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Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and SuccessFriedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)


German philosopher (pictured right), big fan of Arnold Schopenhauer, and a friend of the composer, Richard Wagner.

Famous for his idea of “superman” (see below), which influenced many people including:

  • Adolf Hitler, pictured right below (with his idea of the superior Aryan race)
  • George Bernard Shaw (with his play Man and Superman).  Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success


His most famous book is...

Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885) which discusses his two most famous ideas:

  • the superman (see point one below)
  • the death of God and religion (see point 4).


What did he say about ethics and success?


1. Be a superman!Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success


a) be like a “superman”

(confident, innovative and competitive - the values of “life-assertion”).


b) reject Christian values

(of self-sacrifice and humility). So:

  • the first will be first and not last, as Jesus taught.
  • the strong should overcome the weak.  Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success

Therefore, Nietzsche’s:

  • philosophy appealed to dictators like Hitler and Italy's Benito Mussolini (pictured right below). 

But he:

  • was not a NaziFriedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success
  • hated anti-Semitism (see point 2). 
  • believed in generosity and self-control.



2. The “eternal recurrence of time”

This means you should be willing to repeat any of your actions eternally because they are:

  • morally good.
  • vital to living life to the full.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success


3. Make the most of your life

You must live life to the full through:

  • the “will to power” (which ruthlessly pursues your aims and beliefs and destroys your weaknesses).
  • taking all your opportunities (be a “yes-sayer” and “live dangerously!”, he said ).
  • daring to be great Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success
  • relishing whatever life has to throw at you (his motto was the “love of fate”).
  • honestly accepting your problems and weaknesses (and facing them with courage).

Adversity is a great character builder.

“What does not destroy me makes me stronger”, he said.

But unfortunately most people live a living death (i.e. are “born posthumously”), because they are never alive to (or aware of) life’s opportunities.

 Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success

4. “God is dead”

He was an atheist who attacked Christianity for restricting people’s freedom by telling them what to do.

Instead you must find your own principles based upon what you honestly believe and feel.

But he strongly recommended:

  • moral strength.
  • the survival of the fittest (see point 1).

 Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success

5. Conflict is cool

Conflicts and disagreements with other people will:

  • stretch you.
  • help you to improve.

Failure is just as inevitable as success, so learn from both.

 Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success

6. Don’t follow the crowd

  • hate “slave morality” (as in religion), when someone tells you what’s right and you blindly follow it.
  • examine your attitudes and ideas.
  • reject bad and accept good attitudes and ideas.

But don’t let this self- examination stop you enjoying life.


7. Enjoy the arts

Art, literature and music all make you happy.

These will only flourish, when people’s feelings are freed from religion.

 Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosophy, Ethics and Success

8. Use knowledge well

Knowledge should be used to solve the problems of people and society.

Accept that knowledge can be destructive as well as constructive (like nuclear technology today).


Key quote on the past, present and future

The future influences the present just as much as the past.


Key quotes on God and religion

God is dead (this was expanded by New York graffiti into: God is dead – Nietzsche. Nietzsche is dead – God!).

God is a thought that makes crooked all that is straight”.


Key quote on education

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.


Key quote on knowledge management

There are no facts, only interpretations.


Key quote on human resource management

Never make the unequal equal.


Key quote on freedom

What is the seal of liberation? - No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.


Key quote on communication

Every word is a prejudice.


Key quote on creativity

You must have chaos in you, to give birth to a dancing star.


Key quote on stress and pain

What does not destroy me makes me stronger.


Key quote on objectives

He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.


Key quote on marriage

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.

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