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Enchiridion (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – January 15, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0486433592 ISBN-10: 0486433595

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (January 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486433595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486433592
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Epictetus concerned himself with finding the satisfying life - not the happiest or richest, but the life filled with treasures that can never be taken away. His disciple, Arrian, collected his wisdom, and distilled it down into this booklet of aphorisms.

The essence is simple: "No man is free who is not master of himself." In part, that is because the self is all anyone can truly own. Everything else is under the control of others, of the state, or finally of the gods. Happiness based on what can be taken away is a flimsy sort of thing, and fighting the will of the gods is futile.

Still, this isn't about ascetic self-denial. There are pleasures to be had in the world. If there is wine, enjoy it, remembering that excess is hardly enjoyable. Enjoy the loves in your life, without becoming slave to them. He also recommends reticence in most matters, since so few are under one's control, and since foolishness is easier to speak than wisdom. These thoughts are as effective in today's life as they were two thousand years ago.

//wiredweird
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is amazing how much more one gets from the Enchiridion when it is reread in later life. In youth, it is too easy to rush through without digesting the deeper meaning (and thereby escaping much pain and wasted effort.) Here, in this slim volume is the core of Epictetus' immortal teachings, his Discourses may expand upon them, but all the essentials are outlined here.

Some people dismiss these teachings as pessimistic. After all, the central message here is to learn to differentiate between what you can change and what you cannot. Most modernists will instead tell you to dream big and never say die. Then again, such critics existed in Epictetus' own day, for we are told that you can either be a philosopher or a procurator, but you cannot truly be both.

Personally, I see nothing defeatist in the philosophy expressed here. At its deepest level we are being told that the ultimate goal is to make our will and God's will as one. You see, in spite of the admonition in the publisher's note that the God of the Philosopher's and the God of Judeo-Christian theology are two unrelated things, the truth is that they both touch upon the pre-existing ultimate realty of the Divine One in their own ways. The Stoic desire to conform to Nature is the perennial spiritual ideal to unite with the One and the Good. Far from being a defeat, this is the highest possible victory in life for Christian and/or Philosopher.

This excellent, unabridged little Dover volume is probably the one that Epictetus would recommend. In fact, you might also want to purchase the Dover edition of MEDITATIONS by Marcus Aurelius for they are in the same spirit and make a natural set. There could be no more thoughtful a gift to send to an introspective friend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Cain on November 1, 2008
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This edition costs only two dollars but contains wisdon that is priceless. If you are at all interested in the Stoics or in gaining insights into how to deal with adversity this is a great book to start with.

I do not read Greek so I can not comment upon the translation. It reads well and does not seem cluttered by an attempt to update book into some type of twelve step program.

I would not have gotten this book without a suggestion from Amazon when I was looking for another book. Thank you Amazon.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Earl R. Sutton on October 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Although he was born into slavery and endured a permanent physical disability, Epictetus (c. 50-c. 130 A.D.) maintained that all people are free to control their lives and to live in harmony with nature. We will always be happy, he argued, if we learn to desire that things should be exactly as they are. After attaining his freedom, Epictetus spent his entire career teaching philosophy and advising a daily regimen of self-examination. His pupil Arrianus later collected and published the master's lecture notes; the Enchiridion, or Manual, is a distillation of Epictetus' teachings and an instructional manual for a tranquil life. Full of practical advice, this work offers guidelines for those seeking contentment as well as for those who have already made some progress in that direction. Translated by George Long."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Kim on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is small- yet packs a punch in its power. Definitely buy the book if you are interested, you won't regret it. Some lessons I learned from Epictetus from the Enchiridion:

On the costliness of fortune: poisonous nature of fortune:

XX: "As when you see a viper or an asp or a scorpion in an ivory or golden box, you do not on account of the costliness of the material love it or think it happy, but because the nature of it is pernicious, you turn away from it and loath it; so when you shall see vice dwelling in wealth and in the swollen fullness of fortune, be not struck by the splendor of the material, but despise the false character of the morals."

On contentment:

CLXXII: Epictetus being asked, What man is rich, answered, He who is content (who has enough)

CXXXVII: Contentment, as it is a short road and pleasant, has great delight and little trouble.

CXXIX: He is a wise man who does not grove for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

XXIV: As it is better to lie compressed in a narrow bed and be healthy than to be tossed with disease on a broad couch, so also it is better to contract yourself within a small competence and to be happy than to have a great fortune and to be wretched.

On expecting the worst:

CLVIII: If you wish to live a life free from sorrow, think of what is going to happen as if it had already happened.

On hearing more than speaking:

CXLII: Nature has given to men one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.

On God:

CXVII: Let your talk of God be renewed every day, rather than your food

CXIX: Think of God more frequently than you breathe.
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