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Walden; or, Life in the Woods

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  132,726 ratings  ·  4,226 reviews
Nature was a form of religion for naturalist, essayist, and early environmentalist Henry David Thoreau (1817–62). In communing with the natural world, he wished to "live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and … learn what it had to teach." Toward that end Thoreau built a cabin in the spring of 1845 on the shores of Walden Pond — on land owned by Ralph ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 12th 1995 by Dover Publications (first published 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)
Nicholas Vardeh The best chapters of the book are towards the middle and the end, where he grows and adapts to the Walden environment and realizes things about…moreThe best chapters of the book are towards the middle and the end, where he grows and adapts to the Walden environment and realizes things about HIMSELF, not his neighbors, that is most profound. the book more or less begins after Reading. (less)

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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 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 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
Beth
Jul 23, 2008 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
Clare
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
...more
Lyn
Jul 17, 2011 rated it 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.

description
Chris Bradshaw
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jason Koivu
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
...more
John Wiswell
Mar 01, 2009 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
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
Emily May
Aug 19, 2012 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
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
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!
Mister Jones
Mar 07, 2008 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 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
Amanda
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
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
Alex
Aug 03, 2014 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
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
booklady
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Amor Towles
Oct 24, 2016 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
||Swaroop||
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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
...more
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
Igrowastreesgrow
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, library
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
...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
Roula
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 αστερια

#transcendentalism 🙏🙏🙏
Cosimo
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I nostri raccolti

“Andai nei boschi perché desideravo vivere in modo autentico, per affrontare soltanto i problemi essenziali della vita, per vedere se avrei imparato quanto essa aveva da insegnare, e per non scoprire, in punto di morte, di non aver vissuto”.

La sensazione che con questo libro iniziasse un viaggio, un viaggio che non ha ritorno, mi ha accompagnato come un indizio nascosto, nel corso degli anni, crescendo, ma ora che la passeggiata è finita, e sono di nuovo a casa, quella predilezi
...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
Mamdouh Abdullah
Dec 14, 2013 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
Lindsey • [lit + wit] •
YEAH, YOU WERE A TOTAL MOUNTAIN MAN HIPPIE LIVING IN EMERSON’S YARD WHILE YOUR MOM DID YOUR LAUNDRY AND YOUR FRIENDS CAME OVER FOR TEA, THOREAU.

AND I AM 100% POSITIVE MY RESENTMENT STEMS FROM A LIT COURSE I TOOK IN COLLEGE WHERE I WAS FORCED TO READ THOREAU’S ESSAYS AND LISTEN TO MY PEERS DISCUSS HOW BRILLIANTLY AUTHENTIC THIS WAS AND HOW THEY COULD NOT WAIT TO READ MOBY DICK NEXT WEEK.

NO ONE IS EXCITED TO READ MOBY DICK, OKAY.*

NO ONE.


*Matilda and Ms. Honey are excited to read Moby Dick at the e
...more
Bob
Sep 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a struggle to read. Like a chick struggling to hatch and be free of his confining egg, I struggled to get to the end of this book, it was a miserable experience. This book is as useless to me as the chick's empty shell is to him. Thankfully this reading struggle for me is over, and I too am now free. The writing was verbose and dictatorial. That is not to say that while reading there were not moments of solid reading enjoyment. However, for the benefit of several paragraphs of grea ...more
Manu
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


«Walden» puede ser sintetizado como la búsqueda del hombre de su "yo verdadero". Thoreau parte de la premisa (como tantos) de que en nosotros anida algo esencial, una vida esencial que espera ser vivida. La respuesta al cómo, cómo esa vida debe ser vivida, Thoreau la encuentra en el contacto con la naturaleza y la supresión de toda superficialidad en la vida diaria, una clase de ascetismo. Comprendiendo el mensaje del libro, se puede comprender también su carácter de clásico. Thoreau no cuenta s
...more
Darwin8u
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
Ayush
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book brought forth some memories of the time when I last visited my little hometown and there is one such incident that happened then which sums up this book nicely

I had started my first day of the summer vacations with one of tastiest orange juice I had ever had.

The secret was obviously in the oranges. My mother told me about this woman who although from an extremely meagre background, had dared to break free from the chain of middlemen to produce her own oranges by maintaining a small g
...more
Gabrielle Dubois
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
I just finished Walden. The first chapters filled me with enthousiasm, as you can read in the early reflections on this book that are already posted in my comments below.
Then, I confess, the purely descriptive chapters about nature, from the middle of the book to the penultimate chapter, bored me to so much that I forced myself to read this book until the end.
It's not that I don’t like descriptions, quite the opposite. But for me, they must be either poetic, or bring the author to a reflection,
...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
I know many people feel that WALDEN is a classic treatise on self reliance and living in harmony with the natural world. So I approached this book with an open mind. But rather than discovering an inspiring read, I came to view Thoreau's writing as largely self absorbed and frankly, quite dull. After the first 100 pages, I could not force myself to continue.
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 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
Kelly ...
Nov 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, dnf, 1001-books
Meh. Drudgery. I forced myself to give this one a real shot and read 3/4 or more of it, but I just couldn't continue on. It was boring. Dull. Drudgery. I have never read anything else by Thoreau and this one left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It would take a lot of convincing for me to read another of his tales.
Tayebe
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was exactly what I expected it to be. The way Thoreau defined poverty and the way he justified his life in a little wooden house were phenomenal. The most interesting part was the Conclusion. when I finished the Conclusion part I was in shock! I just wanted to forsake living in a civilized city and go to the woods and live a life in accordance to my ideals. But Alas! I don't t have the guts to do so or maybe I think I don't know how to live a life all by myself.
How can anyone think like
...more
natalie
Oh, how I wish you could give books zero stars.

I won't sugarcoat it - I hated this book. I hated hated hated hATED IT.

Seriously, love yourself. Don't read this book.

I would just end it there and make this short and sweet, but I figure I should actually include some substance to back up my angry rant there. So, here's the deal. I'm sure you've heard about Thoreau before, whether from history or English. And if you haven't, congratulations. Seriously.

Basically, Thoreau decided in the mid 1850s,
...more
Ritinha
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sem prejuízo de tudo de bom que se escreveu sobre Walden, a verdade é que esperava uma leitura menos... Morosa 🙄
(Calhou em jeito ter lido a Ilíada no início deste ano)
Jason Pettus
Oct 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #50: Walden (1854), by Henry David Thoreau

The story in a nutshell:
Although not published until 1854, Henry David Thoreau's Walden is a chronicle of events that
...more
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Catching up on Cl...: Walden - SPOILERS 136 97 Nov 28, 2018 11:20AM  
Reading 1001: Walden 1 4 Nov 23, 2017 11:26PM  
Catching up on Cl...: Walden - NO spoilers 29 76 Nov 21, 2017 07:31AM  
AoM Essential Man...: Walden 2 13 May 31, 2017 09:38AM  
Like Thoreau... 3 31 May 10, 2017 04:17AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Missing page number for Walden 3 13 Dec 15, 2016 10:30PM  
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3,762 followers
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.

Thoreau's books
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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.” 7816 likes
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 4636 likes
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