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Zusammenfassung von The Art of Living

Epictetus

The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness – A New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell

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21 Min.

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The Art of Living by Epictetus is a philosophical guide that teaches us how to live a happy and fulfilling life by controlling our thoughts and actions. It encourages us to focus on what we can control and let go of what we cannot.

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    Epictetus rose from humble roots to become a leading Stoic philosopher.

    Let’s travel back to 55 AD, back when the Roman Empire dominated the entire Mediterranean. In the small city of Hierapolis, in what’s now central Turkey, a boy was born into slavery. His name was Epictetus.

    From a young age, Epictetus showed an unusually sharp mind. In fact, his intellect was so promising that he was sent to Rome to study under the renowned philosopher Gaius Musonius Rufus. There, after years of hard work, he began teaching pupils of his own. These lectures were such a hit that in 94 AD the Roman emperor Domitian exiled him to northern Greece in order to curb his growing influence.

    Epictetus continued to gain a following. Today, he’s remembered as a foundational figure in classical philosophy.

    The key message here is: Epictetus rose from humble roots to become a leading Stoic philosopher.

    Epictetus followed a philosophy known as Stoicism. He and his fellow Stoics believed that philosophy shouldn’t be about airy and abstract debates, but should help people navigate the vagaries of everyday life. Through his teachings, Epictetus aimed to provide practical guidance for living a life filled with happiness, tranquility, and a deep sense of personal satisfaction.

    Like many philosophers of his time, Epictetus avoided writing. Rather than create long, dense texts, he delivered his thoughts by engaging the public directly through lectures and debates. Luckily, a devoted pupil and historian named Flavius Arrian transcribed many of his teachings into two volumes known as the Discourses. These were later summarized into the Enchiridion, or the manual. 

    In accordance with Epictetus’s philosophy, these works were written to be entertaining and accessible to everyday people. Enchiridion was even formatted like a military manual – which were popular texts of the time – and distilled the essence of Stoic thinking down to a series of short observations and adages.

    While only portions of these texts survive, they were wildly popular throughout the Roman Empire and soldiers were known to carry copies of Enchiridion into battle. Epictetus even found a follower in the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Aurelius carefully studied Epictetus’s teachings and used his Stoic philosophy as the basis for his own work, Meditations.

    So, what exactly was Epictetus teaching? We’ll dive into the details of that in the next blink.

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    Worum geht es in The Art of Living?

    The Art of Living (1995) is a clear and concise introduction to Stoic philosophy. This modern interpretation of Epictetus’s teachings gives timeless insight into living a stable and satisfying life.

    Bewertung von The Art of Living

    The Art of Living by Epictetus (originally written in the first century) is a philosophical guide that offers timeless wisdom on how to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • Epictetus presents practical and actionable advice on how to navigate life's challenges and find inner peace.
    • Through a collection of insightful teachings, the book provides guidance on living virtuously and developing resilience in the face of adversity.
    • Epictetus' profound insights and thought-provoking ideas compel readers to reflect on their own values and reconsider their attitudes towards life.

    Wer The Art of Living lesen sollte

    • Modern thinkers curious about ancient philosophy
    • Hectic go-getters needing advice on slowing down
    • Anyone seeking a more Stoic lifestyle

    Über den Autor

    Sharon Lebell is a best-selling author, classically-trained musician, and highly-esteemed teacher of spirituality and philosophy. Her previous works include Naming Ourselves, Naming Our Children and The Music of Silence, which she coauthored with her brother.

    Epictetus was a Greek philosopher born around 50 AD. He is often cited as a defining figure in Stoic philosophy and his collected works include Discourses and Enchiridion.

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    The Art of Living FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Art of Living?

    The main message of The Art of Living is about finding true happiness and living a virtuous life.

    How long does it take to read The Art of Living?

    The reading time for The Art of Living varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Art of Living a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Art of Living is a worthwhile read. It offers valuable insights into how to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

    Who is the author of The Art of Living?

    The author of The Art of Living is Epictetus.

    What to read after The Art of Living?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Art of Living, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
    • On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
    • How to Be an Epicurean by Catherine Wilson
    • Aristotle’s Way by Edith Hall
    • The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle
    • Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
    • How to Know a Person by David Brooks
    • Politics by Aristotle
    • The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman
    • 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam