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Publisher's Summary

The most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas. It is the source of one of Emerson's most famous quotations, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." This essay is considered a watershed moment in which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement. An American classic.

Public Domain (P)2012 Trout Lake Media

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Don't buy this

Audible should remove this narration. The performance is terrible, as if the narrator doesn't understand the meaning of words. Makes it almost impossible to understand the sentences. The most terrible cadence I've ever heard.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

RWE is great, but the narration is lacking

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Emerson is certainly one of the great thinkers of the American experience, however the narration of this text makes it quite challenging to get at the heart of Emerson's point. The narrator seems to lack the feeling and flow that would have really brought Emerson's words alive from the page to the listener's ear.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

narrator reads like William Shatner.

narrator reads like William Shatner. it was so hard to listen to, I couldn't finish.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great essay destroyed

It is a pity that this essay is read by someone with such a bad voice. The reading is slow and very very low. I listen a lot in my car, but I need to cut out aal the bass, to listen to this without having popping sounds.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Terrible Narration

If you would like to have this Emerson classic as an audiobook, please please do NOT buy this version. The narration is absolutely awful. The narrator, while having good clear diction, reads the book as if there is a comma every third or fourth word. This becomes extremely tedious within a very short time. In fact, I would say it creates a barrier to understanding the content of the book, which was not written in modern english.

A good narration should be transparent and not get in the way of a book. However, in this case, the narrator's pauses every third or fourth word made comprehension of the content a struggle. It sounds like a computer is reading it. If I could have given this narration zero stars, I would have.

The only good thing I can say about this version is that is was really cheap and I didn't waste too much money on it. I will look for another version. The one enjoyment I got out of it was knowing I had the power to press the stop button on my player.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible Narrator

This is the second time I have listened to this narrator and he is unlistenable. It seems as if the text is being revealed to him 3 words at a time, filled with odd pauses and a complete disconnect from what is being spoken - almost computer-like. The text itself may have been revolutionary 150 years ago, but now it's pretty standard with not much to offer.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good book. Not a fan of the speaker.

book was enjoyable but i wasnt a fan of the speaker. Sound quality just didnt seam very clear.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Time-tested way of life

Any additional comments?

Another repeatable listen as it is only an hour long. What makes this book a stand out is that Ralph Waldo Emerson was preaching current day "positive thinking philosophies back in the 1800's! Proving that life's complications start with acceptance and the real change begins in mind. 

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Okay but somewhat overrated

A piece with some admirable points but written in an odd form. Was worth checking out but I’ve found a lot of modern books by Brian Tracy, Steven Covey and Tony Robins far better

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Todd
  • Gaithersburg, MD
  • 11-03-17

First book I couldn’t finish due to narrator

Emerson is difficult to follow as a rule. The narrator had such a deep voice with so little voice inflection that it was just too difficult to understand what was being said. I may try this again, but with a different narrator.

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  • Reginald pelle
  • 10-04-15

Wonderful!

Full of inspiring, ever-lasting words of wisdom, to give you nurturing and extra motivation. Worth reading!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Surrey
  • 02-19-18

A must read.

This book is very inspirational and insightful from the first page to the last. A must read for everyone.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isidrums
  • 11-12-17

Great philosophy for modern times

The whole book is superb, it contains a philosophy that the Western World is sadly forgetting about and I recommend to read it often in order to survive in modern world's confusion. However I find the narrator's accent and voice difficult to understand in this version.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-04-17

Slow and Stilted

Despite possessing a beautiful voice, the narrator's performance was stilted and lacking fluidity. His tendency to pause mid phrase was particularly off putting. Whilst this may have been an attempt to break complex text into bite-sized chunks for ease of consumption, I found it extremely frustrating. However, I would thoroughly recommend the text of Self Reliance ... perhaps with a different narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful