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Showing 1-10 of 177 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 209 reviews
on October 15, 2016
This quiet little book actually changed my modus operandi. I am 74 and learned through this book that I could and should enjoy my very senior years without guilt. I really could put away the French language tapes, nap in the sun,
stay all day in my pyjamas and read, do those things that I might formerly have considered a waste of time or too indulgent,, appreciate long term friends for their loyalty and support and tolerate transgressions. I am kinder to and less demanding of myself and others. My children and grandchildren are now even more important.
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on October 18, 2016
I bought this book on the recommendation of a retired friend of mine. I retired a few months ago after 40 years of high school teaching, and I was looking for some words of wisdom about the time of my life. I had just finished The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt. This latter book is about Poggio Bracciolinia, a 15th century scribe who tracks down the Roman poet Lucretius's On the Nature of Things. This book delves into Epicurian philosophy, which fascinated me and further encouraged me to read the Klein book. I have since recommended Travels with Epicurus to others approaching retirement. This little book can be read easily in one or two sittings, even allowing time for contemplation. I highly recommend it.
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on December 10, 2012
So, my husband of forty years and I read to each other each morning before breakfast, often poetry. We began to travel with this poet of sorts last week. He makes us think about stuff worth thinking about while simultaneously enchantIng us with his language, insight, brevity and clarity. A total treat, and therapeutic to boot!
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on November 14, 2012
Without telling you WHAT to think, Dan Klein suggests HOW we can think about growing older in any number of interesting ways. Reading this book is like conversing with a friend who knows some of the best quotes from philosophers - from ancient Greece to today- to help focus the conversation. We join the author on his Greek Island- vividly depicted- as he clarifies thoughts that have crossed the mind of anyone over 65 who lives thoughtfully, and adds some new ones.
This book was very satisfying to read and savor, a few chapters at a time. It is emphatically NOT about how to stay forever young. It does point the way to finding more delight and meaning as we move toward the end of our lives.
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on May 29, 2013
[...]

I just finished reading Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life by Daniel Klein. Klein's book is a kind of travel guide for the life well-lived. As I read it, as a septuagenarian I wanted to throw my hands in the air and shout, "This is the best time in my life!"

Klein discusses the Buddha's principle of "the emptiness of striving": In our consumer-driven society, enough is never enough; we finish one goal only to replace it with another; we don't lose ourselves in play but are always trying to reach our "personal best;" relationships are a means to an end rather than an end in themselves; and nothing has much meaning.

Klein's speaks of this time in our lives, -- the time before "old" old age sets in -- as having unlimited opportunities, and he does provide some prescriptive elements for the best possible life during this period of limited and diminishing time.

Many of those opportunities have to do with spending time with people from who you no longer want anything. He says, for example, that choosing our dinner companions is far more important than the menu. One does not have to be old to enjoy the pleasure of spending slow time with good people.

The ages of 40-60 years old are the most stressful in people's lives: Dual caregiving (parents and kids), careers plateau, decline in health, difficulty with sexual function, questioning never-previously-examined values, and not many "do overs." For-profit corporations (particularly during the recent economic down-turn) no longer value their employees; they are expendable commodities.

The Centers for Disease Control recently validated this with its finding that between 1999-2010 the suicide rate for people between the ages of 35 and 64 years old increased an alarming 28.4%. It is likely higher since many suicides go unreported.

Because of my interest in mature gay/bi/questioning men, I have often wondered -- but of course it is never studied -- how those suicide rates are impacted by those who remain hopelessly conflicted about their sexual orientation. In my research for writing my book, Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, A Psychiatrist's Own Story, I interviewed many men who felt trapped in midlife.

As a psychiatric physician I do take some exception to a couple of things. He implies that taking testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is simply to improve sex drive in older men. For men with low testosterone it can enhance strength and vigor, not just sex drive. He also suggest there is no need to use anti-depressants in the "old" old. People don't "deserve" to be depressed just because they are very old or getting there. Although neither TRT nor anti-depressants are a magic bullet, both -- for some -- can improve their quality of life and contribute to a life well-lived.

We only have one life; live it the best way possible: Search for your personal good enough.

Loren A Olson MD DLFAPA
[...]
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on August 30, 2016
A "must read" for everyone age 60 and older. This little book helped me accept the fact that the price of living longer is the health issues we must face as we age. I am very much more at peace with my aches and pains. I loved the admonition to forgo getting on-board with the "forever young" imperative sweeping society. It's far more important to take trips, spend time with family, play, write books, and do all those things we never had time for when we were younger.
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on May 7, 2017
Not what I'd anticipated, but I liked this book very much. I love how the author took his favorite philosophy books with him on his sabbatical to Greece, to a place that was free of the noise pollution we deal with on a daily basis.
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on March 30, 2014
What's it all about, anyway, Alfie? What are we chasing and what are the chances we will catch it before it catches us? The back cover blurb sort of sums up the theme of the book. To paraphrase: A young entrepreneurial type sees an old Greek gentleman sitting near the shore sipping ouzo and watching the sun set over the Mediterranean. Behind the old man are some poorly maintained olive trees. The young man asks the old man if he knows who owns the trees. The old man replies that they are his. The young man asks the gentleman if he knows that if he pruned and watered the trees he could triple their yield, then he could hire workers to maintain the trees and build an olive press to make fine old-world olive oil and sell it in America at a handsome profit; he could be rich. "Then what," the old man asks. "Why, then you could do anything you want," says the young man. The old man replies, "You mean like sit and sip ouzo as the sun goes down?" Especially in your later years, maybe you've already got what you want. You should at least look and see.
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on March 26, 2017
If you haven't quite figured out that your path has been heading downhill for some time now, but you know you are increasingly feeling unsatisfied, this book is a must. It will change your perception and give you a new lease on a fulfilling life...
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on December 27, 2012
"Travels with Epicurus" is a superb book—stimulating, sagacious, funny, very well-written—a fascinating exploration of how to live wisely in old age. Dan Klein, the author, distinguishes between "old age" and "old old age." I distinguish between "old age" and "decline." We mean the same thing. In old age, one remains healthy enough to live fully. "Travels with Epicurus" is an unpredictable, charming ramble into what "living fully" in old age can mean.

The book weaves together philosophers, especially the fascinating Epicurus, with tales of the author's return to Hydra, where he'd lived forty years earlier, and the author's personal insights into what truly matters when old. What does not matter, he argues persuasively, is continued striving or trying to remain"forever young." What matters include the pleasures of friends and companionship, including a mate, and mental pleasures.

Even when I quarrel with the author, I appreciate that's he's provoked me to ponder and reflect. He states that old age can be the pinnacle of life. I'm dubious. I can no longer play basketball, which I loved for almost sixty years; without basketball, how can my old age be a pinnacle? Still, the author asks the right questions about old age, from exploring what positives spirituality can actually offer to how one deals with sexuality.

Integral to the book is the author's lively wit and sharp sense of humor. A book that is wise, delightfully-original, funny and concise. Can't do better than that.
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