A Guide to the Good Life

A Guide to the Good Life

The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Book - 2009
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Oxford University Press
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have.

Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.


Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009
ISBN: 9780195374612
0195374614
Characteristics: xii, 314 p. : ill. ; 19 cm

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1aa
May 19, 2018

This is a well structured, clearly written, and, unusually for a philosophy book, useful book. Its not a scholarly exposition, but it uses its results competently. The exercises are indeed useful, but the author could have used advice from a human services worker on how to suggest implementing it. It completely ignores, excluding some cultural criticism, the results of modern research, especially in psychology. The reading plan could include the works as are available on Gutenberg dot org, or even archive dot org (especially for Seneca). Though stoicism is most obviously useful for the elderly, it could work wonders for youth, especially boys and young men.

2
22950004968244
Dec 31, 2017

A book worth reading for those interested in a happy mentality. Particularly worthwhile in today's neurotic snowflake culture obsessed with micro aggressions and rejection of the past. The Stoics describe the bliss and joy that occasionally comes from their techniques. This is similar, I think to the philosopher J.Khrishnamurti talking about the reduction of conflict creating bliss. He says it takes intelligence to avoid conflict. The Stoic techniques are also a bit like modern cognitive therapy (errors of thinking and accepting the past). Well adapted people accept reality but work to improve it.

f
fharan
Mar 11, 2017

Great history of Stoicism and a good guide for practicing. Will read again.

d
dylanschweitzer
Dec 09, 2016

I loved this book as a modern introduction to stoicism. I think so many of us could benefit from a stoic revival in today's age.

j
John_M
Apr 28, 2016

Interesting history of Stoicism in Greece and Rome. Followed by a guide for living, which brings stoicism to life in a way that most would not expect. The path outlined has many elements of all other philosophies but a few interesting twists. I think that I will attempt to incorporate some of it into my life.

c
cpyke88
Apr 21, 2016

This book is a great way to open your eyes to a new way of experiencing life. It teaches the history and philosophy of the stoics, and how they worked to get the most out of their lives by embracing the good and the bad. I am going to be reading this book again because there is just too much good stuff for just one read.

c
Cheetaiean
Aug 20, 2015

An interesting book which is a recommended read for all, particularly men.

Stoicism is a practical way to get the most out of your life while experiencing inner joy and contentment.

Interesting book with great thoughts; it is especially amazing as a reader's first introduction to this philosophy. (though some parts at the end were in my opinion unnecessary)

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cpyke88
Apr 21, 2016

cpyke88 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Cheetaiean
Aug 20, 2015

Cheetaiean thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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