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193 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Philosophy for Living, January 13, 2001
This review is from: Enchiridion (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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 6, 2014 6:20:12 PM PDT
It is rare to read such an insightful and helpful review of a philosophy book, especially one on cultivating virtue in the 21st century. I myself am a philosophy professor and intensely interested in both Stoic and Epicurean philosophy, which share an emphasis on the importance of indifference to the passing moment and to the control of our emotions and passions. My favorite thought from Epicurs is this: "I must die, but must I die groaning?" I am going to buy this book, and I thank you for introducing us.

Posted on May 7, 2014 4:32:23 PM PDT
Thank you, Douglas for your wonderful review. I have just started reading Epictetus's book The Art of Living.
I am a little confused as I haven't read this book you're reviewing yet. . . but I wonder how you go about concentrating your efforts on what you can control and being indifferent to everything else?
It almost sounds like one should wear blinders and stay focused on doing their very best excellent living and being indifferent or immune to everything else that is not in their control.
I have for the past 3 years been in a situation that I am now seeing that I am having trouble with being indifferent to all that is not in my control. I've been living with my slightly brain damaged daughter (she had an accident with long term carbon monoxide poisoning and is now my housemate as I try to help her heal and regain her previous self. Normally, I can rise above things, and adopt an attitude of "Forebearance" but due to this "crazy" situation, I feel I am not handling it as well as I should. I have tried to be like Mother Teresa, but sadly, I have fallen short at times. In just sharing this, I realize that I need to get insurance so I can start Therapy before we both become crazy!

I will get this book because you mentioned the P.O.W. Mr. Stockdale and how it helped him when he was captive in a Vietnamese prison camp. If he could rise above that unbelievably hard situation he was in with the help of this great little book, then I feel their is a glimmer of hope for me and my dear daughter.

Thank you again for sharing all you did!
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