Read The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness by Epictetus Sharon Lebell Online


Epictetus was born into slavery about 55 C.E. in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Sold as a child and crippled from the beatings of his master, Epictetus was eventually freed, rising from his humble roots to establish an influential school of Stoic philosophy. Stressing that human beings cannot control life, only how they respond to it, Epictetus dedicated his lEpictetus was born into slavery about 55 C.E. in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Sold as a child and crippled from the beatings of his master, Epictetus was eventually freed, rising from his humble roots to establish an influential school of Stoic philosophy. Stressing that human beings cannot control life, only how they respond to it, Epictetus dedicated his life to outlining the simple way to happiness, fulfillment, and tranquility. By putting into practice the ninety-three witty, wise, and razor-sharp instructions that make up The Art of Living, readers learn to successfully meet the challenges of everyday life and face life's inevitable losses and disappointments with grace. Epictetus's teachings rank among the greatest wisdom texts of human civilization. Sharon Lebell presents this esteemed philosopher's invaluable insights for the first time in a splendidly down-to-earth rendition. The result is the West's first and best primer for living the best possible life -- as helpful in the twenty-first century as it was in the first....

Title : The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness
Author :
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ISBN : 9780062513465
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness Reviews

  • Amir
    2018-08-26 15:18

    Stoic philosophy is concerned with preserving our serenity and happiness regardless of any situation or circumstances. Be it loosing your fame and wealth or you beloved ones ...This book which present the teachings of stoic philosopher "Epictetus", is filled with practical wisdom, many of which constitute the foundation of many books I've read or many sayings you and I have heard. Not only books and sayings, teachings of Epictetus I can't help but to notice is the foundation of prominent fields such as "Cognitive Therapy" and "Positive Psychology". Stoic Philosophy, I've come to believe is an effective recipe for a happy and tranquil life. The thing that makes me more oriented towards stoic philosophy with respect to its similar Eastern teachings (Zen Buddhism) is their emphasis on employing logic and reason. -How do I live a happy, fulfilling life?-How can I be a good person?These were to questions with which Epictetus was obsessed and this book envelops his life-long earned wisdom to answer them.The art of living, embodies the teachings of Epictetus whose original material were presented in his works: "The Discourses" and "Enchiridion" while the translator aims at simplifying the language to capture the modern audience. Here are some nuggets of wisdom I found compelling:I. Know what you can control and what you canThis principle is the essence of stoicism. There are things we have control over and things we do not (like our look, conditions are life, family etc.) and roots of suffering lies in focusing on the things we have no control over.II. Stick to your own businessFocus your attention entirely on what is truly your own concern.You will be truly free and effective, for you efforts will be put to good use and won't be foolishly squandered finding fault with or opposing others.III. See things for what they areThis is one of my favorites in which it is advised: Events happen as they do. People behave as they are. Embrace what you actually get.When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it. What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.IV. Events don't hurt us, but our views of them canWe cannot choose our external circumstance, but we can always choose how we respond to them.VI. Make full use of what happens to youThis is a great one. Each and every one of us have amazing potential laying dormant within us. The trials and hardships we endure can and should introduce us to our strength.On the occasion of an accidental event, don’t just react in a haphazard fashion: Remember to turn inward and ask what resources you have for dealing with it. Dig deeply. You possess strengths you might not realize you have. Find the right one. Use itVII. Confirm your wishes to realityAnother favorite of mine.We are ultimately controlled by that which bestows what we seek or removes what we don’t want. If it’s freedom you seek, then wish nothing and shun nothing that depends on others, or you will always be a helpless slave.Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control ...VIII. No one can hurt you If someone irritates you, it is only your own response that is irritating you. Therefore, when anyone seems to be provoking you, remember that it is only your judgment of the incident that provokes you. Don't let your emotions get ignited by mere appearances.IX. Make the will of nature your ownThis is another major principle stoicism. Behaving in accordance with the will of nature. But what does it mean? We must first lean it, Study and pay attention to it then make it our own.The will of nature is revealed to us through everyday experiences common to all people. For example, if a neighbor’s child breaks a bowl, or some similar thing, we readily say, “These things happen.” When your own bowl breaks, you should respond in the same way as when another person’s bowl breaks..Remember how you feel when you hear the same thing concerning other people. Transfer that feeling to your own current circumstances. Learn to accept events, even death, with intelligence.X. Don't defend your reputation or intentionsDon't be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defent or explain themselves to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. XI. Other selected nuggets of wisdom- When we succumb to whining, we diminish our possibilities.- Arrogance is the banal mask for cowardice. - Clear thinking and self-importance cannot logically coexist. - Don't listen to what people say. Watch what they do and evaluate the attendant consequences.- 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.- One of two things will happen when you socialize with others. You either become like your companions, or you bring them over to your own ways. - Forgive yourself over and over and over again. Then try to do better next time ... :)- Goodness in and of itself is the practice and the reward.The final wordAll in all, this was a book filled with timeless, practical wisdom, practice of which ensures, happiness, tranquility and prosperity. This book is a manual that must be at hand and reviewed from time to time. I profoundly enjoyed it and definitely recommend to all my beloved friends. Actually, I'm going to hunt down the translation of this book in Persian and give it as invaluable gift to my dear friends. Finally, bare in mind that "Living wisdom is more important than knowing about it."

  • Jake Adelstein
    2018-09-02 21:15

    No man is free who is not master of himself. -EpictetusIt's something worth remembering on the 4th of July. Independence Day. "Forgive Over and Over and Over.""Never suppress a generous impulse." One of the greatest books of philosophy I've ever read. It is more of a reinterpretation of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus than a straight academic translation but it wonderfully conveys the wisdom of a a great philosopher who was born a slave. If you ever find yourself at a point in your life when everything is out of your control, this book is wonderfully soothing. We can't control all the events in our lives, but we can choose how we react to them. Sometimes, that's the only freedom we have left. This was my favorite passage in the entire book. I've pondered it often. Of course, there are some people it's very hard to forgive. Usually when they try to have you killed it does put a strain on one's generosity but in ordinary circumstances sound advice. FORIVE OVER AND OVER AND OVER Generally, we're all doing the best we can. When someone speaks to you curtly, disregards what you say, performs what seems to be a thoughtless gesture or even an outright evil act, think to yourself, "If I were that person and had endured the same trials, borne the same heartbreaks, had the same parents, and so on, I probably would have done or said the same thing." We are not privy to the stories behind people's actions, so we should be patient with others and suspend our judgment of them, recognizing the limits of our understanding. It does not mean we condone evil deeds or endorse the idea that different actions carry the same moral weight. When people do not act as you would wish them to, exercise the muscles of your good nature by shrugging your shoulders and saying to yourself "Oh well." Then let the incident go. Try, also, to be as kind to yourself as possible. Do not measure yourself against others or even against your ideal self. Human betterment is a gradual, two-steps-forward, one-step-back effort. Forgive others for their misdeeds over and over again. This gesture fosters inner peace. Forgive yourself over and over and over again. Then try to do better next the time.

  • Sean
    2018-09-12 17:02

    Great read. Felt like I highlighted practically the entire book:First, say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern, and be clear that what belongs to others is their business and none of yours. If you do this, you will be impervious to coercion and no one can ever hold you back. You will be truly free and effective, for your efforts will be put to good use and won't be foolishly squandered finding fault with or opposing others. In knowing and attending to what actually concerns you, you cannot be made to do anything against your will; others can't hurt you, you don't incur enemies or suffer harm.Things themselves don't hurt or hinder us. Nor do other people. How we view these things is another matter. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble. Therefore even death is no big deal in and of itself. It is our notion of death, our idea that it is terrible, that terrifies us. There are so many different ways to think about death. Scrutinize your notions about death—and everything else. Are they really true? Are they doing you any good? Don't dread death or pain; dread the fear of death or pain.Small-minded people habitually reproach others for their own misfortunes. Average people reproach themselves. Those who are dedicated to a life of wisdom understand that the impulse to blame something or someone is foolishness, that there is nothing to be gained in blaming, whether it be others or oneself.Small-minded people habitually reproach others for their own misfortunes. Average people reproach themselves. Those who are dedicated to a life of wisdom understand that the impulse to blame something or someone is foolishness, that there is nothing to be gained in blaming, whether it be others or oneself.Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, nor can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!It's much better to die of hunger unhindered by grief and fear than to live affluently beset with worry, dread, suspicion, and unchecked desire.Spiritual progress requires us to highlight what is essential and to disregard everything else as trivial pursuits unworthy of our attention. Moreover, it is actually a good thing to be thought foolish and simple with regard to matters that don't concern us. Don't be concerned with other people's impressions of you. They are dazzled and deluded by appearances. Stick with your purpose. This alone will strengthen your will and give your life coherence.Refrain from trying to win other people's approval and admiration. You are taking a higher road. Don't long for others to see you as sophisticated, unique, or wise. In fact, be suspicious if you appear to others as someone special. Be on your guard against a false sense of self-importance.As you think, so you become. Avoid superstitiously investing events with power or meanings they don't have. Keep your head. Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren't there. Assume, instead, that everything that happens to you does so for some good. That if you decided to be lucky, you are lucky. All events contain an advantage for you — if you look for it!Freedom is the only worthy goal in life.Your happiness depends on three things, all of which are within your power: your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas.Implant in Yourself the Ideals You Ought to Cherish Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.Many people who have progressively lowered their personal standards in an attempt to win social acceptance and life's comforts bitterly resent those of philosophical bent who refuse to compromise their spiritual ideals and who seek to better themselves. Never live your life in reaction to these diminished souls. Be compassionate toward them, and at the same time hold to what you know is good.Evil does not naturally dwell in the world, in events, or in people. Evil is a by-product of forgetfulness, laziness, or distraction: it arises when we lose sight of our true aim in life. When we remember that our aim is spiritual progress, we return to striving to be our best selves. This is how happiness is won.If someone were to casually give your body away to any old passerby, you would naturally be furious. Why then do you feel no shame in giving your precious mind over to any person who might wish to influence you? Think twice before you give up your own mind to someone who may revile you, leaving you confused and upset.A half-hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Average people enter into their endeavors headlong and without care.Just as certain capacities are required for success in a particular area, so too are certain sacrifices required. If you wish to become proficient in the art of living with wisdom, do you think that you can eat and drink to excess? Do you think you can continue to succumb to anger and your usual habits of frustration and unhappiness? No. If true wisdom is your object and you are sincere, you will have work to do on yourself. You will have to overcome many unhealthy cravings and knee-jerk reactions. You will have to reconsider whom you associate with. Are your friends and associates worthy people? Does their influence—their habits, values, and behavior—elevate you or reinforce the slovenly habits from which you seek escape? The life of wisdom, like anything else, demands its price. You may, in following it, be ridiculed and even end up with the worst of everything in all parts of your public life, including your career, your social standing, and your legal position in the courts.You can either put your skills toward internal work or lose yourself to externals, which is to say, be a person of wisdom or follow the common ways of the mediocre.Most people tend to delude themselves into thinking that freedom comes from doing what feels good or what fosters comfort and ease. The truth is that people who subordinate reason to their feelings of the moment are actually slaves of their desires and aversions. They are ill-prepared to act effectively and nobly when unexpected challenges occur, as they inevitably will. Authentic freedom places demands on us. In discovering and comprehending our fundamental relations to one another and zestfully performing our duties, true freedom, which all people long for, is indeed possible.The wise person knows it is fruitless to project hopes and fears on the future. This only leads to forming melodramatic representations in your mind and wasting time. At the same time, one shouldn't passively acquiesce to the future and what it holds. Simply doing nothing does not avoid risk, but heightens it.First and foremost, think before you speak to make sure you are speaking with good purpose. Glib talk disrespects others. Breezy self-disclosure disrespects yourself. So many people feel compelled to give voice to any passing feeling, thought, or impression they have. They randomly dump the contents of their minds without regard to the consequences. This is practically and morally dangerous. If we babble about every idea that occurs to us —big and small—we can easily fritter away in the trivial currents of mindless talk ideas that have true merit. Unchecked speech is like a vehicle wildly lurching out of control and destined for a ditch.It's not necessary to restrict yourself to lofty subjects or philosophy all the time, but be aware that the common babbling that passes for worthwhile discussion has a corrosive effect on your higher purpose. When we blather about trivial things, we ourselves become trivial, for our attention gets taken up with trivialities. You become what you give your attention to.Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people's weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there's no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.Respect your body’s needs. Give your body excellent care to promote its health and well-being. Give it everything it absolutely requires, including healthy food and drink, dignified clothing, and a warm and comfortable home. Do not, however, use your body as an occasion for show or luxury.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 consequences. 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 a framework of personal commitment augments the integrity of the people involved and is part of a flourishing life.Don't be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defend or explain themselves to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. We can't control the impressions others form about us, and the effort to do so only debases our character. So, if anyone should tell you that a particular person has spoken critically of you, don't bother with excuses or defenses. Just smile and reply, "I guess that person doesn't know about all my other faults. Otherwise, he wouldn't have mentioned only these."Once you have deliberated and determined that a course of action is wise, never discredit your judgment. Stand squarely behind your decision. Chances are there may indeed be people who misunderstand your intentions and who may even condemn you. But if, according to your best judgment, you are acting rightly, you have nothing to fear. Take a stand.Once we fall, however slightly, into immoderation, momentum gathers and we can be lost to whim.Inner Excellence Matters More Than Outer Appearance Females are especially burdened by the attention they receive for their pleasing appearance. From the time they are young, they are flattered by males or evaluated only in terms of their outward appearance. Unfortunately, this can make a woman feel suited only to give men pleasure, and her true inner gifts sadly atrophy. She may feel compelled to put great effort and time into enhancing her outer beauty and distorting her natural self to please others. Sadly, many people—both men and women — place all their emphasis on managing their physical appearance and the impression they make on others. Those who seek wisdom come to understand that even though the world may reward us for wrong or superficial reasons, such as our physical appearance, the family we come from, and so on, what really matters is who we are inside and who we are becoming.Put your principles into practice —now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren't a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you will be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do— now.Inner confusion and evil itself spring from ambiguity.The first steps toward wisdom are the most strenuous, because our weak and stubborn souls dread exertion (without absolute guarantee of reward) and the unfamiliar. As you progress in your efforts, your resolve is fortified and self-improvement progressively comes easier. By and by it actually becomes difficult to work counter to your own best interest.Trust nothing and nobody but yourself. Be ceaselessly watchful over your beliefs and impulses.Take care not to casually discuss matters that are of great importance to you with people who are not important to you. Your affairs will become drained of preciousness. You undercut your own purposes when you do this. This is especially dangerous when you are in the early stages of an undertaking. Other people feast like vultures on our ideas. They take it upon themselves to blithely interpret, judge, and twist what matters most to you, and your heart sinks. Let your ideas and plans incubate before you parade them in front of the naysayers and trivializers. Most people only know how to respond to an idea by pouncing on its shortfalls rather than identifying its potential merits. Practice self-containment so that your enthusiasm won't be frittered away.

  • Scriptor Ignotus
    2018-09-17 16:13

    When I found this book in the library, I was put off by the fact that it is described on the cover as "a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell". I can only assume that to mean that this is not so much a translation of Epictetus's words as it is Sharon Lebell's interpretation of what Epictetus meant. With all due respect to her, if given the choice i'd much rather read Epictetus's actual work and interpret it for myself, thanks. That said, even though it is difficult to know how faithful this "interpretation" is to Epictetus's actual writings, the teachings described within this book align well with the tenets of Stoic ethical philosophy. We are told to use reason to guide us and give us the all-encompassing, objective perspective on things that will make us more accepting of ourselves and others. We are instructed to follow virtue as its own reward, and to not get caught up in chasing the vanities of wealth and power, however much they are celebrated by the culture around us. One chapter makes the interesting point that as social animals, we naturally align our values and temperament with those of the people around us. It is therefore wise for one to be guarded and selective about the people one should take on as one's companions, and the extent to which one engages in the type of idle banter that often slides into frivolity or even mean-spiritedness towards others. These are all perfectly good and valuable teachings--provided that they actually are Epictetus's teachings, and not merely Sharon Lebell's. At any rate, this seems a good enough text in which one can dip one's toes in Stoic ethics; but the journey certainly should not stop here.

  • Betül
    2018-09-18 13:09

    Having read this thin-volumed book, i am sure that i am not closer to attain the wisdom. But while reading, it comes as so easy to apply these advices : " accept the commanding power of nature, make it your own willpower, do your businnes, do not think about what you can not control..."The book consists of recommendations like these about attaining wisdom. Still, these are so valuable, especially Epictetus thoughts about freedom that it's not about doing whatever we want, instead it's about appreciating limitations and learning to live effectively with these. I think the recommendations lack in motivating reader; you appreciate them yet you are not willing to do what you appreciate. It simplifies many things that we ruminate about too much so it may be more helpful to us in protecting our mental health and coping with daily hassles instead of attaining wisdom.

  • Tyler Jones
    2018-08-30 15:23

    This is the first time I have read Epictetus, or any work of stoic philosophy for that matter, so if you are looking for an expert opinion you might want to look elsewhere. If, however, you are interested in reading Epictetus for the first time yourself then my little review might be of some use.I was impressed by the degree to which the thoughts expressed in this book could be applied in modern daily life. Epictetus believed that for philosophy to have any real value it had to be put into action to create a more noble life for its practitioner. His unrelenting insistence on the practical application of philosophy should be refreshing to contemporary readers who have come to regard philosophy as more of a way of understanding the world than a way of living in it. I came to the book with the notion that Stoicism meant acceptance of the world, and while Epictetus does preach acceptance of those things over which we have no control, he also emphasises the importance of doing the best we can in those areas in which we do have control. It is a very practical book, particularly for people like me who will stew for hours about the moron who cut me off in traffic.I do have a few reservations. One the one hand Epictetus cautions against us attaching values to actions or events, but would have us understand that these thing are simply what they are. We should not say they are either good nor evil. Yet he also believes that "things happen for a reason" and that reason seems to be part of the plan of a universal force - in other words events do have a moral component. This seems to be a contradiction of his earlier "events have no meaning outside of themselves" ascertation. It also smacks uncomfortably of "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds."I also found the translation by Sharon Lebell jarring at times. While I appreciate the difficulty in making an 1800 year old text accessible to modern readers, I got the distinct impression that I was reading a "Good News Bible" version of Epictetus. Did she really need to put the words "don't be the class clown" in his mouth? The inclusion of many modern phrases was intrusive.Still, as an introduction to both Epictetus and stoic philosophy, I believe this book is a great place to start.

  • Kathryne
    2018-09-06 17:20

    Easy read. Great wisdom. For instance: "Follow through on all your generous impulses. Do not question them, especially if a friend needs you; act on his or her behalf. Do not hesitate! Do not sit around speculating about the possible inconvenience, problems or dangers. As long as you let your reason lead the way, you will be safe. It is our duty to stand by our friends in their hour of need."One other very different but solid word of wisdom from so many in this book:"When we name things correctly, we comprehend them correctly, without adding information or judgements that aren't there. Does someone bathe quickly? Don't say he bathes poorly, but quickly. Name the situation as it is, don't filter it through your judgments.Does someone drink a lot of wine? Don't say she is a drunk but that she drinks a lot. Unless you possess a ocmprehensive understanding of her life, how do you know if she is a drunk?Do not risk being beguiled by appearances and contructing theories and interpretations based on distortions through misnaming. Give your assent only to what is actually true." So, if I don't smell good enough I just bathed quickly. Got it?!

  • Curtiss
    2018-09-19 15:08

    I first heard Epictetus quoted after the incident in which the cruiser U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner in 1990, during a period of tension in the Persian Gulf (what else?).A friend and I were discussing the ramifications and liabilty of the Vincennes's Captain, when a gentleman at the next table said that he knew of an apt quote which he often used in court when a case was going against him and the opposing counsel was roundly denouncing him in front of the judge. He would stand and declaim from Epictetus, "He could not know all my faults, else he would not have mentioned merely these," which usually got the judge to side with him.Epictetus was one of Emperor Nero's slaves and a philosopher of the stoic school, with opinions and sayings designed to ease the burdens and cares of daily life, hence "The Art of Living" as this collection's title.

  • Kevin Cole
    2018-09-08 17:29

    This is Stoic philosophy at its best. It's not long-winded like Seneca, not distracting with its style like Marcus Aurelius. Epictetus is simple and to the point. You will not be confused.Unlike Aurelius and Seneca, Epictetus was not high born. In fact, as I understand it, he was a slave for a good portion of his life. A slave who embraced Stoicism holds more street cred for me.

  • Laura Leaney
    2018-09-11 20:01

    I've owned this book for fifteen years, and every once in a while I am compelled to pull it from the shelf on my bookcase devoted to pagan philosophers in order to remind myself to get a grip on my kvetching. This slender book is not a translation of Epictetus, so one must be careful. Instead, the author summarizes the philosopher's key ideas. But his ideas make so much clear sense that no matter your religious affiliation, understanding stoicism will strengthen your character. IF you can implement the doctrine. The bottom line? "Some things are within our control, and some things are not." Suck it up.

  • Heart
    2018-09-06 14:08

    Repetitive. A contemporary of Socrates. Beautiful.

  • Luis
    2018-08-29 16:22

    Epictetus was a model human being, who went from slave to enlightened man. Like all great personalities of history, he never wrote anything and what we know of him and his teachings was written by his pupils and followers. This is a short, straight to the point manual on how to live a virtuous life. The beginning of happiness, asserts Epictetus, is in not fretting about the things we cannot control. We have to not so much talk about virtuous acts as to behave virtuously. As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. By behaving in a moral and correct manner, those habits will become second nature and we will be on our way to happiness. In addition, thinking logically and clearly about your place in the world is a prescription to achieving a strong character. Epictetus offers us the difficult path, no chicken soup for the soul here. And precisely because this path to wisdom is so challenging, it is worth pursuing, for it is the true and the permanent way to happiness. Long before self help books and quick fix schemes, Epictetus left us a manual to help us live the moral and serene life through stoic philosophy.

  • Lilly Minasyan
    2018-09-23 13:21

    "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 would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents."Wow. What a life changing book this is! This is one of those books that I'll definitely re-read it in near future. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph was essential and so true. It is a small book, but filled with so much wisdom and clarity. I took out so many quotes! I almost wanted to copy every single word and engrave it in my brain. Great great great book!

  • Ilke
    2018-08-30 19:17

    "Eğer birisi sizin bedeninizi alıp yoldan geçen birisine köle olarak verirse doğallıkla öfkeye kapılırsınız. O kişi sizi yerden yere vurduğunda üzülürsünüz. O zaman herhangi bir kişi sizi etkilemek istediğinde, çok değerli olan zihninizi verirken neden hiç utanç duymuyorsunuz? Sizinle iğrenç şeyler paylaştıktan sonra sizi kafası karışmış ve dağılmış bir halde bırakacak birisine zihninizi teslim etmeden önce ikinci bir kez daha düşünün. " Bu satırların hayatıma kattığı farkındalık nedeniyle iyi ki okumuşum dediğim bir kitap. Yer yer beğenmediğim ve Epictetus'a katılmadığım bölümler vardı tabi.

  • Gri Limanlar
    2018-09-19 21:27

    Altını çizdiğim bazı cümleler mevcut fakat dönüp de tekrar tekrar okuyacağım bir kitap değil İçsel Huzur İyi Yaşamın Kapısını Açar. Kişisel gelişim kitaplarına uzak duran biriyim genelde. Felsefi olarak da beni çok tatmin etmedi. Bu biraz da zevk meselesi tabi. Klasik bir eser olduğu için yıldız verme bakımından biraz cömert davrandım diyebilirim.

  • NYCman
    2018-09-02 15:16

    Just what the title says, from one of the actual "greats" of philosophy. You'd be silly not to read it.

  • Eric
    2018-09-01 14:29

    “True philosophy doesn’t involve exotic rituals, mysterious liturgy, or quaint beliefs. Nor is it just about abstract theorizing and analysis. It is, of course, the love of wisdom. It is the art of living a good life. As such, it must be rescued from religious gurus and from professional philosophers lest it be exploited as an esoteric cult or as a set of detached intellectual techniques or brain teasers to show how clever you are. Philosophy is intended for everyone, and it is authentically practiced only by those who wed it with action in the world toward a better life for all."I read The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness by Epictetus, interpreted by Sharon Lebell. Book #103 of 182, 128 pages, finished 8/25/2017.Rating: 4/5The Art of Living is an interpretation and aggregation of short vignettes from Epictetus' two surviving works - Enchridion and Dialogues. These are two of the great classical works on Stoicism, a Greek philosophy that thrived until the 3rd century CE.I've never read a book like this. If you are familiar, this book is essentially a modern-English interpretation of two ancient books. It's incredibly similar to the Bible translation called The Message. The core difference is that no one really much cares if you loosely interpret a philosopher, but they care greatly if you do so to a divinely-inspired text.The heart of this book is the heart of Stoicism - by understanding that the word operates according to a natural/divine order, whether you prosper or fail no longer whips you up and down emotionally. Given that we all operate in this natural order, the highest and best use of time is to move through life rationally in pursuit of integrity and virtue.Those of you who follow Christ will enjoy what Epictetus labels this natural order - the Logos. To be sure, Epictetus's teachings leave lots of room for the divine, but it's not the focus of what he's trying to explain.Finally - we come to the particulars of this book and it's style. I found it distracting - by the time I fully understand a given idea, we're off to the next one. It's probably best read in the form of a daily devotional.. which is a weird term to use in a non-religious sense.If you're looking for a primer on Stoicism, I would start with Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. I read it months ago, and still concepts from it thunder into my conscious thought and direct me. It's great.

  • Lone Wong
    2018-09-04 19:23

    "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference" - could easily be a sentence in this book. I personally think Stoicism is always the best and practical philosophy teaching that existed so far for people like me to face all the obstacles and daily challenges in my life. Epictetus's notion of the good life is not a matter of following a laundry list of percepts, but of bringing our notions and desires into harmony with nature. The point is not to perform good deeds to win favor with gods or the admiration of others but to achieve inner serenity and thus enduring personal freedom. It is not the exclusive province of spiritual professionals, such as monks, priest or saints. However, this book presented by author share of selection, interpretation, and improvisation with the ideas contained in the "Discourses" and the "Enchiridion". Sharon Lebell interpretation of "The Art of Living" is given the fresh expression of what she think Epictetus would have said today. For the enlighted reader that want to study the art of living and achieve the inner serenity and tranquility of mind. No doubt, this is the best book to start with in order to get the essence of Epictetus's philosophical teaching. But I personally think I should go back to the original source and assimilated the content and the writing by the original writer would far better for me to learn more about Stoicism.

  • Steve Dallape
    2018-09-03 20:08

    This book is a wonderful modern interpretation of some of the most relevant writings of any of the ancient Stoics. Even if you don't identify as a Stoic, there is likely something here that will strike a chord with you. And if are trying to follow a Stoic path in your life (as I am), this book has much that will help you on your way.The book is easy to read, but chock full of big ideas, sage truths and thought- provoking insights into why we do the things we do and how we can change to make ourselves, and our lives, better.

  • Michelle Chow
    2018-09-24 17:01

    I think this finds a nice middle ground between direct translations of Stoic works such as Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” and modernized reinterpretations of Stoicism such as William Irvine’s “A Guide to the Good Life.” Relatable to modern life, but still conveys the depth of the ancient philosophy.

  • Stephen
    2018-08-29 19:24

    This edition of Epictetus' Handbook is a modern translation (or interpretation) and sometimes uses English expressions like "two steps forward, one step back". There are other translation in far more poetic and formal English, but my initial and casual comparison of a few passages satisfied my concern that too much might be lost. Epictetus was a Stoic teacher whose philosophy is classical in that he, like Zeno (the founder of Stoicism) believed in an Ultimate, in Deity -- in the idea that there was a divine order to the Cosmos, that everyone had a place in it, and that reason had been given to humanity so that we could transcend our untrained animal nature and become like the ultimate.True philosophy doesn't involve exotic rituals, mysterious liturgy, or quaint beliefs. [...] It is, of course, the love of wisdom. It is the art of living a good life. [...] Philosophy is intended for everyone, and it is authentically practiced only by those who wed it with action in the world toward a better life for all.Epictetus believes that philosophy is not for religious leaders and professional philosophers -- it is for everyone, to help everyone live good lives. He says that philosophy "must be rescued" from the aforementioned types of people. Although the book isn't lengthy, every word in it is full of wisdom. I did not agree with everything he said (as it was recorded and translated), but the overwhelming majority of the book is solid. The value of his teachings is incredible, and I find myself wondering just how so much could be known and expressed so eloquently just to one man. When I read a book, I typically keep a page of notebook paper nearby so that I can write down any interesting quotes. For this book? I have twelve pages of quotations.The essence of his teaching is self-mastery over one's own life. The classic Stoic idea -- that pain is caused when desires and reality do not conform to one another, and so one must shape desire to fit reality. Epictetus, like Marcus Aurelius, holds that it is not "things" that pain us but our reaction to them. Controlling our responses to what happens to us, to what is said to us or about us, is one of the dominant threads of the book. The other concerns the choice to think about responding -- to beginning to use reason to master yourself, to hold yourself to ideals so that you can live the virtuous life. These two ideas dominate the book. Although the lectures are not tightly organized the way 21st century readers are used to books being organized, all of the elements of a in-depth book are here. Epictetus does not only describe how one should live a "virtuous" life, he explains what virtue means to him and why it cannot be achieved in any other way except for mastery of the self. "Personal merit cannot be achieved through our associations with people of excellence. [...] Other people's triumphs and excellence belong to them. Likewise, your possessions may have excellence, but you yourself don't derive excellence from them," he says.Lebell-Epictetus advises his readers (or listeners) to not concern themselves with other people's opinions of them, but to simply enjoy our lives, not allow ourselves to become undone by events of our lives, and to excel in what we do -- to practice our crafts and to relate to one another as best we can. Society's rules are also no judge -- both the "ends and means" are not conducive to creating virtue. "Socially taught beliefs are frequently unreliable. So many of our beliefs have been acquired through accident and irresponsible or ignorant teaching. Many of our beliefs are so deeply ingrained that they are hidden from our own view." Indeed, culture's power is that we rarely realize how subtly it can shape our thoughts. Virtue, in his eyes, is its own reward. He also advocates living as part of a global, human community -- he speaks of the "human contract" and says we ought to live our lives to serve one another. (The "family of humanity" value is common among Stoics.)I found the book to be...incredibly interesting, and very stimulating. Even as I read, I felt as if my thoughts were being slowly ordered -- tuned, to use a musical metaphor. It was well-worth the read, and I am glad that I took care to write down my favorite thoughts. Be suspicious of convention. Take charge of your own thinking. Rouse yourself from the daze of unexamined habit. Popular perceptions, values, and ways of doing things are rarely the wisest. Many pervasive beliefs would not pass appropriate tests of rationality. Conventional thinking -- its means and ends -- is essentially not credible and uninteresting. Its job is to preserve the status quo for overly self-defended individuals and institutions.Judge ideas and opportunities on the basis of whether they are life-giving. Give your assent to that which promotes humaneness, justice, beneficial growth, kindness, possibility, and benefit to the human community. Examine things as they appear to your own mind; objectively consider what is said by others, and then establish your own convictions.

  • Thomas Alley
    2018-08-25 21:17

    Great book, although there were some things I didn't quote agree with. Particularly how he undermines the role of society in shaping how we act. But there were a lot of lessons to be learned while reading this book and certainly is one I am coming back too.

  • Mycala
    2018-09-03 18:28

    I adore Epictetus and there is a lot of wisdom in his teachings. While I enjoyed this interpretation, I did knock off one star because at the end the "interpreter" just had to make it about her. In fact, I almost gave this just three stars for that reason, but I really like Epictetus and he can't help that this woman felt the need to tell us all about her life and how some long-dead guy completely changed it. If she wants to tell that story, it belongs in a different book. I can't help pondering how Epictetus would respond to her talking about how her agent had a feeling there might be a shift from the Eastern philosophies and they could probably make some money from rehashing Stoic teachings. Please, honey, I'm cynical enough. But again, if you just stop after the translations from the teachings of Epictetus and ignore the pomposity at the end, by all means.

  • Miestory
    2018-08-29 21:05

    "Practice self-sufficiency. Don't remain a dependent, malleable patient: Become your own soul's doctor."

  • Matt McCormick
    2018-09-01 15:22

    So much in this book we all already know, but in fact too seldom take seriously enough to put into action. The Stoic philosophy is chocked-full of valuable wisdom and insight for lining a life well. Author Sharon Lebell is not presenting a translation of Epictetus's version of stoicism but rather "summaries" of the key components, tactics and strategies that are written clearly and succinctly. It's a small easy to digest little book that can be kept handy as a frequent reminder of how serious we should approach the methodical building of a virtuous character.Miss information has given the Stoics, like the Epicureans, a bad rap. Personally I appreciate their philosophy and while when taken to the extreme can seem heartless and inhuman (it's not the death of a child that harms us it's how we think about that death) the approach to living is most often sensible (it's not the nasty things people say about my reviews it's how I let my pride take hold that makes me feel bad - I can't control the reaction but can control how I feel about it).Lebell's book makes for a fine introduction to a certain version of stoicism that has had significant modern appeal and the reader will be appreciate the easily digestible presentation.

  • Max
    2018-09-12 18:03

    Quel petit livre empli de sagesse! Il est évident qu'avec nos connaissances en psychologie on sait qu'il est impossible, purement par la volonté, d'éliminer nos désirs, de choisir à 100% où se dirige notre aversion, ou d'être indifférent à tout ce qui ne dépend pas de tout. Et même si nous le pouvions je me demande si une vie sans peine, sans déception, sans chagrin, mais aussi sans grande joies en est une plus belle qu'une avec des hauts et des bas. Aussi, Épictète porte certains jugement sur l'activité physique (la gymnastique) entre autres qu'il ne justifie pas vraiment, ou encore que les gens sages ne devraient pas faire l'amour avant d'être mariés sans trop le justifier, mais bon c'est de son temps je ne lui en tien pas rigueur.Malgré ces réserves, je crois que je vais relire ce livre chaque année pour le reste de mes jours, car il nous invite à être sage, à être bon, à avoir en tête de bonnes habitudes, de bonnes manières d'être en voici quelques exemples.«Ne demande pas ce qui arrive comme tu veux. Mais veuillent que les choses arrivent comme elles arrivent, et tu seras heureux». Je ne dis pas que je vais toujours appliquer cette maxime, parfois il faut changer les choses, mais souvent on ne sait se satisfaire de les choses telles qu'elles sont, quand elles sont tout à fait acceptable. On a la tendance naturelle a vouloir toujours changer la réalité plutôt que de changer notre jugement, cette tendance est mauvaise, je crois. Parfois il vaut mieux l'un, parfois l'autre et c'est en lisant cette phrase que je l'ai réalisé.C'est en fait une philosophie du jugement que celle d'Épictète, il nous dit qu'il y a 2 choses dans la vie1) les choses que tu contrôles2) celles que tu ne contrôles pasTiens-toi loin de celles que tu ne contrôles pas, n'y attache pas d'importance et concentre toi sur les autres. Il explique que ce ne sont pas les choses en soi qui sont bonnes ou mauvaise, mais le jugement qu'on porte sur elles. Ainsi, si on peut, par la raison, contrôler ce jugement alors on peut s'éviter les peines.« Ce qui trouble les hommes, ce ne sont pas les choses, mais les jugements qu’ils portent sur les choses. Ainsi la mort n’est rien de redoutable […] mais le jugement que nous portons sur la mort en la déclarant redoutable, c’est là ce qui est redoutable »Autre citation qui m'a beaucoup plût, et que l'on pourrait aussi trouver chez Platon, je crois est la suivante: «Quand, ayant reconnu que tu dois agir, tu agis, ne craint pas d'être vu agissant, même si la foule devait défavorablement en juger. Si, en effet, cette action est mauvaise, évite de la faire; si elle est bonne, pourquoi crains-tu ceux qui ont tort de te blâmer?»

  • Elena (For Books that Matter)
    2018-09-07 21:07

    A Gone Bookserk PerspectiveThis review is part of my project on the Top Ten Books on Happiness. I decided to start with this book because it's the one book that I have come back to for lot of moral and spiritual reminders. I discovered Epictetus a while back and ever since then, no one has come close to being so powerful enlightening and offering so much tranquil power.This book is about gradual refinement of personal character. It's a book whose premise on happiness lies in the eloquence of action, living with dignity and tranquility, and most of all moral progress. "A happy life and a virtuous life are synonymous," according to Epictetus. "His prescription for the good life centered on three main themes: mastering your desires; performing your duties; and learning to think clearly about yourself and your relations with the larger community of humanity." Summed up, that's pretty much what this book is about and it works to a tee.This book is your pocket guide manual to all things of a virtuous life combine with grace and tranquility. This book has consistently been my reminder of my own principles and has always guided me back to my center. I almost always carry it with me. It's the one book that has brought me the most direct wisdom with the most use. It's broad but strongly effective on every level.

  • Christian
    2018-09-21 17:23

    These 144 pages are packed with so much simple but situationally still relevant stoic philosophy. Stoicism is the western equivalent of Buddhism in eastern philosophy with its variants and definition of virtue. They both see the external world as something we should not worry too much about and prepare ourselves mentally to accept and find ultimate happiness and joy. They also advocate selflessness and the search for other people’s well-being, peace, pleasure and contentment. In the book, we have selected short passages that try to prepare us for the worst, accept it and revel in any situation. It tries to set some questions and reflections on what should be our life’s priorities and values. What should we spend our energy on, physically and mentally? Read and think!I bought several copies of this book and recommended it to friends. I have this on top of my toilet at home so that I can randomly re-read passages that can inspire me to be happier and make people around me happier which happens to be my life primary goal and purpose.

  • Julie wright
    2018-08-27 21:02

    Epictetus is my hero. A Stoic philosopher from 50 AD. Each page of this book is a little piece of advise to help you live a more peaceful life! Understanding what you can and cannot control is a philosophy that resonates deeply with me! I cause a lot of torment in myself trying to "make" others happy. This just leads to frustration, fault finding and anxiety! Understanding that when something happens, the only thing in my power is my attitude toward it; I can either accept it or resent it. I realized that this book must have influenced Victor Frankl in his book Man's Search for Meaning. When Victor was put into a concentration camp and every human dignity was stripped from him he began to realize the only thing that he could control was his own attitude. No one could take that from him! Everyone should read Victor Frankl's book and Epictetus The Art of Living! Absolutely incredible books!

  • Wendy Galliart Jones
    2018-08-26 20:24

    This pretty little book caught my eye in the bookstore one day and make its way home with me, and I'm glad it did. Turns out I'm a stoic - who knew? I'm not a scholar of philosophy, but from my point of view this little volume did a a great job of laying out the simple beauty of the stoic philosophy.The message seems to be: Accept life as it comes; accept reality instead of fighting against it. After you've stopped wasting your energy fighting that losing battle you will be empowered to make positive changes in yourself and the world around you. I once had a friend recommend "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle to me, but I didn't like it at all - the tone seemed very cold and condescending. "The Art of Living" embodies a lot of the same principles but in a tone both lovely and welcoming, like a wise elder imparting knowledge to a student. It was a tone that resonated with me.