- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (November 25, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140449469
- ISBN-13: 978-0140449464
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Epictetus (c. AD 55–135) was a teacher and Greco-Roman philosopher. Originally a slave from Hierapolis in Anatolia (modern Turkey), he was owned for a time by a prominent freedman at the court of the emperor Nero. After gaining his freedom he moved to Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast of Greece and opened a school of philosophy there. His informal lectures (Discourses) were transcribed and published by his student Arrian, who also composed a digest of Epictetus's teaching known as the Manual (or Enchiridion).
Robert Dobbin received a PhD in classics from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught history and classics at the college level. He is the translator and editor of Epictetus's Discourses and Selected Writings for Penguin Classics, as well as an author of articles on Virgil, Plato, and Pythagoras. He works as a book editor in Northern California.
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~ Epictetus from Discourses
Epictetus is known as one of the world’s leading Stoic philosophers. Along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the three make up a very interesting bunch.
Seneca was essentially a billionaire advisor to Nero who was exiled and compelled to commit suicide while Aurelius was part Roman Emperor + part Stoic philosopher who wrote his Meditations while leading battles in the Danube.
Epictetus was a former slave turned philosopher who lived from 55-135 (a little later than Seneca and before Aurelius). After all the philosophers were kicked out of Rome, he settled in to a town called Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast of Greece where he ran a school of philosophy attended by Rome’s elite young men.
We covered another one of Epictetus’s books called the Enchiridion which literally means “ready at hand” or a “handbook.” That one is a short little distillation of some of his more pithy wisdom.
This book is a transcription of the informal lectures Epictetus gave to his students. While the Enchiridion is incredibly potent, with this one we get to see just how witty Epictetus is as he unpacks his ideas during lectures. (Both the Enchiridion and Discourses were transcribed and published by one of his students, Arrian. Thank you, Arrian.)
Epictetus’s work has influenced everyone from Marcus Aurelius to Albert Ellis—who leaned heavily on Stoic philosophy to create his Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy which led to the very popular (and effective!) cognitive behavioral therapy widely in use today. He also deeply influenced James Stockdale who called Epictetus his patron saint.
I'm excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas:
1. Hercules w/out Challengers - Just rolls over, goes back to sleep.
2. Want Something Great? - Look at a fig.
3. The Good, the Bad - And the indifferent.
4. Impressions - Our #1 threat.
5. Avoid Grime - Hang out with philosophers.
May we answer his call as we step forward into our highest potential, optimize, actualize and give our greatest gifts in greatest service to the world.
More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our *OPTIMIZE* membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.