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Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness Paperback – June 26, 2007
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Epictetus was born into slavery about 55 ce in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Once freed, he established an influential school of Stoic philosophy, stressing that human beings cannot control life, only their responses to it. By putting into practice the ninety-three witty, wise, and razor-sharp instructions that make up The Art of Living, readers learn to meet the challenges of everyday life successfully and to face life's inevitable losses and disappointments with grace.
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Epictetus was born in A.D. 55 in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. The book has been called the Western equivalent to the Dhamapada or the Tao Te Ching.
It is a book of philosophical teachings in the stoic tradition. This interpretation is very easy to read because it has been written in modern language. You can read the original interpretations of Epictetus in his Enchiridion or Discourses, but those are not easy to read in comparison.
This is also easy to read because it is broken in to 93 lessons or instructions (some are only a paragraph long, others a page to page and half at most), making this an easy book to pick up and read in parts during little moments of spare time.
What I like most is that it's based on personal development of character, virtue and behavior. It instructs you on how to think clearly and how to work on yourself daily to become a better person. It's about action and application not just theorizing.
The philosophy also recognizes that everyday life is fraught with difficulty, losses, disappointments and griefs and teaches you how to think right about these events and how to rise to meet challenges.
I have this in my kindle, but I also picked up the original hard cover edition years ago and still have it. Even though I've read it numerous times, this one always stays on my shelf within arm's reach, to pull down and review, or where the mere sight of it will be a cue to remember the messages inside.
Stoicism is a lost art, I think, and I am glad to have been introduced to it -- the modern translation was not bothersome or annoying to me. After being introduced to the philosophy, I read some of the older English translations and was happy to find that Lebell's translation differed only in minor details and cut much of the unnecessary veribage in those older ones.
I suppose it is a matter of personal taste, one's current circumstances in life, and one's mind set. It certainly has nothing to do with (as some reviewers believe) intellectual integrity or sophistication. It is a great book. A lack of imagination or an intellectual arrogance, as far as I can see, would be the only hindrance to the enjoyment of this translation.