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Henry David Thoreau's – Walden

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    Just stared it (about 60 pages in) you can find it for free online, I have it loaded on my e-book reader.

    I have to say, I am entranced. It is heavy going though, published in the 1850’s, the language usage is both difficult and wonderful at the same time.

    Anyone here read it ? I would be interested in what they have to say. I find myself aliging with a lot of what he has to say but that’s because I am a librteran at heart and he’s reinforcing my beliefs ie self reliance, no welfare, that sort of thing.

    More info here

    The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self reliance.

    Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.

    Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau’s other goals

    This was my main reason to bring it up on this site, not my philosophical bent for small, non interfering government getting me in hot water with many ! 🙂



    I should have read this thread first

    First post no less !


    Been on my “to read ” list for ever………….I’ll try to get onto it.Edited later to say ….. Especially now I’ve read the Wikipaedea link.Thanks.Sounds fascinating.



    Hi trandto,

    Thanks for that link. :tup:

    Take care,


    Tassie TigerTassie Tiger

    Yep have read that one. As you say the language style takes a bit of getting use to but the message is timeless. :tup: 🙂




    You can get a free copy of the e-book from here

    There are several versions available in E-Pub, Mobi etc as well as read online. The link takes you to all the free books by Thoreau that are available.

    I seem enamoured of him and his philosophies of late. He seems to be the original espouser of living a simple life and the I see his philosophies being the progenitor for the environmental movement.

    One of his essays “Life Without Principal” contain a few controversial statements 😀


    [li]Don’t cheat people by conspiring with them to protect their comfort zones.[/li]

    [li]Don’t make religions and other such institutions the sort of intellectual comfort zone that prevents you from entertaining ideas that aren’t to be found there.[/li]

    [li]Don’t cheat yourself by working primarily for a paycheck. If what you do with your life free-of-charge is so worthless to you that you’d be convinced to do something else in exchange for a little money or fame, you need better hobbies.[/li]

    [li]Furthermore, don’t hire someone who’s only in it for the money.[/li]

    [li]Sustain yourself by the life you live, not by exchanging your life for money and living off that.[/li]

    [li]It is a shame to be living off an inheritance, charity, a government pension, or to gamble your way to prosperity – either through a lottery or by such means as prospecting for gold.[/li]

    [li]Remember that what is valuable about a thing is not the same as how much money it will fetch on the market.[/li]

    [li]Don’t waste conversation and attention on the superficial trivialities and gossip of the daily news, but attend to things of more import: “Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.”[/li]

    [li]Similarly, politics is something that ought to be a minor and discreet part of life, not the grotesque public sport it has become.[/li]

    [li]Don’t mistake the march of commerce for progress and civilization – especially when that commerce amounts to driving slaves to produce the articles of vice like alcohol and tobacco. There’s no shortage of gold, of tobacco, of alcohol, but there is a short supply of “a high and earnest purpose.”[/li]



    Beats 10 commandments any day.


    Wise words – and as you say, timeless…


    I was excited to find Walden at the Op Shop recently. Alas I found most of it quite dull and boring! Just didn’t like it at all (apart from a few great quotes), and was really disappointed ‘cos I really wanted to like it! I’ve discussed it with several friends from the US and at least half of them told me they found it the same. The others loved it!


    I love #3.

    I had to read a lot of this when I was in school, from that area originally, But should really reread it. There were so many things, even back when I was a teenager, that just made sense.


    I’m about a 1/4 of the way into it. I’m really enjoying it so far 🙂


    I have finished “Walden”, then read “On Civil Disobedience”, also by Thoreau. I think to enjiy either, you have to remember Thoreau was an interlectual, a philisopher and “Walden” was an experiment for him. You have to read it in that light, rather then, for example, as a guide to “simple living”. I love how he eschewed a free doormat, the road to evil indeed 🙂 I have also read “Walking”, no wonder he is often regareded as starting the Environmental movement. His passion for being able to enjoy the outdoors is remarkable.

    It’s interesting to read about those who have been affected by Thoreau. Ghandi and Martin Luther King for example, in particular their fondess for “On Civil Disobedience

    He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced

    – Ghandi

    and after reading “On Civil Disobedince”, King writes

    I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good

    and while I understand peoples definition of “evil” is different, I have to be the first to put my hand up and say I am very guilty of this. How do I, like Thoreau, stop paying my taxes to stop the support of the evil (to me) behiaviour our Governments engage in ? We gave to Government the right to take tax from us without us having a choice, I can’t not pay it, the banks take the Governemnts share of my interest before I can get to it, I can’t not pay it from the dividends companies pay me etc

    As an aside, one of Thoreaus’ points about reading drivel came to the fore, I too had been guilty of deprivinig my mind by reading vast amounts of fiction, the “Neighbours” or “Master Chef” of the written word, so in some respects his words from the past have had an impact, I guess this makes him partly “immortal” ?

    With this in mind, I have moved onto “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedreich Hayek, another book that I find myself feeling a kinship to, a powerful read and the history (written during WW II) he predicts seems to be unfolding.

    I am open to reading books that others on here might reccomend as thought provoking ! Recommend away !

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