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How to Keep Your Cool: An Ancient Guide to Anger Management
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How to Keep Your Cool: An Ancient Guide to Anger Management

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  359 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Timeless wisdom on controlling anger in personal life and politics from the Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman Seneca

In his essay "On Anger" (De Ira), the Roman Stoic thinker Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD) argues that anger is the most destructive passion: "No plague has cost the human race more dear." This was proved by his own life, which he barely preserved under one wrathfu
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Princeton University Press (first published 1643)
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Maybe it was because I listened to this rather than reading it, but this came across like something written for someone who would like to read a book but just wants the 'talking points'. It felt really disjointed to listen to, a highlight reel of Seneca's essay "On Anger" with the checklist of things you should do to 'get' how to avoid anger along with some flashy parts of torture and bad behavior to maybe titillate and not make you feel like you are just reading a grocery list on how not let an ...more
Peter Bradley
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
How to Keep Your Cool by Seneca/ James Romm

I came to this book after reading St. Thomas Aquinas's articles on anger in the Summa Theologica. I was surprised at how much the Christian saint relied on the Roman Stoic philosopher for his Christian analysis of anger as both a virtue and a vice.

This book is part of Princeton's "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers" series. In this series, the texts of classical Roman philosophers are selected and arranged to address a single issue, in this case, anger.
Shane Parrish
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up a few days ago after losing my cool. The book is a short selection of essays by Seneca for anyone trying to keep themselves in check. Seneca wrote them for Nero, who he was trying to influence.
Babe of Darkness
May 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Words that meant nothing to me...
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A solid entry to Princeton's Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers series. The volume is exactly what the title says. Some of the examples don’t work for modern audiences, but the underlying advice shows how, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Similar to How to Die – also written by Seneca – there's a level of hypocrisy to his advice that's almost endearing in that it reminds me of how none of us ever quite manage to live up to our ideals. Recommended. ...more
Rodrigo Paredes
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The essay De Ira is an interesting one. I was more interested in the beginning of the book and towards the end. I found some points Seneca made were too repetitive and I wish he was more profound. It is always interesting to read a text as old as this and realize how its still very much applicable today. Do read this book it is a very short read with great points.
Erica Lin
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
For my own reference, when I will undoubtedly need these words again:

“‘Let’s be kinder to one another,’ Seneca exhorts, in the impassioned final segment of his treatise. ‘We’re just wicked people living among wicked people. Only one thing can give us peace, and that's a pact of mutual leniency.’”

“You urged me, Novatus, to write about the way in which anger can be softened, and I think you are right to be most frightened of this emotion, the ugliest and most savage of all emotions.”

“Other things
"Your anger is a kind of madness, for you set a high price on worthless things."

Spectacular. I urge everyone who has access to Hoopla, to look for the audio versions of these essays on stoicism. Most are between one and two hours long and far from being stuffy, droning lectures, the ideas are fascinating, accessible and surprisingly relevant.

How to Keep Your Cool by Seneca
This essay concerns the Stoics' view on self-control as it relates to offense, injustice and anger. I personally found it
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A tiny book with big philosophy, the English translation laid simultaneously on opposite page of the original Latin, which I wish I had studied more deeply in college. These prescriptions for calm civility should be self-administered immediately in these riotous times, both just and unjust, to transport us back to a time where cooler heads prevailed.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Handy little book on anger management. Commentary on a letter written by Seneca to his brother. Personal experience in dealing with Tyrants of low intellect and base natures like Caligula have strengthened Seneca's resolve on the futility of anger! ...more
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, self
So much to chew on here. I don't agree with Seneca's position on anything, but there is much wisdom to consider quite seriously. To avoid getting angry, he suggests avoiding all those who are easily angered. In theory, it's a good idea, but in practice, it means you avoid spending many people who may need you and/or people whom you can serve - whose lives you can help improve. It seems to me to counter his strategy for how to avoid raising children into angry adults (Don't let them have whatever ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
A compact little life lesson, with examples from Seneca's time that are totally exemplary today. My favourite part is the very end, in which he discusses death. The critically important factor is to not waste time being angry at stuff or people. Exploit the time you have for goodness and positive deeds. 3.5 stars, actually. ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Seneca did his work perfectly. He would be sad though, if he had seen how mankind will become "over-sensitive" and keep "sexist" paragraphs out, or change the language tone of a two millenia old script.
Shame on you, editor. Seneca deserves 5 stars.
Yash Gadodia
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
What strikes me is that in a few short pages Seneca manages to "self-help" better than most other self-help books you can find.

A large reason for this, I think, can be attributed to the fact that the words are thousands of years old. Simply knowing that this piece of text has provided wisdom to the best of mankind makes it so powerful and compelling.

I started reading this for 2 reasons - the first is that a friend told be about Libby app, which connects to your NLB account and you can borrow a
Adriane Devries
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, eunoia
“It’s either our ignorance or our arrogance that makes us prone to anger.”

How to Keep Your Cool is James Romm’s modern paraphrase of the ancient Greek philosopher-senator Seneca’s treatise entitled De Ira, or, “On Anger.” Seneca defined anger as “a desire to punish a real or perceived wrong;” therefore, where anger is present, revenge lurks, waiting for its chance to wreak havoc. Of all the problematic passions, anger has the potential to destroy the most. You might indulge pride, greed or lust,
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Seneca defines anger as a desire to punish a real or perceived wrong. This emotion is, in Seneca’s eyes, the most intense, destructive, and irresistible of the passions. It’s like jumping off a cliff: once rage is allowed to get control, there’s no hope of stopping the descent. Our spiritual health demands that we let go of anger, or else it will never let go of us.
The first two sections of “De Ira” describe the “why” anger should be avoided and the likely consequences of rushed actions, go str
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it

"Anger, here defined as the desire to punish...."

"It's easier to shut out harmful things than to govern them; easier to deny them entry than to moderate them once they have entered. Once they've established residence they become more powerful than their overseer and do not accept retrenchment or abatement. That is why reason itself, to which the reins are entrusted, stays potent only so long as it's kept apart from the passions. If it mingles and pollutes itself with them, it can no longer restr
Notes of a Curious Mind
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The Stoic philosophy has changed over time but its main principle remains the same: to provide people a framework for living well by reminding people of what is truly important in life. Stoics acknowledge that people don’t have control over all of what happens in life. Therefore, worrying about things outside of their control is irrational to a person who wants to attain tranquillity.

In Seneca’s eyes - he is one of the most interesting Stoics- anger is the most “intense, destructive, and irresis
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Though written literally 1000s of years ago, anger is anger. The only thing that's really changed, at least in the western world, is that some king can't wipe out your whole family because you said to a friend that he's an asshole. Anger still hurts the person carrying it more than the person who caused it. Turn the other cheek isn't for them, it's for you. As a person who tends to react quickly and often to my own regret, I'm glad I read this book. What I'm not happy about is that I paid brand ...more
Marcio Gonzales
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-resolutions
This book is amazing. It has a great message and meaning about managing our emotions and ourselves in front of difficult situation. It uses some very heavy examples. But it all make sense on how we can get overwhelmed by anger and how our reactions determined the kind of persons we are.
I would recommend it not only to those who have stoicism practice but also to anyone who tends to loose tempered so they can understand that what makes your mind takes your life.
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The title of the original essay "On Anger" is definitely more appropriate. It is a lot of well put, but not incredibly enlightening thoughts on anger and the behavior it births. Not bad reading, but there much advise on "how to keep your cool" outside of "don't expose yourself to things you know make you angry" "empathize" and "try not to get angry."

I enjoy Seneca and the translation was good, so it's good. I might have let myself expect more than I should have based on the title.
Ria Chia
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
I've always enjoyed Seneca's works but am not a fan of this translation. It lacks the poetic touch found in other translations, the voice or turn of phrase that feels like it was closest to what Seneca intended is removed. At least that's how I felt. But for its tendency to provide more context on Seneca's life as we read the book, its cross-references with the modern world, and the timeless teachings of Seneca's, I give it its fourth star. ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: stoic-philosophy
"How much more does he lose by getting angry than he lost from the matter that angered him!"
"...your anger is a kind of madness: because you set a huge price on worthless things."
"...he who is a prisoner of anger cannot be called powerful, not even free..."
― Seneca
Nishant Mehrotra
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great summary of Da Ira: Seneca Knows your anger issues better than you do. Onto ‘how to die’ next in this series by Princeton. Especially loved the short stories of kings taking insults at a banquet.

“Your anger is a kind of madness, because you set a high price on worthless things”.
Lory Marshall
That one was tough.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ancient wisdom from Seneca 65 AD, relevant today
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
There are certainly better Seneca books
Josh English
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stoicism, philosophy
This is a good modern translation of selections from Seneca. It serves as a good introductory text.
The notes are useful to understand the context.
Bernard Sia
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Creepy book. But makes sense of the days. Particularly the anecdote of how to behave Infront of an evil king.
Chandrasen Rajashekar
Brain food no. 361 book recommendation
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Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca, in Portuguese Séneca (PT) or Sêneca (BR); ca. 4 BC – 65 AD) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was later forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, the la ...more

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