Walden by Henry David Thoreau


Walden is a book by American transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau. The book is a reflection upon the author’s simple living in natural surroundings.

Thoreau spent two years at Walden Pond living a simple life without support of any kind. The book is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and—to some degree—a manual for self-reliance.

The main themes of Walden are self-reliance, work, simplicity over “progress,” solitude and society, nature, transcendentalism, spirituality, and the good life. Thoreau emphasizes the importance of solitude, contemplation, and closeness to nature in transcending the “desperate” existence that, he argues, is the lot of most people.

The book is not a traditional autobiography, but combines autobiography with a social critique of contemporary Western culture’s consumerist and materialist attitudes and its distance from and destruction of nature.

Useful takeaways from Walden include simplifying one’s life, focusing on what is truly important, appreciating nature, and striving for self-reliance and independence.

What I Liked

Everything – it’s known as a classic and one of the greatest works of American literature for a reason. The guy was so far ahead of his time. The book is still such a practical guide to living. It’s timeless.

What I Did Not Like

Nothing – loved it all.

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