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The Myth of Sisyphus

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  17,368 ratings  ·  973 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)
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4.15  · 
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 ·  17,368 ratings  ·  973 reviews

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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
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
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
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,
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
Luís C.
As soon as the character of The Stranger abandoned to his sad fate, the desire to stay a little while in the company of Albert Camus came naturally.
From a chronological point of view, the choice of the essay The Myth of Sisyphus, also published in 1942 in the framework of the tetralogy "The cycle of the absurd", seems self-evident.
"There is only one serious philosophical problem: it is suicide." In spite of this first sentence, the end of which smacks like a whip, this essay does not make the ap
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
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay

- 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 of
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
Sanjay Gautam
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind blowing and Life altering work!

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..
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
Emad Attili
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emad by: Samra Yusuf

“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 track of time
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
Walter Schutjens
Let me first start with the fact that I feel as if I have missed a good 20% of the theory and meaning in this book. That could be because of his writing style, saturated with symbology and far reaching statements. Or because of the fact that this was an application of the theory of the absurd and not an explanation of the absurd, something that one really has to examine before you can fully understand its essence.

But apart from that I really enjoyed reading this book, expecting that it would gi
Mark Joyce
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to dismiss Camus as the philosophical equivalent of a Class C drug - something you flirt with pleasurably but inconsequentially in adolescence, or alternatively a gateway into longer-term, potentially ruinous associations with the harder stuff. As I write this I am sitting unshaven and hollow-eyed, stealing Gollum-like glances at a recently delivered 850-page biography of Soren Kierkegaard, so I have a degree of sympathy with this view. But I think it also does Camus a massive disservi ...more
Caesar Min
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Long live Albert Camus!
This book have been killing me for almost a month and I couldn't able to read any other books during that time. I like this book. It give your brain a lot of vibration and thinking.
What make me surprise is that Albert Camus is only 29 years old when he wrote "The Myth of Sisyphus". That make me think that I'm actually not reading at all when I read his Sisyphus. He was gifted or talented or genius writer. I believe he live the life. He encourage me to read more, to explor
I read this over twenty seven years ago. So I have slept since then and don't remember much of it. Maybe someday I might read it again
Camus’s ideas are exceptional, but it is his eloquence, often dangerously bordering on poetic syllogism, that displays the ideas so convincingly. The literary beauty does carry discerning justification, but almost unnecessarily so—I would also gladly have read The Myth of Sisyphus as a work of fiction, for the joy of its language, even if the philosophy within it were meaningless. (Though it is dangerous to split a work into constituents, probably as much as it is to separate the work from the c ...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
I was quite surprised to learn that Camus wrote this book before he was even thirty. It is, in every way that I can think of, such a mature work. It feels more like a work of an old University professor, than a young man (as intelligent as he might be), but hey maybe some people have old souls? Maybe Camus was one of those people? It is as good as time as any to warn you to not expect this review to be fabulously informative or even very informed. Philosophy is not my strongest point, i.e., I'm ...more
For the third time in my life I have read this book. It is a beautiful and terrifying edifice in both poetry and prose and philosophy, in that order. This is the most influential book in my life, the most fully dynamic and the most 'truthful', if that's not too against the spirit of it (which, of course, it is) and in my acknowledgement of that, I acknowledge the energy of the absurd that feeds that very sentiment. Here is the requirement to fulfill a structured 'good', a moral highlight within ...more
Adarsh Chauhan
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a survival guide in the meaningless world that we inhabit. The consciousness of life and the experiences it offers are the heavy boulder that mortals have to push up a hill over and over again like the condemned Sisyphus and all the way at the top, despair at seeing the boulder roll back down to the bottom, from where we gotta pick it up again and carry on this cycle for a hopeless eternity. The precise feeling of absurdity experienced by a conscious mind when placing oneself in the ...more
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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
“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.” 118 likes
“We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.” 116 likes
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