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Publisher's Summary

Continuing where Thus Spoke Zarathustra left off, Nietzsche's controversial work Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most influential philosophical texts of the 19th century and one of the most controversial works of ideology ever written.

Attacking the notion of morality as nothing more than institutionalised weakness, Nietzsche criticises past philosophers for their unquestioning acceptance of moral precepts. Nietzsche tried to formulate what he called "the philosophy of the future".

Alex Jennings reads this new translation by Ian Johnston.

©2008 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2008 Naxos Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mozart
  • Glendale, WI, United States
  • 01-07-11

Great Book, great Audio Narration

I won't drone on about the wealth of knowledge in this book. I will say i've listened to it twice since i got it two weeks ago, and i will keep listening to it. I find it very practical.
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The narration and production of this book is exceptional. Like any book, it's difficult to read to others, and communicate the nuance. Jennings & McMillan bring this production through with excellence. Even Jennings tone, a slight snear, really plays well, because Nietzsche himself writes with a slight snear.
Contrast this production with one i downloaded from "Librovox". Librovox allows non-professionals to record a book, and upload it. I downloaed Nietzsche's "The Gay Science", and i couldn't get through the first chapters. The narrator couldn't communicate the spirit and intent of the book. This production achieves that.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Irvine, CA, United States
  • 10-15-12

Troubled Genius

Nietzsche's analysis and critique of false authority, master-slave relationships, herd morality, rationalistic/scientific barriers to living fearlessly are amazing critiques for the time he wrote, and flew in the face of the rationalistic zeitgeist of Kant, Hegel and science.

His critique is very psychological, in that he does not himself present a rationalistic argument for or against his views (although he reveals brilliant thinking), but rather a series of observations/aphorisms which we automatically string together as his "philosophy" (and then wonder what he said). He makes scathing observations of the Jews being the cause of the despised master-slave relationships, and compounded by Christians. For sure, he despises weakness.

Because of his own questioning of human motivation leading to the destructive master-slave devaluation of human, I find myself analyzing his own motivation for his concerns. While his interpretation of women parallels hatred of weakness everywhere, his misogyny, mistrust and devaluation seems embedded in every pore of his being, and explains most of his philosophy as a rant against how his mother (including father) treated him. He describes women as like a cat, they do their own thing, they have claws waiting to strike and are fundamentally manipulative and shallow.

If my impression of Nietzsche's devaluation of human relationships (esp. with women) is accurate (his self/other esteem is relationally absent), then he is blind and in contempt (indignant) of any relational resolution to his existential predicament. His primary target therefore is anyone who presents a threat to him, his thinking, his power/right to live fully.

More interestingly, this theory helps explain the either/or, master/slave position which he takes as the truth of the human condition. Since psyche (which is conditioned by society he states)/people/society/ bad philosophers/scientists/politics/countries are not to be trusted, the first goal is to avoid being a slave of your own weak conscience or that of anyone else's, have the courage to be master of your own soul, and do not be afraid of your passions/instincts/impulses, but let them give you instinctive taste/guidance, power, freedom of will, nobility--not made weak by conscience.

His use of the term "Truth" is almost always stated in some disdainful way against others, especially philosopher metaphysicians who go around telling others what "Truth" is. His effort is to invert this terrible misconception, and restore the meaning of truth as ones own Will to Truth (which becomes Will to Power), the power to be who you are based on your own value. The ultimate truth in life is thus to embrace the value of your own power. He often speaks positively of artists who engage in their expressive, empowered freedom in life (i.e., Wagner).


He states that "all organic functions [including sexuality] could be traced back to this Will to Power" (36)--this is his claim about reality/truth. There are thus two reading of Nietzsche--the amoral, harsh, cynical, heartlessness, and the one that some of us would like to believe: that his thoughts just haven't been developed clearly and that he is more artistic in his nature (and that Santa Claus and Heaven are not in jeopardy). It is not hard to see why his ideas became usable for Hitler's regime. We can thank subsequent philosophers who salvaged his genius out of his darkness.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Oak Park, IL, United States
  • 05-24-12

important classic with Ian Johnston's notes

"Beyond Good and Evil" is a well-known classic, so I will not review the work itself.

The narration by Alex Jennings was excellent. He kept my attention throughout with his lively speech.

And, Ian Johnston was more than a translator. He also wrote commentary which is included in this audio. The commentary is excellent: accurate and helpful for understanding Nietzsche's background and ideas.

John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • brennan
  • Sacramento, CA, United States
  • 11-25-11

Awsome

Great read, great narrator, interesting, thought provoking, and surprisingly funny at times. If you have never read any Nietzsche this is a good one to start with.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Nikola
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 09-01-18

Nietzsche's philosophy with a crutch

The prologues before each part really helped me follow the strains of thought in Nietzsche's poetic aphorisms. It felt exhilarating to feel like I actually understood some thoughts and could value their beauty in expression and depth.

The performance is good, I liked the sometime arrogant, intellectually snobby tone, it painted a picture of philosopher's bitter loneliness. After the first listen I feel I only got the general idea of the structure and maybe grasped about 30% of the thoughts put forth. Re-listening some aphorisms in a different mindset and paradigms often allowed me to find deeper meaning. In this way, Nietzsche's writings are like the Bible.

Overall, a valuable work and worth a read, life changing in a non-practical theoretical way. Recommended to free thinkers.

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A Compendium of Eloquent Fanciful Notions

And I would say amazingly eloquent for his time (1885 here). Compare him to my paternal grandfather, born in 1889, and who, in Hungary, was a 'knife-boy' (read 'illiterate'), and which I would regard as 'normal' for the time, and you can see how Nietzsche could be held as an elite example of a human mind (if only later). Nevertheless, his thoughts are not at the highest level of thinking (compaired to the upcoming Philosophy of Universal Survival, for the Space Age, no less).

Intriguing for me was the historical aspect - imagining the contexts (both time and place) of the thinking.

The narretion was listenable - narrated in the nasal aristocratic British accent that all Americans love.

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great narration

I've listened to this twice now and there are still things I need to understand for myself. great wisdom from a great man of philosophical instinct.

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execlent.. well worth it

great insight . it is one those books that one most at least once great.

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  • M. Lim
  • San Diego, CA USA
  • 03-23-18

Required reading

Atheist prophet in some of his analysis, but often he comes across as committing the fallacy of assertion and leaps of logic with only belittling insults for other philosophies as his evidence for his own will to power philosophy. It’s an important work to be sure, but Nietzche is not quite the Uberman to which he calls men to rise. The murderous 20th century regimes that made quite an effort to rise beyond good and evil seemed to go quite a long way toward proving that evil exists rather vividly, and very possibly through willing to power their own read on Nietzcheian philosophy. Surely it can’t all be laid at his feet, but setting a will to power as the highest value can’t be held blameless. It’s a powerful argument, but we must learn it well so that it’s pitfalls never lead future nations down such dark paths again.

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Cocky ass Friedrich

His arrogance makes it a fun book. Very insightful views on morality. Left me with a lot to ponder. Worth the little amount of time.

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  • G. Mahoney
  • 01-22-18

Not for the uninitiated!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I came into this book as a complete philosophical novice, and I must say I've had an awful lot of difficulty grappling with the verbosity and name dropping of Nietzsche.

I've had some moments of lucidity where I think I've benefited from listening to Beyond Good and Evil, but mostly it has been impenetrable.

So if you're looking to dip your toe into western philosophy, I'd recommend looking for something more gentle to start with!

Has Beyond Good and Evil put you off other books in this genre?

Certainly not. But I'll be looking for a more broad introduction to the genre next.

What about Alex Jennings and Roy McMillan ’s performance did you like?

The narrator's sharp, snide intonations of Nietzsche's put downs and humiliations of other philosophies really help bring things to life.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Cassandra.Andrzej
  • 01-18-17

good narrator but not a captivating story.

nothing like Thus Spoke Zarathustra. few interesting points regarding women and femininity - trademark of Nietzsche.

1 of 8 people found this review helpful