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How to Keep Your Cool: An Ancient Guide to Anger Management (Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers)

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  15 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

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Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Princeton University Press
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Greg
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 ...more
Peter Bradley
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Adam
A disappoint.

Author meddles, by own admission, with the translation overly much to craft a reading "suitable" for today. Result is problematic (ancient) world views are glossed over to prevent an offense today. As such, the translation tastes of flat, pre-chewed, mamma bird mush. Please. We're all adults here. No one is served by wilful edits to hide the ugliness of the past. Too, many segments of Seneca's essay were purposefully left out. Better choice would have been including everything, and
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Rodrigo Paredes
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.
Adriane Devries
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Marcio Gonzales
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Drew
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marie
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alp
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Noemi
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Joel
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
There are certainly better Seneca books
MichaelR
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ancient wisdom from Seneca 65 AD, relevant today
Lory Marshall
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
That one was tough.
Josh English
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, stoicism
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.
Yanis B.
A good summary of De Ira.
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Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca) (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 last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he may ...more