Reading Human all too human


The people that know me know that Philosophy is important for me and especially Friedrich Nietzsche. Most people have never taken the time to read any of his work or other philosophy books. That’s why I will reread the books of Nietzsche. I will write a synopsis of every aphorism and provide them with my comments and share them with you in the hope that you read it and comment on it.  For copyright reasons I use an older translation that is free to download from the internet, I will provide a link. The text can be a little different from more modern translations, but it shouldn’t be a big problem.

The book I’m first going to read is Human all too Human (1878/80). This is more or less his third book but more relevant to start with because it fit’s better with the work that came after it, and it contains only short aphorisms that makes it easy to do one a day. I also start at the first chapter. Nietzsche himself republished the book in 1886 including a preface written by himself. I find it better to read the preface when you have read the books that come between 1880 and 1886, that way you can put it in context.

On this page you can read the book, use the links in the titles of every aphorism to read my comments on it.

My method:

  • I write a synopsis in roman, I rephrase the original text and try to take away as much as possible. Dutch is my first languages, by reading and writing in English I force myself to find the meaning of the text and words I have difficulties with. I use the original German text to find the different translations to English and some synonyms. I can read German, but mu knowledge doesn’t go deep enough to fully grasp al the nuances and hidden meanings in there languages especially while reading Nietzsche.
  • I mix the synopsis with quotes from the 1909 Zimmern translation in italic.
  • In bolt you can read my take on the text. My goal of this bolt text is to give a second synopsis but now in my own words and what I understand of it. I use this, especially in longer aphorisms, to highlight each part of the text and make it easier to connect all the dots.
  • At the end I try to capture the whole aphorism in one sentence. This is for me an exercise to find the right words to capture the meaning of the aphorism including the detours Nietzsche takes.
  • There are also notes. Some notes will explain a specific word, often with the help of Wikipedia. In other notes I highlight some strange translations in the text from 1909. There are sometimes big differences between the 5 translation I use, and then I will spend some time to find out why this is and if it matters for understanding the text.



I will read a Dutch translation that is based on the work of researchers Colli and Montinari. I also use a translation from R.J.Hollingdale and the Gary Handwerk translation from the Colli-Montinari edition. Both are more modern than the copyright free translation I use here. This is a translation from 1909 by Helen Zimmern, who knew Nietzsche personally, but there was no critical study of Nietzsche’s work done back then and this translation suffers from that. The same goes for the translation from Alexander Harvey. My German is not good enough to pretend that I can translate it better than the professionals do, but I will use the original as a referee.

  1. Menselijk al te menselijk een boek voor vrije geesten, translated by Thomas Graftdijk, 2000. Buy it here
  2. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by R.J.Hollingdale, 1986
  3. Human, all too human a book for free spirits I V3, translated by Gary handwerk 1997
  4. Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I, translated by Helen Zimmern 1909. Read it  here
  5. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by Alexander Harvey, 1908. Read it here
  6. Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80. Read it here



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