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A Manual for Living (A Little Book of Wisdom) Paperback – June 23, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

About the Author

Epictetus (circa 55-135 ce) taught in Rome until the year 94 ce, when Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from the city. In exile, he established a school of philosophy where his distinguished students included Marcus Aurelius, author of Meditations. Some 1,863 years after Epictetus's death, Tom Wolfe revived his philosophy in the bestselling novel A Man in Full.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Little Book of Wisdom
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (June 23, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062511114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062511119
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.3 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Bush on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
The first cognitive-behavioral therapist, so to speak, was the philosopher Epictetus (50-120 AD). His most important ideas have stood the test of 1,900 years astonishingly well. To paraphrase some excerpts from his Handbook, especially Sharon Lobell's new edition ....
Control:
He said that happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of this principle: some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after we have accepted this fundamental rule, and learned to distinguish between what we can and cannot control, that inner tranquillity and outer effectiveness become possible.
This is a cardinal principle of today's cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as the basis of AA's famous "Serenity Prayer." Further CBT principles foreshadowed by Epictetus....
Where trouble comes from:
Things themselves don't hurt or hinder us. Neither do other people. How we view things and people is a different matter. Strange as it may seem at first, it is our own attitudes and reactions that give us the most trouble. We cannot always choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
Legislating for the world:
Circumstances do not arise to meet our desires or expectations. Events happen as they do. People behave according to their own inclinations and what they are faced with - which we may not even be aware of. Don't try to make your own rules that the world is supposed to follow. That is a recipe for frustration. Exercise what influence you can, then accept what you actually get and make the most of it.
Habits:
We are creatures of habit, reacting automatically to events as they happen. It thus matters greatly what our habits are.
Read more ›
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on March 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
His writings are incredibly similar to many self-improvement and psychology books of today. As a result of Epictetus, we quickly realize that people were and still are in search of the same thing today that they strived for two thousand years ago: happiness, fulfillment, accomplishing goals, and possessing a sense of worth, among others. Such is the human ego. As powerfully yearning for fulfillment then as it is now.
Some familiar with Epictetus' works assert he had an influence on historical and contemporary psychology because his writings influenced many modern shapers of thought in Roman times, which are the roots, in part, of our eclecticism.
Epictetus was born a slave around 55 A.D. in Phrygia, on the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. One of Epictetus' quotes we often hear (phrasing slightly altered) today and need to be reminded of is: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the thing I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Some of the time tested "isms" here are from the titles of his mini-chapters. Some examples,
*Know what you can control and what you cannot
*Conform your wants and expectations to reality
*Avoid adopting other people's negative views
*Happiness can only be found within
*No one can hurt you
*Those who seek wisdom in life will be ridiculed
*Never suppress a generous impulse
*Character matters more than reputation
"Manual For Living," interpreted by Sharan Lebell, is a small book that can be easily carried around, and quickly referred to. Instead of heading to the next Dr., psychologist, or self helper, get "Manual For Living." It's the got the same information at a fraction of the price. Epictetus may have left our world of humanity quite a long time ago, but his message is immortal.
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61 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Mark on April 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you want to read Epictetus, please order a copy of his Discourses or Enchiridion. This is an "updated" version of him with adjustments made whereever. Have fun deciding where Epictetus leaves off and Sharon picks up.
Like selling postcards of the Last Supper with rouge painted on the cheeks.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Chancellor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The remarkable thing about this book is it contains so much wisdom in so few words. It truly lives up to its title - A Manual For Living.

If there is any fault to be found with the book it would be in its brevity. I have read many books that say less in four times the number of words.

It is really amazing that so many of the truths of living a purposeful life filled with happiness have been around for so long. We struggle with day to day problems because we fail to seek the answers contained in this book.

It is also amazing that most of todays graduates of institutions of higher learning do not possess the wisdom that Epictetus did. We seem to have become a nation concentrating on acquiring knowledge without learning how to apply that knowledge. Epictetus shows us the way to achieve our purpose in life. To achieve freedom, which he says is the ultimate way to live.

Some of the better lessons are:

You become what you give your attention to.

Think things through and fully commit!

A half-hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes.

Wise people on the other hand realise that we are the source of everything good or bad.

It you want all the wisdom without an excessive amount of reading, this book is for you. It is short enough you can read it weekly and let the concepts sink into your subconscious mind where they can lead you to the life you were designed to live.
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