Book Review – Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse


Originally posted on Goodreads.

Siddhartha is a reminder to give up control over how you wish for events to play out and to instead just go with the flow… as cliche as that sounds. But Siddhartha is full of cliches. The book was published in the 1920s, after all, so the lessons here have already been milked and disseminated all across the internet in the form of hastily photoshopped “Live, Laugh, Love” image concoctions via social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr.

Still worth the read though. Hermann Hesse’s writing style is fluid, and the story is fast-paced, allowing for a lifetime’s worth of lessons to be compacted into a novel that can be read in just a few short sittings. It was interesting translating some of these lessons into a modern Western societal context. Obviously, attempting to live life exactly like Siddhartha’s these days is next to impossible, but imagining ways in which you can cherry-pick some of his actions and apply them to your own life seems feasible.

As a character, however, I found Siddhartha almost paradoxically narcissistic. He had single-minded goals and was surprisingly nonchalant about severing relationships with others after sometimes even
proclaiming superiority over them. I wonder if this mode of thinking is what’s caused the “epidemic” of individualism in Western society after Eastern philosophies were imported here. But narcissism aside, I think the impermanence of all things, including relationships, is another lesson to be gleaned from this book.



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