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on April 4, 2015
Very good. Brief, but useful introduction.
1 helpful vote
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on February 26, 2015
Yes
1 helpful vote
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on August 17, 2016
The Look Inside contents is of the Kindle edition, not the physical edition. This is what's in the physical edition:

Introduction
Letter to Herodotus
Letter to Pythocles
Letter to Menoeceus
Principle Doctrines
Vatican Sayings
Fragments

Here are the discrepancies:
Letter to Idomeneus is missing.
Last Will is missing.
Ideas for Life is missing.
Fragments is extra.
9 helpful votes
10 helpful votes
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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2009
I am not qualified to weigh in on the merits of Epicurus' school of philosophy. As Westerners, we've decided over that two thousand years that his thoughts on death and pleasure and pain are profound and provocative.

What's important to the average reader though is whether this is the book you should pick up to learn about him. The short answer is yes, the longer one is that it is not enough.

The book has a fairly weak introduction that doesn't provide much context. The author would have been well-served to have included the entirety of Laertius' essay on Epicurus to which he dedicated a large portion to in his biography of great philosophers.

Otherwise, the translation is good and the organization is helpful. The book is structured like a college reader - no frills, thin paper and a drab cover. It has all of Epicurus' fragments, letters and writings. Unfortunately many of the best ones are cut off or lost so we have to make due with what is left.

A first time reader or student looking to introduce themselves to Epicurus could do worse than starting here. I often refer back to my copy.
66 helpful votes
67 helpful votes
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on October 24, 2017
It can be a tough read, but that's to be expected from an ancient philosopher whose writing has been translated several times over. With that being said. I read most of the book in one day and came back to it about a month later and it was even more enjoyable the second time around!
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2 helpful votes
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on March 2, 2017
Another classic by the modern misnamed Epicurus who did not stand for eating too much or too much sex, but for loving life and preserving that love with the smaller delights to be found daily. Give it try.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on January 14, 2013
The O'Connor translation printed by Prometheus is probably the best translation of Epicurus currently in print, though it is inferior to the translation by Cyril Bailey, which was printed on its own by Oxford, and also as part of "The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers" edited by W.J. Oates, issued by various publishing houses over the years. Your best bet is finding an old copy of that, but for a new book, this is probably your only decent option (the translation put out by Hackett is likely the worst version you can find). Unfortunately, Prometheus editions tend to have their problems (so normally, they should be avoided), and although this is not the worst in that regard, it does have a couple of problems. Here are references to two problems in this edition, with the first being too garbled in this edition to know what it should say, so I am including Bailey's translation for comparison, and the second one is due to the word "pleasure" being improperly substituted for what should read "virtue".

p. 71: #11. In C. Bailey's translation: "If we were not troubled by our suspicions of the phenomena of the sky and about death, fearing that it concerns us, and also by our failure to grasp the limits of pains and desires, we should have no need of natural science."

p. 90: VI, #12. "Let beauty and virtue and suchlike...."

With the second of these, the other occurrences of the word "pleasure" in the sentence are correct, so I do not bother finishing what it says there.

Again, as of the writing of this review, this is probably the best translation that is in print, though it is not the best translation one can find in English.
8 helpful votes
9 helpful votes
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on April 3, 2016
Good collection with interesting footnotes. This won't read like Sedaris or Lamott, but we should all read it nonetheless. This guy had it going on, and I'm glad someone wrote down what he said.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on August 19, 2016
Epicurus was Aristotlianism's main opponent. His teachings were repressed by the pagans, preoserved by Christian monks, and revived by Father Pierre Gassendi in the 17th century.
Teaching, 3-4 centuries before Christ, (around the time of Buddha,) he taught the pagan's afterlife did not exist and instead taught of "ataraxia," a rugged tranquility, or state of earthly nirvana attained through meaningful friendship, delicious food, and organic nonmaterialistic living.
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on December 26, 2001
This book does not rely on a god or a saviour to lead a smart and fulfilling life. It relies soley on reason and what an effective use of it by epicurus! Most of epicurus works are either lost or destroyed, but this book contains his essential teachings. Epicurus did not deny the existance of the gods. This would make sense. If the universe is infinite as he says, then all possible things already exist in one way or another. According to epicurus one should live out his natural life, this would be prudent. This life is the only one you get. He writes that by being prudent ie; looking at both sides of an issue to find truth and getting only what you need, you can live a smart and happy life. After life is over one goes to eternal oblivion, free of all suffering forever. The ironic thing about epicurus is that he admits there are gods. If one reads what he writes carefully, one finds that one doesnt need to go to heaven or even to exist. Since it is not needed, one loses nothing. The same thing can be said for the wild goose chase, most people are engaged in for happiness. They want bigger houses, more expensive cars, more cash, etc. and instead of gaining happiness gain more misery. Why? Because the truth is you gain happiness by getting only what you need. Epicurus writes that those who are not satisfied with a little, will never be satisfied even with a lot or even infinity. The more you have above need, the more worry, headache and problems. This in no way is conducive to happiness. These writings are some of the most brilliant in the entire realm of philosophy. This book gets two thumbs up!
69 helpful votes
70 helpful votes
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