2020 Book Review: Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

I once heard that you couldn’t be considered an intellectual or truly into modern philosophy if you hadn’t read Friedrich Nietzsche in some capacity. I had studied him a bit in college, but my focus was on ancient philosophers, the originators of the methods that would eventually be built upon, and those of the ‘old world’. I cannot remember who recommended I read him for a modern taste, but nonetheless I did and have. The edition I’m reviewing isn’t from my college years, this is a more recent purchase. I cannot review the books of my college years as I never kept any copies of textbooks or references from those years beyond writer handbooks. I have copies of other books, but not the ones that had mentioned him.

The edition of Beyond Good and Evil I have is a hard swallow. As someone who does consider themselves a professional book formatter, this book is difficult to read with much of the edition seemingly thrown together like walls of text. It’s poorly organized, with chapters often only set in bold to separate it from the wall of text. It would’ve been better with the blocks being broken up with small decorative graphics to help the eye flow easier down the page. I really don’t think this very good as is and really should be approached with better tactics. Yes, this was bought off of Amazon. I have read that the ebook/digital version is much better, but I don’t have that copy and won’t review it until I do.

Once I was able to ignore the poor format of my edition, I was able to dig into his work. This book criticizes older philosophers and some of their views. He felt they weren’t hard enough on morality, and this book contains his views on Christian theological views. He goes into what he believes are the superior qualities a philosopher should have and really digs into the personality of anyone that dare be a philosopher. He criticizes Christian views. I can see many becoming offended and shutting the books and not giving him another chance.

In basic, he’s trying to say that all of morality as we know it was led astray because the philosophers of old were led astray and thus we have been led into the wrong direction morally and ethically. He rejected the systems that preached truth and didn’t acknowledge they had been led astray along the line without trying to correct their paths. I understood this to mean that you basically can’t do horrible things then go on to preach to others they’re doing wrong when you’re doing the same things. You cannot be a moral mouthpiece when you’re lacking in just that. It’s a very good way to self-examine oneself.

His work is not the type of philosophy you can read quick. You have to let it sink in, really give it a thought. It is only then you will take away something positive from his work. You can easily toss his work to the side as another man ranting, he is offensive, and can be a hard pill to swallow.

This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website, whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

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