Read Why I Am So Wise by Friedrich Nietzsche Online


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Title : Why I Am So Wise
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ISBN : 9780141018973
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 90 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Why I Am So Wise Reviews

  • John
    2018-11-24 07:00

    This is my first Nietzsche. I've already learned a lot.1. Everyone assume N is German, but he considers himself a Pole.2. N hated German culture. I guess the Nazis missed this book. N also thought Wagner’s best work was more French than German—a unique insight, to say the least.3. N is the prototype of the modern conservative chicken hawk. N talks a lot about war—he claims to be “warlike by nature”--but he seems to have avoided real war in his own life. His experiences—left undefined in this book—seem more in the realm of urban adventures: whoring and drinking, I assume. Maybe a scandalous affair or two. Based on this, I have more respect for real adventurer-creators like Conrad, Gaughan, Church, Bierstadt, and TE Lawrence—men who went places and did things but who didn’t prattle on about their toughness.4. N’s reputation as a philosopher of manly strength seems off the mark. For starters, he was a classical philologist. Now, anyone who even knows what a philologist is cannot by definition be a real man. Secondly, N loved Paris and French culture. Need I say more? Thirdly, he sounds like a California New Age health nut—going on about air quality, digestion, sore feet, etc. Fourthly, he comes off as a hypochondriac. Anyone who frets about the difference in humidity between Milan and Turin is way too cosmopolitan and sensitive to be a manly man. So far, his authentically macho qualities seem to be arrogance and misogyny.5. Just last night I started watching Peter Watkins’ biopic “Edvard Munch” (1976). Munch’s family was plagued by disease and death. N endured lengthy illness. Could there be a relationship between early modern pessimism and unhealthiness? You don’t hear Seneca and Marcus Aurelius complain about health conditions. Were Mediterranean ancients healthier than modern northerners, or did the ancients not feel like writing about unhealthiness?6. Could N be the first philosopher of modern indulgent, self-destructive behavior? of “decadence” as a lifestyle choice rather than a moral failing? Is he the model for James Frey? This quote struck me: “To look from a morbid perspective towards healthier concepts and values, and again conversely to look down from the abundance and certainty of rich life into the secret labour of the instinct of decadence—that is what I have practiced most…in this if in anything I am a master.” (Sound familiar, James?)7. In this, N seems to link Romanticism with today’s Celebrity Culture and Therapy/Recovery Culture. The 19th Century Romantic painters were the first group of artists whose private sexual exploits served as public tabloid fodder. For the first time extremism in art and extreme experience in life were mutually reinforcing, while their public exposure provided a public melodrama which comprises modern celebrity. The transgressive artist as public enemy/hero was born. N expresses his admiration for the French Romantics and decadents and identifies himself as a decadent. The weakness of this type of celebrity, of course, is that being a drug addict or a sexual playboy are not heroic acts, (and N’s academic disputes are not “war”) although the machinery of celebrity doesn’t make such distinctions. Consequently, someone like James Frey can fabricate addiction experiences and still become a celebrity (for a while). I’ll be interested to see exactly what were the experiences N refers to.

  • Bening Tirta Muhammad
    2018-11-25 10:36

    Reading this book, I put myself into less defensive mode. And this book struck my reasoning why I believe in God.It appears to me that some of us (I assume) still have blind faith in Islam, at least partially.Why partially? Because we only start to really believe - the start is the state of aqil baligh while the time before we were just asked to - after long living in believing environment. We are not given enough means to ponder upon in deciding whether to believe or not to. There - in the environment - we only learn what we have to know or rather are taught the cores needed, to defence our belief only.The book discovers to me some cases in which logically wrong reasoning occurs. For example - my own example -: "I could have been able to answer that question well if I fasted today" - he/she could have spent more time on particular chapters -. The logic is wrong, because of wrong blaming. It is merely about his/her bad time management on during canteen peak hours and nothing to do with whether he/she voluntarily fasts or not.I would also add that today's Islam turns out dogmatic like Christianity, thinking that how these days we rarely ask if we have doubts on things which must have explanation.***"Hey, dude! Maybe how you approached the book is rather out of the etiquette "supposed"!" - in which I was expected to be defensive -Cheers,a kind of lost boy

  • Laala Alghata
    2018-12-02 07:00

    I have never done this before (you can check my reviews if you’re skeptical) and I promise I won’t do it again, but I don’t want to say anything about Nietzsche except:1. I either did not understand him (doubtful) and therefore it went over my head and therefore my opinion is negligible, or2. I did understand him and thoroughly disliked him. He is pompous and grating.

    2018-12-11 09:49

    Okay, so he's wise. And clever. And writes good books. Guess what else he is? A pompous ass.

  • Kevin
    2018-11-18 07:53

    The first forty or so pages really turned me off. It is like a caricature of Nietzsche more than anything I've read by him. If it were the first thing I'd read by him I'd probably have been put off his work for a long time.The first half consists mostly of an examination of the climate and cuisine (yes, cuisine) that made him so great, usually expressed in flat declarations - sometimes obscure and almost always outrageous. As a colorful example, he describes one musical composition of his by saying not only that his friend had never seen its equal but that "It constituted a rape on Euterpe." Euturpe, I'm pretty sure, is the classical muse of musical composition. Good God, man.Maybe the syphilis was kicking in by this point. Or meningioma. Or whatever: said, the last fifty pages or so are pretty awesome. This is exciting philosophy. His writing and his points become more clear, sometimes beautifully so; he seems towards the end of the book to be making more of an effort to be frank and clear than I've perhaps ever read him - but still with his own style: conversational, engaging, profound, lively, at times off-handed, poetic, stylized (including a use of punctuation to make points that might be more familiar to modern readers in the likes of Dave Eggers). The seeming randomness and outrageousness of the majority of the beginning make the sudden, sharply coherent insights that much more enlivening.Still, I would recommend The Use and Disadvantage of History for Life or On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense to a Nietzsche neophyte. This book (actually selections from Ecce Homo and Twilight of the Idols, I believe) seems a good articulation or example of his later philosophy, from what I can gather, which sharply deviates from some of that earlier corpus. I'm not even sure the will to power still exists for him by the end. Reading in some roughly chronological order would probably make sense.As a side note, Nietzsche bashes no one more than the Germans in this book, saying at one point that to even be near one interferes with his digestion. So f*** off, Nazis.

  • Kieran Glover
    2018-12-16 06:48

    Hmmm Nietzsche. I enjoyed this read but didn't fully grasp it all because he really does have so much knowledge about everything. I found it more comical than anything else, hearing him inhabit his own ego for a hundred pages or so was insightful and also comical. I found it hard to get over the language he uses because he has such an expansive vocabulary.

  • Dallas Doctor
    2018-12-07 10:59

    The maddening thing about Nietzsche is that he reaches completely abhorrent conclusions with perfectly impeccable arguments. A great read!

  • Paula
    2018-12-11 05:53

    I liked this book but I'm still not sure if I know if I really know what its about!!

  • Jon
    2018-12-08 07:57

    Interesting formally, but hard to take seriously. The overblown self-aggrandising may have been ironic, but the misogyny seemed like it really, really wasn't. Very interesting in relation to his own role in German culture. A self-identifying Pole who hates all of German culture modern and ancient...Would recommend to those who need a bit of Nietzsche and have already read his fun stuff.

  • Angela Dorothy
    2018-12-15 05:36

    Well, this is my first Nietzsche. Reading was a bit confusing.. but as the back cover said it was written in the end. I liked the sarcasm and skepticism are great and I had good laughs and thought. I liked and I can't wait to read Zarathustra...

  • Alastair Hudson
    2018-12-14 05:33

    I approached Nietsche with some trepidation, but a small collection without copious footnotes and a heavy introduction helped. As did the accessible translation (RG Hollingdale) which gave N's writing a directness that was refreshing compared to some of his contemporary thinkers.The main message, perhaps N's only real message, that came through was the divorce of man from the constructs of society, history and most importantly the burden of fate. Up to this point most philosophies relied on a higher agent, whether it was God, a mystical fate, or just a 'spirit of progress' and an idea that mankind had a special purpose or pre-destiny that meant the human race was developing towards some ideal. N' cut through this and headed off into the unknown with only himself to think of. Selfish, but lonely and I suppose that natural outcome was that he had to become quite strong minded to hold himself together without much else to occupy him on his mountain top.Maybe scientific thinking of the time helped (Darwin?) or maybe it was the incredibly angry, egoistic self confidence, which is actually rather enjoyable and liberating to read. Either way I now have more respect for N's thoughts and imagine these texts were a very challenging read by a rather brave thinker in his time. Reading between the lines I expect he was actually quite a timid soul and sadly time seems to have been rather cruel to N's legacy but to me, looking at this afresh, it stands out as an enjoyable diversion from the path in the development of 'western thought'.

  • Brent McCulley
    2018-11-19 04:37

    The less than perfect star rating isn't so much against the material in Why I Am So Wise as it is against the compilation. This book is actually, in fact, a compilation of some of Nietzsche's works that has been stripped out of its original source. If one wants to get the full flow of Nietzsche's thought and progression in one work, pick up the books that this book took the material from and read them in procession; namely, Ecce Homo and Twilight of the Idols.Notwithstanding the fact that this book only chose selective snippets of Nietzsche thought from various sources thereby breaking of the logical procession of thought insofar as Penguin Books wanted to make a short compilation with as many famous Nietzsche quotes they could pack into one sellable book, Why I Am So Wise presents Nietzsche in his natural state: The self-accuser who puts his own philosophy under the ring, thereby safeguarding himself from all future criticisms.Ecce Homo truly represents Nietzsche not as most people perceive he thought of himself as, namely in the way one would think if they breifly read the chapter titles of his book, but in the way he truly knew himself to be: a human...all too human.Brent McCulley

  • Neelakantan
    2018-11-23 08:51

    Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher par excellence, has tried to give the reason and the gist of his wisdom in a pithy manner. To describe in his own words"philosophy means living voluntarily among ice and high mountains—seeking out everything strange and questionable in existence". Most of his philosophy has been propounded while living in the lofty mountain of St. Moritz in Switzerland. Nietzsche attributes his cleverness to selective nutriment, selective climate and place, cleanliness and the right kind of recreation. He urges us to 'revalue all the values' and how the teachings on morality and God, which is the detriment to all humanity, has been stifling human society. He explains that the very idea of existence of god and morality is antithetical to life."Morality-the idiosyncrasy of decadents with the hidden intention of avenging themselves on life-and successfully."But for some, his nihilistic views maybe hard to digest and I think it will start to make sense to whoever listens to the Zarathustra. This book is an absolute treat to whoever is curious and hungry to discover something uncanny. His maxims and arrows will hit you hard and will liberate you from the shackles of ideals.

  • Romain
    2018-12-06 04:58

    Nietzsche writes with a feverous intelligence; the strength of his conviction a seething torrent that sweeps through the pages of this book. His discussion of the shortcomings of morality, as entrenched in Christian teaching and understanding is intruiging- but it seems to me that too often he takes the antithetical approach. An inversion will intrinsically carry the flaws of the original. It is also to his detriment that he speaks so often in absolutes on topics of superiority, race and gender. I don't pretend to understand everything he is saying yet, but at present I'm sort of struggling to like the guy.

  • Evan
    2018-12-14 09:54

    Choice quote:If one adds to this the downright bestial dinner-drinking habits of the ancient and by no means only the ancient Germans one will also understand the origin of the German spirit -- disturbed intestines ... The German spirit is an indigestion, it can have done with nothing.

  • Ali Paloba
    2018-11-26 07:58

    The ramblings of an arrogant madman.

  • Az
    2018-12-14 07:52

    Nothing substantial happens in 'Why I Am So Wise' until about page 50 due to Nietzsche's unrelenting arrogance.

  • Cthulwho
    2018-12-12 07:31

    What the fuck just happened!?

  • Arno Mosikyan
    2018-12-15 09:50

    But the disparity between the greatness of my task and the smallness of my contemporaries has found expression in the fact that I have been neither heard nor even so much as seen.I live on my own credit, it is perhaps merely a prejudice that I am alive at all?… Philosophy, as I have hitherto understood and lived it, is a voluntary living in ice and high mountains – a seeking after everything strange and questionable in existence, all that has hitherto been excommunicated by morality. The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends. One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil. I say that Richard Wagner was by far the most closely related man to me…The rest is silence… This was grasped by that profound physiologist Buddha. His ‘religion’, which one would do better to call a system of hygiene so as not to mix it up with such pitiable things as Christianity, makes its effect dependent on victory over ressentiment: to free the soul of that – first step to recovery. If I wage war on Christianity I have a right to do so, because I have never experienced anything disagreeable or frustrating from that direction – the most serious Christians have always been well disposed towards me. I have absolutely no knowledge of atheism as an outcome of reasoning, still less as an event: with me it is obvious by instinct. I am too inquisitive, too questionable, too high spirited to rest content with a crude answer. God is a crude answer, a piece of indelicacy against us thinkers – fundamentally even a crude ... It is really only a small number of older Frenchmen to whom I return again and again: I believe only in French culture and consider everything in Europe that calls itself ‘culture’ a misunderstanding, not to speak of German culture… That I do not read Pascal but love him, as the most instructive of all sacrifices to Christianity, slowly murdered first physically then psychologically, the whole logic... As far as Germany extends it ruins culture. …Constituted as I am, a stranger in my deepest instincts to everything German, so that the mere presence of a German hinders my digestion, my first contact with Wagner was also the first time in my life I ever drew a deep breath: I felt, I reverenced him as a being from outside, as the opposite, the incarnate protest against all ‘German virtues’. first piece of ingenuity, first proof that one is no accident but a necessity. Our largest expenditures are our most frequent small ones. I take as a parable traffic with books. The scholar, who really does nothing but ‘trundle’ books – the philologist at a modest assessment about 200 a day – finally loses altogether the ability to think for himself. My time has not yet come, some are born posthumously. One day or other institutions will be needed in which people live and teach as I understand living and teaching: perhaps even chairs for the interpretation of Zarathustra will be established. Other learned cattle caused me on its account to be suspected of Darwinism; It is not in vain that the Poles are called the French among the Slavs. Any ‘feminism’ in a person, or in a man, likewise closes the gates on me: one will never be able to enter this labyrinth of daring knowledge. When I picture a perfect reader, I always picture a monster of courage and curiosity, also something supple, cunning, cautious, a born adventurer and discoverer. Before me one did not know what can be done with the German language – what can be done with language as such. The woman is unspeakably more wicked than the man, also cleverer; goodness in a woman is already a form of degeneration… The struggle for equal rights is even a symptom of sickness: every physician knows that. – The more a woman is a woman the more she defends herself tooth and nail against rights in general: I have need of washing my hands after contact with religious people…I do not want ‘believers’, I think I am too malicious to believe in myself, I never speak to masses… Have I been understood? – What defines me, what sets me apart from all the rest of mankind, is that I have unmasked Christian morality. Even the bravest of us rarely has the courage for what he really knows… Which is it? Is man only God’s mistake or God only man’s mistake? What does not kill me makes me stronger. ‘Bad men have no songs’ – How is it the Russians have songs? There is no more dangerous error than that of mistaking the consequence for the cause.

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2018-12-01 06:51

    This book is made up from Nietzsche's autobiography (anti-feminist, thought himself descended from Polish noblemen), maxims (witty), "The Four Great Errors" essay (The error of confusing cause and consequence, The error of a false causality, The error of imaginary causes, The error of free will - No wonder Christians didn't like him) and a poem (taken from Zarathustra).Why I Am So WiseWhy I Am So ClerverWhy do I Write Such Clever BooksWhy am I a DestinyMaxims and ArrowsThe Four Great ErrorsThe Hammer Speaks--Zarathustra, III: On Old and New Tablets, 29

  • Helena
    2018-12-07 04:40

    maximdelen herlighet. for øvre bruker Nietzsche sånn halve boka på å hate på tyskarane og på nazistane, noko som får meg til å hate systera hans endå meir

  • Carol Hammal
    2018-11-29 12:50

    Always interesting to read Nietzsche’s existential reasoning. This was one of his last writings. Concise and as thought-provoking as I expect of him.

  • David Hines
    2018-11-27 07:53

    This short book contains a few of the best chapters of Nietzsche's book Ecce Homo and two chapters from Twilight of the Idols. But this book is a good read, whether it is your first try at reading Nietzche or just want a refresher. If you haven't read Nietzsche before his pomposity and boldness may jar you and his ideas may anger you, but ultimately his ideas will haunt you because even if they make you angry, they are hard to refute. In Ecce Homo, one of his later works, he presents a series of chapters with such titles as "Why I am So Wise" and "Why I am So Clever" which on the surface seem arrogant but in reality they are arguments in support of his philosophy. He also provides comments on some of his earlier works. In general, you don't need to have read his earlier works to understand, but his often reference to Thus Spake Zarathustra is easier to understand if you have at least an idea of that work.The selections from Twilight of the Idols, another of his final books of 1888, are very brief, but contain some of his best maxims, and the penetrating chapter The Four Great Errors when he again questions religion and morality. You can see in these works he is building towards his ultimate quest of the Revaluation of All Values, but sadly he only completed the first book, Antichrist, before slipping into insanity. Nietzsche challenges everyone's most basic beliefs, and whether you end up agreeing or disagreeing with his ideas, he will make you think and feel.

  • Amy Matro
    2018-12-09 10:38

    "I have a subtler sense for signs of ascent and decline than any man has ever had...I know both, I am both.""I discovered life as it were anew, myself included, I tasted all good and even petty things in a way that others could not easily taste them -- I made out of my will to health, to life, my was in the years of my lowest vitality that I ceased to be a pessimist: the instinct for self-recovery forbade to me a philosophy of indigence and discouragement...And in what does one really recognize that someone has turned out well! In that a human being who has turned out well does our senses good: that he is carved out of wood at once hard, delicate and sweet smelling. He has a taste only for what is beneficial to him; his pleasure, his joy ceases where the measure of what is beneficial is over stepped...He employes ill chances to his own advantage; what does not kill him makes him stronger....He reacts slowly to every kind of stimulus...he believes in neither misfortune nor in guilt: he knows how to forget -- he is strong enough for everything to have to turn out for the best of him.""I am always up to dealing with any chance event; I have to be unprepared if I am to be master of myself.""...silence is an objection, swallowing down necessarily produces a bad character..."" accept oneself as a fate, not to desire oneself 'different'.""If we possess our Why of life we can put up with almost any How."

  • Rob
    2018-11-22 10:32

    This book is part of the "Great Ideas" series published by Penguin, and it is an abridgment of Nietzsche's book, Ecce Homo. It contains page after page of seemingly self-aggrandizing claims. For all I know, Nietzsche is being completely sincere in proclaiming his own greatness, but I cannot help but wonder if he was being deliberately ironic.For instance, Nietzsche is the man who wrote, "I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful - of a crisis like no other before on earth. I am not a man, I am dynamite." He talks about how wonderful all his books are, but then exhorts his readers to forget what he said and think and create for themselves. Perhaps he's being doubly ironic, or perhaps he's being contradictorily sincere. Whatever he's doing, he's doing it well. He really was right about his destiny. He's an iconoclast, an amoral moralist, and a force to be reckoned with. This book would work as a good introduction to Nietzsche and his philosophy.

  • Micha
    2018-12-14 12:41

    I now actually own Ecce Homo, the book from which this essay is taken, but this was my introduction to Nietzche when I was fifteen or sixteen and it had a huge effect on my writing and thought at the time. I remember that I experimented with underlining passages and writing in comments, something that I rarely do with books to this day (a habit I have had to change for grad school. Underlining in pencil only, however). I remember that I had certain passages by rote because they stirred me so deeply. I had quite a few books in this "Great Ideas" series because they were inexpensive and a fair introduction to someone you've heard of but don't know how to approach. However, I think they're also dangerous given that they run the risk of falsely essentializing the philosophers and writers represented.

  • Dayanira Reyes
    2018-11-21 12:59

    In general, "Why I am so wise" is a great way to start (in case you haven't) getting in touch with Nietzsche's work, first of all by establishing a more adequate context from all that you probably 'have heard and known' about it. And his writing style and language used on his autobiography invites you to establish your own way to read him and to work on your own ideas and perspectives about his work and legacy. After that, it may be easier for you to decide what to read next, or even to decide if you are still interested to go on. In my personal case, I know I will.If your interested in a more complete revision by me, you can visit:

  • Fred Kohn
    2018-12-09 04:46

    On pg 44, Nietzsche writes: "I shall be asked why I have narrated these little things which according to the traditional judgement are matters of indifference". My immediate thought: "Yes, I been asking the same question since pg 1!" If this book hadn't been so slim, I probably would have given it up by this point. I'm glad I didn't because the book got so much better. Perhaps this thought jogs the author out of his musings about music, art, and even cooking towards what readers will really care about, which is his writing and philosophy. So, read this book, but feel free to skip to pg 44.

  • Scott
    2018-12-12 06:42

    Super fun distillation of Nietzsche's autobiography 'Ecce Homo,' which I also read. Penguin put together I nice little cheap edition with a two-color letterpress cover in their 'Great Ideas' series. I'm thinking of using it in Fall instead of 'Ecce Homo,' Penguin's edition of his autobio, which I bought because of the Egon Schiele reproduction on the cover. Good to teach (I hope) because Nietzsche says much of what he said in his longer texts but concisely, and his humor is evident throughout. The cover has a nice tactile appeal too.

  • Robert
    2018-12-06 07:35

    This book is the a gift to mankind, "the greatest gift that has ever been given it". So says the author, and I heartily agree. Everyone should be required to read some Nietzsche in school before the age of 18... they should have this book in the pews of every church across America... they should have this in the night stand of every hotel room next to the Gideon Bible.But, it only gets four stars because it is just pieces and parts of greater works that should be read in entirety... which I will, this summer. So should you.