Enchiridion
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Enchiridion

by
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  2,665 ratings  ·  246 reviews
Although he was born into slavery and endured a permanent physical disability, Epictetus (ca. 50–ca. 130 AD) maintained that all people are free to control their lives and to live in harmony with nature. We will always be happy, he argued, if we learn to desire that things should be exactly as they are. After attaining his freedom, Epictetus spent his entire career teachin...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published January 15th 2004 by Dover Publications (first published 125)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Hadrian
A little something to read on Thanksgiving. Maybe after this, I'll leaf through Seneca, then watch Charlie Brown or something.

One of the big three stoics, with the authors being Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Epictetus recieved no formal schooling, and was a slave for most of his life. No self-pity. Instead, independence, fearlessness, and acceptance of death and suffering. Self-rule and self-improvement. Forgiveness, acceptance, and understanding.

Almost resembles some forms of Buddhism. In many w...more
Marcus
Stoicism according to Epictetus, is:
Don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.

and:
If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life.

My favorite quote, maybe because it's so personally relevant and so incisive, is, and bear with Epictetus, this one is a bit long-winded:
In every affair consider what precedes and follows, and then undert
...more
Ken Moten
Jan 13, 2013 Ken Moten rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ken by: Peter Adamson
"If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone."

This philosophical text is a collection of 52 quotes or sayings or advice by Epictetus. It has been collected by one of his students and is presented as almost a proto-handbook style format.

This handbook is a wealth of good information and I feel I was very impressed with it overall. Some of the...more
Jacobi
As much a classic work of philosophy, as it is a treatise on how to live (as a stoic), the Enchiridion is dope. Because this is essentially a list of rules that is the length of an extended essay, I'll be rereading it (probably multiple times) to digest it further. Sure, there are some principles I don't subscribe to, but there is a lot of good stuff in this to mull over.

I think it's interesting that something that was written more than 1,880 years ago can still be applicable to life today, as...more
Bob Nichols
Favorable commentary on Epictetus lodges this collection of sayings within a wider, deeper Stoic philosophy. In a nutshell, the cosmos operates by natural law that is beyond our control. Things in the cosmos are transitory and permanent attachment is not possible. The task for the Stoic philosopher, such as Epictetus, is to focus only on those actions that are within one's power to control and to act without attachment. This is the law of the cosmos that we know through our rationality, which be...more
Curtiss
May 07, 2008 Curtiss rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: philosophy
I first heard Epictetus quoted after the incident in which the cruiser U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner in 1990, during a period of tension in the Persian Gulf (what else?).

A friend and I were discussing the ramifications and liabilty of the Vincennes's Captain, when a gentleman at the next table said that he knew of an apt quote which he often used in court when a case was going against him and the opposing counsel was roundly denouncing him in front of the judge. He would stand a...more
Frank
Nothing that most people don't know. Really. I'm not trying to appear brilliant. I gave 2 stars because the ideas are expressed in a lovely, straightforward prose.

The problem I have with this work is that Epictetus, it seems to this non-classicist, does not give value to responsibility of obligation. For example, I sense that if someone was unhappy in a marriage, Epictetus would tell that someone to leave the marriage instead of working it out. I also sense he did not put value in emotions of p...more
Peter J.
I have read this probably 5 times. Looking forward to discussing it in heaven with him since he will surely be there.
Jake Adelstein
No man is free who is not master of himself. -Epictetus
It's something worth remembering on the 4th of July. Independence Day.

"Forgive Over and Over and Over.""Never suppress a generous impulse." One of the greatest books of philosophy I've ever read. It is more of a reinterpretation of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus than a straight academic translation but it wonderfully conveys the wisdom of a a great philosopher who was born a slave. If you ever find yourself at a point in your life when eve...more
John Spillane
This was a revelation when I indiscriminately audiobooked the free Librivox podcast version years ago. I loved it then and had always meant to get it read. This guy lifts off a massive burden, when he repeatedly says "Why do you care about that? You shouldn't care about that because of X." Oh yeah "X", right on Epictetus.
Swarochisha Kandregula
I'm Glad I came around to reading this book. Though it is a small book ,it is really thought provoking . It can make one question one's beliefs, views and ,in my case, keep one up at night thinking about some of the quotes from the book. A must read, at least once.

Some of my favorite ones from the book:

Begin by prescribing to yourself some character and demeanor, such as you may preserve both alone and in company.

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things. Thus d...more
Luis
Epictetus was a model human being, who went from slave to enlightened man. Like all great personalities of history, he never wrote anything and what we know of him and his teachings was written by his pupils and followers. This is a short, straight to the point manual on how to live a virtuous life. The beginning of happiness, asserts Epictetus, is in not fretting about the things we cannot control. We have to not so much talk about virtuous acts as to behave virtuously. As Gandhi said “Be the c...more
Billie Pritchett
I have always enjoyed this book. Epictetus was a former Roman slave, and he became one of the leading advocates for Stoicism. Not only is the book direct in its instruction on how to live a better life, it has almost none of the religious baggage that, say, a work like Marcus Aurelius' Meditations has. In general, I think it is a decent framework for how to live a meaningful life. Epictetus advises that what should be of primary importance to every person are those aspects of one's life that all...more
Kathryne
Jul 26, 2008 Kathryne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Easy read. Great wisdom. For instance: "Follow through on all your generous impulses. Do not question them, especially if a friend needs you; act on his or her behalf. Do not hesitate! Do not sit around speculating about the possible inconvenience, problems or dangers. As long as you let your reason lead the way, you will be safe. It is our duty to stand by our friends in their hour of need."

One other very different but solid word of wisdom from so many in this book:

"When we name things correctl...more
Lady Jane
I love this book. Practical age-tested wisdom. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Some things are in our control and others are not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions. Things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belon...more
Tyler Jones
This is the first time I have read Epictetus, or any work of stoic philosophy for that matter, so if you are looking for an expert opinion you might want to look elsewhere. If, however, you are interested in reading Epictetus for the first time yourself then my little review might be of some use.

I was impressed by the degree to which the thoughts expressed in this book could be applied in modern daily life. Epictetus believed that for philosophy to have any real value it had to be put into actio...more
Vanja Antonijevic
Reading Epictetus (not to be confused with Epicerus) was one of the most fun philosophical journeys I have taken.

First a very brief summary of the stoic belief (Epictetus was a stoic) would be appropriate. The rough and simplified version is as follows:


1. Suffering/pain is bad
2. One should relieve bad things (such as suffering/pain) whenever it is in one's control
3. (a) Beliefs are in our control, and they lead to (b) attitudes, feelings, and emotions, which in turn are the (c) primary cause...more
Julie wright
Epictetus is my hero. A Stoic philosopher from 50 AD. Each page of this book is a little piece of advise to help you live a more peaceful life! Understanding what you can and cannot control is a philosophy that resonates deeply with me! I cause a lot of torment in myself trying to "make" others happy. This just leads to frustration, fault finding and anxiety! Understanding that when something happens, the only thing in my power is my attitude toward it; I can either accept it or resent it. I rea...more
Wendy Galliart Jones
This pretty little book caught my eye in the bookstore one day and make its way home with me, and I'm glad it did. Turns out I'm a stoic - who knew? I'm not a scholar of philosophy, but from my point of view this little volume did a a great job of laying out the simple beauty of the stoic philosophy.

The message seems to be: Accept life as it comes; accept reality instead of fighting against it. After you've stopped wasting your energy fighting that losing battle you will be empowered to make pos...more
Seri
You just can't beat the stoics! There is so much wisdom packed into every little aphorism. Such as:

"Remember that you are an actor in a play, which is as the playwright wants it to be: short if he wants it short, long if he wants it long. If he wants you to play a beggar, play even this part skillfully, or a cripple, or a public official, or a private citizen. What is yours is to play the assigned part well. But to choose it belongs to someone else."

Epictetus was a slave through his youth, turne...more
Laura Leaney
I've owned this book for fifteen years, and every once in a while I am compelled to pull it from the shelf on my bookcase devoted to pagan philosophers in order to remind myself to get a grip on my kvetching.

This slender book is not a translation of Epictetus, so one must be careful. Instead, the author summarizes the philosopher's key ideas. But his ideas make so much clear sense that no matter your religious affiliation, understanding stoicism will strengthen your character. IF you can implem...more
Tim
Epictetus appeals to me and I think there is some real practical wisdom in there.

But I was troubled by a couple of things.

One, I find, is just too bad: he is apparently a religioner, and references to divinity permeate this "interpretation" of his work. It weakens it for me, because the ground rules are different. For instance, you do something, or you accept something, because it is god's will. (I made this example up because I foolishly failed to mark the relevant quotes as I read.) Well, "g...more
Dijon Chiasson
The thing I like most about Epictetus and the Stoics (killer band name, btw) is that they're so darn practical. This is philosophy that everyone can (and should) use.

A lot of books I read about self-improvement/morality are dressed up in philosophical jargon and/or mystical hocus-pocus. Or worse, it's vapid, feel-good nonsense (Such tomes take a heavy Tolle on my soul). Epictetus cuts the shit and says it like it is. He has the good sense of Eastern Philosophy, with the rationality and mental di...more
Michael A
I like William Irvine's personalized synthesis of Stoic ideas more than this book. Let me explain.

I'm sure Epictetus meant well and, by all accounts, lived a fairly frugal and simple life. But a lot of things in this book rankle me -- boy, does it get me going..

There is some wisdom in this, of course -- that I won't deny. Surely it's best to self-reflect and consider a situation in which you find yourself angry or desiring something to an extreme level. Sometimes it's simply a matter of knowing...more
Greta
I ran across a quote by Epictetus which was: "Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent." I thought: "This guy is brilliant. Who is he and what else did he have to say?" Although this particular gem is not included in this little book, the rest of Epictetus's ideas and advice is equally terse and applicable to life today. It really is a manual for living.
Ike
May 07, 2008 Ike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ike by: Alen
"You can only be one person- either a good person or a bad person. You have two essential choices. Either you can set yourself to developing your reason, cleaving the truth, or you can hanker for externals. The choice is yours and yours alone. You can either put your skills toward internal work or lose yourself to externals, which is to say, be a person of wisdom or follow the common ways of the mediocre."
Colton
This is a manual composed of advice for generally all of life and living it. While I was reading I wondered why Epictetus had these views but with a short Prologue I realized that a book instead as a biography of Epictetus including the stories behind Nero and the Enchiridion would be boring indeed. It is filled with overall good advice for living the happy life. Sharon Lebell, the interpreter of the manual, only deals with the hand of Stoicism at the end of the book. The book is surprisingly se...more
Sheryl Ipsen
Loved this book! Bought one for my husband and my daughter. A great book to keep and read periodically, life changer:)
Jacopo
Libricino molto breve contenente una serie di riflessioni, molte delle quali vertono sulla necessità di badare al proprio atteggiamento nei confronti delle cose, piuttosto che alle cose stesse. Un manuale di vita in salsa stoica, davvero piacevole ed interessante anche qualora si abbia già dimestichezza con le tematiche trattate. Attualissimo.
Benjamin Zapata
"Don't just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind." -Epictetus. One of the first self-help books in history from one of the most intellectual minds of philosophy. Born a slave about A.D. 55, after gaining his freedom he went and established his school of philosophy where his distinguished students included Marcus Aurelius, who eventually became ruler of the Ro...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
  • The Art of Worldly Wisdom
  • Letters from a Stoic
  • The Essential Epicurus (Great Books in Philosophy)
  • On Duties (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • The Enneads
  • Fragments
  • Philosophy As a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault
  • Maxims
  • The Advancement Of Learning
  • Protagoras
  • Discourse on Metaphysics & Other Essays
  • Studies in Pessimism: The Essays
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
13852
Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was probably born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his exile to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, where he lived most of his life and died. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses. Philosophy, he taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline....more
More about Epictetus...
The Discourses The Golden Sayings of Epictetus Enchiridion and Selections from the Discourses The Essential Writings Of Human Freedom (Penguin Great Ideas)

Share This Book

“Don't just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents." Translation by Sharon Lebell” 189 likes
“Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people's weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there's no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.” 7 likes
More quotes…