On my short list of all time favorite books, this one is up there at the top. it doesn't attain the #1 spot, but it's up there, definitely top five. i think it is very interesting to read the reviews and notice that the vast majority of the bad reviews are coming from the young, mainly teenagers who were made to read this in school. the vast majority of the good reviews are coming from the older and the more wizened. i think the youth of today are just so totally enamored with technology and what's cool and popular. i know i was when i was 17. but then you grow older and hopefully more wise, you live life a little and you no longer care about what's cool or what's popular, you are no longer so enamored with technology and you begin to see how technology is actually killing us. you have some perspective to temper the youthful idealism. i just loved everything about this book, but i never read it until my 30's. if i had read it in my teens, i probably would have thought it pretty stupid. i think thoreau was a genius, both with words and how he lived his life. he did not live on walden pond his entire life, by the way. walden pond was an experiment, not so much a way of life. his time there was meant to show people how superfluous most of our lives are, that it can be simplified, to our soul's benefit, not to mention the benefit of our fellow human beings and the world at large. he was not a stupid man, he was educated at harvard. he knew that his way was not the way everyone could or would live. he was not advocating a new social order. he was merely trying to prove a point, that people's lives are way too complicated. it has been said that thoreau was the anti-benjamin franklin. realize that even in his day, thoreau was ridiculed. it is no surprise that he would be ridiculed today, mainly by those who just simply could not live without their ipods. i read walden as an ideal and it made me sad. i would love to live my life in the way he did on walden pond, but i'm just not so sure how possible it is to live that way in today's world or even how desirable. there has to be a happy medium. you don't have to run out and live as a hermit in order to be able to appreciate thoreau. there is beauty in the middle way, one can learn to make small changes in their lives, to try and live more simply, as many today are trying to do, to lighten our footprint on this earth, for the betterment of all. i do believe that people's lives are too complicated, that they can't see the forest for the trees,that their lives are only about making more money so they can buy more things. they have lost their way in the world, they have forgotten, if they even even knew, what life is about. but running out to live by yourself is not the solution either. i am reminded of the story of christopher mccandless, whose story was made into the movie into the wild. he learned too late that true happiness is not real unless shared. that without love, life is meaningless. and that is the reason that living on walden pond by yourself is not the answer. we are here on this earth for each other, to love. without love, life is meaningless. to live on walden pond by yourself for a period of time, to find yourself, or to prove a point, is all well and good, but as a permanent way of life, it's not utopia. and thoreau knew this, after his time in the woods, he went back to civilization, but he never lost his soul and he knew how the soul was refreshed... with love, with learning, and with nature.