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A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy | [William B. Irvine]

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life.

Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Listeners learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have.

Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows listeners how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.

©2009 William B. Irvine (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (264 )
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  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 04-18-14
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 04-18-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finding your inner stoic"
    What did you love best about A Guide to the Good Life?

    I found myself surprisingly liking this book a lot. It demystifies what is commonly and mistakenly identified as a dour philosophy and makes it accessible to everyday, modern life. Equal parts self- help book, stoicism 101 course, and "serenity now!" mantra, Irvine makes a compelling case for adopting the tenets of stoicism as a balm to our hectic, information overloaded, materialistic society. I found myself quite intrigued and taken with the advice in this book and have found myself practicing it daily. It moves along briskly and avoids the self-help book pitfalls of pandering to the reader or being too trite.


    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam A. Havens CA 04-27-15
    Sam A. Havens CA 04-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic"

    This is a great book, and the narrator fits perfectly. I would recommend this title to any thoughtful friend or family member. I started this book at a real low point, and found this profoundly helpful. Also, unlike most books that offer life advice, the author is clearly a smart, logical individual who thinks carefully about what he says and explains what it is like to put his advice into practice.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerard Sanroma Guell 01-24-15
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    "Excellent contemporary view of stoicism"

    Great book explaining stoicism in a contemporary way.
    It reads very smoothly. Well structured and the author presents the concepts in a way relevant to our days.
    I particularly liked the ending when justifies stoicism from an evolutionary point of view. This is a nice contribution of the author.
    I also liked the personal experience of the author while practicing stoicism.
    Finally it suggests some further reading.
    Very interesting book. Accessible. The author makes the points very clear in my opinion.
    I like the narrator too. Not too slow (like others I have heard).
    Great book. Thanks.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur 08-24-15
    Arthur 08-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "a positive shift in perception"

    a great guide to help appreciate all the things we have in life. this book helped alleviate stress and let go of ego.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy Herndon 08-10-15
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    "Wonderful book!"

    A Guide to the Good Life is a really super book, brimming over with good advice and techniques on living a happy, tranquil life. I have really gotten so much out of it, and over the course of these last few days reading the book, I am already amazingly more tranquil myself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wish 4 par 07-07-15
    wish 4 par 07-07-15
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    "5th read in 3 months. Masterful!!!"

    An excellent, readable, understandable, modern story about Stoicism

    A great story, understandable quotes, modern life examples and Mr Irvine contrasts old roman life with 21century life problems and how Stoicism fits into modern life

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 07-03-15
    Ryan 07-03-15
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    "Barely makes it to an okay book!"

    I find value in this book, but wouldn't call it valuable. Depends on the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Inon redbank NJ USA 03-15-15
    Inon redbank NJ USA 03-15-15 Member Since 2014

    I love sci-fi and fantasy books

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    "Helpful philosophy for life"

    I took a lot from this book. But it all comes down to the basic stoic philosophy.
    I will return to this book again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charley Yeager State College, PA 03-09-15
    Charley Yeager State College, PA 03-09-15 Member Since 2015

    If you're down with the ISTP then we can read Wikipedia together all night.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Relevant sampling of Stoicism for modern life"
    What did you love best about A Guide to the Good Life?

    It is written purposefully and makes it clear how one might apply the information


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I enjoyed being educated about philosophy generally and this short book gives mainly core elements of context and history.


    What about James Patrick Cronin’s performance did you like?

    it was fine


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The death of Socrates perhaps...


    Any additional comments?

    Stoicism came somewhat naturally for me, but I think I may have enjoyed the book more if it had not. The hallmark of Stoic life is to be optimistic and happy with your imperfect situation, which to me is a personality trait and not something you can easily will yourself to be. Therefore, if you can easily apply this advice, you probably already do, and if you desperately need this advice, it may be very difficult to live.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David A. Hamel York, Maine USA 11-07-14
    David A. Hamel York, Maine USA 11-07-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Tedious"
    Would you try another book from William B. Irvine and/or James Patrick Cronin?

    No


    Would you be willing to try another book from William B. Irvine? Why or why not?

    No.


    Have you listened to any of James Patrick Cronin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting though somewhat tedious dissection of Stoic philosophy and how it may be applied to life in the modern world. I found the male author's use of the female personal pronoun to be distracting, always referring to how "she" might apply stoic principles in "her" life. It comes across as falsely egalitarian or pandering to the feminist. I did enjoy the additional historical discussions of the Stoic and other Hellenic philosophers.

    5 of 17 people found this review helpful
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  • JASON
    United Kingdom
    1/10/14
    Overall
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    "Suberb"
    Where does A Guide to the Good Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very interesting and very insightful. A great hybrid between philosophy and personal development. Thoroughly recommended.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • AlphaSeed
    5/9/15
    Overall
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    "Great just a few irks"
    Where does A Guide to the Good Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's one of the best as long as you take action on the advice.

    I like the way he blended the anecdotes with the ways to live your life.

    My gripe would be with the feminist language this guy uses, it really irked me because listening to it. 'herself' etc. It has a certain agenda pushed behind it which i don't feel it was necessary to put the emphasis on the feminine, i saw some other reviews point this out, and it bugged me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Guide to the Good Life?

    stories about seneca and marcus aurelius.


    Did James Patrick Cronin do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    Narrator was decent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KarlK
    9/10/14
    Overall
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    "Great follow up to the Antidote by Oliver Burkeman"
    Would you listen to A Guide to the Good Life again? Why?

    Yes, lots of ideas that need to be reiterated in order to fully grasp in a practical way


    What about James Patrick Cronin’s performance did you like?

    Narration a little spaced apart or something, kindof like it was read by a computer - you get used to it but could have been a bit more fluid.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me think about the way I think and how I perceive life's joys as well as challenges, definitely be implementing some stoic traits


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait until they get more of Irvine's books on audible, just don't seem to like old school reading

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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