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Enchiridion Paperback – December 1, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0879757038 ISBN-10: 0879757035 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Great Books in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 43 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879757035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879757038
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

From the Publisher

Library of Liberal Arts title. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

For a small book, "Enchiridion" packs a huge punch.
Gerald Brennan
I highly recommend this powerful book to anyone interested in seeing how the thoughts of one of mankind's greatest philosophers apply to life today.
Matthew Dodd
If you pursue things not in your power, "you will be hindered, you will lament, you will be disturbed, you will blame both gods and men."
Martin H. Dickinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Douglas E. Raineault on January 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Epictetus's "Enchiridion" ("The Manual") is a book about living as a stoic. This book was used as a manual for Roman Centurions and has influenced the lives of many ancient and modern people. It teaches you to deal with hardships and the dissappointments that one encounters in daily life. The stoic philosophy from the Enchiridion helped people like VADM James Stockdale deal with years of captivity in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Basically, the idea behind stoicism is that people can achieve virtue and excellence by concentrating their efforts on what they can control and being indifferent to what they cannot. Unlike Epicurianism, stoicism holds that people are supremely reasonable and that happiness is the result of virtue, honor and conformity to the way of the world. This philosophy was respected by early Christians, and emperors like Marcus Aurelius (The old king in the movie "Gladiator" and a stoic philosopher himself). The translation by George Long is second to none. This book is a valuble handbook for life in modern times and with only 43 pages, it is densely packed with simple ideas for being a better person. I have read it over a dozen times and each time I learn something else about myself and about life. It is a particularly valuble philosophy for members of the military because it explains how to gain control despite overwhelming odds and lack of personal authority. I would recommend this small book to every student of Greek Philosphy and anyone who desires to be a virtuous and successful person.
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78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
Nowadays people tend to think a "stoic" person is one who bears up under sorrow without complaining. While this is somewhat true, it is a blindered view of what a Stoic aspires to. Epictetus was a freed slave, apparently born sometime during the middle of the first century. He became the leading teacher of Stoicism and an immense [though indirect] influence upon the emperor Marcus Aurelius, the closest the world has ever come to having a "philosopher-king." The Enchiridion is a "digest," a sampling of the heart of Epictetus' teaching, which must not be thought of as Epictetus' own ideas, but rather as his embodiment and distillation of the "truths" of Stoicism as brought forward over several centuries to his day. His aim was to live a life, and to teach his students to live a life, of calm and peace and happiness, in which outward events, no matter how hideous, cannot disturb. In this, he was similar to the Buddha, teaching his students to rise toward nirvana. The basic principle of Stoic philosophy, as maintained by Epictetus, was simple: we, as human beings, control only our responses to what happens around us: we cannot control events; we cannot make others do what we wish; we cannot even control whether we get sick or not: we CAN control how we react toward events, and it is toward this that we should direct our efforts. The Enchiridion is a wonderful book, a soothing balm, a great place to begin: read it slowly; think about how its teachings can be applied to your daily situation; then strive to apply them. When you feel that you have a good grasp of the Enchiridion, THEN go on to the Discourses.Read more ›
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Krause on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Enchiridion is the bridge between the old radical schools of Stoicism in the tradition of Zeno of Citium which taught to deny desire and defeat emotion to achieve 'eudaimonia' (excellence in temper) and the late era Stoicism which teaches us not to defeat emotion and desire but simply not to let it dominate prudent judgments, decisions and actions.

Epictetus' Stoic philosophy is a practical philosophy for life that focuses on understanding what causes us grief in our life and then detaching ourselves from that grief; removing from our lives unnecesary pains. The Enchiridion offers insightful and straightforward wisdom on how to endure misfortune by developing character and apatheia (clear judgment) by training ourselves in the Socratic lifestyle. The four cardinal virtues of such a lifestyle are sophrosyne (temperance/self-control), dikaiosyne (justice/righteousness/honesty/authenticity), sophia (prudence/wisdom), and andreia (fortitude/courage). When we dedicate our lives in the pursuit of virtue and not in the pursuit of gratifying our emotions, not only do we fulfill our duty within nature in achieving harmony amidst the community and earth but we also find how meaningless a good deal of the constant bickering, drama, dishonesty and insincerity of the mob really is.

A Stoic philosopher removes himself from addictions, a life centered around sex, inauthenticity, falsity, selfishness and actions which would unbalance the natural order or damage the community.
Read more ›
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