Great Book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine – A 15 min Summary

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy Book Cover A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
William B. Irvine
Philosophy, Stoic philosophy
Oxford University Press
November 4, 2008
Kindle
Part Two: Stoic Psychological Techniques
Negative Visualization: What's the Worst That Can Happen?
Anyone interested in philosophy and/or living a good life
Meditations (Marcus Aurelius), The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph (Ryan Holiday), Ego Is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday)

“Irvine excels at giving a “walking tour” of the many schools of Stoic philosophy, from Greek to Roman traditions, identifying individual Stoic thinkers (many more than Seneca) and their principles and techniques, which Irvine argues are even more relevant in modern times than their own.”
–Philosophical Practice

“Well-written and so compelling, this is a rare example of a book that actually will make a difference in the lives of its readers. Whether it’s coping with grief or arriving at lasting happiness, Irvine shows, with care and verve, ancient Stoic wisdom to be ever relevant and very, very helpful.”
–Gary Klein, author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions

“Bill Irvine has given us a great gift: the most accessible and inviting description of modern Stoicism available. Read this book and be prepared to change your life!”
–Sharon Lebell, author of Epictetus’s The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

Continue reading “Great Book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine – A 15 min Summary”

Stoic History

Mainly based on info from “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” – William B. Irvine

The First Stoics

  • Zeno – (333-261 BC) = the first Stoic

  • started as a Cynic
    • “same” as today’s homeless
    • Antisthenes
      • pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes
    • the Cynics were renowned for their wit and wisdom
    • Diogenes (pupil of Antithenes) – the most famous Cynic
      • Bad man obey their lusts as servants obey their masters.
      • because they cannot control their desires, they can never find contentment
    • lived on the streets of Athens.. same as Sokrates
    • constantly pushing their philosophy on other people
  • found to be more interested in theory than the cynics.. hence .. a combination & lifestyle & theory
    • as Socrates had done
  • Continue reading “Stoic History”

Epictetus

Epictetus (Greek: Ἐπίκτητος; AD 55 – AD 135) was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses.

Philosophy, Epictetus taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.

Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty to care for all fellow humans. The person who follows these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.

we should keep firmly in mind that we are merely actors in a play written by someone else—more precisely, the Fates

 

Some things are up to us and some are not up to us.

If you wish to be a writer, write.

Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee.

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.

He is a drunkard who takes more than three glasses though he be not drunk.

If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.

It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.

No great thing is created suddenly.

No man is free who is not master of himself.

Silence is safer than speech.

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.