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

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9780061286056: Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

Epictetus was born into slavery about 55 ce in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Once freed, he established an influential school of Stoic philosophy, stressing that human beings cannot control life, only their responses to it. By putting into practice the ninety-three witty, wise, and razor-sharp instructions that make up The Art of Living, readers learn to meet the challenges of everyday life successfully and to face life's inevitable losses and disappointments with grace.

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Review:

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can't control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible." The Stoic philosopher Epictetus was born on the eastern edges of the Roman Empire in A.D. 55, but The Art of Living is still perfectly suited for any contemporary self-help or recovery program. To prove the point, this modern interpretation by Sharon Lebell casts the teachings in up-to-date language, with phrases like "power broker" and "casual sex" popping up intermittently. But the core is still the same: Epictetus keeps the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished and abandoning unproductive worry over what cannot.

About the Author:

Epictetus (circa 55-135 ce) taught in Rome until the year 94 ce, when Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from the city. In exile, he established a school of philosophy where his distinguished students included Marcus Aurelius, author of Meditations. Some 1,863 years after Epictetus's death, Tom Wolfe revived his philosophy in the bestselling novel A Man in Full.



Sharon Lebell is a philosophical writer and musician who lives in Northern California. She also produced Epictetus's A Manual for Living.

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