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A Manual for Living (A Little Book of Wisdom) Paperback – June 23, 1994
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin
From the Back Cover
The essence of perennial Stoic wisdom in aphorisms of stunning insight and simplicity. The West's first and best little instruction book offers thoroughly contemporary and pragmatic reflections on how best to live with serenity and joy.
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Top Customer Reviews
He said that happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of this principle: some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after we have accepted this fundamental rule, and learned to distinguish between what we can and cannot control, that inner tranquillity and outer effectiveness become possible.
This is a cardinal principle of today's cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as the basis of AA's famous "Serenity Prayer." Further CBT principles foreshadowed by Epictetus....
Where trouble comes from:
Things themselves don't hurt or hinder us. Neither do other people. How we view things and people is a different matter. Strange as it may seem at first, it is our own attitudes and reactions that give us the most trouble. We cannot always choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
Legislating for the world:
Circumstances do not arise to meet our desires or expectations. Events happen as they do. People behave according to their own inclinations and what they are faced with - which we may not even be aware of. Don't try to make your own rules that the world is supposed to follow. That is a recipe for frustration. Exercise what influence you can, then accept what you actually get and make the most of it.
We are creatures of habit, reacting automatically to events as they happen. It thus matters greatly what our habits are. They are mostly a matter of practice. The oftener we do something, and the more circumstances in which we do it, the more it becomes a habit. Therefore, to make something a habit, do it. To make something not a habit, don't do it. To change a habit, do something else instead.
Good work, Eppy! You were WAY ahead of your time.
If there is any fault to be found with the book it would be in its brevity. I have read many books that say less in four times the number of words.
It is really amazing that so many of the truths of living a purposeful life filled with happiness have been around for so long. We struggle with day to day problems because we fail to seek the answers contained in this book.
It is also amazing that most of todays graduates of institutions of higher learning do not possess the wisdom that Epictetus did. We seem to have become a nation concentrating on acquiring knowledge without learning how to apply that knowledge. Epictetus shows us the way to achieve our purpose in life. To achieve freedom, which he says is the ultimate way to live.
Some of the better lessons are:
You become what you give your attention to.
Think things through and fully commit!
A half-hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes.
Wise people on the other hand realise that we are the source of everything good or bad.
It you want all the wisdom without an excessive amount of reading, this book is for you. It is short enough you can read it weekly and let the concepts sink into your subconscious mind where they can lead you to the life you were designed to live.
Some familiar with Epictetus' works assert he had an influence on historical and contemporary psychology because his writings influenced many modern shapers of thought in Roman times, which are the roots, in part, of our eclecticism.
Epictetus was born a slave around 55 A.D. in Phrygia, on the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. One of Epictetus' quotes we often hear (phrasing slightly altered) today and need to be reminded of is: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the thing I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Some of the time tested "isms" here are from the titles of his mini-chapters. Some examples,
*Know what you can control and what you cannot
*Conform your wants and expectations to reality
*Avoid adopting other people's negative views
*Happiness can only be found within
*No one can hurt you
*Those who seek wisdom in life will be ridiculed
*Never suppress a generous impulse
*Character matters more than reputation
"Manual For Living," interpreted by Sharan Lebell, is a small book that can be easily carried around, and quickly referred to. Instead of heading to the next Dr., psychologist, or self helper, get "Manual For Living." It's the got the same information at a fraction of the price. Epictetus may have left our world of humanity quite a long time ago, but his message is immortal.