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The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness | [Epictetus (translated by Sharon Lebell)]

The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

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Publisher's Summary

Epictetus, one of the greatest of the ancient thinkers, believed that the primary mission of philosophy is to help ordinary people meet the challenges of daily life and deal with losses, disappointments, and grief. His prescription for the good life: master desires, perform one's duties, and learn to think clearly about oneself and the larger community. This recording includes an interview with philosopher Jacob Needleman on the significance of Epictetus' work.

Recording (P)1997 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©1995 by Sharon Lebell

What Members Say

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  •  
    Joseph Marcus Cambridge, MA USA 06-25-09
    Joseph Marcus Cambridge, MA USA 06-25-09 Member Since 2009

    Joseph Marcus

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    "Atrocious reading of a vapid mistranslation"

    Epictetus's (ca. 55 - ca. 135) profoundly influential "Enchiridion" ("Handbook"/"Manual"), which needs to be understood and fully appreciated in the context of his much longer "Discourses" and the Stoic milieu that produced it, is mangled by "co-author" Sharon Lebell into the most superficial, vapid, and anachronistic "self-help" drivel imaginable: just imagine a "Reader's Digest" or even "Highlights for Children" regurgitation of a bad CliffsNotes precis; better yet, peruse the informative negative reviews of the paper book, at Amazon.com.

    It hardly helps that narrator Richard Bolles could pass as "Mr. Quaalude"; do NOT listen to this audiobook while driving! Unless you enjoy mediocre, pseudo-spiritual self-help books, I recommend purchasing the Robert Dobbin (2008) or Robin Hand (1995) translation of Epictetus's "Discourses," both of which also include the "Handbook" upon which Lebell's translation is loosely based. If you're interested solely in the original "Art of Living" sourcebook, though, read Keith Seddon's very accessible yet scholarly rigorous "Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living" (2008). It's just a shame that neither this Seddon's book nor Dobbin's (2008) "Discourses and Selected Writings" yet exist in Audiobook format.

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    reggie p PA 04-29-04
    reggie p PA 04-29-04 Member Since 2003

    reggie

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    "Wonderful advice"

    Epictetus provides wonderful words of wisdom that would benefit everyone. He teaches you how to attain happiness through your thoughts..thoughts about others, thoughts about yourself, thoughts about the world we live in. One of his main themes is not to worry over things out of your control. I think we would need fewer therapists if everyone could adopt these principles. The message here is worthy enough and short enough to be kept on your player and listened to once a week. I'm convinced it will produce immeasurable spiritual and psychological benefits.
    The narrator wasn't the greatest or I would have given it 5 stars.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Burbank, CA, United States 07-13-08
    Mark Burbank, CA, United States 07-13-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Right on the Stoic Mark"

    I am a big fan of the Stoics, and this
    little audio file captures the spirit
    of their philosophy. The audio file does
    a good job of bringing the stoic tradition
    into the 21st century, and making it meaningful
    to a listener in 2008.

    Bravo! I would like to see similiar treatments
    on Seneca-Marcus Aurelieus (sp?)-and Cicero.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ninos Skokie, IL, United States 02-14-14
    Ninos Skokie, IL, United States 02-14-14 Member Since 2009
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    "I love It"

    Please read this book! It is truly amazing book to be written 2000 years ago. Thank you for translating this book. I really need it for my life. It truly touched my heart!. I will try my best to put it in practice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Seeley Tulsa, Oklahoma 12-13-13
    Richard Seeley Tulsa, Oklahoma 12-13-13 Member Since 2009

    Rich Seeley

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    "Invaluable Life Lessons"

    I love this book and listen to parts of it every day as it has the clearest and most workable philosophy of life that I have ever found.

    The basics of Stoicism can be gleaned from the opening lines: "Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not."

    This book may not appeal to everyone since the philosophy runs counter to much of the dogma of popular culture.

    Stoicism, as explained in this book, is a no-nonsense and straightforward philosophy. In life, there are some things you can control and some things you can’t. You focus on the things you can control, like what you eat and drink, and ignore things you can’t control like civil war in Syria or who is going to win American Idol.

    Epictetus also advises against getting caught up in other people's problems or opinions.

    "It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!"

    As you can see from these quotes this translation is in understandable conversational English. And the narration here is very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Medina, NY USA 08-23-13
    Steve Medina, NY USA 08-23-13 Member Since 2011

    Eclectic and mindful. Enjoy literary forensics with an eye on how the effects of postmodern deconstruction shapes our worldview.

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    "A fine work but poorly narrated"
    What didn’t you like about Richard Bolles’s performance?

    Bolles's rate of speech is choppy and lacks the knowledge of how Language flows. For example, when speaking in Classical Greek or Roman Latin emphasis and rate of speech is just as important as reading English to convey the moral point of the lesson. For example, compare the Tao Te Ching translated and narrated by Stephen Mitchell to Bolles's and one will hear the importance of understanding the original language in order to correctly place emphasis to convey the moral point of the lesson.


    Any additional comments?

    Get someone more skilled to redo a narration of this work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Lansing, MI, USA 01-21-09
    Greg Lansing, MI, USA 01-21-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Thought provoking"

    It's only an hour and a half long, so I've listened to it a couple of times. Epictetus cuts right to the chase. Very approachable and applicable to this century.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    John SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 05-21-12
    John SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2007
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    "This is for me a valuable work of Stoic philosophy"
    If you could sum up The Art of Living in three words, what would they be?

    Lucid; Valuable; Provocative


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    As this is a work of philosophy it really has no characters and scenes as such.


    If you could give The Art of Living a new subtitle, what would it be?

    An introduction to the Stoic Philosophy of Epicitetus


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren United States 03-31-11
    Lauren United States 03-31-11
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    "Great a little short but......."

    It is a great length for your commute or meditation. It will not tell you how to get rich or conker the world. You will how ever be enlightened about how to be happy on a non-superficial level.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Greg Ann Arbor, MI, USA 08-24-03
    Greg Ann Arbor, MI, USA 08-24-03
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    "Great narrator and even better material"

    Get it ... Epictetus would be proud.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
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