The Art of Living

  • by Epictetus (translated by Sharon Lebell)
  • Narrated by Richard Bolles
  • 1 hrs and 30 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Epictetus, one of the greatest of the ancient thinkers, believed that the primary mission of philosophy is to help ordinary people meet the challenges of daily life and deal with losses, disappointments, and grief. His prescription for the good life: master desires, perform one's duties, and learn to think clearly about oneself and the larger community. This recording includes an interview with philosopher Jacob Needleman on the significance of Epictetus' work.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Atrocious reading of a vapid mistranslation

Epictetus's (ca. 55 - ca. 135) profoundly influential "Enchiridion" ("Handbook"/"Manual"), which needs to be understood and fully appreciated in the context of his much longer "Discourses" and the Stoic milieu that produced it, is mangled by "co-author" Sharon Lebell into the most superficial, vapid, and anachronistic "self-help" drivel imaginable: just imagine a "Reader's Digest" or even "Highlights for Children" regurgitation of a bad CliffsNotes precis; better yet, peruse the informative negative reviews of the paper book, at

It hardly helps that narrator Richard Bolles could pass as "Mr. Quaalude"; do NOT listen to this audiobook while driving! Unless you enjoy mediocre, pseudo-spiritual self-help books, I recommend purchasing the Robert Dobbin (2008) or Robin Hand (1995) translation of Epictetus's "Discourses," both of which also include the "Handbook" upon which Lebell's translation is loosely based. If you're interested solely in the original "Art of Living" sourcebook, though, read Keith Seddon's very accessible yet scholarly rigorous "Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living" (2008). It's just a shame that neither this Seddon's book nor Dobbin's (2008) "Discourses and Selected Writings" yet exist in Audiobook format.
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- Joseph M. "Joseph M."

Wonderful advice

Epictetus provides wonderful words of wisdom that would benefit everyone. He teaches you how to attain happiness through your thoughts..thoughts about others, thoughts about yourself, thoughts about the world we live in. One of his main themes is not to worry over things out of your control. I think we would need fewer therapists if everyone could adopt these principles. The message here is worthy enough and short enough to be kept on your player and listened to once a week. I'm convinced it will produce immeasurable spiritual and psychological benefits.
The narrator wasn't the greatest or I would have given it 5 stars.
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- reggie p "reggie"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-15-1999
  • Publisher: Phoenix Books