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Diogenes the Cynic: Sayings and Anecdotes, with Other Popular Moralists

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  452 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Diogenes the Cynic is famed for walking the streets with a lamp in daylight, looking for an honest man. His biting wit and eccentric behavior were legendary, and it was by means of his renowned aphorisms that his moral teachings were transmitted. He scorned the conventions of civilized life, and his ascetic lifestyle and caustic opinions informed the Cynic philosophy and l ...more
Paperback, Oxford World’s Classics, 269 pages
Published May 16th 2012 by Oxford University Press (first published May 10th 2012)
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Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, philosophy
Just about everything I thought I knew about this guy seems unlikely to be true - which is always one of the more annoying things in life. For instance, he is unlikely to have walked around Athens carrying a lamp looking for ‘a good man’ - it turns out he was looking for ‘a man’ of any description. He is unlikely to have said to Alexander, when asked what Alexander could do for him, to get out of his sun - it seems most of his reported interactions with great men were more indicative of what he ...more
Karl Hallbjörnsson
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first shitposter in history deserves all the stars in the world
Khashayar Mohammadi
First of all, Diogenes: What a character! Quick and witty, but excuse me when I see that his megalomaniacal reasoning is nothing more than Sophistry. Diogenes' sayings often contradict each other, and are often expressed in a way that simply ensures he has the last word, and nothing more.

His hypocrisy is exposed by an anecdote in the book itself, while Diogenes' clamorous cry of "I'm trampling on Plato's Vanity" is rebuked by the reply "By a vanity of your own."

After the Death of Diogenes, the d
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"358a On seeing the son of a prostitute throwing stones into a crowd, he said, 'Take care you do not hit your father!'"

With such wit and truism, I cannot help but feel that Diogenes knew something that most people do not.
Atimia Atimia
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hilarious read, and like Oxford Classics likes doing, authentic. Which means that it's not a flowery embellished narrative, but just whatever we have left about Diogenes and others (who are honestly equally hilarious).

It's always humbling to see people toiling with issues and realizing that two thousand years ago people were working on solving the same issues. It's a shame Diogenes and the cynics weren't able to leave more of an impression in modern thought, it seems like a decent counterweight
Jeff Samuelson
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love reading about the dog. Diogenes would probably be my first invitation to my literary/philosophical party.
Ossian's Dream
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heard about him thought he was an insane loser, read him and realized he is extremely wise, his wit was on par with any of the great philosophers and he could have been as wealthy as Plato but he chose to be homeless to prove a point which makes him even more incredible in my eyes. The point in my opinion is: as long as you have your virtue, wit and your self-confidence you can endure any difficulty, if Diogenes can live with pride in the worst situations you really have nothing to complain abou ...more
May 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
The majority of this wasn't actually about Diogenes. Anecdotes by him and others were repeated up to four, five times in a row, which seemed useless and was annoying. Certain parts were entertaining, and it was informative, but I think it could have been written in a much better way. ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Diogenes said he would rather meet with failure among the cultivated than with success among the uncultivated.

‘That was when I was just as you are now; but what I am now, you will never be.’
Diogenes said, ‘People pray to the gods for good health, and yet most of them consistently act in such a way as to damage their health.’

Seeing the servants of Anaximenes moving a large amount of furniture, he asked, ‘Who does that belong to?’, and when they replied, ’To Anaximenes’, he said, ‘Isn
Luca Grifo-Hahn
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
This man was so wild
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Sometimes amusing. Sometimes boorish. Of almost no philosophical interest.
Jan 08, 2020 marked it as library-priority
Whether we think him a loser or wise, we have to admit his reputation has been influential. This looks like an interesting way to learn more about him, his context, and his legacy. (If you happen to know a better introductory book on the subject, please let me know in the comments below.)
Ben Rogers
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this. Learned a lot about keeping a "grounded" life.

Richard Wu
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not since Infinite Jest have I found myself flipping to the footnotes so often. Luckily these, unlike those of that behemoth, provided much-needed context to what is already a largely piecemeal assemblage of aphorisms.

A while ago I concluded that while there is no one way to live correctly, it is of great benefit to understand how others have lived in their respective contexts, as this knowledge can inform the way we go about things as our own situations change. As someone who respects those who
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sage as beggar:
At page 71 He was once begging from a skinflint and the man swas slow to respond "come on, man " said Diogneses I m asking you for money to feed myself not to play for my funeral.
At page 73 He would call human beings only those who have a knowledge of what is truly human , just as those who have a knowledge of greammer are grammarians or of music are musicians.
Digones used to say that he had seen many men competing in wrestling and in running but no one com
Tim Phan-Nguyen
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not all philosophy is about logic and metaphysics. Much of it is about ethics and how to live a good life, as is the case with the Cynics and specifically Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes is arguably the most renowned, if not notorious Cynic (or "Dog"). However, we have no extant writings from him and must go by what others have said of him. Inevitably, they are inconsistent and even contradictory. In these montages, he alternately rejects and values culture, rejects and encourages suicide, and is n ...more
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
seems to make diogenes less funny than he sounds in quotation, but it's unclear whether that's the translator or the effect of seeing six versions of the best lines and at least one or two of a lot of less perennial ones. plus the unfunniness of much ancient humor, anyway. (i haven't compared this to the penguin translation.)

robin hard's introduction is useful enough and his footnotes add value (and are sometimes needed to appreciate the jokes).

diogenes laertius is apparently the major source, w
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Diogenes is a very entertaining character and his witticisms are quite funny, and they illuminate the roles of the philosopher and the public sphere in the Greek polis. This book isn't much fun to read, however, as there is no narrative other than a general chronology of events in Diogenes' life and the anecdotes that accompany them. You should only bother with this text if you are interested in the context of ancient Greek philosophy, and/or are extremely entertained by misanthropic one-upmansh ...more
Cooper Renner
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fine introduction to Cynic philosophy, along with some attention to related "schools". Diogenes is one of my two favorite philosophers, the other being Epictetus, whose Discourses are very much worth reading. The layout of this volume is a bit of a pain--endnotes instead of footnotes--so that one is constantly flipping pages back and forth, but nothing can tamp down the humor, wit and fire of Diogenes' statements. ...more
Ross Cohen
After reading this collection, I'm not sure if Diogenes was the first Cynic philosopher or the first performance artist. Regardless, he was an interesting personality pointing his lantern toward necessary and uncomfortable truths. ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites
I liked the first section which was specifically about Diogenes, but the next sections were a bit repetitive. And while the anecdotes were quite funnyit didn't really explain why he did all the things/ his philosophy. ...more
Jackson Cyril
When Plato defined Man as " a featherless biped", Diogenes plucked the feathers off of a chicken and ran around screaming "behold, Plato's Man!" Plato then changed the definition to "a featherless biped with five toes". This was Diogenes; the Nietzsche of classical Athens. ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Sure there isn't anything profound or important here, but it's a fun ride, and since Diogenes is so confrontational, reading of his alleged encounters with people gives a far better sense of ancient Athens as a living breathing community than any other ancient Greek work I've read. ...more
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent introductory essay and notes.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That such a man as Diogenes lived and that these remarkable anecdotes of his have survived over 2000 years is amazing. I admire this man and grateful to have shared his company.
Maja IV
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This guy is just so funny. Love this book!!
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it

Cynicism....The glorification of homelessness and poverty. The rejection of culture and refinement. What is Diogenes doing? Lying in his own stink and celebrating it. I am not a fan of asceticism. I have tried it before and don't find it particularly transcending. Looking on the bright side- Diogenes is sheer philosophical comedy. Who wouldn't laugh at someone who thought the pinnacle of philosophy is masturbating in public, living in a tub, and pooping wherever you find yourself. Truly a "Socra
Davy Lait
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very good for those who are interested in philosophy but in my personal opinion it was quite a bore.

I'm discovering myself when it comes to reading and I'm seeing that I like books with a narrative, a book with a plot, a book I can get completely lost in.

This book was nothing like this.

It was a series of anecdotes and quotes that retell of the famed Cynic Diogenes and his precepts. Although, it did say in the title that this was a book retelling the anecdotes and quotes of the famed philosopher
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hardest book I have read in a long time. I am very interested in how the cynics have changed from then to today. The Cynics back then did live with there deprivation most of the time but were a bit hypocritical, they were Utopian believing they theoretically solved the problem of happiness, shame and how to live . They did proselytizer and did not respect the opposing point of view. the seem a bit naive but willing to live mostly with in the bounds of their naive vision.
Contrasting to modern cy
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Diogenes of Sinope (Greek: Διογένης ὁ Σινωπεύς, Diogenēs ho Sinōpeus) was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. Also known as Diogenes the Cynic (Ancient Greek: Διογένης ὁ Κυνικός, Diogenēs ho Kunikos), he was born in Sinope (modern-day Sinop, Turkey), an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.

Diogenes of Sinope was a controversi

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