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Meditations: A New Translation
Format: Paperback|Change
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on July 23, 2016
Amazon lumps different translations together as merely variations on how the book is delivered. In this case, the Hays translation is the hardcover, while the authors who translated the paperback and Kindle versions aren't specified. So use the tools available (look inside, free sample) to get an idea of the language used by the author and see if it's something you'd like to read, or if a different translation suits you better.
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on September 25, 2013
I don't know who did the translation for this one but I found it very difficult to follow. This prompted me to look around and I found another translation by George Long (Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 1862). Even though it's not a recent translation, Long's version is often easier to understand. Compare the translations of the first paragraph for example:

This version:

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.
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on May 11, 2014
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

“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.
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on May 27, 2016
You could go your whole life reading the Meditations and Seneca's letters and still not understand Stoicism the way Hadot can teach you in 300 pages. This is one of the best books I've ever read about anything; it is a true masterpiece and a shame that so few people will ever read it. Do yourself a favor and dive in.
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on March 7, 2017
I am sincerely pissed that I was not provided a copy of this as a kid growing up. I have devised a work around to the whole "Not growing up with a father figure" issue. I have decided that Marcus Aurealis is my actual father, and Socrates is my great uncle and Thales is my grand father. I realize this sounds nutty to read but I honestly feel more in common with these thinkers then the absent XY chromosome donor.
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on January 4, 2018
The book is a little bit difficult to follow because the text is written as a long series of short statements, which are often rather disparate in their subject matter. Rather than a flowing story or thought, you are provided with an onslaught of often very short sentiments of value, purpose, and wisdom. I enjoyed the book and found the concepts simple and straight forward to apply to every day life. At the risk of perverting or desecrating this great work, I think it would be valuable to have it converted in to one of those "inspirational quote of the day" flip calendars. Someone get on that!
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on April 12, 2017
This is Marcus Aurelius', the last of the five great Roman emperors, personal diary which he had written for his eyes only. It is short and easy to read with brilliant insights. Well worth the read. Over the years, I've read it three times. Aurelius, such as Aquinas and a Kempis and Augustine, were gifted with second sight and sixth sense in understanding human nature.
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on January 30, 2018
This translation, by George Long in 1862, although older, is easier to read and comprehend than many newer translations. This includes, in my opinion, the Dover Thrift Edition that is an updated version of this Long translation. It's a great price to have as your first, primary or supplemental addition of this amazing work.
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on October 9, 2015
There are a lot of translations of the Meditations out there and most of them are very difficult to read. This is because the translators are doing their best to provide the reader with a translation that is faithful to the original language, which was, I believe, Ancient Greek (which seems kind of odd, considering he was a Roman).

Of the three translations that I struggled with, this is probably the most coherent. I am not an ancient Greek scholar so I can't testify to the accuracy of the translation but I can tell you that, of all the three English translations that I looked at, this one came off as the most coherent --- which, in retrospect, is really not saying much because some of it was still pretty rough going, especially near the end of the book. Nevertheless, if you want to become familiar with this particular stoic philosophy, I would probably start with this one and save yourself a lot of aggravation.

The Meditations is one of my favorite books of all time --- one that I read when I was a young student studying philosophy. It was a pleasure to reread Marcus Aurelius and I am convinced that he is a philosopher that everybody should read. The problem is that none of the translations appear to be very easy to navigate.
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on December 17, 2017
"The best antidote for outer turmoil is inner peace."

I was reading three books simultaneously and was pondering the manner we communicate today vs AD 180. The other two books were What is a Man and Tribe of Mentors. Meditations is 99 pages, What is a Man 790, and Tribe of Mentors 598. All three have become favorites that I gift more than all others save Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart.

What is amazing about this book is so much is sade in so few words. I have to read each word deliberately and sometimes with a dictionary at hand. Though it doesn't flow well (written as a journal of thoughts), when I slow down and ponder what is being communicated, it is deep, powerful, life changing, and relevant to this very day.

"Man cannot lose what he does not possess. He has only the present. He has neither the past nor the future."

While the phraseology and style may be off putting (difficult) and not consumed more than the first couple pages, the diligent and patient will walk away with a refreshed, redirected, or new life path.

I find myself jotting concepts down, tossing them on my Facebook page, talking with my wonderful bride, thinking how I can incorporate the higher standard in my life.

I mentioned the book "When Things Fall Apart". (Check out my review, buy a copy, keep some on hand). That is a great book to put it all back together, bandage yourself, rediscover peace and patience. This book is for when you are finally back on your feet and ready for an even more fulfilling and impactful life.

"Remember we are closer to death, wut even more closer to the casing of conception and understanding of things."

Make sure you read the Introduction. Creates a wonderful 'setting' you can visualize when Aurelius is describing what he is facing in each entry.

I also suggest keeping a notepad, Google Keep, or Evernote on hand to jot things down.

Don't let the first chapter turn you off. It starts with rough, complex language and thoughts, but the following chapters flow better. This is a great book for anyone wanting a foundational understanding of stoicism, how to be a much more grounded, quality person that impacts those around you simply by their knowing and watching you. Just think of those who have changed you the most. Few would be those who explain what they believe, how their beliefs are the best, and how you should join their belief group. Those who have impacted me the most, lived their lives and let me watch. This book equips you with principles and perspectives for a rock solid foundation. Thin in pages, thick in content. Another GREAT book is "On the Shortness of Life". A great companion read.
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