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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

30 review for The Wisdom of Life (Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    ‭Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit = The Wisdom of Life, Arthur Schopenhauer The Wisdom of Life represents part of Schopenhauer's work originally titled Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit and translated by T. B. Saunders. The other part of the original has been translated under the name Counsels and Maxims. However both parts deal with a single treatise, with the being no such division in the original. Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life: “There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is fil ‭Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit = The Wisdom of Life, Arthur Schopenhauer The Wisdom of Life represents part of Schopenhauer's work originally titled Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit and translated by T. B. Saunders. The other part of the original has been translated under the name Counsels and Maxims. However both parts deal with a single treatise, with the being no such division in the original. Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life: “There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is filled with misery and pain; if a man escapes these, boredeom lies in wait for him at every corner. Nay more; it is evil which generally has the upper hand, and folly that makes the most noise. Fate is cruel and mankind pitiable.” تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2010میلادی عنوان: در باب حکمت زندگی؛ نویسنده: آرتور شوپنهاور؛ مترجم: محمد مبشری؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1388، در 277ص؛ شابک 9789644484070؛ موضوع: راه و رسم زندگی - سده 19م تاثیر فلسفه بر اقتصاد فراتر از آن چیزی ست که در ذهن بگنجد؛ انسانها از زمانیکه انسان یاد گرفتند، بیاندیشند، و تاثیر فضای بیرونی و درونی بر زندگی اش را تحلیل کنند، از همان زمان فلسفه و اقتصاد هم، تاثیر خود را بر نحوه ی زندگی گذاشتند؛ به باور بسیاری از اندیشمندان، اقتصاد هر ملتی، متکی بر اندیشه ای ست، که آن ملت دارند؛ اگر نگاه به زندگی، نگاه عارف مسلکانه باشد، اقتصاد و زندگی هم خواه ناخواه، در چارچوب همان عرفان، خواهد بود، و رشد و توسعه را تجربه نخواهد کرد، اما اگر نگاهی که به زندگی داریم، نگاه آزادمنشانه باشد؛ زندگی و اقتصاد هم، در همان چارچوب رشد، و تعالی خود را خواهد داشت؛ اما همه ی اینها که نگاشته شد، تا به تاثیر آثار «شوپنهاور»، بر فلسفه ی اقتصادی جهان، پرداخته شود؛ آثار «شوپنهاور» در قیاس با فلسفه ی «کانت»، و «هگل»، بسیار ساده و ادبی نوشته شده اند؛ در میان فیلسوفان، ایشان ساده ترین و ادیبانه ترین قلم را داشتند؛ ایشان میگفتند: «انسان یک کالای تولیدی کارخانه ی طبیعت است، و آدمیان عالم در جستجوی خوشبختی نیستند، بلکه باید آزاد از غم و رنج و درد، زندگی کنند، و انسان، بهتراست عشق و دوستی را، جزو کالاهای مورد نیاز روزانه ی خود، قرار دهد»؛ ایشان جنون غرور ملی را، مانع آزادی، و شکوفایی صفات شخصی، میدانستند؛ ایشان انعکاس «لیبرالیسم اقتصادی انگلیس»، در آینه ی طبیعی را، «سوسیال داروینیسم» نام نهادند؛ «شوپنهاور» مینویسند: «اگر انسان آزادی برای انجام همه کارها را نداشته باشد، میتواند درباره ی خوب و بد آنان اندیشه کند»؛ ایشان از جمله فیلسوفانی بودند، که سالها از زمان خود دوراندیشتر بودند تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 30/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    I've included the above photo of a wise man from Asia for a very specific reason: to underscore the fact that the wisdom of life transcends culture. Certainly, as per the book cover, one can clearly see Arthur Schopenhauer is from the world of early 19th century European civilization. But what the German philosopher has to say on the topic of wisdom is as relevant today for women and men living anywhere on the globe as it was when he wrote his book back in the 1850s in Frankfurt, Germany. I have I've included the above photo of a wise man from Asia for a very specific reason: to underscore the fact that the wisdom of life transcends culture. Certainly, as per the book cover, one can clearly see Arthur Schopenhauer is from the world of early 19th century European civilization. But what the German philosopher has to say on the topic of wisdom is as relevant today for women and men living anywhere on the globe as it was when he wrote his book back in the 1850s in Frankfurt, Germany. I have already posted a review on various sections of this book but since I’ve given the topics covered a bit more thought, I would like to share more recent reflections. I'll do so by linking my comments with specific key author quotes. "In elaborating the scheme of a happy existence, I have had to make a complete surrender of the higher metaphysical and ethical standpoint to which my own theories lead." ---------- Nearly all readers familiar with Schopenhauer's philosophy think in terms of his major work, The World as Will and Representation, which contains a very pessimistic stance. With The Wisdom of Life, Sir Arthur reverses his previous judgement and disposition to embrace and encourage us to live a life filled with great joy and happiness. As to how exactly such a blessed mode of being is to be achieved is the subject of this book. “Compared with genuine personal advantages_, such as a great mind or a great heart, all the privileges of rank or birth, even of royal birth, are but as kings on the stage, to kings in real life.” ---------- The German philosopher elaborates on precisely why three qualities are to be treasured above all else: physical health, a rich mind and a positive, cheerful disposition. He scoffs at individuals who are cynical about experiencing happiness that good fortune bestows on them in the present moment, likening such negativity to pouring excellent wine into a sack full of bile. On this point I entirely agree: I’ve had my bellyful being around people who are black-bile stinkers and complainers. Especially in more recent years, I attempt to see the beauty in each moment – and one way to keep my vision clear is to do my best in avoiding stinkers and all the many smellfungi. "For beyond the satisfaction of some real and natural necessities, all that the possession of wealth can achieve has a very small influence upon our happiness . . . and still men are a thousand times more intent on becoming rich than on acquiring culture, though it is quite certain that what a man is contributes much more to his happiness than what he has.” ---------- From one angle, I couldn’t agree more – people who ignore developing their internal capacities and resources, enriching and broadening activities such as reading and contemplation, learning and education, in order to run after material possessions are setting themselves up for frustration and boredom since new possession provide a quick hit of pleasure but the buzz quickly wears off. However, as Schopenhauer elaborates elsewhere, for a man (sorry, his language is sexist) of rich mind, possessing wealth is a great gift since it serves as a liberation from the world of toil and having to work in order to “make a living.” “How much our happiness depends upon our spirits, and these again upon our state of health.” ----------- Sorry to say one of the follies of youth is to throw one’s body around as if it was worth no more than an old, dirty dishrag. I’m thinking here of the thousands of young people who play football or other contact sports. Back when I was a kid I even knew a guy who would play “chicken” with cars riding along the highway by jumping in from of a car forcing the driver to hit the brakes. Along someone similar lines, we can think of the foolishness of spending day after day destroying one’s health by things like booze, smoking and bad food. "It is a great piece of folly to sacrifice the inner for the outer man, to give the whole or the greater part of one's quiet, leisure and independence for splendor, rank, pomp, titles and honor." ---------- I agree – up to a point. But there is another angle at work here. For as the great Jacob Bronowski said in his Ascent of Man, “The most powerful drive in the ascent of man is his pleasure in his own skill. He loves to do what he does well and, having done it well, he loves to do it better.” Case in point: I know five men, like myself, hovering around age 70 – an accountant, a framer of art and three specialists within the world of medicine. All five want to keep working as long as they can – the big reason relates to Jacob Bronowski’s observation about taking great pleasure in performing work with great skill. Schopenhauer doesn’t have a high regard for the hurly-burly of life and such “outer” activities. Although I myself couldn’t wait to retire so I could devote my time and energy to things like reading and writing, I can now appreciate how other women and men want to continue working - and for good reason. In other words, for many individuals, Bronowski is right and Schopenhauer is wrong. “But to be in possession of undisturbed leisure, is far from being the common lot; nay, it is something alien to human nature, for the ordinary man's destiny is to spend life in procuring what is necessary for the subsistence of himself and his family; he is a son of struggle and need, not a free intelligence.” ---------- Thus the happy ideal for Schopenhauer: a combination of the above mentioned physical health, rich mind and cheerful disposition coupled with wealth enough to provide for undisturbed leisure. “The peculiar characteristic of the philistine is a dull, dry kind of gravity, akin to that of animals. Nothing really pleases, or excites, or interests him, for sensual pleasure is quickly exhausted, and the society of philistines soon becomes burdensome, and one may even get tired of playing cards. --- Avoid - benefit will never outweigh loss.” ---------- Schopenhauer never tires of emphasizing how the wise man rich in mental capacities and interests in topics like philosophy or literature, the arts or sciences is best avoiding hard-headed business types, gossip mongers and the never ending legions of good-time Charlies and vulgar buffoons. “The truth is that the value we set upon the opinion of others, and our constant endeavor in respect of it, are each quite out of proportion to any result we may reasonably hope to attain; so that this attention to other people's attitude may be regarded as a kind of universal mania which everyone inherits.” ---------- No doubt we humans are social beings but if we want to truly be happy and live a life of tranquility and joy there is one question we must put aside: What do other people think of me? Much wiser to cherish one's privacy and solitude and stand on one's own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Arastoo

    This is the first book I have read from Schopenhauer and I have to say, honestly each paragraph embraces wisdom in every sense of the word. There is not a single word or line that is not a quotable. I have not read his pessimistic views, but I can tell you this book does not instill pessimism the least bit, but peace, understanding, and self-reliance, and inner richness. I did not reach the last chapter on Fame, as it did not interest me but the rest of the book was well worth the read. If you'r This is the first book I have read from Schopenhauer and I have to say, honestly each paragraph embraces wisdom in every sense of the word. There is not a single word or line that is not a quotable. I have not read his pessimistic views, but I can tell you this book does not instill pessimism the least bit, but peace, understanding, and self-reliance, and inner richness. I did not reach the last chapter on Fame, as it did not interest me but the rest of the book was well worth the read. If you're looking for a non-traditional self-help book, honestly I believe the foundations of self-books rests in this book, and in his ideas, in Nietzsche, and in Kant. Enjoy!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arjun Ravichandran

    For those who are familiar with Schopenhauer's view on existence and humanity (spoiler alert : he is not a big fan) this pithy essay won't be much of a surprise. His advice boils down to : If you are gifted with intellect or artistic ability, devote yourself to it, and seek not fame ; because art is long, life is short, commerce is idiotic, and most men are fools anyway. It is a fairly self-serving philosophy, but which has much good sense ; also, because the old crank writes so well, there are For those who are familiar with Schopenhauer's view on existence and humanity (spoiler alert : he is not a big fan) this pithy essay won't be much of a surprise. His advice boils down to : If you are gifted with intellect or artistic ability, devote yourself to it, and seek not fame ; because art is long, life is short, commerce is idiotic, and most men are fools anyway. It is a fairly self-serving philosophy, but which has much good sense ; also, because the old crank writes so well, there are a lot of great quotes to be found.

  5. 4 out of 5

    J

    Schopenhauer is endlessly quotable, clear, concise, profound, and yet he doesn't say anything in this piece that is shocking or even surprising. It is more that he says known "wisdoms" with his own brisk style, his own subtle flair. As noted in the introduction, whether or not you subscribe to the philosophy of the man, one can't deny the deft writing he displays in each and every work. The subjects, other than duels, are timeless, and the advice is worth remembering. Schopenhauer is endlessly quotable, clear, concise, profound, and yet he doesn't say anything in this piece that is shocking or even surprising. It is more that he says known "wisdoms" with his own brisk style, his own subtle flair. As noted in the introduction, whether or not you subscribe to the philosophy of the man, one can't deny the deft writing he displays in each and every work. The subjects, other than duels, are timeless, and the advice is worth remembering.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lino

    Well this was a waste of time. For some reason I was convinced this book was important, so I forced myself through it. There's not much wisdom here for me. I was never really in a situation where I wanted to restore my honour while avoiding a duel: "If you are armed, you can strike down your opponent on the spot, or perhaps an hour later. This will restore your honour" For such a short book he has managed to find plenty of space to repeat himself several times. He's also found time for some basic s Well this was a waste of time. For some reason I was convinced this book was important, so I forced myself through it. There's not much wisdom here for me. I was never really in a situation where I wanted to restore my honour while avoiding a duel: "If you are armed, you can strike down your opponent on the spot, or perhaps an hour later. This will restore your honour" For such a short book he has managed to find plenty of space to repeat himself several times. He's also found time for some basic sexism: "[...] man - who possesses all the good things of the earth, in virtue of his superior physical and intellectual power" (relative to women). some racism: "It is said that the most sociable of all people are the Negroes and they are at the bottom of the scale in intellect." and a silly generalization that would be proven terribly wrong some decades later: "The Germans have no national pride, which shows how honest they are, as everybody knows! and how dishonest are those who, by a piece of ridiculous affectation, pretend that they are proud of their country" There are passages I really liked here and there. But they're short, sparse and of little practical value.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Damian

    I have to say that this book changed my life and the way I see it. It helped me understand myself better, made me aware of my own potential and gave me self confidence. It is a book that will most likely make you think twice about the things you thought matter most in life. If it was in my power to do so I would certainly compel everyone into reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vivien

    It helps me to find my inner richness and the sources of the true happiness.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I love this book. I have read in 3 different language... and i read it again and again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amin Eftekhar

    Looking back at the pages that I just finished reading, 90% are highlighted under the impression of great sayings that I might have to return to later. The book was only 77 pages long but took me quit a while to read. At times, I was not able to read more than a few paragraphs in one sitting as it had given me more than enough material to chew upon and mull over for days. It is indeed full of words of wisdom and was a very enjoyable read. It’s very difficult to go back to reading typical books wi Looking back at the pages that I just finished reading, 90% are highlighted under the impression of great sayings that I might have to return to later. The book was only 77 pages long but took me quit a while to read. At times, I was not able to read more than a few paragraphs in one sitting as it had given me more than enough material to chew upon and mull over for days. It is indeed full of words of wisdom and was a very enjoyable read. It’s very difficult to go back to reading typical books with just a few points to make across their some few hundred pages.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sathyanarayanan D

    The Question he tried to address - " What a Man is? " He divides a man in to three things. 1.Personality 2. Property 3. Position. On Personality - He talks about his character and traits. On Property - he talks about one's possessions on Position - He talks about how a man stands in the estimation of others in the society. Position further classified in to different heads - 1.Reputation. 2. Pride. 3. Rank. 4. Honor. 5. Fame. On all the points my views barring some aspects of Knightly Honor on which I h The Question he tried to address - " What a Man is? " He divides a man in to three things. 1.Personality 2. Property 3. Position. On Personality - He talks about his character and traits. On Property - he talks about one's possessions on Position - He talks about how a man stands in the estimation of others in the society. Position further classified in to different heads - 1.Reputation. 2. Pride. 3. Rank. 4. Honor. 5. Fame. On all the points my views barring some aspects of Knightly Honor on which I have never had an opinion, Arthur & I have similar views. The similarity of views on Personality are indeed breathtaking. I have always said the same thing. It is possible I have been always found wanting in eloquence and appeal but in essence my thoughts are exactly the same. Let's look at some of his observations on personality. 1. A high degree of Intellect tends to make a man unsocial. 2. The Life of a fool is worse than a death. 3. The reason why people of limited intellect are apt to be bored is that their intellect is absolutely nothing more than the means by which the motive power of the will is put into force: and whenever there is nothing particular to set the will in motion, it rests, and their intellect takes a holiday, because, equally with the will, it requires something external to bring it into play. Hence, they seek external sources of pleasure. 4. Intellectual pleasures are more supreme than the sensual pleasures. 5. A man with superior intellect always enjoys solace, doesn't fall victim to boredom. And he says that the more dangerous thing is an idiot with affluence. Because in this world, this man claimed superiority only with his money and when he encounters a man of intellect, the affluent idiot feels that his position is threatened. So, the last thing the idiot with money or position will expect from his friends is the possession of any sort of intellectual capacity, if he chances to meet with it, it will rouse his antipathy and even hatred; simply because in addition to an unpleasant sense of inferiority, he experiences, in his heart, a dull kind of envy, which has to be carefully concealed even from himself. Hence, men with intellect should avoid idiots who have money and position for their own good. It goes on. The section on Pride has some important lessons. A must read for all those who can read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    Published in 1850 as part of Parerga and Paralipomena. Deviating from the pessimism of Schopenhauers other work; here the overtone is: "make the best of it". As with Montaigne extensive use of quotations, especially of Petrarca; great psychological insight, but misanthropic take. I think Schopenhauer was very influenced by the Spaniard Gracian, but he was less systematic; this selection contains stylistic gems. Published in 1850 as part of Parerga and Paralipomena. Deviating from the pessimism of Schopenhauers other work; here the overtone is: "make the best of it". As with Montaigne extensive use of quotations, especially of Petrarca; great psychological insight, but misanthropic take. I think Schopenhauer was very influenced by the Spaniard Gracian, but he was less systematic; this selection contains stylistic gems.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Excellent observations on almost all parts of life, an educational handbook for living as Nietzsche observed in his brilliant essay Schopenhauer as Educator. Some lapses in critical reasoning, in between strong displays of argumentation, are unfortunately included, as i will show. Central ideas are the necessity of health for happiness, which one can only find in oneself, not in relationships and society, the superiority of mental pleasures/leasures and abilities (physical/social ones always fade Excellent observations on almost all parts of life, an educational handbook for living as Nietzsche observed in his brilliant essay Schopenhauer as Educator. Some lapses in critical reasoning, in between strong displays of argumentation, are unfortunately included, as i will show. Central ideas are the necessity of health for happiness, which one can only find in oneself, not in relationships and society, the superiority of mental pleasures/leasures and abilities (physical/social ones always fade and bore eventually), the impossibility or rarity of happy and true love and friendship, and thus the source of happiness in one's own mental richness and relative solitude. Also the greater importance of skill and ability over possession and fame. All this shows his elementary categorization of a human life in what one is, one has, and one represents in others, in descending order of importance. Throughout the book, Schopenhauer makes us consider all these central ideas on life, making him a great teacher as Nietzsche observed in his brilliant essay "Schopenhauer as Educator" found in his Untimely Meditations, even though a few of Schopenhauer's conclusions seem ultimately incorrect, but give educational opportunities to critically explore them. In many ideas his delightful language and literary qualities shine, such as this one: "Thus also has in all countries become the main occupation of all society the card game: it is the benchmark of its value and the declared bankruptcy of all thoughts. Because for they do not have thoughts to trade, they trade cards." "Daher also ist in allen Ländern, die Hauptbeschäftigung aller Gesellschaft das Kartenspiel geworden: es ist der Maßstab des Wertes derselben und der deklarierte Bankrott an allen Gedanken. Weil sie nämlich keine Gedanken auszutauschen haben, tauschen sie Karten aus" Schopenhauer, Arthur (2011-03-28). Aphorismen (German Edition) (p. 25) Kindle Edition. Also noteworthy are his frequent allegories and metaphors, which in his view do not expand knowledge, as they can be subsumed into general ideas, but speak more immediately to us and are beautifully written and fitting. I couldn't find a better example, but this one contains even two metaphors in succession: "Demnach hat die Zeit unseres Lebens eine beschleunigte Bewegung, wie die einer herabrollenden Kugel; und wie auf einer sich drehenden Scheibe jeder Punkt um so schneller läuft, als er weiter vom Centro abliegt;" (p. 173) A negative side, a dark, unwise one, is his racism, misoginy/devaluation of women, and antisemitism. I cannot understand how a thinker of his calibre can generalize over such a large set of people. To him black people are primitive and unintellectual, women controlled by their emotions and unintellectual, too. This is today quite clearly disproven by science. His excuse may be that he may have mostly met women and black people of his times that fit this generalization, because culture and prejudice did not widely allow them access to intellectual goods, and this was a widespread opinion of his times. Still one would have liked him to exercise his philosophical prudence over such a daring generalization. Ridiculous in our times is his statement that an adulterating woman would be shamed by all her kind. Thankfully culture moved beyond that, and this should be taken as a historical note. To his defense, he notes that this sexual virtue only has a conventional and relative value. He also has a special idea of "the french", who to him have the "most ridiculous national pride"("lächerlichsten National-Eitelkeit", p. 48), but often surprisingly become more experienced and moderate with age (p. 171). Another negative point are in some parts frequent repetitions, e.g. the superior mental pleasures of intellectuals (at least three times until page 32), scientifically disproven statements and even some contradictions (female intelligence inferior, yet all intelligence inherited from mother). The natural needs of a human at the start of chapter 3 taken from Epicureus are a bad categorization in my opinion. clothing and food as the only necessary, natural ones: i'd substitute physical integrity for clothing. and to the sexual drive as the only natural, but unnecessary one, i'd at least add socialization. Exceedingly long seems his description of "Ritterehre" ("knight's honour (code)"), which he admits himself, though it does seem to be a widespread fault that leads to all the revenge, crime and war follies. Unsatisfying to me are Schopenhauer's fatalism and sufficiency of pain avoidance for happiness. Assuming life to be deterministic, at least for practical purposes, and only striving to avoid pain, to me would just lead to boredom. I'd trade a little idealism and pain for more interestingness any day. Some of Schopenhauer's psychological musings don't hold up to science any more, others are valid and remarkably poignant, almost prescient, like the observation that a multitude of choices paralyzes, and restricted choice supports happiness. I have more additions and some objections to Schopenhauer's ideas, but they should not draw out this review. One more thing perhaps that could soften his misanthropy: Schopenhauer writes that superiority of mind isolates and makes unpopular (p. 148). To me he underestimates the human ability to honour and be drawn to people better than them. I like Schopenhauer's often clear and precise argumentation, sometimes even correct ("schlüssige") arguments with premises, deduction and conclusion, such as this one: Thesis: Love and honouring respect for the same person are hard to achieve at the same time. Premise 1: The mental level of a person we like is closely correlated (positioned) to our own. Premise 2: A person is loved the more that he lowers his mental and emotional demands to someone else. Thus the thesis follows from premise 1 and 2. Clear argumentation like this is difficult, and thus rare in musings on life, because usually normative propositions rely on premises like the value of equality and justice, which are hard to prove or further argue for on a purely theoretical level. The problem in most of these arguments is that you have to agree with many premises in the first place to agree with the argument, and many of these are politically divisive. Thus, the power of the argument is concentrated on the premises, rather than critical reasoning, and we rarely change our stance on an argument, because our ethical and political stances rarely change. Fortunately, Schopenhauer excels at this and thus challenges us to reconsider our attitudes all the more. For its faults i intended to give these aphorisms 4 or 4.5 stars, but i find it so important, enriching and invaluable, almost essential for education that i cannot give it any less than 5. And i hope to reread it in a few years or even sooner so that i reinforce and remember these ideas, and, critically, to reevaluate them, where necessary. disclaimer: i read this in german, my native language. Original review on another edition here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Egerer

    Schopenhauer's noble attempt to convince himself that reading serious books is better than chasing girls -- which is partially true, not only because Plato never really made me cry, but also because a book's period never ruined my day. Wait, can girls see this? Schopenhauer's noble attempt to convince himself that reading serious books is better than chasing girls -- which is partially true, not only because Plato never really made me cry, but also because a book's period never ruined my day. Wait, can girls see this?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rogers

    Outstanding read. I found this a lot like Epictetus. Reminded me of The Manual: A Philosopher's Guide to Life which I just read last month. This book was jam packed with excellent timeless wisdom. I consider the passages a great guide to life. Lots of highly quotable aphorisms and statements throughout the book. I could see myself rereading this. 4.8/5 Outstanding read. I found this a lot like Epictetus. Reminded me of The Manual: A Philosopher's Guide to Life which I just read last month. This book was jam packed with excellent timeless wisdom. I consider the passages a great guide to life. Lots of highly quotable aphorisms and statements throughout the book. I could see myself rereading this. 4.8/5

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tachina Lynch

    “There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is filled with misery and pain; if a man escapes these, boredeom lies in wait for him at every corner. Nay more; it is evil which generally has the upper hand, and folly that makes the most noise. Fate is cruel and mankind pitiable.” Thoughtful...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This is a great essay by the great Arthur Schopenhauer. As always, Schopenhauer has a way with words. I also found this piece a little more optimistic than his other work. He starts off the essay by explaining how one could live and find meaning in a meaningless world. But towards the middle, when he goes into depth about honor and dueling, I found it slightly irrelevant to modern society. Overall, I highly recommend it to any true philosophical thinker, and pessimists as well.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ioanna Nikita

    I saw people claim that this book gets a bit repetitive which might be true but the important thing is that the ideas you get exposed to are so great that a little repetition is good to help you really understand them. I love Schopenhauer's philosophy, to me he is one of the greatest thinkers, not a pessimist but a realist. So much wisdom and so much food for thought in such a small book. A must-read! I saw people claim that this book gets a bit repetitive which might be true but the important thing is that the ideas you get exposed to are so great that a little repetition is good to help you really understand them. I love Schopenhauer's philosophy, to me he is one of the greatest thinkers, not a pessimist but a realist. So much wisdom and so much food for thought in such a small book. A must-read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dariosk

    absolutely brilliant. Schopenhauer on happiness, with clear thinking and precise deepness. The translation is a bit harsh and unrefined, but with a little effort it's possible to see what the author meant. if you are into self help books, you can throw all of them away, just get this one! it's the best investment you can make. absolutely brilliant. Schopenhauer on happiness, with clear thinking and precise deepness. The translation is a bit harsh and unrefined, but with a little effort it's possible to see what the author meant. if you are into self help books, you can throw all of them away, just get this one! it's the best investment you can make.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tarik

    Probably one of the timeliest books I've read in my life. This book literally showed up exactly at a time when I could, I think, fully appreciate its value at first read. I found this concise philosophy piece so dense that I want it in my personal library, for easy and frequent reference in the future. Probably one of the timeliest books I've read in my life. This book literally showed up exactly at a time when I could, I think, fully appreciate its value at first read. I found this concise philosophy piece so dense that I want it in my personal library, for easy and frequent reference in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    arg/machine

    Another intellectual classic. In the public domain, with a free electronic copy available here. Another intellectual classic. In the public domain, with a free electronic copy available here.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sudha Ganti

    I am in agreement with most if not all of Schopenhauers analyses, however I found a handful of them difficult to reconcile with contemporary social behaviours. His first and most emphasized chapter- What a Man Is as the fundamental contributor to happiness- is a gold mine of wisdom.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Schopenhauer is brilliant, but from the fifty rules collected in this work, many rules are frequently repeated. Nonetheless an easy introduction to his pessimistic outlook on life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leopold Benedict

    Schopenhauer is a cranky old men, who I find alarmingly relatable. Please skip his essay on women.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dusan Marjanovic

    apart from some racist and sexist parts, good read

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Martindale

    Schopenhauer is so easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, one definitely sees his personality, wisdom, humor, opinions and his arrogance, biases and prejudices ringing forth in these pages. There is a sense in which Schopenhauer can be quite repetitive, but I think this is because he had ten different ways to say the same thing, and I found myself underlining everyone :) For my own future reference, I posted here some of my favorite quotes from the the book. You may enjoy reading them if Schopenhauer is so easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, one definitely sees his personality, wisdom, humor, opinions and his arrogance, biases and prejudices ringing forth in these pages. There is a sense in which Schopenhauer can be quite repetitive, but I think this is because he had ten different ways to say the same thing, and I found myself underlining everyone :) For my own future reference, I posted here some of my favorite quotes from the the book. You may enjoy reading them if you got the time. Some of Schopenhauer's Wit And Wisdom From “The Wisdom of Life”: “many a man, as industrious as an ant, ceaselessly occupied from morning to night in the endeavor to increase his heap of gold. Beyond the narrow horizon of means to this end, he knows nothing; his mind is a blank, and consequently unsusceptible to any other influence. The highest pleasures, those of the intellect, are to him inaccessible, and he tries in vain to replace them by the fleeting pleasures of sense in which he indulges, lasting but a brief hour and at tremendous cost. And if he is lucky, his struggles result in his having a really great pile of gold, which he leaves to his heir, either to make it still larger, or to squander it in extravagance. A life like this, though pursued with a sense of earnestness and an air of importance, is just as silly as many another which has a fool's cap for its symbol.” “all that the possession of wealth can achieve has a very small influence upon our happiness, in the proper sense of the word; indeed, wealth rather disturbs it, because the preservation of property entails a great many unavoidable anxieties. And still men are a thousand times more intent on becoming rich than on acquiring culture” “Because people have no thoughts to deal in, they deal cards, and try and win one another's money. Idiots!” “To him oysters and champagne are the height of existence; the aim of his life is to procure what will contribute to his bodily welfare, and he is indeed in a happy way if this causes him some trouble. If the luxuries of life are heaped upon him, he will inevitably be bored, and against boredom he has a great many fancied remedies, balls, theatres, parties, cards, gambling, horses, women, drinking, traveling and so on; all of which can not protect a man from being bored, for where there are no intellectual needs, no intellectual pleasures are possible.” “For, as Voltaire has very rightly said, there are no real pleasures without real needs” “The ordinary man places his life's happiness in things external to him, in property, rank, wife and children, friends, society, and the like, so that when he loses them or finds them disappointing, the foundation of his happiness is destroyed. In other words, his center of gravity is not in himself; it is constantly changing its place, with every wish and whim.” “Look on these two pictures—the life of the masses, one long, dull record of struggle and effort entirely devoted to the petty interests of personal welfare, to misery in all its forms, a life beset by intolerable boredom as soon as ever those aims are satisfied and the man is thrown back upon himself, whence he can be roused again to some sort of movement only by the wild fire of passion. On the other side you have a man endowed with a high degree of mental power, leading an existence rich in thought and full of life and meaning, occupied by worthy and interesting objects as soon as ever he is free to give himself to them, bearing in himself a source of the noblest pleasure.” “it is manifestly a wiser course to aim at the maintenance of our health and the cultivation of our faculties, than at the amassing of wealth; but this must not be mistaken as meaning that we should neglect to acquire an adequate supply of the necessaries of life. Wealth, in the strict sense of the word, that is, great superfluity, can do little for our happiness; and many rich people feel unhappy just because they are without any true mental culture or knowledge, and consequently have no objective interests which would qualify them for intellectual occupations.” “Health outweighs all other blessings so much that one may really say that a healthy beggar is happier than an ailing king.” “It follows from all this that the greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness, whatever it may be, for gain, advancement, learning or fame, let alone, then, for fleeting sensual pleasures. Everything else should rather be postponed to it” “How much our happiness depends upon our spirits, and these again upon our state of health, may be seen by comparing the influence which the same external circumstances or events have upon us when we are well and strong with the effects which they have when we are depressed and troubled with ill-health. It is not what things are objectively and in themselves, but what they are for us, in our way of looking at them, that makes us happy or the reverse. As Epictetus says, Men are not influenced by things, but by their thoughts about things. And, in general, nine-tenths of our happiness depends upon health alone. With health, everything is a source of pleasure; without it, nothing else, whatever it may be, is enjoyable; even the other personal blessings,—a great mind, a happy temperament—are degraded and dwarfed for want of it. So it is really with good reason that, when two people meet, the first thing they do is to inquire after each other's health, and to express the hope that it is good; for good health is by far the most important element in human happiness.” “Everything confirms the fact that the subjective element in life is incomparably more important for our happiness and pleasure than the objective” “Now it is certain that nothing contributes so little to cheerfulness as riches, or so much, as health. Is it not in the lower classes, the so-called working classes, more especially those of them who live in the country, that we see cheerful and contented faces? and is it not amongst the rich, the upper classes, that we find faces full of ill-humor and vexation? Consequently we should try as much as possible to maintain a high degree of health; for cheerfulness is the very flower of it. I need hardly say what one must do to be healthy—avoid every kind of excess, all violent and unpleasant emotion, all mental overstrain, take daily exercise in the open air, cold baths and such like hygienic measures. For without a proper amount of daily exercise no one can remain healthy; all the processes of life demand exercise for the due performance of their functions, exercise not only of the parts more immediately concerned, but also of the whole body. For, as Aristotle rightly says, Life is movement; it is its very essence.” “The only thing that stands in our power to achieve, is to make the most advantageous use possible of the personal qualities we possess, and accordingly to follow such pursuits only as will call them into play, to strive after the kind of perfection of which they admit and to avoid every other; consequently, to choose the position, occupation and manner of life which are most suitable for their development.” “So the first and most essential element in our life's happiness is what we are,—our personality, if for no other reason than that it is a constant factor coming into play under all circumstances” “A quiet and cheerful temperament, happy in the enjoyment of a perfectly sound physique, an intellect clear, lively, penetrating and seeing things as they are, a moderate and gentle will, and therefore a good conscience—these are privileges which no rank or wealth can make up for or replace. For what a man is in himself, what accompanies him when he is alone, what no one can give or take away, is obviously more essential to him than everything he has in the way of possessions, or even what he may be in the eyes of the world. An intellectual man in complete solitude has excellent entertainment in his own thoughts and fancies, while no amount of diversity or social pleasure, theatres, excursions and amusements, can ward off boredom from a dullard.” “What a man is, and so what he has in his own person, is always the chief thing to consider; for his individuality accompanies him always and everywhere, and gives its color to all his experiences. In every kind of enjoyment, for instance, the pleasure depends principally upon the man himself.” “The man who is cheerful and merry has always a good reason for being so,—the fact, namely, that he is so. There is nothing which, like this quality, can so completely replace the loss of every other blessing. If you know anyone who is young, handsome, rich and esteemed, and you want to know, further, if he is happy, ask, Is he cheerful and genial?—and if he is, what does it matter whether he is young or old, straight or humpbacked, poor or rich?—he is happy.” “It is the upper classes, people of wealth, who are the greatest victims of boredom. Lucretius long ago described their miserable state, and the truth of his description may be still recognized to-day, in the life of every great capital—where the rich man is seldom in his own halls, because it bores him to be there, and still he returns thither, because he is no better off outside;—or else he is away in post-haste to his house in the country, as if it were on fire; and he is no sooner arrived there, than he is bored again, and seeks to forget everything in sleep, or else hurries back to town once more.” “There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is filled with misery and pain; and if a man escapes these, boredom lies in wait for him at every corner. Nay more; it is evil which generally has the upper hand, and folly makes the most noise. Fate is cruel, and mankind is pitiable. In such a world as this, a man who is rich in himself is like a bright, warm, happy room at Christmastide, while without are the frost and snow of a December night. Therefore, without doubt, the happiest destiny on earth is to have the rare gift of a rich individuality, and, more especially to be possessed of a good endowment of intellect; this is the happiest destiny, though it may not be, after all, a very brilliant one.” “It is a great piece of folly to sacrifice the inner for the outer man, to give the whole or the greater part of one's quiet, leisure and independence for splendor, rank, pomp, titles and honor. This is what Goethe did. My good luck drew me quite in the other direction. The truth which I am insisting upon here, the truth, namely, that the chief source of human happiness is internal” “Further, as no land is so well off as that which requires few imports, or none at all, so the happiest man is one who has enough in his own inner wealth, and requires little or nothing from outside for his maintenance, for imports are expensive things, reveal dependence, entail danger, occasion trouble, and when all is said and done, are a poor substitute for home produce. No man ought to expect much from others, or, in general, from the external world. What one human being can be to another is not a very great deal: in the end every one stands alone, and the important thing is who it is that stands alone.” “Aristotle[1] says, To be happy means to be self-sufficient. For all other sources of happiness are in their nature most uncertain, precarious, fleeting, the sport of chance; and so even under the most favorable circumstances they can easily be exhausted; nay, this is unavoidable, because they are not always within reach. And in old age these sources of happiness must necessarily dry up:—love leaves us then, and wit, desire to travel, delight in horses, aptitude for social intercourse; friends and relations, too, are taken from us by death. Then more than ever, it depends upon what a man has in himself; for this will stick to him longest; and at any period of life it is the only genuine and lasting source of happiness.” “The life of the mind is not only a protection against boredom; it also wards off the pernicious effects of boredom; it keeps us from bad company, from the many dangers, misfortunes, losses and extravagances which the man who places his happiness entirely in the objective world is sure to encounter, My philosophy, for instance, has never brought me in a six-pence; but it has spared me many an expense.” “Countless numbers of people find themselves in want, simply because, when they had money, they spent it only to get momentary relief from the feeling of boredom which oppressed them.” “Now will without intellect is the most vulgar and common thing in the world, possessed by every blockhead, who, in the gratification of his passions, shows the stuff of which he is made. This is the condition of mind called vulgarity, in which the only active elements are the organs of sense, and that small amount of intellect which is necessary for apprehending the data of sense.” “It will generally be found that those who know what it is to have been in need and destitution are very much less afraid of it, and consequently more inclined to extravagance, than those who know poverty only by hearsay. People who have been born and bred in good circumstances are as a rule much more careful about the future, more economical, in fact, than those who, by a piece of good luck, have suddenly passed from poverty to wealth. This looks as if poverty were not really such a very wretched thing as it appears from a distance. The true reason, however, is rather the fact that the man who has been born into a position of wealth comes to look upon it as something without which he could no more live than he could live without air; he guards it as he does his very life; and so he is generally a lover of order, prudent and economical. But the man who has been born into a poor position looks upon it as the natural one, and if by any chance he comes in for a fortune, he regards it as a superfluity, something to be enjoyed or wasted, because, if it comes to an end, he can get on just as well as before, with one anxiety the less” “Men distinguished in philosophy, politics, poetry or art appear to be all of a melancholy temperament.” “for a man who paints everything black, who constantly fears the worst and takes measures accordingly, will not be disappointed so often in this world, as one who always looks upon the bright side of things.” “These achievements may be of two kinds, either actions or works; and so to fame there are two paths open. On the path of actions, a great heart is the chief recommendation; on that of works, a great head. Each of the two paths has its own peculiar advantages and detriments; and the chief difference between them is that actions are fleeting, while works remain. The influence of an action, be it never so noble, can last but a short time; but a work of genius is a living influence, beneficial and ennobling throughout the ages. All that can remain of actions is a memory, and that becomes weak and disfigured by time—a matter of indifference to us, until at last it is extinguished altogether; unless, indeed, history takes it up, and presents it, fossilized, to posterity. Works are immortal in themselves, and once committed to writing, may live for ever. Of Alexander the Great we have but the name and the record; but Plato and Aristotle, Homer and Horace are alive, and as directly at work to-day as they were in their own lifetime.” “The fame of a great action has this advantage, that it generally starts with a loud explosion; so loud, indeed, as to be heard all over Europe: whereas the fame of a great work is slow and gradual in its beginnings; the noise it makes is at first slight, but it goes on growing greater, until at last, after a hundred years perhaps, it attains its full force; but then it remains, because the works remain, for thousands of years. But in the other case, when the first explosion is over, the noise it makes grows less and less, and is heard by fewer and fewer persons; until it ends by the action having only a shadowy existence in the pages of history.” “though the envy of contemporaries be shown by universal silence, there will come those who will judge without enmity or favor. From this remark it is manifest that even in Seneca's age there were rascals who understood the art of suppressing merit by maliciously ignoring its existence, and of concealing good work from the public in order to favor the bad: it is an art well understood in our day, too, manifesting itself, both then and now, in an envious conspiracy of silence.” “As a general rule, the longer a man's fame is likely to last, the later it will be in coming; for all excellent products require time for their development. The fame which lasts to posterity is like an oak, of very slow growth; and that which endures but a little while, like plants which spring up in a year and then die; whilst false fame is like a fungus, shooting up in a night and perishing as soon.” “we should not be discouraged if people are stupid, for you can make no rings if you throw your stone into a marsh.” “fame suffers encroachment and is rendered more unattainable in proportion as more people come by it. Further, the difficulty of winning fame by any given work stands in reverse ratio to the number of people who are likely to read it; and hence it is so much harder to become famous as the author of a learned work than as a writer who aspires only to amuse.” “It is the possession of a great heart or a great head, and not the mere fame of it, which is worth having, and conducive to happiness. Not fame, but that which deserves to be famous, is what a man should hold in esteem. This is, as it were, the true underlying substance, and fame is only an accident, affecting its subject chiefly as a kind of external symptom, which serves to confirm his own opinion of himself. Light is not visible unless it meets with something to reflect it; and talent is sure of itself only when its fame is noised abroad. But fame is not a certain symptom of merit; because you can have the one without the other; or, as Lessing nicely puts it, Some people obtain fame, and others deserve it.” “It would be a miserable existence which should make its value or want of value depend upon what other people think” “what excites admiration must be of more value than the admiration itself. The truth is that a man is made happy, not by fame, but by that which brings him fame, by his merits, or to speak more correctly, by the disposition and capacity from which his merits proceed, whether they be moral or intellectual.” “Besides, if a man has done this, he possesses something which cannot be wrested from him; and, unlike fame, it is a possession dependent entirely upon himself. If admiration were his chief aim, there would be nothing in him to admire. This is just what happens in the case of false, that is, unmerited, fame; for its recipient lives upon it without actually possessing the solid substratum of which fame is the outward and visible sign.” “The value of posthumous fame lies in deserving it; and this is its own reward. Whether works destined to fame attain it in the lifetime of their author is a chance affair, of no very great importance. For the average man has no critical power of his own, and is absolutely incapable of appreciating the difficulty of a great work."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah Almuslem

    Philosophers… They talk and that is all that they do. This German Philosopher claims: My philosophy has never brought me in a six-pence, but it has spared me many an expense. Anyway, the book starts with the idea that happiness, which comes from within, is far better than the one that comes from our surroundings. Such happiness comes from the man who occupies himself with knowledge and ideas. A person that makes his happiness a hostage of a wife, children or public view, becomes miserable the m Philosophers… They talk and that is all that they do. This German Philosopher claims: My philosophy has never brought me in a six-pence, but it has spared me many an expense. Anyway, the book starts with the idea that happiness, which comes from within, is far better than the one that comes from our surroundings. Such happiness comes from the man who occupies himself with knowledge and ideas. A person that makes his happiness a hostage of a wife, children or public view, becomes miserable the moment he loses his wife or a child, or his status in the public. Therefore, the author proclaims, For what a man is in himself, what accompanies him when he is alone, what no one can give or take away, is obviously more essential to him than everything he has in the way of possessions, or even what he may be in the eyes of the world. So he favors the idea that a person must be confined to himself and he states: No man ought to expect much from others, or, in general, from the external world. Then, he talks about material life, poverty and richness, health, pride, fame, and honor. Good thoughts but dry in some part. However, reading through this book, many passages can be highlighted and as a matter of fact, I have highlighted a lot. One good thing about the book is the quotes. He borrows many sayings from Plato, Aristotle, Goethe, and others. This often breaks the cold words of his arguments, which makes the book a bit colorful. Not a bad book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nima Gholipour

    So finally after long time I read this book. Unfortunately I've been involved with job and personal issues. By the way, it was my first experience reading from one of the greatest philosophers. The book itself was very simple, at least for me. Because most of things which he believed were included in my lifestyle. For example happiness is not something which you have, it's something which you believe and it's a feeling from inside. His words were very close to my opinion and strongly I believe t So finally after long time I read this book. Unfortunately I've been involved with job and personal issues. By the way, it was my first experience reading from one of the greatest philosophers. The book itself was very simple, at least for me. Because most of things which he believed were included in my lifestyle. For example happiness is not something which you have, it's something which you believe and it's a feeling from inside. His words were very close to my opinion and strongly I believe them. I hope it the near future I will read more books from him.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    "This is why a high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial" Loved this book obviously. Some of the largest philosophical topics written in a very clear and concise manner. Puts forth a lifestyle/ideology that makes happiness obtainable to anyone. Unfortunately lacks any political consciousness. Excited to read more of Schopenhauer's work. "This is why a high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial" Loved this book obviously. Some of the largest philosophical topics written in a very clear and concise manner. Puts forth a lifestyle/ideology that makes happiness obtainable to anyone. Unfortunately lacks any political consciousness. Excited to read more of Schopenhauer's work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

    A truly bible and inspiration, that I like to read sometimes every year.

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