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The Art of Living Hardcover – 20 Jun 1995

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 113 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (20 Jun. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062513222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062513229
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,664,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

“A treasury of eternally good advice, wise as a grandfather, earthy as the Tao.” (Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart)

“The message of Epictetus is as vital today as it ever was.” (Jacob Needleman, author of The Heart of Philosophy)

“Epictetus sounds like the Buddha, and Sharon Lebell’s voice makes him sound like the delightful man next door.” (Sylvia Boorstein, author of It's Easier Than You Think) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Author

Timeless lessons for Living the Best Possible Life
Reading the deceptively simple teachings of Epictetus is like discovering buried treasure. Let's face it: everyday life, no matter what our personal circumstances are, is fraught with difficulty. So, what are we going to do about it? This book has real answers. When all is said and done, there are only two important questions: how does one be a good person and how does one live a good life. Epictetus, the great 1st century sage, gives clear and practical answers to these questions in this primer for living the best possible life. I have long believed that philosophy, if it's to be of any use, needs to be made accessible in plain, down-to-earth language. It was my mission to make this great philosopher's ideas available to regular people like myself, so that they can be easily grasped and put to use in everyday life.I hope that Epictetus' helpful guidance, which so utterly changed my own life for the better, will inspire and provide solace to the large audience of readers his brilliant thought deserves.

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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Great and Simple interpretation, anyone who over intellectualises Epictetus misses the point. Improve yourself, buy this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shouldn't say that Epictetus is the author. In reality it's this Sharon woman. May be okay if you want her take on stoic philosophy, but if you're interested in Epictetus you should look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent read, everything in it is relevant today - even more so
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By A Customer on 24 July 1998
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful, clear, and very approachable book, written by a philosopher too practical for today's academic discussions. Time and time again I had to put the book down and say wow.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really excellent little book of advice from he leading Stoic philosopher Epictetus. The chapters are short and digestable under single headings, often a few paragraphs and none really longer than four pages in length they can be read and reread any time you get a pause for thought. The book itself is not exactly small or short enough to fit in your back pocket but could fit in a bag or the pocket of a larger coat.

There is a prologue and an introductory chapter entitled The Spirit of Epictetus followed by the Manual for Living itself, Epictetus' Essential Teachings on Virtue, Happines and Tranquility (which has the excellent opening passages entitled "Why Be Good?") and the book finishes with a "Plus" section similar to the PS sections in some other publications like The Art of Loving (P.S.). The additional sections are Epi-Who? How a 2,000-Year-Old Dead White Male Changed My Life by Sharon Lebell and Why Would Anyone Want to be a Stoic? by Sharon Lebell. While these are interesting and add a little to the book they pale in comparison with the content of the Manual and Essential Teachings themselves.

One of my favourite sections actually relates to books and is titled "The Right Use of Books" - "Don't just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistaketo suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalised their contents".
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Format: Paperback
Don't bother with this if you want to read the wisdom of Epictetus, because what you're buying is Sharon Lebell's weak, Americanised, low-brow "interpretation" of the Enchiridon.

Let me give you an example of how this "philosophical writer and musician who lives in North California" puts very much her own words into Epictetus's mouth:

Original, from number 33: "As far as possible, before marriage, keep yourself pure from familiarities with women, and, if you indulge them, let it be lawfully. But don't therefore be troublesome and full of reproofs to those who use these liberties, nor frequently boast that you yourself don't."

Ms. Lebell: "Abstain from casual sex and particularly avoid sexual intercourse before you get married. This may sound prudish or old-fashioned, but it is a time-tested way by which we demonstrate respect for ourselves and others. Sex is not a game. It gives rise to very real enduring emotional and practical conseuences. To ignore this is to debase yourself and to disregard the significance of human relationships. If, however, you know someone who has had casual sex, don't self-righteously try to win them over to your own views. An active sex life within the framework of personal commitment augments the integrity of the people involved and is part of a flourishing life."

Not quite the same, is it! I'm particularly offended by her last sentance which could be taken by someone who isn't enjoying an active sex life for whatever reason (by choice, for example) that they're not flourishing.

I bought this book from a high-street seller and I wish I hadn't. It's going in the recycling bin. To be sure, you're not getting the wisdom of the ancients reading this, you're getting second-rate low-brow crap. Avoid.
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Format: Hardcover
Just the advice on buying shoes is priceless. Until I read this translation, I didn't realize Epictetus had a sense of humor.
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By A Customer on 11 Sept. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a nice collection of eternal wisdom, although it may not all actually be from Epictetus. A better title for this book might be "Art of Living: Reading Epictetus by Sharon Lebell" since this is not a direct translation, but an interpretation. Still, I enjoyed it very much. I also recommend "Open Your Mind, Open Your Life" by Taro Gold which is another little book of timeless wisdom. Sure to inspire.
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