From beginner-friendly introductions to classic works by Heidegger, this page features books to suit any learning style. It’s important to note that there is no single best book on Heidegger. The best book for you will depend heavily on your preferred learning style and the amount of time/energy you’re willing to spend reading. For example, if you tend to find classic works of philosophy difficult to understand, you might want to start with a short, beginner-friendly introduction. If you prefer more depth, you can choose a more comprehensive introduction or read Heidegger for yourself.
It’s also worth noting that it is not a list of personal recommendations. Personal book recommendations tend to be highly subjective, idiosyncratic, and unreliable. This list is part of a collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists which aim to provide a central resource for philosophy book recommendations. These lists were created by searching through hundreds of university course syllabi, internet encyclopedia bibliographies, and community recommendations. Links to the syllabi and other sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a broader range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.
Here are the best books on or by Martin Heidegger in no particular order.
How to Read Heidegger – Mark Wrathall
Category: Short Introduction | Length: 144 pages | Published: 2006
Publisher description: Martin Heidegger is perhaps the most influential, yet least readily understood, philosopher of the last century. Mark Wrathall unpacks Heidegger’s dense prose and guides the reader through Heidegger’s early concern with the nature of human existence, to his later preoccupation with the threat that technology poses to our ability to live worthwhile lives.
Wrathall pays particular attention to Heidegger’s revolutionary analysis of human existence as inextricably shaped by a shared world. This leads to an exploration of Heidegger’s views on the banality of public life and the possibility of authentic anticipation of death as a response to that banality. Wrathall reviews Heidegger’s scandalous involvement with National Socialism, situating it in the context of Heidegger’s views about the movement of world history. He also explains Heidegger’s important accounts of truth, art, and language….
Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction – Michael Inwood
Category: Short Introduction | Length: 169 pages | Published: 2000
Publisher description: Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is probably the most divisive philosopher of the twentieth century. Considered by some to be the greatest charlatan ever to claim the title of ‘philosopher’, by some as an apologist for Nazism, he was also an acknowledged leader and central figure to many philosophers. Michael Inwood’s lucid introduction to Heidegger’s thought focuses on his most important work, ‘Being and Time’, and its major themes of existence in the world, inauthenticity, guilt, destiny, truth, and the nature of time. These themes are then reassessed in the light of Heidegger’s later work, together with the extent of his philosophical importance and influence. This is an invaluable guide to the complex and voluminous thought of a major twentieth-century
Heidegger: An Introduction – Richard Polt
Category: General Introduction | Length: 328 pages | Published: 1999
Publisher description: Richard Polt provides a lively and accessible introduction to one of the most influential and intellectually demanding philosophers of the modern era. Covering the entire range of Heidegger’s thought, Polt skillfully communicates the essence of the philosopher, enabling readers, especially those new to his writings, to approach his works with confidence and insight. Polt presents the questions Heidegger grappled with and the positions he adopted, and also analyzes persistent points of difference between competing schools of interpretation. The book begins by exploring Heidegger’s central concern, the question of Being, and his way of doing philosophy. After considering his environment, personality, and early thought, it carefully takes readers through his best-known work, Being and Time. Heidegger concludes with highlights of its subject’s later thought, providing guidelines for understanding Contributions to Philosophy and other important texts. It gives special attention to the philosopher’s political involvement with the Nazis in the 1930s, indicating the strengths and weaknesses of the reactions to his politics, reactions ranging from exculpation to complete condemnation.
The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger – Charles B. Guignon
Category: Overview | Length: 456 pages | Published: 2006 (2e)
Publisher description: Martin Heidegger is now widely recognized as one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. He transformed mainstream philosophy by defining its central task as asking the ‘question of being’. His thought has contributed to the turn to hermeneutics and to postmodernism and poststructuralism. Moreover, the disclosure of his deep involvement in Nazism has provoked much debate about the relation of philosophy to politics. This edition brings to the fore other works, as well as alternative approaches to scholarship. The essays cover topics such as Heidegger’s conception of phenomenology, his relation to Kant and Husserl, his account of truth, and his stand on the realism/anti-realism debate. This edition includes a new preface by the editor, revised versions of several essays from the first edition, and an exhaustive bibliography, providing guidance for both newcomers to Heidegger’s work and established scholars.
Basic Writings – Martin Heidegger
Category: Anthology | Length: 480 pages
Publisher description: Basic Writings is the finest single-volume anthology of the work of Martin Heidegger, widely considered one of the most important modern philosophers. Its selections offer a full range of the influential author’s writings—including “The Origin of the Work of Art,” the introduction to Being and Time, “What Is Metaphysics?,” “Letter on Humanism,” “The Question Concerning Technology,” “The Way to Language,” and “The End of Philosophy.” Featuring a foreword by Heidegger scholar Taylor Carman, this essential collection provides readers with a concise introduction to the groundbreaking philosophy of this brilliant and essential thinker.
Basic Problems of Phenomenology – Martin Heidegger
Category: Classic | Length: 432 pages
Publisher description: A lecture course that Martin Heidegger gave in 1927, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology continues and extends explorations begun in Being and Time. In this text, Heidegger provides the general outline of his thinking about the fundamental problems of philosophy, which he treats by means of phenomenology, and which he defines and explains as the basic problem of ontology.
Being and Time – Martin Heidegger
Category: Classic | Length: 608 pages
Publisher description: “What is the meaning of being?” This is the central question of Martin Heidegger’s profoundly important work, in which the great philosopher seeks to explain the basic problems of existence. A central influence on later philosophy, literature, art, and criticism—as well as existentialism and much of postmodern thought—Being and Time forever changed the intellectual map of the modern world. As Richard Rorty wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “You cannot read most of the important thinkers of recent times without taking Heidegger’s thought into account.”
This first paperback edition of John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson’s definitive translation also features a new foreword by Heidegger scholar Taylor Carman.
The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays – Martin Heidegger
Category: Classic | Length: 224 pages
Publisher description: The advent of machine technology has given rise to some of the deepest problems of modern thought. This newly packaged collection featuring Martin Heidegger’s celebrated essay “The Question Concerning Technology,” is an essential landmark in the philosophy of science from one of the most influential and profound thinkers of the twentieth century.
The following sources were used to build this list:
University Course Syllabi:
- Heidegger’s Being and Time – Philosophy 521 | Georgetown University
- Being and Time I – PHL 550 | DePaul University
- Heidegger – PHIL 463 | University of Oregon
- Heidegger, Phenomenology, and Social Thought – Harvard University
- How to start reading Heidegger?
- Where should I start with Heidegger?
- What is the best way to be able to read Heidegger?
You might also be interested in the following reading lists:
- The Best Introductory Philosophy Books
- The Best Books on the History of Philosophy
- The Best Books on Existentialism
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A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations – Lennox Johnson
Category: Reference | Length: 145 pages | Published: 2019
Publisher’s Description: A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is a collection of the greatest thoughts from history’s greatest thinkers. Featuring classic quotations by Aristotle, Epicurus, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, and many more, A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is ideal for anyone looking to quickly understand the fundamental ideas that have shaped the modern world.