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Editorial Reviews

"Envy is ignorance." "Imitation is suicide." "Trust thyself." "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

These and other nuggets of transcendental wisdom were first published in "Self-Reliance", the prime text of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s considerable contribution to American thought. "Self-Reliance" is an essay composed from lecture notes and is thus perfectly suited to Peter Johnson’s authoritative and confident audiobook performance.

Espousing a personal philosophy of optimism and an unwillingness to follow the herd, Emerson’s essay strongly influenced ideas as varied as Thoreau’s civil disobedience, Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and arguably any American act of political opposition through individual expression, such as punk music, gun ownership, and attempts to further separate church and state. The shadow of "Self-Reliance" is long.

Publisher's Summary

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men - that is genius. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Whosoever would be a man must be a nonconformist." Ralph Waldo Emerson explores the themes of individuality and self-fulfillment in his most popular essay, "Self-Reliance." In it, he celebrates America's free society, one which places value on the individual, and attacks the institution of religion as one that stifles the soul. Emerson's essays, considered among the best in the English language, have exerted much influence and enjoyed tremendous longevity.
(P)1988 Recorded Books, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jordan
  • AUSTIN, TX, United States
  • 08-19-12

DO NOT BUY

I wrote a review for this title when I was in college. The audible preview plays the Richard Wulf version, but when you actually download the file, Audible gives you the Peter Johnson reading which totally sucks. It's awful. I've contacted Audible several times to restore the Richard Wulf version and they don't do anything. Lately, they don't even respond to my emails, but that's another story, I guess.

If you can find the Richard Wulf version, I recommend it. His reading is sensitive to the content. All of his pauses and inflections help with comprehending Emerson's sometimes lengthy sentences. The Peter Johnson reading version sounds like a robot and is more of a barrier than a help.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jordan
  • Houston, TX, USA
  • 11-18-08

Pure Goodness.

I bought this audiobook for my Early American Lit class. I listened to it while walking to and from campus. Richard Wulf's reading is really great. I wish he recorded more essays by Emerson. I've gone back and listened to this audiobook 6 times in the last month just for sheer enjoyment. I highly recommend it. It's inspiring, thought provoking and delivered with class.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Reid
  • Cary, NC, USA
  • 07-23-05

Content good, sound quality & presentation poor

Everyone should read Self Reliance - it is a classic that is relevant today. But the sound quality of this recording is poor. Furthermore, this is an essay that provokes thought and it is poorly suited for listening to in the car.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul
  • Hamilton, Bermuda
  • 07-24-13

Actionable For Anyone Seeking Belief In Self

What made the experience of listening to Self-Reliance the most enjoyable?

Self-Reliance is an age old staple book for anyone making their own way in the world. This book is great for anyone starting out in the corporate world or venturing into their own entrepreneurial experience. There is no better.

If you’ve listened to books by Ralph Waldo Emerson before, how does this one compare?

This is one of Emerson's best works in my opinion because it is universally applicable and the information is immediately actionable.

Have you listened to any of Peter Johnson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Johnson is terrific in this piece. I have not listened to his work before. He is well suited to this content.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"You can do it"

Any additional comments?

Get this book to anyone that you know that is in the process of making their own way in life. I think that this book should be required reading before anyone can graduate high school in the United States and again as required reading in all degree programs.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • chrysta
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 05-06-10

Great Book, Terrible Narration

I was really excited to listen to this because Self Reliance is one of my favorite books. However, I could not listen to the entire thing, because the narration was terrible. Listen for yourself to the sample.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent!

I keep listening to this over and over. It's so rich and inspiring. A lot is packed into this short book. I highly recommend it to everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Key to individualism

To be self reliant is to be dependent on ones self. To know yourself and be a real authentic individual. One has to be an individual before he or she can be part of a working society that functions well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • New Haven, CT, USA
  • 03-11-10

Robot Reads

Be sure to preview your purchase before you buy!!! I made the mistake of not listening and this recording is nothing but a computer generated recording.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator's voice is wrong

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Who is the voice Narrator in the sample vs. that of in the purchased version. They're different which was a disappointment. I purchased the book hoping to get the narrator who sounded like he was from the 50's and the purchased version features someone who is from more contemporary times. Does anyone know how to get the version with the 50's guy's voice or even who that is. I enjoy how he narrates.

If you’ve listened to books by Ralph Waldo Emerson before, how does this one compare?

Who is the voice Narrator in the sample vs. that of in the purchased version. They're different which was a disappointment. I purchased the book hoping to get the narrator who sounded like he was from the 50's and the purchased version features someone who is from more contemporary times. Does anyone know how to get the version with the 50's guy's voice or even who that is. I enjoy how he narrates.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Who is the voice Narrator in the sample vs. that of in the purchased version. They're different which was a disappointment. I purchased the book hoping to get the narrator who sounded like he was from the 50's and the purchased version features someone who is from more contemporary times. Does anyone know how to get the version with the 50's guy's voice or even who that is. I enjoy how he narrates.

Was Self-Reliance worth the listening time?

Who is the voice Narrator in the sample vs. that of in the purchased version. They're different which was a disappointment. I purchased the book hoping to get the narrator who sounded like he was from the 50's and the purchased version features someone who is from more contemporary times. Does anyone know how to get the version with the 50's guy's voice or even who that is. I enjoy how he narrates.

Any additional comments?

Who is the voice Narrator in the sample vs. that of in the purchased version. They're different which was a disappointment. I purchased the book hoping to get the narrator who sounded like he was from the 50's and the purchased version features someone who is from more contemporary times. Does anyone know how to get the version with the 50's guy's voice or even who that is. I enjoy how he narrates.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sean
  • United States
  • 06-24-14

Okay, just not great.

Would you try another book from Ralph Waldo Emerson and/or Peter Johnson?

Oh, yes. I would surely read more from Emerson. I can appreciate his no nonsense approach with his subject-matter and writing.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

While I wasn't too impressed with the story, many others in the world are. So, I wouldn't change anything about it so as to leave it as is for those who more fully appreciate the story. It's like me saying let's move the nose on the Mona Lisa a little more to the left. It is what it is and I'm not going to touch it.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

There was nothing significant one way or the other with the performance. I guess I would say the narrator's subtle and simple approach, nothing over the top.

Did Self-Reliance inspire you to do anything?

It motivated me to continue with my personal belief system that we are all responsible for ourselves in this world. Other than God's hand on my life, I am responsible for taking care of me. Some may call me selfish, but the reality of the real world is I cannot not rely on others to provide or care for me.