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on August 20, 2001
Readers should be aware that this edition of "The World As I See It" is, in fact, an abridged version of the original publication. Without bothering to mention this on the title page, it has dropped the entire fifth section on "Scientific Questions," including such classic popular expositions of Einstein's basic philosophy as "Geometry and Experience" and "Principles of Research." Editing a book of Einstein's writings which deliberately excludes all mention of science is like publishing a biography of Mozart - without any reference to music.
It is, I think, significant of the dumbing down of American publishing that the German edition of the same book ("Mein Weltbild," published by Ullman) has continuously added new material on politics, fascism, Judaism, peace and science over the years! Readers who want to know what Einstein was really like should obtain a used copy of the original full version.
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on April 7, 2004
It still amazes me to think that this book exists at all, and for one very good reason: no one ever mentioned to me that Albert Einstein was a quasi-philosopher-turned-political-activist. I grew up hearing about 'Einstein the Scientist' but knew nothing of the man who spoke out about global disarmament, pacifism, and even the reconstruction of Palestine in spite of persecution at home (think Germany, 1933) and abroad. It wasn't until I stumbled upon a few quotes of his that I realized his mind worked beyond even the limits of science, and it wasn't until I stumbled across an e-book titled "The World As I See It" by Albert Einstein that I realized there were publications in his name beyond his Scientific Journals. When I saw a real copy in one of my favourite used-book shops, of course I had to buy it.
The book is really an incomplete collection of Einstein's articles and writings put together "to give a picture of a man," we are told by the editor, as "his character and opinions are being exhibited to the world in an utterly distorted forestall this fate is the real object of this book." If nothing else, this collection gives a clear picture of the things that Einstein was concerned about, which speaks volumes more about his character than a biography could. Topics within the text vary greatly, though inevitably touch upon religion, personal philosophy (yes, those are two separate categories to me), and world politics.
Of particular interest to me was those articles written in pre-WWII Germany as they absolutely reek of the political turmoil of the times, which remind me greatly of the political bantering surrounding a post-9/11 United States. Specifically, there are a series of letters exchanged between Herr Einstein and the Prussian Academy of Sciences in which Einstein is accused of "atrocity-mongering" after resigning from the Academy due to the Prussian Government's inequities against individual freedom. The Academy essentially twists Einstein's actions and words in an effort to slander his good name, and each retort quid pro quo paints the formulaic picture of an irrational "authority" attacking those who speak out against them. After re-reading the articles just now, I can't help but be reminded of the Bush Administration's attacks on the Dixie Chicks after the attacks on the World Trade Center.
I would like to address each of the ideas presented within this book, but would rather save that for a proper essay as each deserves more merit than a few brief scribbles in a book review. I will say this though: Albert Einstein's theories on disarmament, world peace and global unification seem as attainable as they are idealistic when coming from the pen of such an honest, genuine, intelligent man. He speaks with complete understanding and acceptance of himself, others and the politics in between when touching upon subjects ranging between Good and Evil to The Meaning of Life to Peace, Fascism, Culture and Prosperity, and I found myself with little choice but to listen whole-heartedly and agree with the brilliance captured within these few pages.
I recommend this book to everyone (and I *rarely* recommend books) and believe it should be a mandatory-study in high school for its sheer breadth of scope in understanding the globe we call Earth as it is today, and as it should be tomorrow.
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on September 5, 2000
To know Einstein's thoughts is to understand the nature of one of histories finest minds. Beyond all else, Albert Einstein was a man, a man of deep social & moral conscience. As I read this book, I was struck by the thought of George Santayana, "Those who do not study the past are condemned to repeat it." To be able to travel back nearly 100 years and view the world throught the mind and spirit of Einstein is a pleasure indeed. I found myself at odds with some of what Einstein thought. However, what a great experience it was to explore those thoughts and how many still appear true today. Albert Einstein once said "Imagination is more important than knowledge". The man knew what he was talking about.
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on December 17, 1998
Albert Einstein will always be remembered as one of the great minds of our time. But not too many people think of him as a great societal thinker as well. Albert delves into many touchy subjects in this book (having grown up during the most devastating era mankind has ever known).
The one downside to this book is that there are a few (only a few) passages where you really don't know who he is talking to, and little reference is given on these to help you, the reader, figure them out.
I was thoroughly impressed that this genius, mental marvel of the 20th century could convey his message so clearly in most of the essays and writings. He talks about religion, minorities, war, and other issues facing humaity today that are highly debated in all circles.
A good buy, a great mind.
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on January 4, 2014
A great quick capsule/snapshot of the man Einstein was. His views described in this book, if instilled in the general population would, no doubt, help move us all in the right direction.
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on January 2, 2012
I bought this at a time that I was reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time so I was also interested in the way Einstein saw the world. This book, however, was not about science at all. I slogged through it and, while it helped me to understand Einstein's humility, I suppose I was disappointed. I found that I wasn't very interested in Einstein 'the man' and I returned to Mr. Hawking's books to read further about black holes and the shape of the universe.
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on March 16, 2014
I didn't do much research on this book before buying it, so I had thought it would have more of Einstein's memorable quotes. The information is brilliant, of course, but doesn't do enough to flesh out this exceptional mind's views of the world. It might appeal to the scientifically minded more than the spiritually minded. One might say I should have expected that, but I know he had his own brand of spirituality and that's what I was looking for but didn't find.
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on January 15, 2011
I bought the book based on some of the things that I had heard and read about Einstein. This book is essentially a summary of Einstein's view of life in general. It is truly mazing to see how this man looked at life. I especially liked his view of the religion and what he calls "Cosmic Religion" which holds the good of the man kind in heart. I highly recommend for people who are looking for a new way of looking at life. This might truly be an opening.
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on April 9, 1999
This book was a really interesting to read because I've never read any letters Albert had written, and it tells about events in his life you wouldn't ordinarily know. The only problem for me was the book didn't quite grab my attention in some parts very well. But other than that I loved the cover and the book, I would definitely recommend it.
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on September 22, 1999
The book reveals, the thoughts of the great mind known as Albert Einstein. His social life was as enlightening, as his intellectual mind. He had god given gift of opening god's secrets, and he did it beautifully, and humbly. I have read this book many times, and feel divine about thinking about Albert Eintein.
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