Civil Disobedience // Henry David Thoreau

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A powerful criticism of political ignorance and passiveness. Emphasises the need for governments to have a conscience and respect individuals. This essay was a powerful influence for Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.


In 3 sentences:

You can’t enforce changes in government by submitting to it – you have to stand up to injustices and be willing to suffer for your beliefs.

Protesting injustices doesn’t have to be violent – simply withdraw support from a system that you think is corrupt or illegitimate.

Monarchy gave way to democracy, and democracy should now yield to a government that gives more power to the individual.


Read it if:

You want frank, honest insights into the relationship between government and the individual.

You enjoy polarised arguments where the writer takes an extreme stance.

You want some inspiration to change the world for the better.


Skip it if:

Dense, old-school language is a deterrent for you.

You think the solution to poor government is more nuanced than just ‘being a good man’.

You don’t like egotistical writing.


Goodreads Rating:  3.97 / 5

Length: 33 pages

Buy the book: Civil Disobedience


If you enjoyed this, check out:

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Skin in the Game – Nassim Taleb

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