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The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness [Format Kindle]

Epictetus , Sharon Lebell

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“A treasury of eternally good advice, wise as a grandfather, earthy as the Tao.” (Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart)

“The message of Epictetus is as vital today as it ever was.” (Jacob Needleman, author of The Heart of Philosophy)

“Epictetus sounds like the Buddha, and Sharon Lebell’s voice makes him sound like the delightful man next door.” (Sylvia Boorstein, author of It's Easier Than You Think)

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 227 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 144 pages
  • Editeur : HarperOne (5 février 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°155.615 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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79 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Getting it right. [Epictetus DID address casual sex!] 14 août 2001
Par Hans W. Gruenig - Publié sur
This book is inspiring, but perhaps confusing from a historical standpoint, given that Lebell doesn't tell us when she's embellishing on the original. Some reviewers have been speculating on what Epictetus did and did not write about. Example: some have complained that he couldn't possibly have addressed "casual sex". A reviewer named "Strict Evaluation" poo-poos Lebell's use of Epictetus's name and skeptically asks "what's the Greek for 'casual sex'?" -- implying that Lebell's book has little relation to Epictetus. I can assure you that that reviewer is uninformed and overdramatic. Case in point:
Lebell writes:
"Abstain from casual sex and particularly avoid sexual intercourse before you get married." ... "If, however, you know someone who has had casual sex, don't self-righteously try to win them over to your own views."
Arrian (Epictetus's sole recorder) writes in the Enchiridion:
"As to pleasure with women, abstain as far as you can before marriage: but if you do indulge in it, do it in the way which is conformable to custom. Do not, however be disagreeable to those who indulge in these pleasures, or reprove them; and do not often boast that you do not indulge in them yourself."
I'd say that Lebell has done a good job of capturing the spirit of what Arrian reported of Epictetus teachings (in this case). She often adds her own extrapolations and interpretations based on (1) her own understanding of the philosophy, and (2) a desire to make the reading more accessible and compelling to her audience. I agree that it would be awfully nice to have references to the original texts for comparison -- or perhaps an original+commentary format -- but before you indict her for complete fabrication, please, at least take a look at the original!
67 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Epictetus for everybody 20 août 2001
Par John S. Ryan - Publié sur
Epictetus is one of the real "greats" in the history of philosophy. From the very bottom of the Roman social ladder, he taught and practiced a philosophy (originally due to Zeno) that came to be called "Stoicism" and influenced Roman society all the way to the very top: Roman soldiers used to carry copies of the _Enchiridion_ into battle, and the emperor Marcus Aurelius's famous "Meditations" consist mostly of his urging himself, apparently with limited success, to come closer to the Stoic ideal.

The people who characterize Sharon Lebell's interpretive rendering as a "self-help" book have at least half a point; the written records of Epictetus's teachings (Epictetus didn't write them down himself) were self-help books in the first place.

And fine ones they were. Oh, there are a few points at which Epictetus counsels heights of detachment suitable only for inhuman monsters, as when he suggests that we remember our wives and children are mortal so that we won't grieve when they die. But on the whole his teachings are firmly founded on the view that absolutely everything occurs by Providence, we are all of us children of God and citizens of the world with natural fellowship with one another, and we should assume responsibility for precisely those things which we can control -- namely, ourselves.

This view, or something very close to it, has grounded religious and philosophical programs from the Torah to Alcoholics Anonymous, from Spinoza to the Musar movement, from antiquity to the very latest modernity (e.g., Mark Rosen's excellent _Thank You for Being Such a Pain_): when you face a challenge, use it to improve yourself; that's what it's for.

And Epictetus's teachings were not assembled into books in order to provide academic employment for classical scholars. They were recorded because Epictetus himself wasn't going to be around to teach forever and it was believed to be important that his influence outlive him. His philosophy, after all, was supposed to be both practical and practiced.

What Sharon Lebell has done in this excellent little volume is skim the very cream of Epictetus's philosophy and make it accessible to the modern reader. And it is worth remembering that Epictetus himself did not teach in writing but spoke directly to his listeners; his students would not have sat in the library poring over long crabbed volumes but sat in the open air listening to popularly accessible discourses.

Lebell does interpret and modify, and she doesn't always say so. For example, she has Epictetus say at one point, "Rationality isn't everything." This is by way of making the entirely unexceptionable point that there are things we're just not going to understand. But there is a good case to be made that, for Epictetus, rationality -- i.e., conformity to "nature" under the governance of reason -- was indeed "everything," not merely a means to an end, as Lebell's rendering suggests, but both means _and_ end.

But this is a piddling objection; Lebell's interpretations stay pretty close to the original, as any reader can verify by actually checking her text against a good translation of the sources. (I like the _Everyman_ edition, but I think it's out of print.)

And before dismissing Lebell's interpretation as just another self-help book, we should ask ourselves how many _other_ "self-help books" include the advice, "Let your reason be supreme" [p. 62].
218 internautes sur 247 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Strains to be so contemporary that it distorts 1 avril 2000
Par Ingalls - Publié sur
Epictetus desperately needs a modern, contemporary translation. As far as I know, all of the available translations in print are either terribly academic or use Victorian language. This is NOT a translation but a very free, very loose paraphrase and condensation. I knew I was in trouble when I read the introduction. The author slams Western philosophy for being too cerebral and for not dealing sufficiently with the irrational aspects of life. She obviously does not like the use of reason to deal with day to day life. Then why, I might ask, is she paraphrasing a philosopher who is one of the presursors to modern rational psychotherapy? Like many Westerners who dabble in Eastern philosophy and only know it superficially, she assumes that it speaks more directly to the needs of people than Western philosophy. This despite the fact that Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, etc. were immensely popular with the general population of ancient times. So much so, in fact, that common citizens wore rings and bought mirrors with sayings of Epicurus on them and Socrates could be lampooned in a popular comedy. Stoicism was the unoffical religion of the roman army-not an elitist, irrelevant teaching. And Epicureanism had widespread allegiance and was able to fill huge communities all throughout the ancient world. The most popular devotional books of the 17th and 18th century were all basically rewrites of the ancient Greeks. By the time the introduction was finished, I knew that I was in for a very trendy, inaccurate rendering of Epictetus. The worst chapter has to be the one called "Avoid casual sex". Being familiar with Epictetus, I would love to know where the author found anything in his works which would justify her stating that an active sex life is okay "within a framework of personal commitment". Epictetus believed that men and women should perform their moral duty no matter how difficult. That meant sex only within marriage-not some absurd arrangement that is, as the author says, "within a framework of personal commitment" which could mean anything-and usually does. Epictetus felt that men and women had a duty to something greater than their own personal ideas of what they thought that their duties and commitments might be at any particular moment. Individuals are citizens of a wider community and what they do should lend harmony to the larger community. Their behavior is not determined by trends but by the highest standards. Moderns may not like that. It goes against their grain. Fine, but don't distort Epictetus just to make people feel good. Epictetus, who never minced words, would never flatter his audience or offer a salve to their conscience. I think that Epictetus, the moral rigorist, would have been appalled. His teachings are very stern and difficult. That's why stoicism is both greatly admired and, also, widely rejected. It is a philosophy of moral battle and psychological toughness in a world where, as Tom Wolfe says in "A Man in Full" "principles are dead". When individuals feel they are surrounded by nothing but corruption, injustice, and irresponsibility and feel that they are victims of the same and can do little about any of it, Stoicism shows a way to salvation, a way to preserve your integrity and peace of mind even when you are working for a corporation run by modern day Nero's (are there any other kind?), or suffering physically and mentally from the stress of modern life and its overwhelming evils. Stocisim urges us all to be good men and women even-especially-when it is tough to do so. Epictetus teaches that the happy life is the virtuous one. Watering down his message is doing a disservice to him. Rather than claiming that this is Epictetus speaking, the author should have simply mentioned that it was inspired by some Stoic ideas. That is all it truly is.
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 even watered down epictetus is a treat 10 juin 2000
Par Dr. John T. Fleming - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I basically agree with the review below which was critical of this work as watered down epictetus. I still believe however that this work provides an excellent introduction to the ideas of epictetus in particular and stoicism in general. If this is your only exposure to stoicism, I would worry that you might conclude that this is a warm and fuzzy, feel-good philosophy rather than an extremely tough form of mental discipline where if successful you can expect to live out your life free from suffering and maybe more importantly free from the fear of suffering. Epictetus was not a new age guru but a slave of the roman empire who ended up being the teacher of that other great stoic, the emperor Marcus Aurelius ( see Gladiator movie). The fact that the slave and the emperor both choose to live their lives by the tenants of this philosophy is a more powerful recommendation than anything I could add. I was already familiar with the "Discourses of Epictetus" so I was not really bothered by the shortcomings of "the art of Living" and I have to admit that reading the discourses is quite a slog (it is basically the lecture notes of one of his students). I have given copies of the "discourses" to friends and they went unread while over the last year I have given 10 copies of "The art of living" to friends in distress and they were all read. If you find this philosophy intriguing after this introduction you can move on to the Discourses ( I'd recommend the Long translation - best of a bad lot ) and then the "Confessions of Marcus Aurelius" and "the moral essays of Seneca". "Virtue is necessary and sufficent for a good life" - a radical idea to live by in this cesspool of self-indugence that passes for the good life in 21th century America.
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 the best way to spend your life without wasting your time 6 janvier 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
we don't have a lot of books from Epictetus and in fact this one is the only one. Pascal thought that only two authors were worth reading ,Epictetus and Montaigne. he was right.if you do not want to waste your life ,if you want to be happier in your life and if you are sometimes depressive ,you must read that book.This book changed my life and i'm sure it will change your whole existence.
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