Walden, a radical and controversial perspective on society that was far beyond its time, first-handedly chronicles Henry David Thoreau?s two-year stay on Walden Pond, away from civilization. With nature as his only teacher, Thoreau is taught some of the most valuable lessons of his lifetime. One of Thoreau's most prominent natural learned lessons is his deeply rooted sense of himself and his connection with the natural world. He relates nature, and his experiences within it, to his personal self rather than society as a whole. Many times in the novel, Thoreau urges his readers to break away from their societal expectations and to discover for themselves a path that is not necessarily the one most trodden. In a period where growth, both economically and territorially, was seen as a necessity for the development of a premature country, Thoreau felt the opposite. Thoreau was a man in search of growth within himself and was not concerned with outward improvements in him or society. He felt the root of this obsession with appearances was created through the misconstrued perception that material needs were a necessity, rather than a hindrance, to true happiness and the full enjoyment of life. Through the reading of Walden, many people have discovered the magic of Henry David Thoreau?s pen. Just a man from Concord, Massachusetts, he lived an extraordinary life as a simple man. That, however, was all Thoreau ever wanted to accomplish, to show people that a person could be an individual, live simple, and do without material things. With the publication of Walden, Thoreau showed the world that it was indeed possible; he had lived "to the beat of his own drummer."