... engaging ... Kaag’s account of his return to Sils-Maria and of his reunion with the philosophical idol of his youth is an engrossing one ... Hiking with Nietzsche serves as a straightforward and even practical introduction to the German philosopher’s writings, and makes a convincing case for why they continue to matter. Even readers not necessarily tempted to descend into the Nietzschean abyss will surely find Kaag’s exploration of selfhood, decadence, companionship, and physical duress both invigorating and thought-provoking ... Above all, Kaag’s portrait of Nietzsche... is a deeply moving one. Walking in his footsteps, he shows us the heights to which Nietzsche rose and the depths to which he sank, the sacrifices he made and the suffering he endured.
Kaag cleverly connects Nietzsche’s musings with his own experiences both past and present, detailing how his understanding of Nietzsche has evolved and changed over the 17 years between his trips to Switzerland ... As Kaag notes, philosophers 'have always thought on their feet,' citing examples of 'great wanderer-thinkers' such as Jesus, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Emerson and Thoreau. With Hiking with Nietzsche, Kaag can now add his own name to the list of thoughtful wanderers.
Kaag is particularly successful...in his more recent memoir, Hiking with Nietzsche ... Kaag’s search for Nietzsche...is cyclical and eternal, something that—like Nietzsche himself—comes in many guises and in unexpected, self-disruptive forms. And so, as we delve deeper into Kaag, we delve deeper into Nietzsche—and vice versa ... Kaag is not interested in popularizing philosophy by merely sharing 'its results.' Instead, he is interested in how philosophy might be more broadly understood—how the ordinary person might come to understand philosophy in its own terms by bearing witness to the subtleties and joys of philosophical inquiry. This, perhaps, is the greatest promise and aspiration of Kaag’s memoirs. He leads a general audience into the delicate and often inaccessible ways in which philosophers seek to understand philosophy’s history ... Kaag has carved out a genre all his own, a genre with the promise to narrow some of the gaps between the esoteric and the familiar, the academic and the non-academic, the philosopher and the self-help guru. For those with Kaag’s unusual mixture of philosophical sophistication and narrative skill, it is a genre well worth emulating.