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5.0 out of 5 stars Terse and Poignant Stoicism
This short book is a gem of Stoic philosophy, whose origin is the ancient Greece, but whose most powerful expression is achieved in the Roman Empire at the time when it was already on the decline. Epictetus gives us terse and to the point Stoicism--a philosophy of unperturbed mind and calm rationality. The book is written aphoristically, yet it is a smooth read. You can...
Published on July 27 2001 by unraveler

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars TERRIBLE translation
This edition by Long (one of the worst translators of ancient texts) is rendered in clumsy, graceless, sometimes bewildering English. Go for the Everyman edition with translation by Robin Hard. If I ever get the time, I may put this in contemporary English myself. It would be difficult to do worse than the editions out there now.
Published on Jan. 9 2002 by Ingalls


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5.0 out of 5 stars Terse and Poignant Stoicism, July 27 2001
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
This short book is a gem of Stoic philosophy, whose origin is the ancient Greece, but whose most powerful expression is achieved in the Roman Empire at the time when it was already on the decline. Epictetus gives us terse and to the point Stoicism--a philosophy of unperturbed mind and calm rationality. The book is written aphoristically, yet it is a smooth read. You can also clearly see similarities between the Stoic and Christian world views after you read this book. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars TERRIBLE translation, Jan. 9 2002
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
This edition by Long (one of the worst translators of ancient texts) is rendered in clumsy, graceless, sometimes bewildering English. Go for the Everyman edition with translation by Robin Hard. If I ever get the time, I may put this in contemporary English myself. It would be difficult to do worse than the editions out there now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Puzzled, July 6 2003
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
After reading Epictetus's book of life, I'm a bit confounded. Essentially, I expected something along the lines of Marcus Aurelius and the general Stoic flavor: sustine et abstine (yes, I know these are Epictetus's own words), a dry and dispassionate "faith", constant struggle with passions etc. But, the overall impression is quite different from the expected: Epictetus's worldview seems to be a rather disjointed "unity" of at least two visions of the life and nature. One is "Stoic by the book" mindset: apathia, commiseration, general humanism and cosmopolitanism, heroic struggle with baser aspects of the self and similar stuff. But, it seems to me that virtually all scholars have overlooked another, actually dominant strain: the monotheistic mysticism similar to the vision of the Corpus Hermeticum. Ecstatic utterences of Epictetus, his fiery devotion to God, his deep conviction that immortal part of anyone's being will after death enjoy the company of the Good that is God; daimon or genius (Guardian spirit)- not unlike Upanishadic Atman or Hermetic Nous, the vision of the world like banquet or festival- all this points to, one might call it, "optimistic Gnosis". In short, I have found that the most powerful part of Epictetus work bears more similarity with sayings of Christian and Sufi mystics, or the Hermetic-Gnostic exuberant call "Ye are gods" - than with dry Seneca's admonitions or frequently cold wisdom of Marcus Aurelius. Probably it depends on one's temperament which face of Janus-like Epictetus will appear to be his true stance: the quintessentially Stoic sober and humane ethicist or the intoxicated, almost Upanishadic mystic who rapturously affirms both God and world. Since we are, willy-nilly, eclectics by temperament and general disposition, I suspect that Epictetus had been one of us- swinging between "yea" and "nay" to our earthly Odyssey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Life Manual, Jan. 30 2003
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This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
Epictetus' "Enchiridion" is a short book that is long on timeless, practical lessons for living a life of contentment and productivity. This "manual" was not the easiest book to read, but once I got comfortable with the dated and sometimes awkward language, I found the book tough to put down. I believe the lessons contained in this book take moments to learn and understand, but require a lifetime to master. I highly recommend this powerful book to anyone interested in seeing how the thoughts of one of mankind's greatest philosophers apply to life today.
"Enchiridion" is organized into 52 descriptive paragraphs (chapters) that are considered the highlights of Epictetus' documented philosophical teachings. Each paragraph presented common life situations and describes how one should think and act about them.
The opening lesson introduced the practice of recognizing those things in life that are and are not in our power. Those things in our power, described as, "such great things... through which alone happiness and freedom are secured,..." are our own acts, like opinion, desire, moving towards and turning from a thing. Those things not in our power, described as being slavish, subject to restraint, and in the power of others, are our bodies, property, reputation, and jobs or careers. This lesson concluded with focusing on those things within our power, and not being concerned about what is not in our power.
The other great comforting lesson for me was, "Remember that thou art an actor in a play of such a kind as the teacher (author) may choose; if short, of a short one; if long, of a long one: if he wishes you to act the part of a poor man, see that you act the part naturally; if the part of a lame man, of a magistrate, of a private person, (do the same). For this is your duty, to act well the part that is given to you; but to select the part, belongs to another."
The pages of this thin book are pregnant with meaning, insights, and wisdom, and I believe it is a very positive influence in my life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Manual, May 3 2011
By 
Patrick Sullivan (Kingston, Ont. Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
I found after reading some of Seneca`s letters, that this was a bit of a let down. There did not seem to be many additional insights into Stoic philosophy. The editors could have also done a much better job of presenting the material. There is no table of contents or index. Each segment is simply labeled with Roman numerals. In my opinion, a manual should be presented in a reference format, that is easy to look up information.

All presentation problems aside, there were some interesting Stoic recommendations. The most common theme is trying to live in the present moment, and understanding control issues. The reader is advised to only concern themselves about things, that are within the individuals power to control. Most people spend time and energy tormenting themselves, over issues they do not control. Epictetus also advises people to be happy with their present circumstances, regardless of their station in life.

To anyone interested in Stoic philosophy, I am sure they will enjoy the material listed. I just would have preferred, a much better translation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, concentrated motivational slingshot, Sept. 20 2002
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
In this brief work of Stoic philosphy, Epictetus offers up good advice that's as relevant for the contemporary reader as it was for the ancient Roman.
A lot of what is covered here may strike one as obvious: Don't dwell on what isn't in your power to change, and don't neglect what is; Consider the consequences of potential actions; Don't let verbal abuse get you down; Speak only when you have something to say, and when you are fairly certain that you know what you are talking about.
On the other hand, some of the wise opinions expressed are either rarely a part of contemporary discourse, or are unfashionable and contradict today's commonly held beliefs. For example, Epictetus stresses taking responsibility for one's own actions and refraining from blaming one's problems on external causes. While I agree to a certain extant that many personal problems are exacerbated by societal pressures, straight-talking wisdom such as that in this book (along with the fact that an ability to apprehend non-physical social control mechanisms implies at least some independence from them) reminds us that, ultimately, we are masters of our own destinies in more ways than we often realize. This assertion is reinforced by urging the reader to accept those things which are inevitable without pointlessly judging whether they are good or bad. This may strike some readers as fatalistic acceptance of the status quo, but I think Epictetus makes it abundantly clear that we should carefully consider whether or not something is within our power and vigorously seize upon it if it is.
Moderation and a measure of detachment where it is advantageous are other themes. Epictetus advises simplicity in living and avoidance of ambition to the superficial, especially at the expense of what truly makes life worthwhile: Timely advice for our greedy, plastic, pre-fab culture.
While there are culturally specific curiosities here and there, this book is surprisingly relevant throughout. The fact that this volume is short and to the point should make it easy to fit into any busy schedule. In today's climate of whiny victimhood and a herd mentality across the political spectrum, it's more important than ever to cultivate an independent mind that can cut through the mind-numbing Spectacle and "lay hold of the thing by that handle by which it can be borne."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good To Aspire To, But Don't Worry if You Don't Reach It, Sept. 6 2002
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book and it gives practical wisdom and advice on centering our lives around what we can control as opposed to what we cannot.
However, as much as I try to center around what I can control, there are times when I will feel bad over things I can't control -- for instance the death or injury of myself or someone I love. We have emotions. We're human.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "A Handbook of the Stoic Ethic", Feb. 27 2002
By 
Johannes Platonicus (South Bend, Indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
Epictetus (AD 55-135), the slave and Stoic philosopher, was a primary influence on the great philosopher/emperor Marcus Aurelius, and among the greatest proponents of the Stoic philosophy. The "Enchiridion," or handbook, is a collected bevy of adages, which encourage readers to live the Stoic way. This book, in a word, was the "Gospel" of the Stoics, and it may still be used today as an enlightening devotional manual. This is a good-grab for philosophy lovers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Philosophy for Living, Jan. 13 2001
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
Epictetus's "Enchiridion" ("The Manual") is a book about living as a stoic. This book was used as a manual for Roman Centurions and has influenced the lives of many ancient and modern people. It teaches you to deal with hardships and the dissappointments that one encounters in daily life. The stoic philosophy from the Enchiridion helped people like VADM James Stockdale deal with years of captivity in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Basically, the idea behind stoicism is that people can achieve virtue and excellence by concentrating their efforts on what they can control and being indifferent to what they cannot. Unlike Epicurianism, stoicism holds that people are supremely reasonable and that happiness is the result of virtue, honor and conformity to the way of the world. This philosophy was respected by early Christians, and emperors like Marcus Aurelius (The old king in the movie "Gladiator" and a stoic philosopher himself). The translation by George Long is second to none. This book is a valuble handbook for life in modern times and with only 43 pages, it is densely packed with simple ideas for being a better person. I have read it over a dozen times and each time I learn something else about myself and about life. It is a particularly valuble philosophy for members of the military because it explains how to gain control despite overwhelming odds and lack of personal authority. I would recommend this small book to every student of Greek Philosphy and anyone who desires to be a virtuous and successful person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a "powerful" book, June 6 2000
By 
erin nowak (Florence, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Enchiridion (Paperback)
this is a book that should be on everyone's nightstand. it offers clear perspectives on how to live. by releasing yourself of what you cannot control; by controlling that which is in your power, you will lead a happy live. this book is so simple in scope and so powerful in nature you will wonder why you didn't think of it yourself and thank epictetus.
I am so glad that this work has survived for 2,000 years. read it and you will understand it also.
this book is a must have. read it and live it.
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Enchiridion
Enchiridion by Epictetus (Paperback - Jan. 15 2004)
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