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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 July 19, 2017
My first exposure to Marcus Aurelius was "Silence of the Lambs" (when Hanibal Lector quotes Aurelius to Clarice). I was intrigued. After reading Meditations, I was even more intrigued, and started buying copies for my friends. I have read Nietzche, Plato, Sartre. But this book tells it like it IS. Aurelius did not shy away from discussing topics we find too embarrassing today: from death to sex, perversity to honesty. This small volume is PACKED with life-giving, refreshing wisdom. And the price??? An unbelievable value.
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Personal and intimate writing from a great man who strugled to be better each day. I don't belive on reading to get "teachings of life", but it will certainly cause you not harm to read this book. Even from the translation, you can see what a good writer he was. Besides, identifying with the worries an thoughts of a man who wrote two millenia ago, shows that there is something universal in the human mind.
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on September 30, 2016
An absolute classic and must have piece of work. I found it very useful in my quest to ever better myself, whatever that really means. The point is that each time you re-read it, and you will want to read it more than once, you'll find something different to meditate on and to hopefully use in your everyday life. It's a timeless classic for a reason and I highly recommend this.
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on May 3, 2011
The Meditations was the first philosophy book I randomly pulled of my parents' shelves when I was a boy of 12. It was a marvel for me, with the short paragraphs of advice and humble insights from a Roman emperor writing by lamplight in his campaign tent. It seemed penned directly to me from over 2000 years ago. Magic. The irony of my adolescent romance with a stoic has amused me since, but there is some logic to it, as I was then starting to manage my own thinking and hormones at the same time while looking for form and guidance from the word outside my immediate family. The paragraphs were short, and I was inspired that I had discovered this dusty old book, so I could excavate my youthful way through the older, stiffer translation.

I'm nearly 50 now, and have been revisiting some of the Greek and Roman classics, delighted that new scholars have revisited these works again with our present-day linguistic, dramatic, and cultural traditions in mind. My own son is nearly 12, and he can read this new version of The Meditations easily when I share fragments with him. We can get right to the ideas without the added challenge of the older English. (A 19th century linguistic adventure is worthwhile too, but one challenge at a time...) As a dad, I often come back to the ancient classic questions with my son. I often crudely rarify these as:

- What is the nature of things? (What's up?)
- What should I/you/we do next? (What now?)

I highly recommend this new work for stimulating your thinking and approach to these prime questions.

Happy (stoic) reading!
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on February 24, 2017
This is a classic for a reason. I didn't like it at first because I blew through it. Later I picked it up again and read it slowly to give it time to sink in. I'm glad I did.
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on August 20, 2017
This is what got me in to the Stoic philosophy, however after learning what I have, I took many of the writings in this book out of the intended context. This book should be supplemented with Epictetus's Discourse, Enchiridion, and Seneca's Letters From A Stoic.

If you want to get a wholesome introduction to the philosophy of Stoicism look for Donald Robertson's Stoicism and The Art of Happiness.

If you choose to follow the path of the Stoic, your life will be changed forever.
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on March 12, 2017
This book is in my view indispensable to anyone's development of political and social philosophy. It is translated in a manner in which it is easy to understand but it's simple phrasing doesn't detract from the power of the ideas being propagated. It comes across as merely a soliloquy on Aurelius's findings during his life, but everyone can learn something powerful from his ideas.
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