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Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,709 ratings  ·  313 reviews
One of the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus travels to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books, seeking the best way to achieve a fulfilling old age.  Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, Klein learns to ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published October 1st 2012)
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TJ It matters in that I would smile knowing there is one more person out there who is willing to look at aging in a different way. And hopefully share…moreIt matters in that I would smile knowing there is one more person out there who is willing to look at aging in a different way. And hopefully share the knowledge with others.(less)

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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,709 ratings  ·  313 reviews

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Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it
A quaint little travelogue and meditation on aging. Klein is searching for an authentic old age here, a kind of capstone to a well-lived life and a space for reflection and appreciation before the dreaded old old age descends and robs the body and mind of their faculties. I found this slim book rather delightful. While not rigorous in the least, it was packed with tidbits of philosophy spanning - more or less - the whole of humanity. I think the main takeaway for me was that life's discrete stat ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Why would I pick up a book which is essentially an attempt to construct a sunny philosophy to deal with old age? Maybe because when I started reading it, I was having long conversations with my grandpa about his eighty years on earth, and I felt that it would be good to know what Epicurus had to say about living a fulfilling life... also because I like to secretly think of myself as a Stoic!

Anyway, this book is less about stoicism and more about Daniel Klien dealing with old age in a very accep
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it

Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.

The first thing you learn about Epicurus is that he wasn't a great gourmand.

Epicurus preferred a bowl of plain boiled lentils to a plate of roasted pheasant

He knew that if he ate mindfully he would experience all of their flavor, flavor that rivals spicy food. The key is mindfulness not the food.

While this book may be enjoyed by all I think that it will only truly be appreciated by the old, and maybe not by a large number o
Diane Barnes
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting, but not memorable.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: privileged white old men
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to a place that used to be on my bucket list, in a state of mind that I have visited often in my years of illness. The reminders of all the philosophers I loved and studied in my youth are more important than ever to me now. That's the part I really enjoyed.
Daniel Klein is fortunate that he has time, money, and health enough to take this journey and get it published. Yes, I'm jealous, to an extent, because it reminds me again of how the words of old men telling us
Deborah Ideiosepius
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Deborah by: Anne
A delightful, meditative look at applying classical philosophy to daily life.

The cover reads "...Daniel Klein contemplates the best path to a happy and fulfilling life as an old man." And this description would not ordinarily have convinced me to pick up this book. However luckily, the Epicurus of the title was one I had encountered before and I was curious. The above description seriously underrates and undervalues this beautifully written novel, suggesting that it is only relevant to Septuagen
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this more than I thought and it took longer to read than I anticipated. Longer because there were many philosophical references that deserved exploring. More enjoyable because there was something charming about an old guy spending a month on a Greek island philosophising about getting old. This is not a self help book (a good thing) it simply offers a wide range of thought provoking insights into not just getting older but friendship, marriage and boredom to name a few. These are all i ...more
Graeme Roberts
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this little book. Daniel Klein is growing old, just a couple of carriages ahead of me on the train of life. He packs off to Hydra, a Greek Island, with a case of philosophy books to help him make sense of the rest of life. His ruminations are real and charming to me, and he introduces various philosophers who have gone before. The more ancient they are, Aristotle and Epicurus in particular, the better they are. Perhaps Heidegger and Sartre had nothing left to think, so they said it many ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travels with Epicurus is a wonderful read, written by a good humoured intellectual with a common touch and without condescension.
The book is no travelogue, no road trip, rather the travels are those through the history of philosphers taking a lead from the Greek Epicurus in ruminating on the joys, or otherwise, of achieving old age, and those of traversing through stages of life and accumulative experience.
The auther, David Klein, draws comparisons between friends of his in his homeland of USA w
Nina Harrington
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Travels with Epicurus. A journey to a Greek Island in search of a Fulfilled life by Daniel Klein

The author had an epiphany after being offered dental implants at 73 and started to question what it meant to be an authentic old man who was aware about how much full conscious and rational life he had left. he would want to use that time in the best way possible.
With lots of questions and not many answers, he takes off to the Greek island of Hydra with a suitcase of philosophy books.

Chapter 1. The o
Philip Shade
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
As a 70-something-year-old Daniel Klein returns to the Greek island of Hydra, where in the 1960s he spent a lost year. Through Epicurus, Seneca, Kierkegaard, Freud, Leary, and others Klein compares what he thought of as leading a fulfilled life as a college graduate starting out to how he sees it as a semi-retired father and writer closer to the end.

Like an old man walking the the road from Hydra's harbor to the taverna in Vlichos you'll find yourself often pausing to think about the road you'v
PEI Public Library Service
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
In his book, Travels with Epicurus, former philosophy professor, Daniel Klein, attempts to find out how to live a meaningful life after retiring. Klein focuses on how make this post working time of life as great as we are told it should be, before the dreaded decline into what he calls old, old age. Klein sets off for the Greek island of Hydra,in search of meaning in this stage of his life. He takes along a suitcase full of philosophy books, some of his favorite philosophers that he thinks will ...more
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book: Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of an Authentic Old Age will give pause for thought to anyone in the Baby Boomer generation contemplating how best to manage the transition to old age.

Because what Daniel Klein is on about, is the importance of accepting the limitations of aging so that you can enjoy the stage of life that comes before old old age.

Klein is American, but what he says about the contemporary enthusiasm for being ‘forever young
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Pleasant enough, but basically in the vein of "Chicken soup for the soul", cab-driver philosophy. Really: it amounts to more or less this:

Wow! life is cosmic, know what I mean? Bummer to be old, but then again, mellow. Don't care that I can't score; that's a relief. Philosophy, that's some heavy-ass shit, know what Imean? Heidegger... I mean, c'mon! But then again - maybe he was deep? More retsina! Greece is nice. It's quaint and picturesque. Epicurus, Epictetus, Seneca, Sartre... all these guy
Clay Kallam
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Like most philosophy books, "Travels with Epicurus" doesn't come to some grand, world-altering conclusion (and those that make the attempt are always claiming too much) -- but Daniel Klein's brief contemplations on aging contain both wisdom and wit.

That combination is pretty much always a winner, and here Klein, in his 70s, turns the meditation to aging, and does so, oddly, away from his wife on a Greek island. (Hydra, the chosen island, was also the base when Leonard Cohen wrote "Beautiful Lose
Brooke Mohallatee
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
An entertaining and thoughtful look at the philosophy of old age. Definitely sharing with a certain someone who will appreciate the perspective (Pop!) and look forward to discussing with him while sipping ouzo on a sunny Greek terrace... (Ok, probably sipping beers on a sunny Kentucky porch...)
Pat Padden
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is lightweight philosophizing about stopping to smell the roses. Slowing down as we get older (as if we had a choice) and learning to appreciate the grace notes in our lives. A nice little "note to self" type of reminder, but no groundbreaking insights.
Anne MacDonald
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating well written ponderings on something we will all face (if we're lucky!) sooner or later. downloaded from my library, but I'm going to buy a copy
A book about growing old - the trap of wanting to be forever young, the pleasures and sorrows of ageing, Epicurus, Aristotle and Stoicism, the fear of death, battling instead of simply accepting the loss of libido, looking for spirituality in old age, and a lot more. All of this thinking and most of the writing happened while Klein was abroad, just describing this super romanticized idea of Greece that almost made me want to laugh. However it's incredible I've never read a memoir by a person jus ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book made me smile, laugh and think. Old age is a couple of decades in my future, but Klein's thoughts on living according to one's stage of life and one's own nature, informed by his readings from philosophers across the ages (and a small but appropriate glance at Hinduism) apply across ages, I think. A gentle, thoughtful book that embodies the joys of the well examined life.
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
A short 160 page, well-written essay that is more philosophy than travel or memoir. Klein provides a nudge to his readers to reflect and review one's thoughts on “OLD AGE”, arguing that "it is to be embraced, savored and enjoyed as the stage of life that allows time for rumination, for simpler pleasures and for nurturing friendships.”

Klein begins his odyssey with the insight that “Old age is ignored in this country,” with Americans needing to be “forever young” through many cosmetic, ‘must have
Vera Marie
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
More about philosophy than about travel, the little book Travels with Epicurus , grabbed my attention for a couple of reasons. First, the author is 73 and thinking of how to be old. Second, he travels to a Greek Island to do his thinking.

Daniel Klein, a Harvard-educated philosopher, has not only read widely in philosophy, he’s also written several books of his own. You can tell right away there is nothing stuffy about the musings of a guy who not only writes philosophy, but also a series of mys
Mehwish Mughal
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The book is small and cute! I fell in love with the idea of Greece for two reasons:

1. Daniel's detailed and creative description of Greece;
2. The great philosophers that walked there once!

Yes, I am a romantic at heart.

Daniel takes us on a philosophical journey towards finding the best way to live a life when "old" age dawns upon us. The entire concept seemed like a far-fetched idea simply because I thought I was not “old” yet. But at the same time something stirred deep inside me and I also fel
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this book in the local independent bookstore and I thought that it would be an appropriate read. I am getting old and I am going to sail the Greek Islands later this year. The author spent a month on the Greek island of Hydra, where he had spent a considerable amount of time much earlier in his life. The premise of the writing is based upon the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who lived about 80 years after Plato and was born in 341 BCE. Epicurus believed that we should enjoy life and we have ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate to have been approved a galley copy of this book.

The focus of this book is very much the notion of old age and how to approach life at that point. I enjoyed how the author used both philosophy and his experience living in that Greek community to exemplify his search and understanding of old age and how to live a fulfilling life at that age. He also touches on the subject of old age in our society, the attitude towards it, etc. as a contrast to what the philosophers say about it a
Lady Gazelle Blanc
A charming book about the value of living, taken from the perspective of an elder person. An enjoyable summer read.
" Life has carried some men with the greatest rapidity to the harbour, the harbour they were bound to reach even if they tarried on the way, while others it has fretted and harassed. To such a life, as you are aware, one should not always cling. For mere living is not a good, but living well is. Accordingly, the wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can..He alwa
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I entered a Goodreads contest and was mailed a free copy. My favorite thing about this book is the cover.

That said, the author makes some interesting points and the writing has chuckle-worthy moments. I thought it was important that this author is writing about and thus bringing awareness to the fact that being old actually has a lot of positives. It's a deeper meditation than say Nora Ephron's "I Hate My Neck."
Jonathan-David Jackson
An enjoyable book to read, but for somebody like me who has already thought quite a lot about old age, the purpose of life and our society's obsession with youth, there's very little in it that's new to me. Still, I would probably read it again. It's short, pleasant, and fun. That's what she said.

Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
- Epicurus
C. Varn
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Daniel Klein is a clear and engaging writer and popularizer of philosophy: what he serves us here is a travelogue on Greek island life and meditation on aging. It ranges somewhere between travel writing and Montaigne's essays. While it uses Epicurus (and even the Stoics) as a launching a point, you don't learn much about Epicureanism between simple ethical maxims here. Klein is engaging and humane enough that this only mildly annoyed me. After all, he said it was travels with Epicurus more than ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
“What is the best way to be an old man?”
The old man accepts while the forever-youngster denies. Impending death, of course!
A motif of this book is a scene of 5 old friends around a table, snacking, playing cards, talking, enjoying each other's company, and underneath it all, a current of occasional musings. This book is the author's musings on the central question of this stage of life. To ask if the book is "good", the answers "cogent" is to miss the point. Take the opportunity to be with him,
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Daniel Klein is the co-author of the international bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. He is a Harvard graduate in philosophy and an acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction. When not enjoying the slow life on Greek islands, he lives in Massachusetts with his wife. He is seventy-five years old.
“When my father-in-law, Jan Vuijst, a Dutch Reformed minister, was on his deathbed, I had a deeply intimate conversation with him - as it turned out, my last conversation with him. He said to me, 'It was a privilege to have lived.' The soulful gratitude of that simple statement will never leave me.” 14 likes
“Companionship was at the top of Epicurus's list of life's pleasures. He wrote, 'Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one's entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.” 11 likes
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