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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: #13,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 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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19 of 19 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Cain on November 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kilroy on March 2, 2014
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My whole life before finding out about this book I was always inadvertently adhering to the guidelines of a stoic philosopher, but couldn't properly articulate my thoughts and organize them as well as I would have. Epictetus puts all of my thoughts in deep and timeless prose, conveniently split up into perfect, bite-sized chunks with memorable lines and quotes.

Probably what I like most about Epictetus' teachings is that he has not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. His background only supports his stoic teachings experiences even further by showing that even a near-disabled slave forced to work for most of his early life, with no safety net to fall back on, can be free and happy. I can't think of a stronger test of a way of life than that one.

The basic stoic philosophy is that our fate is already decided for us and we are powerless to control it, and though we apply both negative and positive connotations towards events that occur within our fate, ultimately fate (or as he refers to it as "the gods' will") is beyond our understanding and is neutral, so we are the only ones left that are punishing ourselves in times of seeming crisis. The true secret to happiness is learning to accept that we can't control outside forces, but we have total control and power over our own opinions and actions. Through this method of thought, the stoic philosopher can endure the harshest, most crippling events, and come out unscathed or possibly even stronger, knowing that any negativity coming from any events is his own product of his ego lashing out to protect itself.

With the lessons of Epictetus, you can learn to not run or hide from entropy and by doing so live your life in fear and senseless anger, but rather embrace it.
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