Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Myth of Sisyphus” as Want to Read:
The Myth of Sisyphus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Myth of Sisyphus

by
4.16  ·  Rating details ·  24,336 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves—and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives—and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose id ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 30th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1942)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,336 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Myth of Sisyphus
Ahmad Sharabiani
Le Mythe de Sisyphe = The myth of Sisyphus and other essays, Albert Camus

The Myth of Sisyphus is a 1942 philosophical essay by Albert Camus.

In the last chapter, Camus outlines the legend of Sisyphus who defied the gods and put Death in chains so that no human needed to die.

When Death was eventually liberated and it came time for Sisyphus himself to die, he concocted a deceit which let him escape from the underworld.

After finally capturing Sisyphus, the gods decided that his punishment would l
...more
Erik Graff
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: troubled teens
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
By the end of high school I was a very unhappy person and had been so since our family moved from unincorporated Kane County to Park Ridge, Illinois when I was ten. At the outset the unhappiness was basically consequent upon leaving a rural setting, small school and friendly, integrated working-class neighborhood for a reactionary suburb, large school and unfriendly upper middle-class populace whose children were, by and large, just as thoughtlessly racist and conservative as their parents were. ...more
Fergus
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up this beloved old book this morning, after awakening from a painfully fitful sleep, the words in it seemed to be my own.

They are all that clearly familiar to me, after so many years away from them.

So it goes with life.

As we approach the years of our old age, the routine of our life falls into place without our even trying - if we have been paying attention to it.

That’s because the way we now live our life is something obvious, like the habits of a dear old friend. There are few
...more
Samra Yusuf
No matter in what farthest corner of the world you live, which color is of your skin, what kind of habits you’ve grown over the time for you to be known as a busy person, what are the erogenous fantasies your mind weave in the moments of quiet to make you tremble with pleasure, which, from many doctrines you chose to scale the things as “right” and “wrong” which one from countless delusions you’ve opted as religion, or you weren’t the one to opt it, you inherited it like other concrete property, ...more
BlackOxford
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Assisted Living

It was that Jewish heretic Paul of Tarsus who gave us the idea that we are not in charge of our lives but are merely responsible for them to God who owns us. It was the English philosopher John Locke, a heretic to Pauline Calvinism, who casually pointed out that in fact our lives are the only thing we do have complete charge over, the only thing every one of us owns and can dispose of. And it was Albert Camus, a heretic to any and all sources of power, who took Locke entirely seri
...more
Zanna
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A good friend introduced me to Nietzsche in my early teens, and Nietzsche and I have had a turbulent relationship ever since. One of the first adult books I read was Kafka's The Trial and Nietzsche was there too, inviting me to step off the city on poles into the bottomless swamp.

Oh baby hold my hand
we're gonna walk on water


Nietzsche said there are no facts, no truth. After he said this, some philosophers stopped writing like Kant and wrote like poets. Camus says here that 'there is no truth
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who prefers Rolling Stones to Beatles albums
The One True Philosophical Problem

"The Myth of Sisyphus" purports to be about the "one truly philosophical problem [of] suicide".

Perhaps, it's a little sensationalist to define the problem in these terms, at least in the 21st century. Even Camus himself immediately restated the problem as "judging whether life is or is not worth living".

Maybe another way is to ask whether, if life is not worth living, does it follow that we should cease to live, e.g., by committing suicide? (It's interesting how
...more
Steven Godin
This was a fascinating insight into a thought provoking question, Albert Camus suggests that suicide amounts to a confession that life is not worth living. He links this confession to what he calls the "feeling of absurdity", that on the whole, we go through life with meaning and purpose, with a sense that we do things for good and profound reasons. Occasionally, however for some at least, we might come to see our daily lives dictated primarily by the forces of habit, thus bringing into question ...more
P.E.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay, absurd

- Le Penseur, de Bernard et Clotilde Barto - near La Médiathèque Jacques Demy, Nantes

Right after Promise at Dawn (La Promesse de l'Aube), I wrap up The myth of Sisyphus and come out eventually disheartened by the mighty silence ruling over the studio in Lorient. In spare words, this is a study on the absurd. The onset is : "is life worth living?" The subject is tailored to make you react to it and decide where you stand.

On the whole, I don't align with Camus. I am astounded by the sternness
...more
Magdalen
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing

"Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee"
the book in one sentence more or less.
Definitely one of those books you must reread..
Rowland Pasaribu
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Albert Camus (1913–1960) is not a philosopher so much as a novelist with a strong philosophical bent. He is most famous for his novels of ideas, such as The Stranger and The Plague, both of which are set in the arid landscape of his native Algeria.

Camus studied philosophy at the University of Algiers, which brought him into contact with two of the major branches of twentieth century philosophy: existentialism and phenomenology. Existentialism arises from an awareness that there is no pre-ordaine
...more
Matthew Appleton
120th book of 2020.

I’m a pretty huge Velvet Underground fan, and by extension, a big Lou Reed fan. Anyone else in the same position may have seen young Reed causing ‘intellectual havoc’ in his interviews. He speaks in paradoxes. In 1974 Lou sits in my favourite interview of mine, being difficult, partly, but also being astoundingly clever.

“Lou, you’re a man of few words, why is this?”
“I don’t have anything to say.”
“Do you like meeting people, talking to people?”
“Some.”
“Do you like talking to u
...more
Sanjay Gautam
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind blowing and Life altering work!

Czarny Pies
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teenage fans of Camus
I read this book shortly after Albert Camus' death when he was at the height of his popularity. As I was in high school, it may have been the first philosophical work that that I ever read. By the time I arrived at university three years later, the academics were hooting at it. The pedants asserted that the work demonstrated only the extent to which Camus the novelist was out of his depth as a philosopher.

I do not think that many of the profs from my era foresaw that Camus' works would have a bi
...more
Junta
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who have read some philosophical works before
Recommended to Junta by: The Stranger, The Plague, feeling existential
Hallelujah, I've finished. I think this was the slowest pace at which I read a book since joining Goodreads. For now (and possibly for eternity), three points:

1. if I were Sisyphus, a good punishment the gods could deal out to me would be to ceaselessly make me re-read this for eternity;
2. as much as I struggled with this book, I don't regret picking it up - as Calvino says, Every new book I read comes to be a part of that overall and unitary book that is the sum of my readings... things won't b
...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Oh Camus... Oh Camus... Why are your books always the hardest to write about?

I've had quite the relationship with Camus' body of work; from strong hatred to admiration to indifference to hatred to well... this...

"Opinionated" and "Name-dropper" are redundant words to describe a Philosopher or essayist, since they undermine the very foundation of a work of philosophy; but I'm afraid, in the case of Camus I just can't avoid them. I feel if "Name-dropping" was an Olympic sport, France would win the
...more
عماد العتيلي
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to عماد by: Samra Yusuf
‎‫‏‬description‬‬‬‬‬‬

“It happens that the stage sets collapse. Rising, streetcar, four hours in the office or the factory, meal, streetcar, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday according to the same rhythm – this path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the “why” arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement.”

I love Camus! I just LOVE him!
He has that weird ability to draw my full attention, and to make me lose the tra
...more
S.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
There's both a feeling of liberation and imprisonment in Camus' train of thought, a paradox with which I very much agree with.
Liberation for the reassurance that you are aware of the disconcerting truth that death is the end, so you act accordingly (the mantra being, to live as much/long as possible); and imprisonment because no matter what you do, no matter how much you try to seize the day, you are condemned to, in a matter of time, dive into oblivion and nothingness.
Murtaza
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Camus thesis in this book is exemplified in its famous statement that, "there is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide." Like much modern existentialist philosophy, the guiding principle amounts to an assertion that the world is a desert, and then proceeds to question whether or not you can (or should) survive it. Is it even worth surviving, or trying to survive for the brief moment that we exist anyways? Why not, as many do today despite unprecedented material wealth, ...more
Luís
"There is no more beautiful spectacle than the intelligence grappling with a reality which exceeds it." This quote from his book, The Myth of Sysiph, applies wonderfully to its author.

Reality is beyond us all, and the meaning of life is foreign to us. However, we do not all have the same relationship with it, the same way of doing or including ourselves.

Those who believe in God and have chosen religion to honour Him have chosen the easy way. Everything is explained by Him and in Him. Death is on
...more
Jonathan Terrington

Mythology is a passion of mine and has been ever since I was a younger child - an age when I had much greater clarity of mind than I do now and was hampered less by outward influences. Therefore, to see Albert Camus write a sequence of differing essays which explore existentialism (whether he was truly an 'existentialist' is a matter of debate and conjecture but he was interested in existentialist concepts) in a manner that connects back to mythology was fascinating.

For those who are unaware, th
...more
Edita
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy rises in man's heart : this is the rock's victory, this is the rock itself. The boundless grief is too heavy to bear.
Mel
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-former-life, 2020
re-read 2020
Laura
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5 stars

Well that was a heavy read. 😅
"We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking."
"There are thuths, but no truth."
"You continue making gestures commanded by existance for many reasons, the first of which is habit."
"There is so much stubborn hope in a human heart."
And the list of quotes goes on. 😄
This is a fantastic insight into thought provoking questions about the meaning and value of life. One thing that is undoubtable about "The Myth of Sisyphus" is that it
...more
Soycd
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.


It is in The Myth of Sisyphus where French author Albert Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: the idea that humankind as a whole is stuck in a perpetual loop made of futile efforts to try to find meaning in an absurd world. He illustrates his point with a renowned character from Greek mythology: Sisyphus wa
...more
Marc
Camus starts with the proposition that there is only one truly serious philosophical problem: suicide, namely the question of whether life is worth living or not. Personally, Camus chooses to live with absurdity. In various essays this theme is worked out in a rather cerebral and not always readable style. Other themes are: freedom, revolt, passion.
The essay 'Le mythe de Sisyphe' covers but 6 pages. It begins with a summary of the faults of Sisyphus, which were nothing but an extreme craving fo
...more
B
May 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Had to give up on this book after 50 pages. I'm a big fan of existentialism and philosophy in general but this book left me completely unsatisfied. Besides a really important idea: that suicide is the only serious philosophical problem, I don't really think The Myth of Sisyphus has much to offer. It's either an extremely tough read or just plain incoherent babble. I'm inclined to say it is the latter. Overall, a huge disappointment.
Michael Finocchiaro
More of an absurdist philosophical text than anything else, in Myth of Sisyphus, Camus draws for us a sketch of his existentialist ideas - those which underpinned his masterpieces such as the inestimable La Peste (The Plague).
Roberta
My internet decided to fuck off today, so I‘ve read The Myth of Sisyphus (gave it 4 stars cause the first part kind of flew over my head with the references to other philosophers but I’m looking forward to rereading it when I’m smarter, so I can give this 5 stars.).

See, I‘m starting to see a pattern, I seek refuge in Albert’s (yeah, we’re on first name basis) writing whenever something’s bothering me. When I picked up to reread The Plague, it was the time of peak COVID anxiety. What’s bothering
...more
Sebastien
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a couple quick notes that struck me:

There are some great essays here, two that I enjoyed were the ones on philosopher writers of the absurd who explored the struggle of the human condition: Dostoevsky and Kafka. It was great reading the Kafka essay because I just read The Trial a few days ago and I have wanted to see what kind of analysis is out there. Well, as luck has it I randomly stumbled upon Camus' take! There are worse people to get analysis from hehe, especially on the literature of
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Existentialism is a Humanism
  • Nausea
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  • Notes from Underground
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • The Trial
  • Fear and Trembling
  • On the Genealogy of Morals
  • The Castle
  • The Metamorphosis
  • No Exit
  • Steppenwolf
  • Twilight of the Idols
  • The Anti-Christ
  • Ecce Homo
  • The Republic
  • The Gay Science
  • Meditations on First Philosophy
See similar books…
21,418 followers
Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university care ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We’ve got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
17 likes · 3 comments
“I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.” 146 likes
“We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.” 139 likes
More quotes…