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A Manual for Living (Little Book of Wisdom (Harper San Francisco)) 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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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.
Having never written anything down, Epictetus' teachings seem to be hit or miss when it comes to translation. Most of the lessons in this book are about half of a very small page. Some of his lessons are absolute gems. Others seem to border on dressed up platitudes. I feel like this translation purposely tried to water down Epictetus' teachings to bring it to the common down... And I can't help but feel like there must be more to this!
I got this book for under $5. If you can too, it's a no-brainer. Great deal for some ancient reality checks!
I have studied philosophies throughout my lifetime in search of basic truths and the founding philosophies of our beginning and the establishment of this great country of ours. If one can put aside partisan, political and special interest irrational distain for the truth for a moment any student of the same knows that they (our founding fathers and mothers) were well read and well schooled on the great philosophies of the past and those of their present. It is amazing the amount of accumulated knowledge one can obtain without video games, television, epodes, cell phones, radio, the internet and the distractions of a hedonistic Hollywood entertainment industry in their lives.
Here in this little book are many of the founding set of principles for the American Dream. Surely it is not the single source of the wisdom of the ages or the definitive foundation that the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States used to produce this nation, but certainly one of the cornerstones in that logical process.
Other reviewers incorrectly, I believe, associate it with Freudian teachings and others find it far too simple and morally founded to fit into their "far too liberal" ideologies.
But one of its basic tenants that "Understanding what freedom really is and how it is achieved" is the key to all past logic. Also, that "freedom is not the right or ability to do whatever you please (a logic applied by our very first Supreme Court Justice...John Jay). But more "freedom comes from understanding the limits of our own power and the natural limits set in place by divine providence."
Sound familiar, it certainly should, it could have been take right out of the discussions during the fight for independence and the drafting of our most basic document, the Declaration of Independence.
Lebell has certainly capture more of the inner man than Nicholas White's Handbook on Epictetus and those critics who previously said Lebell did not stay true to Epictetus' writings are way off base as he did not leave any writings and it all comes to us second hand and with that prejudices, personal baggage and misread interpretations.
So as we all must decide which we will agree with I choose this wonderful "Little book of wisdom on how to live well." The logic in this interpretation certainly flows better and is proven by those who followed Epictetus than the Nay-Sayers who criticize it and its accuracy.
Good job Sharon, I may indeed carry this treasure with me as an aid and comfort
It makes every day, a different adventure
Something to refer to any time of the day for a boost, a centering thought or just knowing that somebody really understood the human condition
I would compare it to sound principles for living