The Art of Living #BookReview

The book is translated from ancient greek into easy to understand & modern english, and features the maxims of the ancient greek stoic philosopher Epictetus on the art of living. It is a practical manual on how to practice virtue, happiness and effectiveness in our day to day life.

The key to happiness, according to Epictetus, lies in the freedom to be fully oneself. One can only acheive this by focusing their energy on the things that one can contol: Our Inner Lives.

Everything else, including our wealth, bodies, reputation and even the impression we make on others is out of our control, and as such we should not let our happiness be affected by it. If we have wealth and then lose it, our inner lives should not be affected by it. We should remain calm and go on with our work and life in the way we can. If our reputation is tarnished, but our character and integrity remains steadfast, then all the better, because our character matters more than our reputation and has withstood the test of infamy. If we fall ill, we understand it is the nature of our bodies to grow ill sometimes, and accept this with dignity. If we lose someone, if someone dies, we understand that our flesh is mortal and that dying is a part of life, but our spirit is eternal.

Things that are in control, such as the quality of our thoughts, the energy we pour into the work we were meant to do (disregarding results and monetary gains and working because we love what we do), and the evenness of our temper should be the focus of our daily practice.

The maxims of Epictetus are transcendental and are just as applicable today as they were 2000 years ago. Things that stuck with me were: Making use of everything we have, discovering our talents and putting them to use, using our resources and everything we have been given to better ourselves; not acting merely to cause an impression on others, but acting rightly by doing the right thing regardless of what others think; and the practice of the use of reason and logic to acheive clear thinking.

This is a wonderful translation and a manual I will surely keep using through all the stages of my life.

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