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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the fourth translation of Marcus Aurelius' guidebook I have bought, and by far the most accessible, understandable, and applicable to life as I find it.

The 1945 Classics Club revision of George Long's earlier translation is more elaborate, but the brothers Hicks have made Marcus more relevant to our times.

I have filled three index cards with quotes from "The Emperors Handbook" and propped them around my work computer. My favorite: "I do what is expected of me and let nothing get in my way - neither the inanimate, nor the irrational, nor the hopelessly lost."

Buy two copies of this book: One for home, one for work, and thus "have before you at all times the icon of an ancient who practiced virtue."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This book will give you the rare opportunity to read a book of wisdom written by a Roman Emperor. Marcus Aurelius was a well liked emperor you lived from 120 A.D. to 180 A.D. ruling in the late part of his life. The book's theme is to live your life in balance with the universe. Do your duty and fulfill the role the "Gods" put you on earth to do. Let reason be your master always doing what is beneficial to all. Do not sin because you only sin against yourself. Why worry about correcting others behaviors when you have so much uncompleted work to do on yourself. If you enjoy reading Plato, Epictetus, or philosophy in general I know you will enjoy reading this book, it is truly packed with wisdom and will take you back to Roman times and let you see how the wise among them thought before the dark ages and modern religion came on the stage of civilization. Very interesting read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Going through a tough time, I read many books of self-help and spirituality. The only two that really helped were Marcus Aurelius' The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations and Epictetus' Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness (Plus). Both works are brief, direct, essential, and delightful to read thanks to the translators.

A favorite quote from the Emperor's Handbook:

"If you pursue the matter at hand along the straight path of reason, advancing with intensity, vigor, and grace, and without being distracted along the way; if you keep your divine spirit pure and blameless, as though this were the moment to give it back; if expecting nothing and fearing nothing, you are content to act in accord with nature and speak with heroic honesty--then you will live well. And no power on earth can stop you."

And from the Art of Living:

"Freedom is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control. We cannot have a light heart if our minds are a woeful cauldron of fear and ambition. Do you wish to be invincible? Then don't enter into combat with what you have no real control over. Your happiness depends on three things, all of which are in your power: your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas."

I'm happy to be a modern Stoic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I recently became interested in ancient philosophy and read three translations of Aurelius. For someone just starting out, this is the best introduction. The intro essay is useful. Yes, the translation slips into one too many Hallmark moments, but overall the translation is concise and pointed and, well, more modern. Compare this translation with the Penguin Classic and you'll see what I mean. Here is the Penguin classic:"...both the longest lived and the earliest to die suffer the same loss. It is only the present moment of which either stands to be deprived:and if indeed this is all he has, he cannot lose what he does not have." A bit long winded. Here is the Hicks translation: "...the man who dies young loses not a jot more time than the man who dies old. A man can only be deprived of the present monent, for this is all he has, and how can a man lose what he doesn't possess?" And, Aurelius strikes me as someone who would not write or speak in the more mannered and formal Penguin classic way but instead as someone who cuts clearly to the nub. Get both books, but start with this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The Meditations was the first philosophy book I randomly pulled of my parents' shelves when I was a boy of 12. It was a marvel for me, with the short paragraphs of advice and humble insights from a Roman emperor writing by lamplight in his campaign tent. It seemed penned directly to me from over 2000 years ago. Magic. The irony of my adolescent romance with a stoic has amused me since, but there is some logic to it, as I was then starting to manage my own thinking and hormones at the same time while looking for form and guidance from the word outside my immediate family. The paragraphs were short, and I was inspired that I had discovered this dusty old book, so I could excavate my youthful way through the older, stiffer translation.

I'm nearly 50 now, and have been revisiting some of the Greek and Roman classics, delighted that new scholars have revisited these works again with our present-day linguistic, dramatic, and cultural traditions in mind. My own son is nearly 12, and he can read this new version of The Meditations easily when I share fragments with him. We can get right to the ideas without the added challenge of the older English. (A 19th century linguistic adventure is worthwhile too, but one challenge at a time...) As a dad, I often come back to the ancient classic questions with my son. I often crudely rarify these as:

- What is the nature of things? (What's up?)
- What should I/you/we do next? (What now?)

I highly recommend this new work for stimulating your thinking and approach to these prime questions.

Happy (stoic) reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Review of "Marcus Aurelius, The Emperor's Handbook", A translation of the meditations, by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks, Scribner, New York, Copyright 2002, ISBN 0-7432-3383-2

This is a marvelous translation of the meditations of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, which is based originally on the writings in Greek, by the Emperor himself, while he was out fighting against the invasion from the North by the Germans. The mediations have been translated and re-translated through a variety of languages, not all of which are known. We are very fortunate that the new edition by the Hicks brothers, has made the language very easy for the modern American to enjoy. Marcus Aurelius lived in a period of time in which philosophy was considered to be the pathway to find truth, and the influence of the Atomists was strong. Christianity was considered a bizarre and dangerous cult that was to be punished. The Hicks brothers have produced a translation that is very enjoyable, and thought provoking. Many of the points of view of Marcus focus on self reliance, being good to your neighbors, maintaining equanimity, and the inevitability of death. He could be credited today with the recognition of the Carbon Cycle, in which all our atoms are recycled to allow new birth and life. These Meditations by the Emperor have value today in helping people to organize their thoughts and their own life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Bewildered by odd versions of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius? Take heart, this version finally clarifies Marcus' dynamic world view.

Meet this exemplary man, whose personal philosophy is extraordinary even today. Ponder his innermost thoughts, and encounter the heart of a great man.

As you read you'll share in his His courage, insight, and moral strength.

A must-have translation that outshines the others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I first read Marcus Aurelius when I was 14 years old. I didn't really understand it, but it was clear that the book was worth re-reading when I got older. In the four decades since, I've reread the book many times, in many different translations. I don't read Greek, so I cannot say how accurate the translation is, but as a reader, Scot and David Hicks have produced the best English translation available. Their translation does an excellent job of conveying the "spirit" of the text. If Marcus Aurelius had written in American English, I suspect his words would read very much like this translation.

Buy copies for your friends and family, especially young ones. The world could use more Stoic virtue.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Diminish outside forces that perturb the mind and soul! Aurelius's stoic philosophy is indeed a wise one but with this translation it is even more encompassing. It is only the will in a human that can be judged and controlled, everything else is beyond and should not effect emotions. To think that the Meditations were not even meant for anyone beside the Roman ruler himself, this translation is simple yet to the point without any embellishments, just the way Aurelius would have liked.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I found the texts of both to be fairly similar, but the design of the 2003 Modern Library edition in trade paperback size is easier on the eyes. Also, that book has a more academically-oriented introduction, which is helpful if that's what you prefer.
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