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Book Notes #047 - Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

In today's issue of this book club newsletter, I am happy to share my notes on Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Notes from underground book cover

“I am a sick man… I am a wicked man... I will not, of course, be able to explain to you precisely who will suffer in this case from my wickedness..." - Fyodor Dostoevsky



Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️ (Great) Topic: Fiction - classic novel, psychology, & existentialism.

  • Main Ideas - Great.

  • Examples & Stories - Great.

  • Engagement - Medium.



In high school, I wondered, what should I study? I was close to graduating, and I had to start applying for something. I was interested in two subjects, business and psychology. I picked business over psychology, mainly because I didn't see myself as a psychologist... (I didn't see myself as an entrepreneur either, but I somewhat wanted that more than the other.) However, that did not stop me from learning about psychology in my spare time through books and YouTube lessons. I've heard multiple times that if you are interested in human psychology, you should read Dostoevsky, as his novels can be quite profound. After finishing "Notes From Underground," I can say that's true. Although, not for everyone, but definitely for the "thinkers" out there. The over-thinkers, I should say... The ones that get lost in thought and like talking about life and philosophy. It feels as if this book was a way for Dostoevsky to outsource his sanity through writing... His many thoughts and suppressed feelings can be felt. That side of us that we don't like admitting is there, but somehow we want it to be heard. The ungrateful side of us that gets exposed when life feels unfair, unjust, dull and full of responsibilities and high moral standards. The underground man… the wicked man, is a character that takes this line of thinking to the extreme (like many of Dostyesky's characters). He is filled with contradictions, resentments and many wicked thoughts. At times, his many rants feel random (that being the wickedness), but after realizing this, he tries to bring some sense in what he says, to not look like a fool and that's when Dostoevsky's brilliant mind of human psychology shines through... He critiques the human desire to have every aspect of life in perfect order as this won't solve our existential problem. After all, we are complicated beings aware of our own existence, and we value our free will more than we value our happiness. "I swear to you gentleman, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough's their sickness that everyone takes pride in.. and perhaps me, more than anyone." After all, our desires only exist as long as we exist. This and many other feelings and ideas are explored in the book... From sanity, intelligence, arrogance, morality, suffering, love, reason and consciousness. The book is divided into two main parts and contains 130 pages. In Part 1: The main character is introduced (the underground man). In Part 2: The main characters' memories are introduced alongside other characters (like his old friends and Liza). This is a great book to read and re-read if you are into psychology, classic novels and philosophy. It's very thought-provoking, humorous and real. If this is not your style, however, watching a video on YouTube about the analysis of the book is just as good. “Man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like a chess player, loves the process of the game, not the end of it.” Hope this helps. Until next week! Agustin



  • “Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.”

  • “An intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything."

  • “In every man’s memories, there are such things as he will reveal not to everyone but perhaps only to friends. There are also such as he will reveal not even to friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. Then, finally, there are such as a man is afraid to reveal even to himself, and every decent man will have accumulated quite a few things of this sort.”


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