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

por William B Irvine

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1,2783715,448 (4.03)14
"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 road map 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 firsthand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. We learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus 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 us how to become thoughtful observers of our 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. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life."--Jacket.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
One of the best self-help texts I have read, filtered through the stories and beliefs of the stoic philosophers who worried particularly about how to live a good life.

A book I will reread and look into its sources, the psychology of life tools seem really useful for the life on this planet. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
As a "philosophy of life", Stoicism has a lot to recommend it. Everyone could use a little more tranquillity in their life. I found this book fairly repetitive, but it was ultimately a good, systematic introduction to the Stoics whose philosophies are a kind of mental judo against negative emotions. Well worth consideration by anyone that might struggle with self-worth or fulfilment. ( )
  ropable | Aug 20, 2023 |
Sort of preachy at times, but an enlightening read. ( )
  zeh | Jun 3, 2023 |
A very accessible introduction to Stoicism. The author is clearly enthused but to his credit he also allows that others may find another approach to a personal 'philosophy of life' a better fit for themselves.

I find the stoic exhortation to be careful about goals and to accept for one self the goal of doing one's best rather than a particular achievement in the world to fit quite well with Carol Dweck's psychology of the 'growth mindset'.

It's Irvine's exploration of hedonic adaptation and the value of negative visualization that I find most compelling. This by itself is reason enough to explore this philosophy.

In today's world, some of the questions Irvine raises- What is the most helpful approach to grieving, assistance with emotional expression or unassisted bearing? - should be amenable to experimental trial. There is certainly anough grief in the world and you can make the case that we should become as skilled as possible in managing it.

Recommended. ( )
  EdPontius | Mar 17, 2023 |
Gives a good presentation of Stoicism, but otherwise fails to be particularly engaging. Also, the author seems to be unable to get out of his myopic (and apparently very cut-throat and mean) academic world and so dwells a lot on how to be a closet Stoic to avoid being mocked for it. Finally, he takes pains to point out how one's Stoic demeanor will surely piss off those who are being insulting. I'm at best semi-stoic, and that mostly by happenstance, but I'm sort of thinking this can't be a very stoic attitude. Anyhow, if there's a Complete Idiot's Guide to Stoicism or a Stoicism For Dummies, either is surely a better option for getting turned on to Stoicism than this dry set of pages. ( )
  qaphsiel | Feb 20, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
All in all Irvine does a fine job in offering his “resolutely practical” brand of Stoicism to a popular audience. His citation of the original sources is effective and stimulating of interest. His tone is just the right one for the popular audience he wishes to reach. But Irvine’s work has more to offer than that. I believe he has unwittingly done a service to the scholarly audience as well by reminding us that the Stoics (and other ancient schools) were indeed all concerned with ‘meaning of life’ questions ...
 
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In memory of Charlie Doyle, who taught me to keep my head in the boat even when I'm not rowing.
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What do you want out of life?
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Indeed, pursuing pleasure, Seneca warns, is like pursuing a wild beast: On being captured, it can turn on us and tear us to pieces. Or, changing the metaphor a bit, he tells us that intense pleasures, when captured by us, become our captors, meaning that the more pleasures a man captures, “the more masters will he have to serve.”
[Antisthenes, a Cynic] also advised his listeners to “pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.”
Your primary desire, says Epictetus, should be your desire not to be frustrated by forming desires you won’t be able to fulfill.
if we seek social status, we give other people power over us: We have to do things calculated to make them admire us, and we have to refrain from doing things that will trigger their disfavor.
By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognize that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent.
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"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 road map 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 firsthand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. We learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus 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 us how to become thoughtful observers of our 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. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life."--Jacket.

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