100 books like Friedrich Nietzsche

By Volker Gerhardt,

Here are 100 books that Friedrich Nietzsche fans have personally recommended if you like Friedrich Nietzsche. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Nietzsche: The Man and his Philosophy

Anthony K. Jensen Author Of An Interpretation of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

From my list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t especially like Nietzsche, and rarely agree with him. As a professor of philosophy, I find that he is less original than is popularly assumed and less clear than he should be—not out of some mysterious profundity—so much as a recalcitrance or maybe inability to make plain what he thinks. Even so, I find it quite impossible to break away from Nietzsche. For my part, and I suspect for many readers who came upon him during their formative years, Nietzsche’s thought is so close to me that I’m always wrestling with it. Maybe that’s not a ‘result of’ but a ‘condition for’ reading it?

Anthony's book list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Why did Anthony love this book?

Nietzsche studies are a cottage industry unto themselves. There are thousands of monographs, anthologies, and papers, which are conveniently searchable at the Weimarer Nietzsche-Bibliographie. My “five best books” are not necessarily the interpretations I personally consider by some measure the ‘best’, in the sense of being the most ‘correct’. They are instead the ones I find most helpful for a reader to interpret Nietzsche in a responsible, well-informed way for themselves. 

R. J. Hollingdale is a great starting point for a novice. He was that rare combination of translator, biographer, and philosopher—and as such, his work is approachable for any intellectually curious reader. It was first published in 1965, at a time when one really did have to argue for Nietzsche’s place as a canonical philosopher rather than just a brilliant writer, bombastic iconoclast, or politically-dangerous driver of the pre-war German Zeitgeist. Even if somewhat dated, his book…

By R. J. Hollingdale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nietzsche as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic biography of Nietzsche, first published in the 1960s, was enthusiastically reviewed at the time. The biography is now reissued with its text updated in the light of recent research. Hollingdale's biography remains the single best account of the life and works for the student or non-specialist. The biography chronicles Nietzsche's intellectual evolution and discusses his friendship and breach with Wagner, his attitude towards Schopenhauer, and his indebtedness to Darwin and the Greeks. It follows the years of his maturity and his mental collapse in 1889. The final part of the book considers the development of the Nietzsche legend…


Book cover of Reinterpreting Modern Culture: An Introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche's Philosophy

Anthony K. Jensen Author Of An Interpretation of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

From my list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t especially like Nietzsche, and rarely agree with him. As a professor of philosophy, I find that he is less original than is popularly assumed and less clear than he should be—not out of some mysterious profundity—so much as a recalcitrance or maybe inability to make plain what he thinks. Even so, I find it quite impossible to break away from Nietzsche. For my part, and I suspect for many readers who came upon him during their formative years, Nietzsche’s thought is so close to me that I’m always wrestling with it. Maybe that’s not a ‘result of’ but a ‘condition for’ reading it?

Anthony's book list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Why did Anthony love this book?

Named “Denker des Vaderlands” in 2021 by the Stichting Maand van de Filosofie in the Netherlands, Paul van Tongeren’s introductory text is among the few that not only advances theses of Nietzsche, but also explicitly outlines a hermeneutics for approaching a range of texts in their idiosyncratic rhetorical style. For me, the second chapter was a sort of watershed moment where I came to realize how many layers there are to Nietzsche’s writing—and how slow and ruminative a reader should be in interpreting his ideas. When one follows van Tongeren’s techniques, a whole kaleidoscope of new meanings emerge in central ideas like ‘Will to Power’ or his critiques of religion and morality, respectively. The Nietzsche that van Tongeren portrays is not the truth-seeking philosopher so much as the physician of culture, someone not after demonstration and proof so much as the diagnosis and therapy for a Europe fractured by the…

By Paul van Tongeren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reinterpreting Modern Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) presents himself several times as a physician of culture. He considers it his task to make a diagnosis of the culture of his age, to point to the latent or patent diseases, but also to the possibilities to overcome them. His diagnosis, prognosis, and prescriptions implied an overcoming of traditional interpretation of what is going on in the main domains of culture: knowledge, morality, religion, and art. This book presents Nietzsche's thoughts on knowledge and reality, on morality and politics, and on religion. Preceding these main dialogues is an introduction on the art of reading Nietzsche's texts…


Book cover of Nietzsches persönliche Bibliothek

Anthony K. Jensen Author Of An Interpretation of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

From my list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t especially like Nietzsche, and rarely agree with him. As a professor of philosophy, I find that he is less original than is popularly assumed and less clear than he should be—not out of some mysterious profundity—so much as a recalcitrance or maybe inability to make plain what he thinks. Even so, I find it quite impossible to break away from Nietzsche. For my part, and I suspect for many readers who came upon him during their formative years, Nietzsche’s thought is so close to me that I’m always wrestling with it. Maybe that’s not a ‘result of’ but a ‘condition for’ reading it?

Anthony's book list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Why did Anthony love this book?

Reading Nietzsche without understanding the contexts he was working in and against is a bit like trying to interpret a text thread among friends from only one of their vantages. Without the context of ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and ‘when’ Nietzsche was reading and responding to, interpreters cannot grasp why he used the particular terms, phrasings, or rhetorical devices he did. Campioni, D’Iorio, Fornari, Fronterotta, and Orsucci—each remarkable scholars in their own right—deserve our gratitude for having cataloged Nietzsche’s (mostly) still-preserved personal library as it stands in the Weimar archives. Even better, they chronicled the margin notes, dog-eared pages, and various frustrated cross-outs or excited approbations that Nietzsche scribbled into those books. Nietzsches persönliche Bibliothek has sat next to my keyboard for years, and still offers surprises when I wonder ‘did Nietzsche read Dostoyevsky in German or French translation’ or ‘which biology anthologies influenced his understanding of Darwinism?’

By Giuliano Campioni (editor), Paolo D'Iorio (editor), Maria Christina Fornari (editor) , Francesco Fronterotta (editor) , Andrea Orsucci (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nietzsches persönliche Bibliothek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Der Band verzeichnet erstmals samtliche Werke und Noten aus Nietzsches persoenlicher Bibliothek (BN) bis Anfang Januar 1889. Er listet sowohl die Bestande der Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek als auch die des Goethe- und Schiller-Archivs in Weimar auf. Die kritische Analyse anderer Bestandslisten ermittelte zudem zahlreiche heute nicht mehr vorhandene Titel. Ferner wurden samtliche Bucherrechnungen und -quittungen von Buchhandlern und Buchbindern ausgewertet, die im Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv aufbewahrt werden.

Neben den ca. 2.200 Titeln aus Nietzsches rekonstruierter Bibliothek enthalt der Band auch ein Verzeichnis samtlicher 'Lesespuren' Nietzsches (ca. 20.000), z.B. Anmerkungen, Unterstreichungen und Eselsohren. Erganzt durch zahlreiche Faksimile-Reproduktionen sowie durch philosophische,…


Book cover of Nietzsche und der deutsche Geist, 4 vols.

Anthony K. Jensen Author Of An Interpretation of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

From my list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t especially like Nietzsche, and rarely agree with him. As a professor of philosophy, I find that he is less original than is popularly assumed and less clear than he should be—not out of some mysterious profundity—so much as a recalcitrance or maybe inability to make plain what he thinks. Even so, I find it quite impossible to break away from Nietzsche. For my part, and I suspect for many readers who came upon him during their formative years, Nietzsche’s thought is so close to me that I’m always wrestling with it. Maybe that’s not a ‘result of’ but a ‘condition for’ reading it?

Anthony's book list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Why did Anthony love this book?

If the previous text was a trusty aid for readers, then Krummel’s monumental assemblage of ‘Nietzscheana’ is a treasure chest, the single most comprehensive resource for understanding what Nietzsche meant to Germany. Much more than a bibliography, it is a ‘Wirkungsgeschichte’ or ‘history of influence’ of seemingly everything and everybody touched by the person or thought of Nietzsche from 1867-1945. Krummel, who was an American Germanist, offers the reader excerpts of more than five thousand articles, letters, published speeches, and even diary entries on the subject of Nietzsche. In fact, the massive cultural-historical library that Krummel amassed while compiling these volumes became the foundational collection of the Nietzsche-Dokumentationszentrum in Naumburg. 

By Richard Frank Krummel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nietzsche und der deutsche Geist, 4 vols. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Die Reihe Monographien und Texte zur Nietzsche-Forschung (MTNF) setzt seit mehreren Jahrzehnten die Agenda in der sich stetig verändernden Nietzsche-Forschung. Die Bände sind interdisziplinär und international ausgerichtet und spiegeln das gesamte Spektrum der Nietzsche-Forschung wider, von der Philosophie über die Literaturwissenschaft bis zur politischen Theorie. Die Reihe veröffentlicht Monographien und Sammelbände, die einem strengen Peer-Review-Verfahren unterliegen.

Die Buchreihe wird von einem internationalen Redaktionsteam geleitet.


Book cover of The Courtiers Manual Oracle: or the Art of Prudence

David Flusfeder Author Of Luck: A Personal Account of Fortune, Chance and Risk in Thirteen Investigations

From my list on luck: winning, losing, and seeing opportunity.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father, when he consented to talk about all the moments in his life when the odds against his survival were so small as to make them statistically non-existent, would say, ‘I was lucky.’ Trying to understand what he meant got me started on this book. As well as being a novelist, I’m a poker player. Luck is a subject that every poker player has a relationship to; more importantly it’s a subject that every person has a relationship to. The combination of family history and intellectual curiosity and the gambler’s desire to win drove me on this quest.

David's book list on luck: winning, losing, and seeing opportunity

David Flusfeder Why did David love this book?

When I was researching Luck, I came across many books that claimed to teach the willing acolyte how to seize opportunity and how to maximise reward while minimising risk. This is the one that’s worth paying attention to. The Oracle is a collection of three hundred maxims for practical success, in condensed, often paradoxical form, written by a seventeenth-century Jesuit. Nietzsche said of it that "Europe has never produced anything finer or more complicated in matters of moral subtlety" and who’s going to argue with Nietzsche?

By Baltasar Gracián,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Courtiers Manual Oracle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reproduction of a classic text optimised for kindle devices. We have endeavoured to create this version as close to the original artefact as possible. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we believe they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


Book cover of Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

Barry Sandywell Author Of Logological Investigations, Volume 1: Reflexivity and the Crisis of Western Reason

From my list on the beginnings of European theorizing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis on questions of culture and on work in the field of visual culture. Recently these have included Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook of international scholars to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. My own position can be found in my Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms.

Barry's book list on the beginnings of European theorizing

Barry Sandywell Why did Barry love this book?

This early study of the young Nietzsche is probably the most personal choice as it returns me to an earlier self who first encountered Nietzsche as an undergraduate in the 1960s. In one sense this was my first introduction to what later became known as `Continental Philosophy’. But more than this, it demonstrated that there were fundamental issues and problems that were simply evaded and occluded by the standard histories of philosophy and European culture. The passion to return to the ancient world as a way of understanding the modern world has remain with me to the present. Nietzsche’s reflections on tragedy and `the tragic age’ struck me as a vital source of radical questions and pointed toward problems that remain with me to the present day: the Indo-European language roots of the first thinkers, the seminal role of Homer and Homeric poetry within the problematics of thought, the rejection…

By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Marianne Cowan (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Nietzsche, the Age of Greek Tragedy was indeed a tragic age. He saw in it the rise and climax of values so dear to him that their subsequent drop into catastrophe (in the person of Socrates - Plato) was clearly foreshadowed as though these were events taking place in the theater. And so in this work, unpublished in his own day but written at the same time that his The Birth of Tragedy had so outraged the German professorate as to imperil his own academic career, his most deeply felt task was one of education. He wanted to present…


Book cover of Beyond Good And Evil

Felipe G.A. Moreira Author Of The Politics of Metaphysics

From my list on the relation between politics and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosophy post-doc at Unesp and a poet who has always felt that politics is not the exclusive business of politicians; that violence is not the exclusive business of warfare or of “vulgar” people, say, drunkards in bars. Violence, I have felt while doing philosophy in the USA, Brazil, Germany, and France, is likewise expressed by well-educated and apparently “peaceful” philosophers who are engaged in implicit politics and practice “subtle” violence. To handle the relation between politics and metaphysics is to do justice to this feeling. The Politics of Metaphysics, I hope, does that. I believe that though more tacitly, the same is done by this list’s books. 

Felipe's book list on the relation between politics and metaphysics

Felipe G.A. Moreira Why did Felipe love this book?

What I love about this book is the fact that it indicates that an apparently apolitical metaphilosophical assumption agrees with an upfront right-wing policy.

The assumption is that when tackling disputes in metaphysics, philosophers should aim to achieve consensus. The policy is that of pressing one to respect the allegedly rationally undeniable standards of a “herd,” as Nietzsche puts it. While problematizing this view, Nietzsche argues that libertarian tendencies of expressing one’s uniqueness are more valuable than more egalitarian tendencies of following herds; to provoke dissensus would then be more valuable than to reach consensus.

This stance has influenced me, even though while problematizing Nietzsche’s works through Carnap’s (and vice-versa), I claim that libertarian and egalitarian tendencies are equally valuable so that one should aim for a balance between them.

By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beyond Good And Evil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unabridged English value reproduction of Beyond Good And Evilby Friedrich Nietzsche and translated by Helen Zimmern. This philosophical classic is a must read because of its fearless approach to how knowledge is formed.

Beyond Good And Evil asks, is truth absolute? Do humans invent ways to fortify already held views or truly seek the truth? Are the powerful more ‘right’ than the weak? Or is Nietzsche writing down page after page to hear himself talk?

Let the reader decide in this slim volume with full text and footnotes, produced at an affordable price.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE              3
CHAPTER I.…


Book cover of A Philosophy of Walking

Erin Leider-Pariser Author Of Get Lost: Seven Principles for Trekking Life with Grace and Other Life Lessons from Kick-Ass Women's Adventure Travel

From my list on inspiring authentic transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a long-time meditator, wellness expert, and founder of a women’s adventure travel business, I am always grateful to discover books that offer insights about enhancing well-being. In my own book, Get Lost: Seven Principles for Trekking Life with Grace and Other Life Lessons from Kick-Ass Women’s Adventure Travel, I share personal stories of transformation that I and my fellow travelers have experienced on trips that include rituals to help us bond and express our authentic selves. Scientific evidence shows that connecting with others and practicing mindfulness are essential for a full, healthy life, and I loved recently sharing this message with students in the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University.  

Erin's book list on inspiring authentic transformation

Erin Leider-Pariser Why did Erin love this book?

I was gifted this book recently and it is the gift that keeps on giving.

I am an avid walker and the way the author interspersed poignant life stories with his own on walking was lovingly poetic. This quote “the walker is king, and the earth is his domain” is the one that defines the entire message of the book. I’ve been on many pilgrimages in life and witnessed many a transformation but none like the ones these philosophers uncover.

It was a joy to read the profound messages in staying present while walking as exercise. Grab a friend and enjoy walking together as you put one foot in front of the other and have meaningful conversation. 

By Frederic Gros, Clifford Harper (illustrator), John Howe (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Philosophy of Walking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.
- Nietzsche

By walking, you escape from the very idea of identity, the temptation to be someone, to have a name and a history ... The freedom in walking lies in not being anyone; for the walking body has no history, it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial life.

In A Philosophy of Walking, a bestseller in France, leading thinker Frederic Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B-the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble-and reveals what they say…


Book cover of The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher with a voracious appetite for literature. I inhabit a world of abstract ideas but always return to fiction because it vividly portrays the real-world consequences of our beliefs and reminds us that ideas also move us irrationally: they’re comforting or disturbing, audacious or dull, seductive or repellant. I prefer world literature because it plants us in new times and places, helping us, like philosophy, see beyond our blinders. Deprived of the assumptions that prop up our everyday arrogance, we can clear a mental and emotional path to what we’ve ignored or covered up, as well as rediscover and reaffirm shared values, arrived at from new directions. 

Donovan's book list on Japanese novels that illuminate Nietzsche’s philosophy (or distort it in illuminating ways!)

Donovan Miyasaki Why did Donovan love this book?

Nietzsche’s greatest admirers often distort his views. Mishima is no exception. Considering his nationalism, militarism, and ritualistic suicide, it’s little surprise he endorses the popular misconception of Nietzsche as a champion of egoism and power. 

In this fascinating, disturbing story, adolescent boys create a club devoted to an amoral, pseudo-Nietzschean ideal. When they encounter a mysterious sailor, they worship him as a living embodiment of their values until he defies the image they’ve created. 

Mishima misinterprets Nietzsche but in a critically illuminating way. The boys’ ultimate reaction to their disappointing demi-god proves their hypocrisy, revealing that they idolize precisely the qualities they lack. So Mishima inadvertently debunks the stereotypical image of the “overman,” a cartoonishly impossible superhero, a fantasy who attracts only his polar opposites: the insecure, resentful, conformist, and childish.

By Yukio Mishima, John Nathan (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A band of savage 13-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call 'objectivity'. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disallusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.


Book cover of Schoolgirl

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher with a voracious appetite for literature. I inhabit a world of abstract ideas but always return to fiction because it vividly portrays the real-world consequences of our beliefs and reminds us that ideas also move us irrationally: they’re comforting or disturbing, audacious or dull, seductive or repellant. I prefer world literature because it plants us in new times and places, helping us, like philosophy, see beyond our blinders. Deprived of the assumptions that prop up our everyday arrogance, we can clear a mental and emotional path to what we’ve ignored or covered up, as well as rediscover and reaffirm shared values, arrived at from new directions. 

Donovan's book list on Japanese novels that illuminate Nietzsche’s philosophy (or distort it in illuminating ways!)

Donovan Miyasaki Why did Donovan love this book?

The most charming and subtly Nietzschean of Dazai’s usually bleak novels, this book plants readers directly inside the mind of a young girl over the course of a day. Some compare her to Catcher in the Rye’s Holden, a child pretending to be a grown-up. But schoolgirl’s a true contradiction: too childish and too mature, naive and wise, Holden’s little sister mixed with Mrs. Dalloway. 

Holden is a “bad Nietzsche,” overcoming internal strife with protective cynicism, but schoolgirl’s a bundle of possibilities: Nietzsche’s “undersouls” battle to control her identity, veering between “becoming what she is” or expected to be and “decadence.” 

She’s confusing, endearing, and heartbreaking because everything’s still possible. She could as easily become Holden, a dutiful daughter, or a Dazai double-suicide, and any passing experience might decide that fate. 

By Osamu Dazai, Allison Markin Powell (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Schoolgirl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Essentially the start of Dazai's career, Schoolgirl gained notoriety for its ironic and inventive use of language. Now it illuminates the prevalent social structures of a lost time, as well as the struggle of the individual against them–a theme that occupied Dazai's life both personally and professionally. This new translation preserves the playful language of the original and offers the reader a new window into the mind of one of the greatest Japanese authors of the 20th century.


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