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

Irvine, William B.
Oxford University Press 2008
ISBN 978-0195374612
336pp
Date finished: 2011-01-22

I saw a recommendation for this book on Hacker News. One of the commenters compared the Stoicism described in the book to Zen Buddhism, but said it's much more appealing for people of an analytical bent. I'm nothing if not analytical, and have been interested in Buddhism for the detachment and calm it can provide, but can't believe in reincarnation or karma.

Irvine describes stoicism based upon the writings of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Musonius, but modernizes it and gives examples of how it can be applied in modern life. The goal is tranquility, an appreciation of what one has instead of endless desires for what one hasn't, and acceptance of what happens. The primary techniques he suggests are:

I really like Irvine's proposed updating of Stoicism. I already do some of these things just by nature (fatalism, the occasional self-denial) and the other things all seem like excellent ideas for me. It's a book I'll keep in mind for a long time to come.

Tagged: philosophy

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/2011/01/Art_of_Stoic_Joy.html

%T A Guide to the Good Life
%S The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
%A Irvine, William B.
%G ISBN 978-0195374612
%P 336pp
%I Oxford University Press
%D 2008
%@ 2011-01-22
%K philosophy
%* *

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