Recording (P)1997 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©1995 by Sharon Lebell
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.
Eclectic and mindful. Enjoy literary forensics with an eye on how the effects of postmodern deconstruction shapes our worldview.
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.
Get someone more skilled to redo a narration of this work.
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.
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.
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.
I often wished for an audio version of The Art of Living. Thank you, Audible! These ancient teachings by Epictetus have been updated and condensed to be understood and gifted to people from all walks of life all these years later. The words and narration are beautiful. I like to listen to some of these in the morning or when out for a walk or during a difficult time for any number of reasons. A fabulous bonus is an interview at the end with the philosopher Jacob Needleman discussing Epictetus's philosophy and relevance today. I hope others will be as calmed, guided, and inspired to live a better life by these words as I continue to be.
Certainly this was surprising and quite short. The content certainly reminded me of Buddhism, or at least how Americans have imported Buddhism. The advice seemed very relevant to the modern world. There was a line that was something like "don't listen to the latest 5 best ways to...." or something quite similar and I chuckled. I read this because of Paul Ekman, who spoke so highly of Epictetus at a recent lecture, and he was right.
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