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A Manual for Living

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  11,514 ratings  ·  988 reviews
The essence of perennial Stoic wisdom in aphorisms of stunning insight and simplicity. The West's first and best little instruction book offers thoroughly contemporary and pragmatic reflections on how best to live with serenity and joy.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 23rd 1994 by HarperOne (first published 125)
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Brandon It is a selection from the available material; unfortunately there are no footnotes to indicate where each of the sections come from. The words used…moreIt is a selection from the available material; unfortunately there are no footnotes to indicate where each of the sections come from. The words used in this one are more modern, but I still find Elizabeth Carter's 1758 translation often seems just as modern. Probably because Epictetus expressed himself with very plain language.(less)
Clark Yes, just find yourself an English translation. Mine is the George Long translation.

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Amir Tesla
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Stoic philosophy is concerned with preserving our serenity and happiness regardless of any situation or circumstances. Be it loosing your fame and wealth or you beloved ones ...

This book which present the teachings of stoic philosopher "Epictetus", is filled with practical wisdom, many of which constitute the foundation of many books I've read or many sayings you and I have heard. Not only books and sayings, teachings of Epictetus I can't help but to notice is the foundation of prominent fields
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Marcus
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sean
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. Felt like I highlighted practically the entire book:

First, say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.

Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern, and be clear that what belongs to others is their business and none of yours. If you do this, you will be impervious to coercion and no one can ever hold you back. You will be truly free and effective, for your efforts will be put to good use and won't be foolishly squandered finding fault
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Vaishali
I maintain the oldest writings are the absolute best. A fantastic collection of 52 maxims (#29 seems to be missing), as timeless as they are wise.

Some quotes:
-----------
#1. Some things are in our control and others are not. Work, therefore, to be able to say to every harsh appearance, “You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be.”

#5. Do not be proud of any excellence that is not yours. If a horse thinks “I am handsome”, that is acceptable. But if you the owner
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Jon Nakapalau
Better than any self help book available today - so very powerful because of the simplicity of the message - focus only on that which you can control and avoid control over that which is beyond you influence.
Jake Adelstein
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Smitha Murthy
I haven’t really read much of Stoicism, and as the author of this new interpretation of Epictetus’ teachings, Sharon Lebell says, Stoicism has been given a bit of a bad rap. Or rather, all sorts of misunderstood memes. In this beautiful interpretation that is adapted to the modern, Western style of living, Lebell takes us through the basic tenets of what Epictetus taught: To lead a life of reason, grace, dignity, kindness, and virtue. Those are values we can do well in life irrespective of ...more
Samy
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2017
Epictetus is a less popular stoic than Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, and I didn’t read his works for a long time. This book was my first introduction to his wisdom, and while Seneca may be clearer in his writing, there are certain gems that Epictetus brings to the table that even Seneca and M.Aurelius aren’t able to produce.

Seneca puts great emphasis on the shortness of life, tranquility, and being above suffering. Marcus Aurelius looks at the bigger picture, and the idea that we don’t have
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Bob Nichols
Jun 30, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jim
This short and simple work of stoic philosophy is as valid as when it was first penned two thousand years ago. Epictetus started life as a Greek slave, but wound up in Rome. His Enchiridion distinguishes sharply between those things we can control and those we cannot:
Some things are in our control and others 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
...more
Luciana Nery
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
The opening line reads like a secular mantra:

"Some things are in our control and others 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 actions".

Further along, what to do with this realization:

"Work, therefore, to be able to say to every harsh appearance, "You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to
...more
Erick
There isn't much here that one could take issue with. Epictetus' pithy take on morals and ethics is not that far removed from that of the New Testament.
Jacobi
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read
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
Scriptor Ignotus
When I found this book in the library, I was put off by the fact that it is described on the cover as "a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell". I can only assume that to mean that this is not so much a translation of Epictetus's words as it is Sharon Lebell's interpretation of what Epictetus meant. With all due respect to her, if given the choice i'd much rather read Epictetus's actual work and interpret it for myself, thanks.

That said, even though it is difficult to know how faithful this
...more
B. P. Rinehart
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B. P. 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
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Betül
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read this thin-volumed book, i am sure that i am not closer to attain the wisdom. But while reading, it comes as so easy to apply these advices : " accept the commanding power of nature, make it your own willpower, do your businnes, do not think about what you can not control..."The book consists of recommendations like these about attaining wisdom. Still, these are so valuable, especially Epictetus thoughts about freedom that it's not about doing whatever we want, instead it's about ...more
Peter J.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this probably 5 times. Looking forward to discussing it in heaven with him since he will surely be there.
Tyler Jones
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
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Kathryne
Jul 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
Curtiss
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
Lilly  Minasyan
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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 would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents."

Wow. What a life changing book this is! This is one of those books that I'll definitely re-read it in near future. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph was essential and
...more
Guy
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fundamental and powerful book. The philosophy of life presented here by Epictetus will bring happiness to the person who has the fortitude to put his ideas into practice. The question is, do you really have the desire enough to put into practice his ideas? Fundamentally, the book is about seeing your Self truly as it is, as you are, and the world truly as it is, neither of which most of us are comfortable doing. We would much rather live in a world of ideas and half-baked untestable impractical ...more
Mazen Yehia
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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."
Alexey
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read one stoic you read them all. However, I can find many interesting things in this book. I most like 'life as a dinner' moment. Though Epictetus provide good advice for everybody, I more and more agree with Jaspers on the emptiness of stoicism.
Bernie Gourley
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This thin volume is packed with the wisdom of Epictetus. Epictetus was a freed slave who made a name for himself as a philosopher in Rome about a century after the birth of Christ. While small-s “stoic” conjures an image of a dour automaton, the Stoics were philosophers who believed [he oversimplified] that there’s nothing worth getting broken up about. If you can do something to influence the outcome of an event, you just need to pick the virtuous course. And if you can’t do anything about it, ...more
Ivan
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the ideas are definitely worthy of consideration and I will do my best to incorporate them in my life. There's a lot of useful wisdom in these rules that could help anyone live happier and more fulfilling life.

But, there's also a lot of radical ideas that in my opinion go against everything that makes us human. For example:

"With regard to whatever objects give you delight, are useful, or are deeply loved, remember to tell yourself of what general nature they are, beginning from the most
...more
Frank
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stoicism
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
...more
Gustavo Offely
Um livrinho de bons conselhos impraticáveis. Uma boa preparação para o Natal.

THERE are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power.


§

Now the things within our power are by nature free, unrestricted, unhindered; but those beyond our power are weak, dependent, restricted, alien. Remember then, that, if you attribute freedom to things by nature dependent, and take what belongs to others for your own; you will be hindered, you will lament, you will be disturbed,
...more
sologdin
Roman stoicism, the author expelled from the City by Domitian because philosophizing be dangerous.

Contains the 52 propositions of the Enchiridion and 178 fragments thereafter. A number of the propositions in the Enchiridion concern the eidos zoe of the philosopher (V, XV, XXII, XXIII,XXXII, XLVIII, XLIX, L, LI), though some will apply to all bios, and likely to Agamben's 'bare life.' The former text opens with the premise that there're two sets of things--those within 'our power' and those
...more
Aravind
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enchiridion

This is the book to be read by every human. It is a complete advise tonic to the good life. The little snippets are in fact full of wisdom. The suggestions simply pour out. What the life is composed and how to make it better is what found in short passages of invaluable comprehension. There is a sea of suggestions for the smooth personal conduct. The writings are in fact wholesome personal experiences written for the exceptional betterment of pleasant living. There are many anecdotes
...more
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Dover thrift editions on Amazon - are they good ? 2 9 Oct 14, 2018 10:09AM  

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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
“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.” 527 likes
“People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.” 233 likes
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