Walden: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #14

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Below are my personal notes of Walden. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books

  • I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattles and farming tools, for these are more easily acquired then gotten rid of. Better if they were born in open pasture and suckled by a wolf that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil?
  • Worst of all when you are the slave driver of yourself
  • The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation
  • What are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. 
  • I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even ernest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing and probably cannot tell me anything to the purpose 
  • Somethings are really necessaries of life in some circles, the most helpless and diseased, which in others are luxuries merely, and in others still are entirely unknown
  • One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels
  • “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” Confucius
  • To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts nor even to found a school, ut to so love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust. 
    • It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically
  • I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience
  • Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. 
  • Many a man is harassed to death to pay the rent of a larger and more luxurious box
  • In large towns and cities, the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole. The rest pay an annual tax for this outside garment, which would buy a village of Indian wigwams, but now helps to keep them poor as long as they live
  • Encumbrances sometimes outweighs the value of the farm, so that the farm itself becomes one great encumbrance
  • And when the farmer has got his house, he may not be the richer but the poorer for it, and it be the house that has got him. 
    • While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who inhabit them
    • Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have one as their neighbors have
  • It is the luxurious and dissipated who set the fashions which the herd so diligently follow
  • It is difficult to begin without borrowing, but perhaps it is the most generous course thus to permit your fellow men to have an interest in your enterprise
  • To my astonishment, I was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation! Why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor I should have known more about it. 
  • Spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England to live the life of a poet. 
  • Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries, but for want of luxures  
  • I found that by working about 6 weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living
  • I am convinced that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a past time, if we will live simply and wisely
  • Be sure to give the poor the aid they most need. If you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to them. 
    • Impart our courage, and not our despair, our health and ease, and not our disease
  • As long as possible, live free and uncommitted. It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail
  • Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations of nations
  • We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. 

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in Walden , you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.

12 thoughts on “Walden: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #14

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