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Summary

In 19th-century Vienna, a drama of love, fate, and will is played out amid the intellectual ferment that defined the era.

Josef Breuer, one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis, is at the height of his career. Friedrich Nietzsche, Europe's greatest philosopher, is on the brink of suicidal despair, unable to find a cure for the headaches and other ailments that plague him. When he agrees to treat Nietzsche with his experimental "talking cure", Breuer never expects that he, too, will find solace in their sessions. Only through facing his own inner demons can the gifted healer begin to help his patient.

In When Nietzsche Wept, Irvin Yalom blends fact and fiction, atmosphere and suspense to unfold an unforgettable story about the redemptive power of friendship.

©1992, 2003 Irvin D. Yalom (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about When Nietzsche Wept

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Wow

This book is beautiful. It help me to find cause of my depression and made me happy again. Incredible psychological experience!

5 people found this helpful

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The best fiction book I read in a long time

The story is so compelling and so touching. It is about several aspects oh human behaviour, friendship,love betrail, loss and search for the understanding of the shelf.
Beautifully written and narrated.
Part of my top ten of all times

3 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

One of my top 10 books ever. Amazing. Engrossing and a real page turner. Buy it.

6 people found this helpful

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The original lobster man?

I am not someone with any academic background in philosophy or psychology. It turns out this makes me vulnerable to a story well told.

I have no direct experience of Freudian or Jungian psychotherapy but I have always distrusted it. People seem to spend years in it, spend buckets of money and just keep going back and back and back because - I do believe - one's capacity for self-delusion on the basis of a 19th Century mid-European franchise run by a venerable academic discipline is boundless. Lately I have been more impressed by evolutionary psychology with seems far more grounded in neuroscience and modern research. There is also the recent assessment that the subconscious doesn't actually exist and that the analysis of dreams is largely a task of imagination So I started with a certain cynicism towards Yalom. But...

The book is pretty well written - the audio beautifully performed - and is very seductive. It's a fiction that draws out both the claimed benefits of psychotherapy and selective insights from Nietzche's work, ultimately to suggest a plausible link between the thought of Nietzche and Freud. As a relative innocent coming to philosophy I was seduced (as you may be). There are some great quotes and challenging aphorisms that bear thinking about in there.

I've even ordered a couple of books by Nietzsche and in the meantime gone back to the audiobook of A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell to listen to his chapter on Nietzsche. And there I came to a sudden screeching halt.

I know that some will protest that his life's work was hijacked by his anti-semitic sister and the Nazis, that Russell wrote in the aftermath of WW2 and that we are only now coming to make a neutral reassessment and rediscovery of his thoughts BUT do listen to Russell's assessment. And the quotations from Nietzsche HE provides. I'm no longer certain that any modern reassessment is worthwhile.

His thought seems to lead directly to that of Jordan Petersen, fear and loathing of women, male power, fascism, a disregard for the humanity of the masses and much else besides.

Like Petersen's, this book might be dangerous in the hands of relative innocents like me who might make radical changes to our lives, adopt doubtful politics and impact the lives of others after reading it. It has an internal coherence but please take care to step back read around both Nietzsche and Freud and history before giving it 5 stars or recommending it to friends. Life is more complicated. It has got me exploring philosophy again but do take care.

14 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

Yalom is a beautiful writer and this book did not disappoint. Very thought provoking and extremely well written it almost felt like being in there. A definite favourite.

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soul changing reading

I love this book I think it takes a person to explore unknown chambers of life.

1 person found this helpful

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An excellent book from the beginning to the end

As a medical doctor starting a residency in psychiatry this book has been a major developmental aid for me. Strengthen yourself before you strengthen others. Take the leap. Buy this book. It is highly unlikely you will be disappointed.

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Captivating and erudite

Loved it! A clear presentation of the different character personalities and powerful dialogues providing insight in basic principles of psychoanalysis. The narration was also very good. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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A poem

'History is fiction that did happen
Fiction is history that didn't happen'
And these book..?
I just wish I had read it 20 years ago.

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A beautiful and remarkable book

Beautifully and simply written. Overall a remarkable book.
I found the first half slightly hard work but I am so glad I persevered. The relationship created between the two main characters is a genius creation which twists back and forth as any good crime thriller plot. The issues tackled are thought provoking while also being simultaneously alarming and reassuring.
20th century Vienna seeps around it all in a tangible way creating atmosphere and place.
The afterword and authors notes about how the book came to be written are an hour well spent too.
If you are interested in Philosophy and/ or Nietzsche then don’t hesitate to give this a go... stick with it and it won’t disappoint.

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  • Haresh Raichura
  • 06-11-15

An immortal book !

A book which relieves oneself from memories of love betrayals, past memories and fears of death. A novel combining Philosophy, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. A compelling read.

15 people found this helpful

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  • KarenW
  • 02-04-17

Humanism and Humanity Come Together

Would you consider the audio edition of When Nietzsche Wept to be better than the print version?

I have had the printed version for some time, as I am a therapist, but after several failed starts at reading it, I could not keep my attention on it. When I discovered it was an audiobook, I wanted to give it another try, as I have always preferred storytelling to reading the story myself. It was definitely worth the retry!

What other book might you compare When Nietzsche Wept to and why?

I don't recall any books from my past readings that I would find comparable to this one.

What does Paul Michael Garcia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Paul's voice and narrating style just drew me in to where I found myself not wanting to turn it off when I had to get out of my car to go to my office. I have heard Irvin Yalom speak on many occasions, and Paul's voice sounded like Dr. Yalom was reading the story to me. Paul's voice was smooth, clear, and very in tune with the emotions and meanings of the story parts.

If you could take any character from When Nietzsche Wept out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would probably want to spend time with Dr. Brauer. I would want to talk with him more about how he kept hope alive in himself to endure the roller coaster ride of Nietzsche's tragic struggles. I would ask Dr. Brauer to share with me some techniques and tips for working with someone who is that profoundly depressed and spiritually lost without going crazy myself. I have had some difficult patients in my own career, and could relate to several of Dr. Brauer's head-banging moments! I would be taking copious notes listening to him.

Any additional comments?

I have been a long time student of Irvin Yalom's works on individual and group therapy in the existential and humanistic way of doing therapy. This book was always one on my shelf that was in the "I'll read it someday" list. Something just got into my head one day to listen to the book when I found it was available in audio format, so I thought it might be an interesting story to hear, knowing Dr. Yalom's story telling skills and topics. LIstening to the story really filled my mind with such images and ideas that fell right into line beside my own experiences as a therapist working with difficult patients, and I felt validated in how I have been practicing, and I took a lot of notes from the story to use in my own practice. I have since discovered other books of his on Audible, and intend to listen to all of them as well. I'll have to thank Dr. Yalom the next time I see him for putting his books on Audible!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Philip
  • 14-09-16

Become who you are!

I have thoroughly enjoyed the "When Nietzsche Wept" audiobook, and found both the story as well as the performance excellent! A great "teaching novel" by Irvin Yalom, addressing big life questions that are very recognizable. Nice blend of philosophy and psychotherapy, and an engaging plot where the lines between therapist and patient get very blurry. I got a much better insight into the works of Nietzsche through this book, he truly seems to be one of the founding fathers of "self-actualization". Hats off to Yalom, who manages to make a book that is 80% dialogue and 10% monologue (diary entries, patient reports) fascinating!

15 people found this helpful

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  • michael
  • 07-08-20

Overall decent for a fiction nieztche therapy book

It was okay. Really nothing special as it's based on therapy and how it could've been employed by nietzsche. Not bad if you're into this kind of stuff.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-01-20

Excellent

I hesitated at first because the story is fictitious, but now I am very glad that I read it: in only a few days.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Parsa
  • 15-03-19

Exceptional!

Yalom, with this masterpiece, has expanded the limits of creativity, knowledge and imagination.
I suggest learning about the characters, their relationships, the archived letters, and the events in real life before reading the novel, for only then you can appreciate the details Yalom has carved between the lines.
Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zineb
  • 26-03-17

I loved it!

it was a really an awesome book. i didnt expect to like it that much!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Luis Pereda
  • 12-02-21

Perhaps too ambitious

Nietzsche's portrayal does not appear to match the depth of his truly unique mind.

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  • jean-louis jaumin
  • 28-11-20

Need to read it

Fantastic and thrilling book. Once started it is impossible to stop. I finished it in a couple of days.

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  • Skip
  • 04-06-20

Excellent!

It was not what I expected but I loved it. The afterword was very helpful.