are, do not rely on the government and man is inherently good. They both_as transcendentalists- were non-conformists
Sokcheng Seang
Admittedly, this was the first time I read Emerson's work. I was in awed with his use of language. As a non-born English speaker, I have quite a lot of difficulties trying to understand his points most of the times. However, I have come to the conclusion that this whole essay wants to prove only a handful of statements- namely, "be true to yourself", "trust your guts", "contradict yourself", "do not conform".

While these advices are helpful in trying to establish your own thoughts, it borders too
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One word to describe both Emerson and his essay Self Reliance, profound. If you have been board as of late and feel like you want to intellectually challenge yourself and think, then I suggest you pick up Emerson. I've been saying to a few friends of mine how I've been mentally unsatisfied with some of the books we've been reading in our book club and how I've wanted something to challenge me more and make me think, well this is where i found it. Self Reliance is great and don't think your gonna ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This essay was full of brilliant ideas and sometimes it was like an inspirational speech, and if anything it was the whole essence of it. trust yourself :)
this was the 1st essay I read from R.W Emerson and I think I'll read more if I can.
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An attack on all the sheep of the world! Emerson stresses figuring out the world for yourself, doing what you feel is the right thing to do right now (even if you haven't always felt that way), honesty, living in the present, and never caving to things simply because other people do.

Full of great points, GREAT quotes and funny lines. The irreverent Emerson gets a little extreme for me sometimes ("If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own."
John Gurney
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Self-Reliance, though a century and a half old, is full of timeless wisdom, written in Ralph Waldo Emerson's memorable prose. May more of us have the fortitude and bravery to be self-reliant in thought and deed!

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Whoso would be a man, must be a non-conformist."

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

"I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead in
Kathryn Bashaar
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After I read American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work I felt like I wanted to read some of Emerson's essays, and I started with this one, probably his most famous. I was surprised by how many of our common sayings came from this single essay "Imitation is suicide." "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." "To be great is to be misunderstood." Emerson's basic me ...more
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the source of some famous quotes. It's an interesting read because Emerson is trying to be shocking and most people will disagree with something in here, so it will give the reader something to think about.
The central question is whether history is all about a few "great men" like Julius Caesar or whether it is also about all the little people who created the roads, the armies, the social institutions that made Rome, and which Caesar then tyrannically took for himself. If you think that
Ken Moten
Since I have already given my main thoughts on Emerson and his prose-style in my review of The American Scholar, I can be laconic on this essay.

This essay is very simply an exhortation by Emerson to be yourself and not to conform. This seems like it would have been much more effective in the 19th century or even the 1950s, but now its bite has dulled because of how individualized our society is or at least pretends to be. This could have had a bigger impact on me if the prose was not STILL so d
Leah Angstman
May 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is really tedious and bloated and booorrrring. I must honestly tell you that the language is so overly-flowery, pretentious, rambling, and disorganized, that I don't actually know what the essay is about. The gist is to be your own man and to stand out from the crowd, but with that is also the bashing of society's norms, a patriotic(?) attempt to get Americans to be better than people in other countries, a diatribe on religion that (I guess) culminates into you having 'one maker' who made y ...more
Sonny Wyatt
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Our age is retrospective, it builds the tombs of the fathers... why can't we have a religion of revelation to us instead of the history of theirs." with this opener I was hooked. Emerson's idea was to convey the necessity of a deep belief and high regard of self and the intellect of your own mind. Regard more highly that new thing which you can bring into the world over the inventions, and innovations of existing things, or thoughts brought forth by others. Follow your inner constitution rather ...more
John Spillane
Maybe it was the narrator or the dated language was too hard for me to follow but boy did this miss. I'll probably listen to it again because it's short and I assume the problem is mine. The final line "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles." and the famous "hobgoblin of little minds" bits were the only lines that made me perk up.
Rachel Nicole Nicole
I really enjoyed this whole concept of being able to THINK for yourself and rely on yourself. Emmerson does an excellent job of getting the point across to not just conform to society and let them tell you what to do with your life but rather to LIVE your life how you THINK you should live it and do it the best you THINK it can be :) Self-reliance. Great!

Ezgi Deniz Çelik
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
Makalenin sonunda Hz. Ali'nin sözünü görünce çok şaşırdım: "Thy lot or portion of life," said the Caliph Ali, "is seeking after thee; therefore be at rest from seeking after it." -siz ne iseniz ve neye layıksanız, onu arayıp durmanıza gerek yoktur, çünkü o layıkınız sizi, arayıp durmaktadır.-
Korakot Chuawong
Incredible idea!. The best way of living in nowaday society.
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in 1803, Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston. Educated at Harvard and the Cambridge Divinity School, he became a Unitarian minister in 1826 at the Second Church Unitarian. The congregation, with Christian overtones, issued communion, something Emerson refused to do. "Really, it is beyond my comprehension," Emerson once said, when asked by a seminary professor whether he believed in God. (Quoted ...more
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“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” 3192 likes
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” 597 likes
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