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The Art of Living Hardcover – 20 Jun 1995
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“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.
Top customer reviews
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".Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Avoid this book like the plague. This is not a translation of Epictetus, but a reinterpretation or paraphrase. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ryokan
Fantastic book! the price was good as was the speed of service, thank you.Published 16 months ago by alan frost
I really like this little book of Stoic Philosophy. I find it inspirational and use it daily.
Wish someone had given me this book years ago.
Really motivational and helpful with anxiety
Something to live by for sure
Definitely recommend to friends or anyone really
This rag implies itself to be "the Manual" of Epictetus but is in fact just a watered down pop psychology paperback. Read morePublished on 24 May 2013 by W. McFarland
A very enjoyable introduction to Epictetus's philosophy and one which has prompted me to download samples of his Discourses and of the Enchiridion.Published on 11 Mar. 2013 by EagerReader