Michael Percy's Reviews > Letters from a Stoic

Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
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it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed

The Letters is regarded as one of the three key Stoic works, along with Marcus Aurelius' Meditations and Epictetus' Discourses. My initial thoughts were that Seneca's letters provided gems of genius amid banal everyday topics. Indeed, one critic compared Seneca's style with a boar taking a whiz (provided in the detailed notes to the letters). But the moments of genius continue to resonate as if Seneca showed me, empirically, a primal instinct. There is so much of the source of contemporary social norms in this work. I am often surprised how modern complaints were "old hat" even in the time of the classics. For example, Seneca despises those who follow the crowd and let the majority following determine right and wrong. Further, he complains about the modern conveniences and how people suffer from what we might today term "affluenza". Maybe this does not bode well for the present state of affairs. I have learnt a great deal from this book, as I did with Meditations, and I am eager to delve into Discourses.

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Reading Progress

December 26, 2016 – Started Reading
December 26, 2016 – Shelved
January 14, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed
January 15, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Charles Gonzalez I am almost finished with this myself and have found it and he, the author full of insightful and clear nuggets of truth about life. I also have started Meditations - though that volume seems a bit more subdued and self absorbed than Seneca..must be the difference between and Emperor and an advisor. Thanks for your informed review(s), I have enjoyed and benefited from them.

Michael Percy Thank you Charles, most appreciated. Aurelius supposedly never meant for his meditations to be published, but I suspect Seneca did. That might explain the emperor's self-absorption. I get the feeling Niccolo Machiavelli's style mirrors Seneca, less so than Plato's dialogues. But it is only a suspicion!

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