• by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Narrated by Peter Johnson
  • 1 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


Audible Editor 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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


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.
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- Jordan

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.
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- Jordan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-16-1999
  • Publisher: Recorded Books