- Hardcover: 260 pages
- Publisher: David R Godine (June 7, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1567926118
- ISBN-13: 978-1567926118
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User's Manual Hardcover – June 7, 2018
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An extraordinary book. The Practicing Stoic provides enough richness to power a hundred years of seminars, combined with a framework of organization and interpretation that makes the subject clear and accessible. Worth much more than its weight in gold. --Mark Helprin, novelist
This sturdy and engaging introductory text consists mostly of excerpts from the ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers, especially Seneca (4 BCE 65), Epictetus (c. 55 135) through his student Arrian, and Marcus Aurelius (121 80) as well as that trio s philosophical confreres, from the earlier Hellenic Stoics and Cicero to such contemporaries as Plutarch to moderns, including Montaigne, Adam Smith, and Schopenhauer... A philosophy to live by, Stoicism may remind many of Buddhism and Quakerism, for it asks of practitioners something very similar to what those disciplines call mindfulness. --Booklist
Throughout 'The Practicing Stoic,' Farnsworth beautifully integrates his own observations with scores of quotations from Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne and others. As a result, this isn't just a book to read, it's a book to return to, a book that will provide perspective and consolation at times of heartbreak or calamity. --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
From the Inside Flap
Stoicism is the most helpful and practical philosophy ever devised. Its intention is to help people find happiness by things differently about their lives and their problems. The advice the Stoics provided centuries ago is still the best anyone has offered, and it's as useful today as it was then - or more. When anyone today says something 'really wise, ' the Stoics usually said it first.
Today the word "stoicism" is often used to mean suffering without complaint, but the true ideas, and ideals, of the Stoics are far more powerful and interesting. Stoicism means knowing the difference between what we can control and what we can't, and not worrying about the latter. The Stoics were masters of perspective, always taking the long view while remembering that life is short. And they were deep and insightful students of human nature, understanding how we manage to make ourselves miserable as well as how we seek and can find fulfillment.
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Mr Farnsworth has conceived of this book as a syllabus on Stoicism, starting with the foundational concept of "Judgment" (what is up to us and what is not), and progressing through Externals, Desire, Death and other major concepts. The beginner can proceed through the syllabus and gain a thorough, systematic understanding of the ethics of Stoicism (not to mention a life-changing way of thinking!). The seasoned, knowledgeable modern-day Stoic has a reference in which one can remind oneself of what "the originals" thought about a particular topic.
A useful, well-written, highly readable book. I've read almost all the modern books written about Stoicism, and I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best one I have read. I am deeply grateful for Mr Farnsworth's contribution to the literature.
I highly recommend this book to anyone new to Stoicism or wanting to delve deeper into its teaching and practices.
In a sense, Farnsworth has created a modern Enchiridion, but drawing from many sources - both ancient and modern - and sorting things thematically for easy access.
Though he lets the original sources do the speaking for themselves, he does provide a bit of text to highlight points or provide needed logical linkage, but he does so very well and unobtrusively. I find his thoughts to be as valuable as all the others in the book.
If I had one book of Stoic wisdom to take with me to a desert island, it would be this one!