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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One we should revisit
The morality of Greek philosophers was the antithesis of our modern one: they believed we should eschew all material desires, not because of some dictate of the heavens, but because they can never be satisfied and come to tyrannise us rather than make us happy. Like Epicurus, Epictetus believed that you had to implement your own philosophy so for his followers it became a...
Published on 30 May 2009 by Allan Cameron

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I must die. But must I die bawling"
"When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn't have to look outside themselves for approval."
"The essence of good and evil consists in the condition of our character."

Armor for forbearance as told by Epictetus. I did not agree with every pronouncement (especially the ones with heavy references to God - ok, he lived in different times) but...
Published 22 months ago by demola


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One we should revisit, 30 May 2009
By 
Allan Cameron "An Rubhach" (Western Isles) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The morality of Greek philosophers was the antithesis of our modern one: they believed we should eschew all material desires, not because of some dictate of the heavens, but because they can never be satisfied and come to tyrannise us rather than make us happy. Like Epicurus, Epictetus believed that you had to implement your own philosophy so for his followers it became a quasi-religion. The quasi is justified by the fact that they never drifted away from rational thought. Read Epictetus on why we should not be angry when our neighbour steals from our house, and you will find his logic quite convincing.
His thoughts survive (mainly in the form written down by one of his students) because the Church found this Theistic philosopher acceptable, but he is now somewhat ignored.
This excellent new translation reads very well, and should encourage us to revisit this thinker.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the basic texts of classical ethics and moral behaviour, 16 July 2012
By 
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a compilation of the texts that, taken together, comprise almost everything we have of Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher who might have some claim to be considered the most influential classical writer on ethics and practical morality. The primary text is the 'Discourses', Arrian's reconstruction of Epictetus' lectures, which in this modern translation is very readable. It is supplemented by the 'Fragments', and the 'Handbook' (or Enchiridion) - a pithy digest of the main themes of the more expansive 'Discourses'.

Highly recommended, alongside Marcus Aurelius's 'Meditations', Cicero's 'De Officiis', and the relevant writings of Seneca, for anybody wanting to understand the Stoicism of the Hellenistic period, and its influence on the practical morality of the succeeding Christian centuries. The main thrust of Epictetus' thought - that individuals are at the mercy not of events themselves but of their mistaken interpretations of events - remains strikingly modern and highly relevant, underlying such contemporary therapeutic doctrines as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Introduction; Discourses (206 pages); Fragments (12 pages); Enchiridion (16 pages); Glossary of Names; Notes. No index or bibliography, but a brief suggestion for Further Reading.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God put Aeolus in charge of the winds not you, 10 May 2010
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I'm a bit of a miserable solitary individual, living a live on the edge, earning a ridiculously small amount of money, (not by conscious choice, at least I hope) so I gravitate towards thinkers like Schopenhauer and Epictetus. They offer consolation for almost any adversity. "It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them."

I find Epictetus has an extremely practical view of the world, and I love this work."Don't put your purpose in one place and expect to see progress made somewhere else."

We have to learn to manage our impressions, and evaluate them correctly. We overestimate what we can control. But we can act in a way that is appropriate to the direction we want to take, we can choose our friends, we can teach ourselves to see the futility of prolonged mourning or overlamented loss. It looks to me like Shakespeare used this as a sourcebook for Hamlet.

I'd like to dramatise some of these ideas myself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Aug 2013
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This is a slow but very rewarding read. Apparently, there is a Chinese proverb that says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. That's sort of how I feel about this book - wish I had read it a long time ago, but also grateful that I have found it now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear, lucid account for the general reader, 2 July 2012
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This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Epictetus, a freed slave with a school of philosophy, flourished in the early 2nd century AD. He, as far as I am concerned, is an influential stoic. His discourses are recorded by Appian (He who wrote about Alexander the Great). The text reveals that Epictetus was heavily influenced by Plato/Socrates. The style is that of rhetorical exercise and asks you to question youe priorities in life, how to approach and deal with what is thrown at you.

The translation of ancient hilosophical texts are notoriously difficult. The reason in part being the translation of different meanings of particular words used by those philosophers. Having said that Robert Dobbin has been able to produce a clear, lucid account for the general reader. It is easily digestible and will give hours of readable pleasure.

The introduction and notes are sadly not as copious as one would want but that is no drawback and in no way detracts from its scholarly standing. The notes retain valuable and necessary clarity to enable you to read the text. Mr Dobbin's style is modern and highly readable. It was about time a new updated modern translation of Epictetus was available, and Penguin and Mr Dobbin have succeeded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for budding stoics, 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Anyone with an interest in classical history who wishes to abandon the epicurianism with which this world is rife will find this book invaluable
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Great translation, well presented, at a reasonable price and excellent condition. Epictetus is a fantastic speaker and his words are just as useful today as they were in the years he taught.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I must die. But must I die bawling", 10 Oct 2012
This review is from: Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
"When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn't have to look outside themselves for approval."
"The essence of good and evil consists in the condition of our character."

Armor for forbearance as told by Epictetus. I did not agree with every pronouncement (especially the ones with heavy references to God - ok, he lived in different times) but then he was a stoic and a freed slave and his way of looking at life challenged me to rethink my perspective and priorities.

"Whenever I see a person suffering from nervousness, I think, well, what can he expect? If he had not set his sights on things outside man's control, his nervousness would end at one."
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Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)
Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) by Epictetus (Paperback - 28 Aug 2008)
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