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Extended Audio Sample Siddhartha: An Indic Poem Audiobook, by Hermann Hesse Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.06 out of 54.06 out of 54.06 out of 54.06 out of 54.06 out of 5 4.06 (66 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hermann Hesse Narrator: Derek Jacobi Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2013 ISBN: 9781482984958
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This compelling spiritual quest by Hermann Hesse, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, is considered one of the most important works of twentieth century fiction. 

Siddhartha’s search for enlightenment leads him to the river of life itself. On his journey he learns from many teachers: the ascetic Samanas, the all-knowing Gotama, the Buddha, Kamala the lovely courtesan, and Vasudeva the simple ferryman. Unwilling to accept the wisdom of others, Siddhartha comes to an understanding of himself and his place in the universe, finally achieving the enlightened state of mind in which he can say to his lifelong friend, “The world, Govinda, is perfect at every moment.”                                          

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Quotes & Awards

  • “No living English-speaking actor outshines Derek Jacobi, nor any audiobook reader for that matter. He sings, rather than speaks, with extraordinary lyricism, expressiveness, and depth. Here he interprets the justly famed mystical novel by Nobelist Hermann Hesse…Jacobi approaches the text with a direct, childlike fervor. He brings home the subtleties of Siddhartha’s inner journey with amazing clarity and resonance, which he makes more exciting than the most thrilling thriller—for this is a detective story par excellence, a hunt for the mystery of self with eternity hanging in the balance. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner.”

    AudioFile

  • “One could even hope that Hesse’s readers are hungrily imbibing Siddhartha and that they will be so wisely foolish as to live by it.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “In Siddhartha the setting is Indian and we encounter the Buddha, but the author’s ethos is still closer to Goethe.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “The cool and strangely simple story…should be read slowly and with savor, preferably during the lonely hours of the night.”

    Nation

  • “The theme of the novel is the search for self-realization by a young Brahman.”

    Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature

  • “Noted actor Derek Jacobi interprets this material wonderfully, and the package, despite abridging a Nobel prize winner’s prose, can be highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Waldyn | 2/20/2014

    " Listen to the voices of the river. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Derrick | 2/13/2014

    " I liked the bit about how there is a Buddha in every person, regardless of their current circumstances or life choices. If time is eternal and ever existing, then that Buddha soul exists now, not sometime in the future. It's simply a matter of seeing it and living it out. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tami | 2/12/2014

    " I had to read this one my senior year of high school. Along with many other readings, I was probably too young to fully appreciate this book. I may have to try it again at some point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Misty | 2/11/2014

    " Defys explanation. Simply a must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Fox | 2/6/2014

    " Some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read. One of the most layered and meaningful narratives I've ever experienced---at the same time simple and profound, clear but ambiguous, linear yet not quite so. I say all this even though my Christian faith is firm and I do not share Hesse's philosophical worldview or adhere to his meta-narrative (or lack thereof). So I part ways ultimately, but I recognize and appreciate this Hesse's aesthetic brilliance and philosophical heft. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gabriella | 1/31/2014

    " I feel like this book changed my life. I did find it harder to read then most (I was about 17 the first time I read it), it was very enjoyable and it was very enlightening. I even lent it to someone who said it helped them as well. Just an amazing story and if this is a mandatory reading for a class in school you should be so lucky, because this book was truley at my pleasure to read. If you have not had the privilege to read this book I suggest going to purchase it. I got mine for $4.00 at a used bookstore and I would do it again in an instance. A great book that thought me a lot. A must read for anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 1/30/2014

    " The first time I read this, forty-five years ago, I thought it was unspeakably brilliant and I read all the rest of Hesse's novels in one big rush. I just read it again because an English class I'm observing is discussing it. This time I found it a little wordy, a little self-indulgent. The prose has that rigid quality that you often get with translations. As short as the book is, it's too long. Siddhartha warns his friend that words are inadequate, deleterious even, for expressing deep spiritual experience. This book proves the point. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy Cakes | 1/29/2014

    " I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I enjoyed reading about his journey seeking knowledge, understanding, and self. However, his character seemed arrogant. At times I found myself very put-off by Siddhartha's character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stuart Burgess | 1/21/2014

    " A great quest for wisdom and enlightenment through the eyes of Siddhartha. Many simple and some deeper lessons to be taken from this book. Wisdom can't be shared, it must be individually found. A good Sunday afternoon read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 1/18/2014

    " wonderful. this has been on my bookshelf for like 5 years now...so glad I decided to pull it down and give it a shot today! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Radha | 1/18/2014

    " The book was hard to read, but It had a lot of deep meanings and good quotes, which I enjoyed. I think the questions I had to answer for the book made me like the book even less. It definitely wasn't my favorite book to read, but nonetheless it was somewhat interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larry | 1/17/2014

    " This is an amazingly powerful, yet simple book. It felt like "The Prophet" with a significantly more substantial narrative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/16/2014

    " Having taught about Buddhism and the vocabulary of that faith, I found Siddhartha understandable and thought-provoking. I do not know if a person without that vocabulary background would stay with it. I too have thought about whether I think too much about my faith rather than just being of my faith--the major message of this book. For that reason I read with interest. On the other hand, I found the ending quite unsatisfying; however, could any ending really be satisfactory for a Westerner reading about Easter thought? Anyway, I recommend the book to you if you can get past your Western background and past the vocabulary challenge which you are likely to have. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 1/16/2014

    " "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clark Hallman | 1/11/2014

    " I first read Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, in 1969 as part of a German literature class at the University of Pittsburgh. I loved it then and I also loved it when I reread it twice since then. It has been an important book for me, especially when I first read it at a very impressionable time when I needed any little bit of spirituality that I could get. Although this book certainly did not eliminate my confusion and anxiety, it left a dormant interest in spirituality and especially in Buddhism, which blossomed many years later. That has turned out to be a positive force in my life. Although I have a long path ahead of me, I feel more comfortable about my life and the path ahead. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joe Donatelli | 1/10/2014

    " Slow, pointless and ultimately unsatisfying. I experienced the opposite of nirvana while reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Priyanka | 1/9/2014

    " 'It is good to experience directly for oneself what one has to understand.' Holds true for this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Rieke | 1/7/2014

    " Its the story of the Buddhas life, whats not to like "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenda Fort | 1/1/2014

    " Had to read it for school. Don't remember much about it other than it was noting as hell. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 12/27/2013

    " Fantastic book. Really provides a lot to think about. Definitely doing some self-reflection after this and will be for a while. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marc L | 12/15/2013

    " Prachtige parabel, zij het soms iets te pathetisch. Ook Bildungsroman: alle stadia en ervaringen van het menselijke leven komen aan bod. Centrale boodschap aan ons westerlingen: "Zoeken is niet vinden". "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Teve Cameron | 11/18/2013

    " A story of self indulgence. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bri | 11/17/2013

    " I certainly didn't dislike this book, but it didn't really speak to me exactly. I enjoyed the use of language for the most part and it was enjoyable watching his quest for self-discovery. I dunno though, I'm mostly ambivalent on this book for some reason. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 11/10/2013

    " Meh. Glad I read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard Mannig | 10/7/2013

    " Note to self: Read again every 5 years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie Brown | 7/13/2013

    " Occasionally over my head, but thought provoking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/15/2013

    " I loved this book- so much wisdom. It wasn't the sensational full-body absorption that I get with my 5 star books, but I will recommend it to spiritual seekers and I intend to read more of H. H.'s work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Val | 3/6/2013

    " Hesse has written a life of the Buddha before he became more than a man. Very little is known of his actual life and much that is known is wrapped up in myth. It could have been just like this, as it feels absolutely 'right'. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate Burgan | 3/1/2013

    " I re-read this book about every 10 years. It always brings new insights into my own personal growth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 12/20/2012

    " I read this when I was fourteen so of course it blew my young mind away. Maybe some day I'll reread it as an adult be probably not. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Potocar | 11/25/2012

    " This is one of those books that gets into your head and never leaves. Written in a style that's fast and easy to read, it's a beautiful journey of one man to his inner peace and harmony with the world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alyssa Hannah | 11/17/2012

    " Great story but not the subject for me. It was a class assignment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Phemister | 9/24/2012

    " A wonderful short novel that kept me reading until it was done. Very enjoyable tale of a spiritual journeys! Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 8/17/2012

    " wonderful. this has been on my bookshelf for like 5 years now...so glad I decided to pull it down and give it a shot today! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hanne | 8/11/2012

    " a bit hard to get started, but after a while you couldn't leave it. Beautiful and educational story... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carlyn | 8/1/2012

    " Wonderful father-son relationship. If only everyone felt this kind of connection...for one moment...with anyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 T Taylor | 8/1/2012

    " Good. Bad. Rich. Poor. Love Hesse. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 SCPublishing | 6/13/2012

    " I read this one every few years and am constantly amazed as it continues to teach and guide me throughout my journey - always providing me the words and ideas needed at each reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 6/4/2012

    " Makes my top 5 list of books - in the top spot. A poetically written story and a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aletheia Howard | 5/27/2012

    " A delightful and smooth-flowing novel, which had many interesting spiritual insights. A great book to read if you want to expand your mind! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zugabaeh | 5/15/2012

    " Read within one go- speaks for itself I would say! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryane | 1/20/2012

    " Very insightful story, I learned a lot of enjoyed the tale but I am sure I missed a few gems a long the way. Definitely going to re-read very soon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan Steglich | 7/8/2011

    " I read it every year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandi Bright | 6/10/2011

    " One of the most amazing books I've ever read. I read it in my early twenties and again only recently in my late thirties and both times it has enlightened me in a different way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janice | 5/22/2011

    " Read this many years ago, but remains one of my all time favorite. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sang | 5/22/2011

    " One of the best books I've ever read. I read it in one sitting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zachary | 5/21/2011

    " Me and Siddharta agree ! It's all abouts the love; take that, world of transitory illusion! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 L | 5/19/2011

    " i have and do always love this book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Madina | 5/18/2011

    " I remember being happy after reading this book. Herman Hesse makes you think about life and the different stages. Excellent! Highly Recommended! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Thadd | 5/15/2011

    " A plot driven book with characters who don't feel authentic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicki | 5/13/2011

    " just reread siddhartha again. i liked it better when i was younger, but find it far more true now that i'm older. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saugat | 5/13/2011

    " A story about Siddhartha's spiritual journey to find the truth and in the process himself. The enthralling journey takes him to saints, merchants, courtesan, ferryman, etc. With each acquaintance he learnt something which took him near to the truth. Short and concise novel and a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darla | 5/12/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book, but I don't have time to do a full review. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chanel | 5/9/2011

    " I had to read this book for English class. I thought it was very boring and Herman Hesse's style of writing was boring also. No reason to read this book unless you're forced to! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 5/9/2011

    " The last 12th chapter was beautifully written. Simple and expertly told, of a subject that would be difficult to relate. "

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About the Author
Author Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse (1877–1962) was born in Germany and later became a citizen of Switzerland. As a Western man profoundly affected by the mysticism of Eastern thought, he wrote many novels, stories, and essays that bear a vital spiritual force that has captured many generations of readers. In 1946 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

About the Narrator

Sir Derek Jacobi has had a long and distinguished career. He has toured in Becket and Uncle Vanya, and he received a Tony Award for his performance as Benedick in the RSC’s production of Much Ado about Nothing. His work in television includes the lead roles in Cadfael and I, Claudius, and his film credits include Henry V, Gosford Park, and Hamlet. His narrations have won him multiple Audiofile Earphones Awards.