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Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

by Marcus Aurelius
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 11, 1997 048629823X 978-0486298238
Stirring reflections on the human condition from a warrior and emperor provide a fascinating glimpse into the mind and personality of a highly principled Roman of the 2nd century. Recognizing that suffering is at the core of life, he counsels stoic detachment in the face of inevitable pain, loss and death.

Frequently Bought Together

Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions) + Enchiridion (Dover Thrift Editions) + Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)
Price for all three: $13.40

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048629823X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486298238
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book of practical philosophy ever written December 1, 1998
By A Customer
The style is direct and unpretentious. The message is simple but extraordinarily powerful: life is short, the past and the future are inaccessible, pain and pleasure have no meaning, but inside each one of us there is a ruling faculty that is touched only by itself. Only that which makes us better capable of confronting our condition with resolution and courage can be said to be good, and only that which makes us worse and more unsatisfied can be said to be bad. The only thing that is of any importance is our own private quest for perfection, which no external power can ever destroy. Marcus Aurelius delivers many insightful and inspirational observations about human nature and the human condition, and he makes an excellent rational argument for seeking the good and for acting modestly and continently. I cannot think or a more satifying and moving work, and it is all the more poignant because it was written by a man who wielded almost absolute power and lived surrounded by the luxury, yet managed to keep things in perspective and to occupy himself only with what truly matters. One sentence captures perfectly the spirit of his writings: "Where a man can live, there he can also live well." An extraordinary testimony of wisdom and fortitude.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's worth trying different translations September 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't know who did the translation for this one but I found it very difficult to follow. This prompted me to look around and I found another translation by George Long (Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 1862). Even though it's not a recent translation, Long's version is often easier to understand. Compare the translations of the first paragraph for example:

This version:

Of my grandfather Verus I have learned to be gentle and meek, and to refrain from all anger and passion. From the fame and memory of him that begot me I have learned both shamefastness and manlike behaviour. Of my mother I have learned to be religious, and bountiful; and to forbear, not only to do, but to intend any evil; to content myself with a spare diet, and to fly all such excess as is incidental to great wealth. Of my great-grandfather, both to frequent public schools and auditories, and to get me good and able teachers at home; and that I ought not to think much, if upon such occasions, I were at excessive charges.

George Long's version:

From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper. From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character. From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich. From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally.

Having said this however, it's still worth comparing both translations which are free on the Kindle.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful-a friend in dark times November 2, 1999
By A Customer
I love Marcus. He is noble, sensitive, and trying his best to live right despite being emperor and stuck leading an army near the Danube. A great soul, a friend, someone who understands all you have suffered. Indispensable.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy that pulls no punches August 20, 1998
By A Customer
My first exposure to Marcus Aurelius was "Silence of the Lambs" (when Hanibal Lector quotes Aurelius to Clarice). I was intrigued. After reading Meditations, I was even more intrigued, and started buying copies for my friends. I have read Nietzche, Plato, Sartre. But this book tells it like it IS. Aurelius did not shy away from discussing topics we find too embarrassing today: from death to sex, perversity to honesty. This small volume is PACKED with life-giving, refreshing wisdom. And the price??? An unbelievable value.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prescient+Powerful Completely Relevant 2500 yr Philosophy February 11, 1999
By A Customer
I found this book so powerful, I was moved to memorize large parts of it.
Each paragraph, while following a theme of the section, is completely relevent in itself.
The book can be picked up and read from any page and any paragraph, and the user will need no context to the previous paragraph, and will find each paragraph sufficient unto itself.
The book accomplishes this by driving, in pure and unadulterated form and words, the main theme quickly and directly to the reader.
Accerpt from memory:
"Let it be thy earnest and Incessant Care as a Roman and Countryman to do whatever it is that thou are about with true and unfeigned gravity, natural effection, freedom and a sense of justice. As for all the other cares and imaginations, how shalt thou ease thy mind of them ? Which thou shalt do, if though shall go about every action as though it were thy last, free from all vanity and self love....."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Dry, But Great August 31, 2003
This edition of Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations' is an excellent rendition of what may be the most profound book of insight meditation ever written. It is an updating of George Long's venerable 1862 translation, with long sentences untangled and thee's and thou's modernized to you's . At first I found it a little dry and underemphatic, but as I continued reading, I became thoroughly engaged by its clarity and precision. As a literal reading, the Dover edition is a lot more readable than Loeb's Haines translation, and more direct than Staniforth's Penguin edition. And at this price, you almost can't afford not to have it. 'Meditations' really can help you be a better person.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars sophomoric
I found this book to be so simplistic, superficial and sophomoric that I stopped reading it midway - something I rarely do with any book.
Published 5 days ago by sandysis
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
This book came highly recommended by a very thoughtful, introspective reader. Bought it based on his recommendations and was just as he promised. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Bob's Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars AWesome!
Ive always wanted to read more on Stoicism and I finally I started with the Meditations, this is an awesome book for anyone who is interested in learning more on stoicism. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jose Conrad
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my style
This book was not what I expected. It is not written in a way that makes me go back for more. I didn't finish it, I couldn't find it interesting enough to go back for more.
Published 20 days ago by Helen Falcon
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting though rather long winded and repetitive. Better advice...
You get the idea in the first chapter... it becomes rather repetitive thereafter.
Insights into what makes life tick, how to be happy are thoughtful and make good, common... Read more
Published 23 days ago by greggieboy
5.0 out of 5 stars Love!
As a Roman history buff, I found this very interesting and helpful. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Rome or self-reflection.
Published 26 days ago by Paul M. Krueger
3.0 out of 5 stars meditation
Was somewhat helpful. I'm trying very hard to learn how to turn off the day and totally relax. This was helpful.
Published 1 month ago by suzie
2.0 out of 5 stars Old English
I found this very hard to understand. It's written in old English and I really didn't understand a lot of it.
Published 1 month ago by L. Lenhardt
3.0 out of 5 stars Important life long guidance
Although to me this was a rather difficult book to read it states strong guidance to live by. The rules for conducting ones life were true centuries ago as well as now. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jeff W. Blackwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Good content, poor edition
The introduction is longer than it should be, and misses the opportunity to provide truly relevant context. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MARCELO LOPEZ RUIZ
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