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This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life Hardcover – Apr 14 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 14 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316068225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316068222
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 12.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David on Sept. 17 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this because of a fantastic YouTube video and was not disappointed by the full text of the speech. I will need to buy the hard cover of this book so that when people ask me "why are you so happy all the time?" I can throw this to them and tell them it is the brief synopsis of a happy life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By michael on Nov. 2 2011
Format: Hardcover
this speech changed my life...if youre hesitant about buying it fine, thats understandable but i would recommend it. you can also listen to it on youtube
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 91 reviews
75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful book April 15 2009
By olive - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Honestly, I couldn't disagree more with the negative posts. I think this brief, beautiful looking book is a wonderful tribute to David Foster Wallace's brilliant mind. This speech was spread throughout the internet, yes. But I, for one, think this is piece of writing is something worth collecting and pondering. And publishing it in a book form gives it the stature it deserves. That may sound old-fashioned, but even in the internet age, that's still the role of a book publisher. And I am happy to have this on my shelf to be able to hold onto it for years to come.
77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Slow Down April 10 2009
By Stephen C. Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My initial reaction was the same as the other reviews, huge rip off. But what the editors have done changes for the better the experience of reading what I already thought was an amazing speech. Most of us read the speech on the internet , which because of the medium is always cursory. The book makes us slow down and reflect on the message, and it's not trite or trivial or obvious (except in the sense that any observation that is clearly true seems trite). It's ten bucks very well spent- I bought a bunch of copies for gifts.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Exactly what I was expecting April 14 2009
By Eric Allam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Before buying this book I knew exactly what it was: David Foster Wallace's 2005 Kenyon Commencement speech. I actually read the speech online before I had read any of his books (now I've read them all save for Everything and More). and was hoping they would publish, which they did, and I think they did a very good job. I've recommended the speech to some of my friends and now I'll be able to do one better and give it to them as a gift. It seems silly to give this book a 1 star. Rate on content, not on something unknowable like the motivation of the publishers.
44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
What an appalling adaptation of a great speech July 28 2009
By Jake D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm pretty sure DFW, wherever he is, must really be regretting leaving control of his estate to whatever moron decided it would be a good idea to publish his speech one-line-at-a-time, as if it were the next installment of "Chicken Soup for the Soul". The layout substantially alters (for the worse) the impact of the speech, treating each sentence as if it were intended to be a precious little nugget of wisdom, divorced from overall context of the speech as a whole. I guess it's predictable that his heirs would want to cash in, but it's pretty unforgivable that they so brutally mangled his work in the process. Also: I seriously doubt the title is DFW's. "This is Water" is confusingly misquoted and sort of renders the initial anecdote meaningless, and the sub head is rife with the sort of hubris that DFW argues against in the speech itself.) The version that appeared in Best NonRequired Reading 2006 (edited by his friend Dave Eggers, who presumably titled it according to DFW's wishes) was simply "Kenyon Commencement Address" If you want the speech in book form, buy that book at least instead of this three legged baby.
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 (The Best American Series) The actual speech is, by the way, brilliant and moving, which is what makes this edition all the more tragic. (5 *'s for the speech 1 * for the edition itself)
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
In response to the criticism of "appalling adaption" and "shameful recasting" Sept. 5 2012
By A fellow with a keyboard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The negative reviewers on this page are furious that the text has been "brutally mangled" in a one-line-per-page book. That ought to give you a sense of how sacred the text is to people, and how important it is to read.

The negative reviewers are right that this is a near-sacred piece of text, one deserving of your carefulest attention, but for the same reason, they are exactly wrong that the book does the text a disservice. For two reasons:

1. One line per page forces you to slow down, to consider the words more carefully. To pause. Think.

2. The mere fact that the text is in a book changes our approach to it--gives it more weight. Here's William Deresiewicz: "It's not that the text is any different on a screen than it is in a book. It's that we're different, because the medium tunes our nervous systems to a different pitch. We come to the screen to be entertained: we bring it our impatience. We come to the screen to shop: we bring it the expectation that we're going to be pandered to." _This Is Water_ does not pander.

Rather than doing a disservice to the text, this book is an attempt to rescue the text from the dross of the Internet. To prevent people from reading it alongside their microwaved burrito and their online radio. To prevent people from giving it a moment's thought, and then never considering it again.

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