- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications (July 11, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 048629823X
- ISBN-13: 978-0486298238
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,586 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions)
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One measure, perhaps, of a book's worth, is its intergenerational pliancy: do new readers acquire it and interpret it afresh down through the ages? The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, translated and introduced by Gregory Hays, by that standard, is very worthwhile, indeed. Hays suggests that its most recent incarnation--as a self-help book--is not only valid, but may be close to the author's intent. The book, which Hays calls, fondly, a "haphazard set of notes," is indicative of the role of philosophy among the ancients in that it is "expected to provide a 'design for living.'" And it does, both aphoristically ("Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what's left and live it properly.") and rhetorically ("What is it in ourselves that we should prize?"). Whether these, and other entries ("Enough of this wretched, whining monkey life.") sound life-changing or like entries in a teenager's diary is up to the individual reader, as it should be. Hays's introduction, which sketches the life of Marcus Aurelius (emperor of Rome A.D. 161-180) as well as the basic tenets of stoicism, is accessible and jaunty. --H. O'Billovich --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“Here, for our age, is [Marcus’s] great work presented in its entirety, strongly introduced and freshly, elegantly translated.” —Robert Fagles --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
“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.