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The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations Hardcover – November 26, 2002
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Steve Forbes A must read for business leaders. This is a fantastic achievement.
Josiah Bunting II Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute Timeless, magnificent, simple: the essential book on character, leadership, duty. No translation does the Emperor's Meditations better or nobler justice.
Admiral Stansfield Turner Former Director of the CIA All of us today would do well to take counsel from Marcus Aurelius. His pithy aphorisms lay out a philosophy of individual responsibility that should be of great value to each of us, whether in leading fulfilling lives, managing corporations, or leading countries.
Kenneth L. Woodward author of The Book of Miracles David and Scot Hicks have endowed serious readers with a marvelous new translation of a text that still challenges any society that hopes to understand what it means to be civilized.
Donald Kagan Hillhouse Professor of History and Classics at Yale University The wisdom contained in this handbook has been admired through the ages. The Hicks brothers' excellently clear translation happily now makes it accessible.
Jacques Barzun author of From Dawn to Decadence The Meditations is a work I disliked for its flaccid piety and self-concern from the time I read it years ago. But a look for curiosity's sake into this new translation has led me to read it all with genuine pleasure. The philosophical observations are the same but the tone is manly and there is a subtle and agreeable variety as the subject changes from self to the world and to the gods.
Victor Davis Hanson Professor of Classics at California State University This new, accessible translation by Scot and David Hicks of the emperor's famous Stoic handbook reflects far better the flavor of Marcus Aurelius's own style. Americans should read Marcus -- and this new edition now makes it a joy.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek
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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.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard, accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”
Before I get into details, I must say that reading Meditations was one of the hardest, but most rewarding experiences in my own personal growth. The book has done so much to ferment my prior beliefs and has helped a lot to broaden my mind and encourage me to be all that I can be.
It is very difficult in today’s world to believe in anything, whether it be divine beings, other people, or even ourselves. It is an epidemic that buries potential and love deep down and leaves anger and frustration to dictate life.
There is no reason to feel unhappy, unfulfilled, or unappreciated , and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius offers advice to anyone who is looking for self help, self love, and a rational way of directing life.
Before reading this book it is interesting to know the man that wrote it. Marcus Aurelius was the last of The Five Good Emperors of Ancient Rome. He took the title of Augustus after the death of his adopted father, Antoninus Pius, the adopted son of the late Emperor Hadrian.
However Marcus Aurelius had tried to pass on the emperorship, for he prefered a much more simple philosophic lifestyle. He accepted the honor with the sole demand that Lucius Verus, his adopted brother, would share the seat with him.
Sharing his seat of power is the one move that summarizes Marcus Aurelius’s entire life; the fear of power and the duty embedded in him through his interest in Stoicism, a philosophy that grounds itself on self-restraint, reason, and fate.
His work is a reflection of his life, and the words inscribed in Meditations are the product of his own thoughts and his own experiences. While reading this book good feelings will begin to surface through introspection, and in turn bad feelings will be expelled.
In my everyday life quotes from his book swim in my mind when I am met with difficult situations, and they enable me to make smarter more thought out and rational decisions. It is fascinating and rewarding each time I don’t simply act on impulse.
This book is not for entertainment, not for adventure, and it is definitely not a “light read.” It is a book that will help those who seek help, irritate those who don’t, and fascinate those who wish to learn and grow.