Book Review: The Spinoza Problem by Irvin D. Yalom

So I finally got around to read the book by Irvin D. Yalom called ‘The Spinoza problem’.

Irvin D. Yalom is a famous author psychiatrist and professor at Standford University. He has written many books with the most famous one being ‘When Nietzsche wept’.

No spoils included in this post

This book is a fiction story following two different characters.

The first one is Spinoza Baruch and the second is Alfred Rosenberg.

While the dialogues of the book are fiction, the author tried to present the characters and the story as close to the real Spinoza,Rosenberg and to reality as possible using extensive research and his psychological knowledge.

Spinoza Baruch was a Jewish-Dutch Philosopher who lived in Amsterdam and The Hague between 1632-1677. Due to his views he was ex pulsed from the Jewish community in Amsterdam (Its still argued today if it was the correct decision or not). He is the author of many books. The most famous one is ‘Ethics’

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg was an ideologue of the Nazi party (1893-1946). Heavily promoted all Racist-Nazi theories. Committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. At Nurembergs trial he was sentenced to death. He was the only one who remained loyal to Hitler till the end of the trail.

Now that we know the characters lets talk about the story.

It follows the life of both them and how they became what they were.

On the Spinoza side we can simply read and understand his ideas and theories (also those of many other famous philosophers) and have a good understanding of the Jewish community in Holland back then.

On the Rosenberg side we can see how people ‘turned’ or got ‘miss led’ into Nazism. How every idea can be miss interpreted by each person. What those people really believed and how they began the whole Nazi party.

I find this book very interesting. I recommend anyone to read it. Its easy to read with a nice story and has a lot of depth in the ideas hidden inside it.



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