A Guide to the Good Life

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

4.18 (20,631 ratings by Goodreads)
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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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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 139 x 183 x 29mm | 367g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195374614
  • 9780195374612
  • 5,485

Table of contents

Introduction Part One: The Rise of Stoicism The Birth of Philosophy The First Stoics The Roman Stoics Part Two: Stoic Psychological Techniques Negative Visualization: What's the Worst That Can Happen? The Dichotomy of Control: On Becoming Invincible Fatalism: Letting Go of the Past . . . and the Present Self-Denial: On Dealing with the Dark Side of Pleasure Meditation: Watching Ourselves Practice Stoicism Part Three: Stoic Advice Duty: On Loving Mankind Social Relations: On Dealing with Other People Insults: On Putting Up with Put-Downs Grief: On Conquering Tears with Reason Anger: On Overcoming Anti-Joy Personal Values: On Seeking Fame Personal Values: On Luxurious Living Exile: On Surviving a Change of Place Old Age: On Being Banished to a Nursing Home Dying: On a Good End to a Good Life On Becoming a Stoic: Start Now and Prepare to Be Mocked Part Four: Stoicism for Modern Living The Anti-Stoics Stoicism Reconsidered Practicing Stoicism A Stoic Reading Program Notes Works Cited
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Review Text

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
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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 * Dr. Irvine has used very simple language in his book. He gives a notion of modern stoicism and urges modern readers to practice stoicism. * Sareer Ahmad, The Nation (Pakistan) *
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About William B Irvine

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.
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Rating details

20,631 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 43% (8,909)
4 38% (7,777)
3 15% (3,035)
2 3% (639)
1 1% (271)

Our customer reviews

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. -Mikeshow more
by Michael Macaulay
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