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Showing 1-10 of 1,216 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,416 reviews
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 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 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 August 19, 2014
There is so much argument over which translation is the best. I initially obtained the free version from project Gutenberg, but found it to be filled with too many embellishments from old English. I then looked at the modern Hays translation which many people seem to like, but found it to be too colloquial and it seemed to rob the text of its gravity. Finally I found gestalt with this penguin translation. It's light and clear while retaining a classic grammatical style that lenses the text a feeling of heft and authority. I've read many books from stoic philosophers such as Seneca , Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius and there is always a tension in the translation between communicating efficiently and allowing the reader time to linger by breaking away from modern speech patterns. This version of meditations strikes just the right tone.
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on August 25, 2010
Other reviewers here have commented about the work itself, so I would just add a note about this specific translation.

One of the most difficult tasks for a reader interested in non-English language work (and works from classical times in particular) is to choose an appropriate translation. Of course, what counts as `appropriate' is somewhat subjective.

What I was looking for was a translation that is clear and accurate; one that manages to convey something of a feeling for the both the person who wrote, and the times they wrote in. In this Staniforth excels.

Unlike say, the Benjamin Jowett translation of Plato which (at least to my ears) has a distinctly Victorian ring, or the popular new age paraphrases of many of the Stoics (and in truth they are paraphrases or adaptations rather than translations), to me Staniforth (whose translation dates from 1964) strikes just the right balance.

The words of Marcus Aurelius are rendered intelligibly and with a dignity and awareness of the historical context. The reader is neither forced to re-read and ponder (i.e., speculatively re-translate), nor wince at inappropriate colloquialisms of 21st century English. Better still, one can immediately perceive and appreciate the times in which the work was written. No mean accomplishment, to say the least.

Of course, each reader needs to make this judgment for themselves. Amazon provides an excellent (and free) way of doing this with its `search inside this book' feature, which is enormously useful for anyone making this decision.
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on January 5, 2017
This book was better than I expected it to be. I enjoy reading philosophy books, and have recent directed my attention toward Stoicism. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this book, because Marcus Aurelius makes comments and points based on faith, and I am not a religious person. But, this does not bother me. There are still lessons to learn beyond or around the religious theme. However, after getting beyond the first few pages of the book, I can say that I appreciate the wisdom of passed on lessons and observations from a stoic perspective.
This Dover Thrift Edition makes slight changes to the text, bringing a more updated context. From what I've read investigating older translations, most of the text is preserved, and the message is the same, just updated for ease of understanding.
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on October 29, 2015
THE FORMATTING IN THIS BOOK IS SIMPLY horrendous. That sentence gives you just one example of how they chose to start every new section. Random numbers of words in the opening sentences are bolded, but not in any logical manner.
Page breaks are terrible, words break across pages, section headings appear at the very bottom of one right hand page and the rest of that section starts on the next.

It's like no one took the time to examine the formatting after it was printed.
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on September 29, 2016
I wish I had sought out more information about this edition before I bought it. The Christian-oriented introduction is not credited. The translation is so dated and florid that it might as well be in Latin. What I had hoped to find simple, direct, and inspiring has ended up being a tortuous read. I'll slog through it, but I'm very disappointed.
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on December 17, 2016
How can you rate one of the greatest and most important books ever written? There are so many facets to this book, from an insight into an amazing mind, to elucidating the principles of Stoicism, to a glimpse of the world nearly two thousand years ago, to a handbook on how to conduct one's life.

I have read every English translation in publication and the Dover Thrift is the best. It is an updated version of George Long's classic work, so it maintains his beauty and flow while untangling some of the more convoluted Victorian prose.
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on March 2, 2017
This is a book you don't read in 4-5 hours cover to cover and move on. It's a philosophy. I reread passages, and am on chapter/book 3 right now. Learn and apply. Tame yourself and conquer the world. Excellent book, timeless. He speaks to us all.

"Mann jite jagjit" (conquer your mind and then you will conquer the world) - Sikh philosophy.
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