- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195374614
- ISBN-13: 978-0195374612
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.3 x 5.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (369 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy 1st Edition
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"Irvine excels at giving a "walking tour" of the many schools of Stoic philosophy, from Greek to Roman traditions, identifying individual Stoic thinkers (many more than Seneca) and their principles and techniques, which Irvine argues are even more relevant in modern times than their own." --Philosophical Practice
"Another valuable ally in your personal morale campaign can be found in William B. Irvine's A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, which removes the grim grey mask of noble, resigned fatalism attached to the popular conception of Stoic philosophy and lets the humanity out and the air in.... It is a work of clarion clarity, and you won't have to read that far into it before the phrase 'stoic joy' ceases sounding like an oxymoron and becomes a workable proposition."--James Wolcott, Vanity Fair
"Irvine's book excels as a guide for practicing Stoics or for individuals seeking to improve that practice." --The Common Review
"Irvine's intended audience is nonphilosophers, but everyone can profit from his clear presentation on the on the benefits of using philosophical doctrines to live a meaningful life."--Library Journal
"If, however, you are skeptical that even therapy will make you happy -- if you are looking for a life philosophy -- A Guide to the Good Life is for you.... Irvine's book is more thought-provoking."--Austin American-Statesman
"He writes in clear, almost jargon-free prose that is well suited to his target audience, and maintains a cheerful tone throughout the book...that perfectly expresses the sort of rationally grounded upbeat attitude that is one of the payoffs of becoming a practicing Stoic.... I can firmly recommend Irvine's A Guide to the Good Life to anyone interested in exploring some of the ways philosophical work can be brought to bear on the ordinary problems of living.... there is a great deal of useful thinking and excellent advice to be found in it, presented in a clear, straightforward and often charming manner."--Lauren Tillinghast, Metapsychology Online Reviews
"Bill Irvine has given us a great gift: the most accessible and inviting description of modern Stoicism available. Read this book and be prepared to change your life!"--Sharon Lebell, author of Epictetus's The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
"Well-written and so compelling, this is a rare example of a book that actually will make a difference in the lives of its readers. Whether it's coping with grief or arriving at lasting happiness, Irvine shows, with care and verve, ancient Stoic wisdom to be ever relevant and very, very helpful." --Gary Klein, author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions
"Never have I seen so delightful, empathetic, and supple a presentation of Stoicism as Irvine gives us here. Hardly Christian even in sensibilities, the Stoics were, none the less, wise in the ways of life, a benison Irvine exposes, and then delivers here, with panache and great acumen."--Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours
"Irvine's calm yet impassioned presentation of a Western philosophy of life that one can actually abide by and practice will be good medicine for many readers...I heartily recommend it." --The Christian Century
"Dr Irvine has used very simple language in his book. He gives a notion of modern stoicism and urges modern readers to practice stoicism." -- The Nation, Pakistan
About the Author
William B. Irvine is Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He is the author of On Desire: Why We Want What We Want.
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Top customer reviews
Learning about Stoic philosophy is like finding a perfectly ripe orchard peach after living with the memory of what they taste like while making due with those tasteless grocery store articles. There's an art to living well as I see it, and this book is really helping to guide me towards a more meaningful life. William Irvine's book is a treasure of information on this philosophy, on the importance of setting a goal you won't deviate from, on what Stoic philosophy is and how to live it. Well-written, inspiring, informative. I no longer have an opportunity to study in a Stoic school, philosophy courses are focused on learning theories while the ancient schools taught pupils how to practice. This book is as close as I may ever come to one of those immersive experiences with a teacher. I'm enjoying this book, thrilled to be finding some texts here on Amazon to learn more about Stoicism written by knowledgeable authors, and feeling very optimistic about life in general again.
This book is exactly what it says it is: a man's revival of an ancient philosophy with some of his reflections about its practical use. This book was a burning pageturner for me as I was slowly presented with a system that could have been ripped from my head if it wasn't already 2k years old. Irvine keenly prepared for most of his readers' arguments and preemptively addresses them.
His focus on "negative visualisation" was new to me, but there are analogs of this in Zen, which Irvine notes. Where Irvine's work shines is on his breaking life events into "things we have complete control of, some control, and no control." This line of thought is what made me a "natural stoic," and the simple exercise he describes here could do MANY people LOTS of good in practice.
My only wish is that he spent more time on the conflict between our evolutionary drives and Stoicism. A big difficulty I have is that he waves them away by fiat; the case isn't really developed that we no longer need these drives, though I am in agreement that we need tools and techniques to master these drives to some degree.
All said, this was a needed book and I will be recommending it openly to friends that I believe could use its practical advice.
After giving the reader a brief review of the history of Stoic philosophy, including a summary of all of it's major thinkers and proponents/practitioners, the author then gives the reader practical exercises that enable one to begin their own pursuit of "Stoic Joy".
Unlike other types of Philosophy, Stoicism is mainly concerned with the pursuit of tranquility, and thus could be considered to be a practical philosophy. It is much more concerned with living a good life than most other schools of philosophical thought.
The modern image of Stoicism is one of a rigid and stiff person who suppresses all emotion. This idea is not accurate. A stoic is one who uses stoic philosophy to overcome/minimize negative emotions, in order to experience tranquility and even joy. The author is very clear and specific when discussing the mindset and exercises which Stoics use to do this.
I would recommend this book to everyone, but I think that it would be particularly useful to those who are unhappy or depressed as it gives several exercises which allow one to become free from negative emotions. In the short time that I have been practicing the techniques presented, I am already seeing a change in the quality of my life and in the clarity of my thinking.
Thank you very much, Dr. Irvine! You have helped me find joy! :-)
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