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A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) William B. Irvine

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 180mm x 34mm | 422g
  • Publication date: 5 February 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195374614
  • ISBN 13: 9780195374612
  • Sales rank: 8,576

Product description

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 life. 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.

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Author information

William B. Irvine is Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He is the author of On Desire: Why We Want What We Want.

Customer reviews

By Michael Macaulay 08 May 2013 5

If you're at all interested in Stoic philosophy (or philosophy in general) you owe it to yourself to check this book out.
Regardless of whether you choose to adopt Stoicism, the author argues the importance of finding a way of life. And much to my surprise he made me realise that I had neglected putting much thought to such an important subject.

-Mike

Review quote

regardless of what one thinks of Stoicism, one can still applaud a book that seeks to breathe new life into the idea of philosophy as a reflection on and practical guide to the way we live. Emrys Westacott, The Philosopher's Magazine All in all Irvine does a fine job in offering his 'resolutely practcal' brand of Stoicism to a popular audience. His citation of the original sources is effective and stimulating of interest. His tone is just right one for the popular audience he wishes to reach. Walter M. Roberts III, Bryn Mawr Classical Review