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Description

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. Listeners 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 listeners how to become thoughtful observers of their 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 in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.

©2009 William B. Irvine (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Ce que les auditeurs disent de A Guide to the Good Life

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  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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Convinced to try stoicism

I didn’t know anything about philosophy before I read this book. I first heard the author interviewed about the book on Ideas on CBC radio and was intrigued by his proposals. I purchased the book but then never had time to read it. Then I subscribed to audible and listened to it twice. First of all the narrator’s voice and way of speaking are great. The content is very deep. The author convinced me that if I implement some of these strategies like negative visualization and the trichotomy of control I could attain tranquility more often than not and reduce the amount of negative emotions that I experience. As someone with generalized anxiety disorder, I think his proposals are worth a shot. I can’t critique his interpretation or tweaks of Roman stoicism but I think he’s into something here.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A great overview

Irvine has given us a great overview, primarily of the Roman Stoics - a start and a jumping-off point for those interested in exploring the Stoic philosophy. #Audible1

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    3 out of 5 stars
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decent introduction

Irvine knows a lot about philosophy and history, but almost nothing about psychology and politics. When he's writing about his areas of expertise, he is precise and wise. When he's not, he suddenly becomes quite vague and surprisingly judgmental. Still, a good introduction for a modern person to the idea of living Stoically.

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A must read for anyone.

for anyone wishing to understand true gratitude for our lives and our interactions with others.

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Some valuable lessons can be learned here

Am I the only one who got annoyed by how sideways the author can get? The core ideas are great, but they are buried in a lot of unnecessary examples that beat a little too far off path.

  • Au global
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A great introduction to stoicism

This book did an excellent job of explaining the history, principles and techniques used by stoicism without overdoing it and getting boring. It was just a great overall explanation on why one may want to adopt a philosophy of life, and why stoicism is a great choice. To help one achieve more tranquillity and satisfaction in daily living. A great read for young professionals like myself especially. I appreciated the way the book explained the parallels and comparisons to Zen Buddhism and other philosophical positions and practices. Also the narrator was great.

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A Modern Stoic

I really enjoyed the book. If you are interested in Stoicism this is a good introduction

  • Au global
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Could not stay awake

Although the Stoics message is important, this felt like I was being read a text-book.

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Good intro to stoicism, dispelling misconceptions

A great intro to stoic philosophy, and addressing the common misconceptions around stoicism. The book is a little bit dry at times as it gets a bit academic, but overall I think it does a good job of explaining the key points and would be helpful for people looking for a more meaningful philosophy of life.

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Very Dry

The narrator and content were dry and hard to listen to. A ton of information not organized fluidly. It felt like I was in a university history class with a monotone professor. Depends what you’re into - I’m currently consuming books for entertainment and/or personal growth, not to gain knowledge of facts, dates, historic players, and quotes. Unfortunately this was a return.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2020-11-05

Really Helpful

Really helpful without trying to sell itself like the new philosophic trend to follow. Even if you don't agree with this line of thinking it's really good to hear this to broaden one's thinking spectrum. I for one responded agreed on many points and made me think differently on some things. I definitely recommend it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gerard Sanroma Guell
  • 2015-01-24

Excellent contemporary view of stoicism

Great book explaining stoicism in a contemporary way.
It reads very smoothly. Well structured and the author presents the concepts in a way relevant to our days.
I particularly liked the ending when justifies stoicism from an evolutionary point of view. This is a nice contribution of the author.
I also liked the personal experience of the author while practicing stoicism.
Finally it suggests some further reading.
Very interesting book. Accessible. The author makes the points very clear in my opinion.
I like the narrator too. Not too slow (like others I have heard).
Great book. Thanks.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam A. Havens
  • 2015-04-27

Fantastic

This is a great book, and the narrator fits perfectly. I would recommend this title to any thoughtful friend or family member. I started this book at a real low point, and found this profoundly helpful. Also, unlike most books that offer life advice, the author is clearly a smart, logical individual who thinks carefully about what he says and explains what it is like to put his advice into practice.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Arthur
  • 2015-08-24

a positive shift in perception

a great guide to help appreciate all the things we have in life. this book helped alleviate stress and let go of ego.

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  • Scott
  • 2014-04-18

Finding your inner stoic

What did you love best about A Guide to the Good Life?

I found myself surprisingly liking this book a lot. It demystifies what is commonly and mistakenly identified as a dour philosophy and makes it accessible to everyday, modern life. Equal parts self- help book, stoicism 101 course, and "serenity now!" mantra, Irvine makes a compelling case for adopting the tenets of stoicism as a balm to our hectic, information overloaded, materialistic society. I found myself quite intrigued and taken with the advice in this book and have found myself practicing it daily. It moves along briskly and avoids the self-help book pitfalls of pandering to the reader or being too trite.

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  • Alex
  • 2015-09-28

Informative and blunt!

Narrator captured essence of author, very informative and clear. Informative for those who are simply curious and helpful to those actually looking to choose a lifestyle. Great book all around.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 2016-05-20

A very readable introduction, needs more meat

This was a pretty good if brief introduction to the Stoic philosophy. What's notable about it is that the author, William Irvine, is not merely presenting historical information about the Stoics, or a primer on Stoicism for purely educational purposes, but actually advocating Stoicism as a philosophy of life with applicability to modern Westerners. He spends some time talking about the history of the Stoic schools and pointing out that Stoics really did spend time constructing "proofs" that the Stoic philosophy was the most correct one for living a virtuous and fulfilling life. He then elaborates on their beliefs and techniques, and makes a case for being a practicing Stoic in the 21st century.

Was it convincing? Well, while I didn't find this book to be particularly deep or transformational, it was interesting enough that I want to read more, and I do see a lot of appeal in Stoicism.

One of the things the author points out is that Stoicism has a lot in common with Zen Buddhism - they prescribe a lot of the same behaviors and attitudes, though they get there from different directions. Since I've also had an interest in Zen, this clicked with me, and since the author rejected Zen for the same reason I did - he's too analytical and sitting for hours trying to "empty your mind" would be painfully tedious for people like us - the Stoic approach has promise.

Of course, one problem with the Stoics is their philosophy is predicated on what man's "purpose" is, with that purpose presumably declared by our creator, Zeus. You can easily transfer this to God (Stoicism is pretty compatible with Christianity), but it requires a bit more rationalizing to achieve an evolutionary purpose applicable to Stoicism for us atheists and agnostics.

So what did the Stoics believe and what should you do as a Stoic? Irvine spends a lot of time trying to preemptively rebut misconceptions about the Stoics - e.g., that they were joyless, unemotional, believed in forsaking pleasure and suppressing grief, etc. In fact, the Stoics did believe in enjoying life, and they did not deny emotion. They taught that one should not allow one's emotions to control you, and that the seeking (or enjoyment) of pleasure should not be your primary purpose in life nor your chief objective, only a side benefit of living a virtuous life. And that you might not enjoy any such side benefits - if you lived in a virtuous life, you might wind up miserable because that's fate, and if that happens, you should suck it up and keep going.

The last part may not be particularly encouraging, but I actually liked it because as the author points out, it flies in the face of a lot of modern psychology. Irvine has some particularly harsh criticisms for "grief counseling," claiming that studies have shown that getting counseled for grief actually prolongs one's grief, whereas taking a Stoic approach helps you get over it more quickly.

That can sound kind of cold, since the Stoic message is basically "Yes, it sucks that your child died, but she's dead now and you can't change it, so move on." But really, how does it benefit someone to prolong their grief over unchangeable events? Mastery of Stoicism doesn't mean you don't grieve over a dead child - it means you grieve, accept that it happened, and move on. More importantly, the Stoic philosophy encourages people to appreciate what they have now - e.g., your living child - and take nothing for granted, because you never know when it could be taken from you.

Am I actually convinced that Stoicism is for me? Well, like I said, based on this book, I am willing to give it a try. At the same time, the book was a very cursory introduction and while it talked a little bit about Stoic techniques (such as "negative visualization" - imagining that the things you have have been taken away, or that your life sucks more than it does) it doesn't really provide much in the way of useful instruction. Back in Greco-Roman days, there were actual Stoic schools to teach these things, but Stoic schools today are kind of hard to find. So I guess I will have to look for more books on the subject. But whether you are interested in trying out Stoicism for yourself or not, this book is a decent entry point.

46 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

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  • wish 4 par
  • 2015-07-07

5th read in 3 months. Masterful!!!

An excellent, readable, understandable, modern story about Stoicism

A great story, understandable quotes, modern life examples and Mr Irvine contrasts old roman life with 21century life problems and how Stoicism fits into modern life

12 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • girorv
  • 2016-05-18

Where's the editor ?

This is the history and applications of stoicism. Generally I find that I purchase self-help books when I feel the need. So it is with this one. I am, therefore, generous with the review. Others have complained of the reader. I must add my voice to theirs. Good grief man, lighten up. Just because we are talking about philosophy one doesn't have to make it dry ? A few good chops from an editor would have helped as well. Goodness I don't need that much history. These are minor irritations though I listened with interest and enjoyed and learned. Thank you for this book

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Oliver
  • 2018-07-11

Well crafted.

Irvine and Cronin give a clear, conversational but not breezy treatment of applied Stoicism. There are many personal guides to Stoicism cropping up these days (Holiday, Robertson, Pigliucci, etc.). Along with Becker's theoretical book A New Stoicism, this is the one modern practical guide I return to.

4 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gem23grn
  • 2018-01-01

Horrible Narrator

Bored to tears. I don't believe the Ancient stoics were this boring. Marcus Aurelius would definitely have chosen to leave this Audible presentation

4 les gens ont trouvé cela utile