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Publisher's Summary

Composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885, Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the most famous and influential work of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The work is a philosophical novel in which the character of Zarathustra, a religious prophet-like figure, delivers a series of lessons and sermons in a Biblical style that articulate the central ideas of Nietzsche's mature thought. Key to the philosophy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a rejection of traditional systems of religious morality, the idea of the will to power, and a vision of a new, higher mode of being, the ubermensch" or "Superman," one of Nietzsche's most famous and controversial figures. As innovative stylistically as it is philosophically, Thus Spoke Zarathustra is both a literary masterpiece and an enduring classic of moral thought. This version of Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the translation by Thomas Common.

Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor

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  • Gary
  • 28-06-16

No truths just perspectives

Not a fiction book, but not quite a philosophy book in as much it doesn't give a foundation as such, but if anything takes away any structure to the world and challenges everything the listener thought he might have thought he knew as certainty.

The prophet, Zarathustra, loosely follows the gospel. He knows that God is dead not that there is no God but that Man (and Woman) no longer have need of him. What does it mean for us when there is no longer external truth? He'll even make a statement to the effect that the one who rode the donkey would have reached the same conclusions if he had only had the chance to live longer. "Man does not live by bread alone, but also by lamb". Zarathustra will challenge everything you think you might know and never lets up on his challenges, "What the populace once learned to believe without reasons, who could— refute it to them by means of reasons?".

"All poets are liars" but our reality and the lies we believe in give us our values which we must determine by ourselves with no help from any book or prophet nor even from Zarathustra. There's no doubt that Zarathustra is speaking what Nietzsche believes. The pre-Socratic philosophers with their belief that "man is the measure of all things", all that we know is never universal, necessary and certain. Knowledge is always imperfect. The closest we ever come is through the lies we use to create our world. Our perspectives will always skew the world. There is no one correct truth only perspectives.

I was surprised how much Heidegger in his "Being and Time" borrowed from Part One of this book. We're thrown in to the world, our care gives us our presence-at-hand, and we cope for our worldliness (purpose in life). Zarathustra uses different language but says the same things. Our authentic selves get overtaken by the marketplace where our idle chatter, curiosity and ambiguity makes us "talk to everyone therefore talking to now one" and ending up separating ourselves from who we are and how we should get beyond "good and evil" because "there ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue just people doing things" (yes, that quote is from "Grapes of Wrath", but I suspect Zarathustra would agree with it).

John Lee, the narrator, narrates this book perfectly. I would have gotten almost nothing out of this book by reading it, but the narrator knows how to give the author's contempt, disgust, and a whole hosts of other appropriate emotional states while reading the book. I know the narrator understood the book completely and knew how to convey that while narrating.

The book is not perfect. Zarathustra has a problem with women, marriage, love and modernity and lacks the true understanding of science of which he doesn't seem to appreciate. But, overall there are too many great takeaways within this book and this book should be listened to by everyone. Freud said he had to stop reading Nietzsche because he didn't want to be accused of stealing from him. Freud thinks there are great truths but we deny them. Marx thinks that our big truths are our social classes. Zarathustra knows there are no truths and we must learn to accept that, and would want no one to accept that except on their own and most certainly not because of Zarathustra.

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  • Stephen
  • 23-03-13

Great book, poor audio performance

John Lee has a very rich, mellifluous voice, but the reading he delivers here is unengaged and extremely sloppy. One gets the distinct impression that he has no familiarity with the material at all, and has not made any attempt to prepare himself. For example, he does nothing to register the voices of different characters, and repeatedly reads questions as though they were regular sentences (almost as though he didn't notice the question mark until it was too late). Instead of a nuanced, attentive performance, we get an extremely monotonous reading that never varies from a crisp, polished 'high style'--doing absolutely nothing to capture the exuberant energy and variety of Nietzche's prose. In short, it sounds very much like an automated 'robo-reader' with an Oxford accent.

The book itself, on the other hand, is lots of fun and a must-read for anyone interested in Nietzche's philosophy.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Viva
  • 23-01-21

Poetry performed with vigor

Absolutely stunning, so vivid and alive. Poignant and snarky, I feel like the voice actor captures the art that this piece is. It makes my brain light up.

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  • nicholas
  • 29-03-20

For those who dare

Nietzsche is a powerful writer. This book proves his strength once again by laying out his final theory of the overman or super man. This is not for the faith of heart, politically minded, or easily offended.

I.e. stay away all you small people

A note to serious Nietzsche readers: This book is unlike any other the man wrote. The general style is more story like. enough said though... Have Fun! :)

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  • Justin smith
  • 17-03-21

Included

Read well. I've read it. This was good if you've read the book and want to listen again. for free it's worth it.

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  • Brice
  • 16-03-21

Poetic and polemic

I wish the reader would have had a polish German accent. The wording was fun and thought provoking. I wish Frederich Nietzsche would have been able to read his own book for a recording.

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  • Yas
  • 28-01-21

A lesson never complete

Nietzsche keeps you wondering constantly. The lesson is never fully grasped or entirely learned with him. There is always more.

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  • Trenton
  • 14-01-21

Worth a listen, excellent narrator

First half is interesting with him dropping a lot of interesting thoughts and ideas. Last half kind of had me lost, not really understanding what was going on or what he was talking about, it's a little bit less focused and more mystic in the latter half. The narrator does a wonderful job. This would be better with a summary guide kind of guiding you so that you know more or less what is going to be focused on each chapter. I didn't really absorb most of the deeper ideas, but it still felt like a very smart intellectual's thoughts were being spoken throughout the book and it was still worth a listen.

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  • Oliver
  • 12-01-21

Bad translation

Performance is acceptable but this is not a good translation. Look to the Kaufmann version instead.

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  • Collin
  • 31-12-20

sick man

not a surprise this guy went insane with megalomania and inspired german fascism. all the signs are here. hatred of compassion. hatred of equality. believes a select few should rule over others as the masses are superfluous like maggots not worthy of resources not worthy of education not worthy of living.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-19

Such a spectacular work of art

This is by far, the epitome of artfully expressed philosophy. The work is consistently thought-provoking. The language is embellished and crowned with an unblemished narration. In my opinion, the tone and the narrative attitude of the translator and the narrator, respectively, is indicative of intense readership (if not discipleship) of Nietzsche. It is indeed, a spectacular work of art.

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  • NATHAN FLETCHER
  • 23-03-21

The last audio book you ever need to buy??

The last audio book you ever need to buy??

Also greatly enjoyed your performance John Lee 👏

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  • Slouchy
  • 10-03-21

loved it

really makes you think. question your views and lifestyle. definitely not an easy read but very stimulating.

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  • Rose Weeks
  • 17-01-19

not a good translation

Thomas commons translation is known to be awful. seek other versions. would be better if they had kaufmann's

3 people found this helpful