Meditations (Penguin Classics)

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A number one translation of Stoic philosophy in clever and sensible aphorisms which have impressed Invoice Clinton, Ryan Vacation, Anna Kendrick and lots of extra.

Written in Greek by an mental Roman emperor with none intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius supply a variety of fascinating non secular reflections and workout routines developed because the chief struggled to know himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cowl such various subjects because the query of advantage, human rationality, the character of the gods and the values of management. However whereas the Meditations had been composed to offer private comfort, in creating his beliefs Marcus additionally created one of many biggest of all works of philosophy: a sequence of clever and sensible aphorisms which were consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and abnormal readers for nearly two thousand years.

To supply a full understanding of Aurelius’s seminal work, this version consists of explanatory notes, a normal index, an index of quotations, an index of names, and an introduction by Diskin Clay placing the work in its biographical, historic, and literary context, a chronology of Marcus Aurelius’s life and profession.

For greater than seventy years, Penguin has been the main writer of basic literature within the English-speaking world. With greater than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a world bookshelf of one of the best works all through historical past and throughout genres and disciplines. Readers belief the sequence to offer authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished students and modern authors, in addition to up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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  1. Miles

    Not only is it a work of history. It’s a look into the mind of the last Golden Age Emperor of Rome.

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  2. Lexie19

    Love this book

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  3. Tommy M

    Classic book and it’s a penguin edition. Must read for anyone interested in this subject. I highly recommend it cause it’s a penguin edition.

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  4. WING DANG

    Great book

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  5. Cat Shannon

    A Classic nightstand book worth to read a hundred times

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  6. Mary Moser

    The author’s private thoughts on life and his own examination of how to meet daily life in the most positive and understanding way, is well worth examining.

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  7. Mr. M. B. Melia

    Meditations, in its own right, was never meant to be a book in the first place. That’s why I can’t mark it down for its fragmented passages and randomly recurring themes, which are sporadically placed throughout the book. Even with this issue, though, it’s fascinating to remember the author and the conditions under which it was written. Marcus Aurelius, the last of the Five Good Emperors (about 180 A.D.), kept a personal diary while he was on a campaign at war towards the end of his reign. It’s astonishing to recall that this philosophical work was originally solely a personal diary, in which he was reminding himself of his beliefs.Meditations is still a fantastic book that offers deep insight into the nature of the human mind, and of nature itself. It questions and debunks some of the largest fears and desires which we let gain control of ourselves with great prose. His philosophical beliefs are well grounded on Stoic principles, and successfully illuminate themselves by the end of the book.The only problem I had with the book was with its dismal view of human life. I can’t complain, because it’s part of his philosophy, but the book gets pretty dismal at times. But his advice really cheers one up at other points of his work as well.I would recommend this book whether you’re interested in the classics or not. Because it’s timeless nature means that you don’t have to be very familiar with Greek/Roman principles to understand it completely. If you need a book to lift you up, to enlighten you, or to deepen your knowledge of the nature of things, I would highly suggest this book.

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  8. edward padlo

    Timeless- wisdom!

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  9. Jeff_Hall

    I’m new to stoicism and read very little in Roman and Greek classics. I’ve tried several other translations of Meditations, both free and paid, and am happiest by far with the Penguin Classic version/translation. It is easiest to read and comprehend. Highly recommended.

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  10. Gregory Gallegos

    Amazing will change your life

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  11. Chip

    A Classic. I try to read it every ten years.

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  12. Laura James

    Pleased.

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  13. gobroncos6

    I love this book. Marcus Aurelius’ words are as applicable today as they were when he wrote them. Timeless writing.

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  14. rishtey yana

    Can’t go wrong with Penguin. The print is a bit larger than other copy I have of this same book. I needed the larger font!

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  15. Michael Attanasi

    I have not read any other translations of Marcus Aurelius’s Translations, but this is a great translation of a work by one of the few philosophers who feels deeply. Walk along a path with a man who is deeply aware of his own flaws, yet constantly strives to better himself. The book is repetitive and cryptic at times, which is very representative of a writer writing to motivate himself or to help pull himself out of melancholy. I would recommend this book to everybody.The introduction is very rich and an interesting read, and is written in a very winning manner. He goes through great lengths to illuminate the context of the work as well as integrate its into the larger Stoic and philosophical traditions of the time. I learned a lot from it, and it really clarified some of the more obscure passages in the book.The end notes are more like an index, and although a few were helpful, they are generally confusing because of the vast number of intratextual references, but would be great for the reader who wants to cross reference passages or who wants to write a paper on the Meditations.

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  16. Blushpinklover

    I love this book. I can’t make up my mind if I like this or the Gregory Hays translation better.

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  17. Marc

    I looked at a few different versions of the ‘Meditations’ before settling on this one. The translation is contemporary but does not stray too far from its source. There is a lengthy introduction which details the origins of the work and the man himself.

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  18. 101

    Just as promised.

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  19. B. Chudomelka

    I read the book and it has some great insights into character development.

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  20. Amazon Customer

    Book arrived in good condition no problemFound in the pages.

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  21. DAVID DIMICK

    EXCELLENT PHILOSOPHY WE ARE SENDING TO OTHERS WHICH IS WHY WE ORDERED 3 COPIES–THE BOOKS WERE IN PERFECT CONDITION ON ARRIVAL

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  22. Scot Potts

    Meditations was written between 170-180 AD as Emperor Marcus Aurelius lead his troops in the areas currently known as Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. He and his troops were fighting in misty and swampy lowlands against Germanic tribes rebelling against Roman rule when the emperor died, likely of an infectious disease, ending his Meditations. His musings are poignant, deeply insightful, and reveal the central tenets of Stoic thought in the form of daily meditations. This is not a philosophically rigorous treatise but serves as a guide to daily life and is a deep well of psychological insight and moral guidance. The Stoic philosophy guiding the thought of Marcus Aurelius is based on a strong belief in the nobility and importance, as a philosophic first principle, of Nature. Stoics believed that Nature is governed by fundamental laws and is understandable through rational thought. The method of logic could be used to pursue physics (the study of nature) and to guide humans (ethics). Logic urged one to strive to be free from excessive emotion, to be guided by reason and justice, and to treat others with a sense of fairness. Marcus Aurelius saw change as a force of fate and accepted the world he knew as the best of all possible worlds when viewed in the long range. He would argue that the world is well beyond our ability to control and one should rationally accept what it offers up impassively, free from irrational, emotional judgements. The actions of all men with whom he interacted on a daily basis would be included in this outer world in which he was immersed. This would lead him to acceptance of their actions and thoughts as aspects of fate. He might discuss the irrational action of a comrade, but this discussion would occur in a balanced, impartial manner, respectful of larger forces motivating the action. He sought to rise above the turbulence and distortions inherent in emotional reactions, controlling his internal state and the outer reaction that would arises from it. A counter argument to an extreme Stoic position is that disregarding emotions may deprive one of much of life’s richness and pleasures. Approaching music, art, literature, and love from a plateau devoid of emotion may be, in some measure, neither successful nor rewarding. Additionally, the Stoic goal of abandoning an emotional response to the world, abandoning feeling, or at least relegating to unimportance the experience of pain and pleasure both, ignores the reality of the limitations of the human mind. The experience of emotions have the potential to make a positive contribution to our lives. A philosophic system which builds on Stoic control of emotions but recognizes the importance of these emotions and places them in an appropriate relation to logic might more accurately reflect the beauty and constraints of the human condition. The above is a response to an extreme Stoic position. Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations elicits few such reactions in its balanced, calm, and wise aphorisms urging harmony with the people and world surrounding us.

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  23. Irish one

    My favorite ancient era philosopher. You will find things in here that will make you say “I wish I had said that” or “That’s exactly the way I feel.” He lived almost 2000 years ago but his thoughts are timeless.

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  24. ab

    Excellent book

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  25. イライアス

    Much better than the Gregory Hays version. It’s beautiful and of those who complained, either couldn’t or cannot read╰(*’︶`*)╯♡

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  26. AEzernack

    My wife loves it!

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  27. Brian G Smith

    I used to see this book every now and then years ago. I had a chance to buy it when borders bookstore was still around, but didn’t think I would like it. Finally Purchased the book and Audio and I’m glad I did. This book has brought to light things that were troubling me and doubtful about. Will definitely reread this classic again.

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  28. bj

    As always, Penguin produces a wonderful piece of work. The introduction is descriptive,informative and the book is set out in the 12 book chapters.The only negative comment I can come up with, is that the annotated reference set up at the back of the book is not as user friendly as I have experienced with other publishers, for example Oxford Classics.

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  29. Nathan J. Williams

    If you expect this book to be anything but common sense and practical idioms you are mistaken. The genius is this common sense and practical knowledge is tested and elaborated on by the most powerful man on earth at that time and one of the most respected of his empire, a good judge of ethics and morals. Marcus Aurelius neither intended this to be a radical new treatise, or even published for that matter; instead these are the reiterations of a student of Stoicism, reinforcing his willpower in face of his self-acknowledged weaknesses, and in that regard an intriguing, intimate look into one of the few “philospher kings” of Plato’s dreaming.His philosophy, sometimes rambling, often redundant, and idiosyncratic (repetition of the theme of afterlife), is nothing new to anyone who has studied Stoicism. For those unfamiliar, it reads easily and has a non-academic feel without sinking to a “dear diary” sappiness. These are real-life politics and wars he is describing, and he’s the one responsible for pulling the empire through it. The brief maxims and longer diatribes are not profession in nature or necessarily inspiring, but are timeless all the same, and like the Ecclesiastes and the Upanishads, a practical code to follow. A book I will likely come back to again and again.

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  30. David

    Fantastic read. Very interesting.

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  31. Dennis Kuby

    It is an inspiration to read the private thoughts of Rome’s Philosopher King. He remains as relevant in 2007 as he did in 170 AD

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  32. Chris Sampah

    It was awesome. It came with comprehensive notes, and the quality of the read was appreciated. Its split up so one chapter or “Book” doesn’t run on to long, dilating the meaning.

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  33. June

    Marcus Aurelius’s writing are as much for today as when he first penned them. He was one of the great men of history and his wisdom would benefit not only the common man, but our leaders today.

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  34. T. Hooper

    Marcus Aurelius was an emperor of Rome, but this is not what he is remembered for. What really draws us to him is the set of journals which he kept for himself–books which he wrote purely for himself, but which speak to millions even today. These books contained words of wisdom–words that kept him strong in times of stress and danger. One of the primary messages that runs through the book is the idea that all that occurs in life is nothing new. There are many things beyond our control which may cause us stress. However, he puts forth the idea that what causes the stress is not the things that happen to us, but the way in which we react. Instead of complaining about the things we cannot change, we should change how we react to the things that happen to us. In other words, change yourself before you try to change the world. You’ll find it to be much more achievable.I really recommend this book for everyone. In particular, if you are going through any stress in your life, this would provide some support in helping you through tough times. A must-have for every library.

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  35. AFS

    excellent, quick delivery too, difficult title to locate

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  36. Duane

    Reading this book was on a whim and I’m happy I did. He explains his thoughts on how people should live within society and within our own minds in a stoic way. If you’re a Bible reader you can see a lot of the morals that run parallel in many ways.If you’re looking for something both entertaining and thought provoking I really suggest this book!

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  37. Tony

    The book has an introduction, 12 chapters (“12 books”), then a notes section in the back where the author gives his notes on everything. I’ve read through 9 books so far and have enjoyed it so far. I think the introduction and notes in the back aren’t that necessary, so it can be a quick read if you just read Marcus Aurelius’s notes.

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  38. Ernesto M.

    Item is of distinctive quality. Fast to send. Exceptionally comely packaging. Splendiferous service.

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  39. Robert Cone

    It is a great read and makes you stop and think

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  40. Oscar Negron

    is 100% addictive, riding this book is not for the fanti heart but is really good an understanding human nature.

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  41. John J Rambo

    Honestly didn’t understand half of the book and found the other half insanely profound. Great book highly recommend.

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  42. Mezm

    Aside from the deep wisdom Marcus Aurelius imparts in this book; within the historical context of his life, this book tells the story of an ordinary yet extraordinary man who strove to better himself, and struggled with this objective throughout his life.Its insightful and relieving for the reader to be able to comprehend that despite his position in society as emperor, with all the responsibilities he had, he was just a man with the usual assortment of humanly troubles.This is perhaps one of the manliest pieces of literature ever conceived. By one of the greatest examples of a man to ever live.I look to Marcus as a fatherly figure of sorts. Inspirational and endearing. And I return often to the pages of this book.

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  43. KC619

    Buy this- it is fantastic, and will change your life.

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  44. Tony

    The book has an introduction, 12 chapters (“12 books”), then a notes section in the back where the author gives his notes on everything. I’ve read through 9 books so far and have enjoyed it so far. I think the introduction and notes in the back aren’t that necessary, so it can be a quick read if you just read Marcus Aurelius’s notes.

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  45. Jakob

    I like this book

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  46. P. T. Ostiguy

    It is truly a marvel to behold that the human condition is a stale and marveled upon as in the ages of old. And yet we still, in our seemingly relevant aplomb with not only the fabrications of reality that we so violently submit to, that an ancient mind trained and experienced through many stalwarts of confrontation aptly applied the power of his own internal wisdom as a doctrine that was essentially the diary of a man considering his new found powers of mind. “Meditations” is essentially the most necessary read for any individual attempting to cope with the mysteries of our existence. One who, rather than fearing death, needs motivation towards the very facilities of existence. It’s obviousness and contemporary deluge of thoughts so seemingly not lost to time are at the foundation of all individual beings. The read is far from compulsory nor is it stymied in its aims to ascertain a single visage of understanding nor “putting a label upon” the very summations of existence as seen and experienced through his eyes. Marcus is without a doubt one of the first human beings whom successfully captures not only the essence of our existence, but in so doing, provides a compensatory means of communicating within himself the strengths necessary to succeed as all humans should. Filled with anecdote and worthwhile notes, this edition houses a stalwart conversion that preserves not only the beauty of Marcus’s prose but furthers its complexity by providing the means and history to which this ancient individual sought solace not only within himself, but the hope that all, too, could share in a worldly vision as astute, unencumbered, and as truly simple as his own.

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  47. Mark

    I am now nice.

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  48. docduracoat

    One of the best books ever written.The author was the noblest of all the Roman Emperors.This book is a guide to living a good life as defined by stoic philosophy.It is still an excellent instruction manual for how to live a good life, even today

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  49. John L. Haas

    I am not really capable of grasping all there is to make a fair review of this incredible collection of thoughts and ideas by one of the greatest thinkers of all time so will provide a favorite quote from Meditations instead……”The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”

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  50. Creative ReviewsCreative Reviews

    Synopsis:This is a book that everyone needs to read. This is the personal diary of the most important man in the Roman empire at the time it was written. This is the equivalent of being able to read the personal diary of todays world leaders, or top CEO’s and understand their motivations and philosophies. This book does not take long to read, and you can plow through it in about a week with roughly 30 minutes of reading each day. Due to Marcus’ philosophy, he does not use pretentious language, so the book is consumable by a wide audience. Overall, this book is certainly worth the read and it will change how you look at the world, yourself and your actions.The Book:Marcus was born in 121 AD and died in 180 AD, making his writings ~1,800 years old at the time of this review. Mediate on that for a bit…you’re reading the personal diary from a Roman emperor who died almost 2000 years ago. We are incredibly privileged to be able to read such a historical masterpiece. The introduction from the translator is quite long, to the degree that I skipped it as he was consistently making references to the text, of which, I had not read yet. Mediations makes up the minority of the pages, with the majority being the introduction, then the rest being explanations of each verse. The explanations can be helpful in explaining the historical context.Here’s a few heavily summarized topics discussed in the book as a preview:On Perception:Marcus made it his mission to look at the world objectively and for what it truly is, free of personal opinion or emotion. As long as what you were experiencing was within the bounds of what could be expected within the life of a human, it was your perception that made it pleasurable or painful. You could then change your perception on the issue and improve your life.On Religion:Despite being polytheistic, his philosophy on nature centers heavily on a type of worship of Gaia, coming very close to exalting her above Zeus. This is a very fine line he dances, always placing his trust in the Gods who had his best interest at heart, but also blending his knowledge of the natural world. Another peculiarity is that he frequently uses God in the singular form.On Nature:Nature has everyone and everything performing a specific task which contributes to the whole. To determine if something is good or bad, Marcus asks himself if it would harm the wider society. To illustrate, here is a quote from Marcus, “That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for bees”.On Time:Close to the end of the book, and to Marcus’ death, he begins to reflect on his time spent on the earth. Marcus discusses how events repeat themselves and that 40 years of studying the natural world is enough. This is an extremely profound realization, since the reader can draw many parallels from his life, to our modern lives. He makes the bold claim that things never change, and time has proved him right. Marcus eventually died at 58 years of age.

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  51. Antonio

    Definitely was a little hard to read at first but then i fell in love with the book

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  52. C. Anderson

    will make you see things differntly

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  53. StrengthCoach

    This book is a must read, and the translation is good.

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  54. Duane

    Reading this book was on a whim and I’m happy I did. He explains his thoughts on how people should live within society and within our own minds in a stoic way. If you’re a Bible reader you can see a lot of the morals that run parallel in many ways.If you’re looking for something both entertaining and thought provoking I really suggest this book!

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  55. Mike Gala

    Good used book value

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  56. Antonio

    Definitely was a little hard to read at first but then i fell in love with the book

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  57. Michael George

    Marcus Aurelius, one of the Roman emperors, composed a series of writings that we call the “Meditations”, which, however, he had not intended for publication. As private work, the context and meaning, and indeed the subjective tone of some of the writings, are not always conducive to our understanding. There is also the time and cultural differences that bear keeping in mind, that the meditations come to us from almost 2000 years ago. He does focus on much of a general nature that speaks of attitudes about life, his perspective on humanity and his sense of community. Throughout the courses of the writings he repeats themes associated with his concerns toward his fellow human beings, a large perspective in which we see ourselves as tiny social atoms in a cosmic unfolding, a sense of basic decency and kindness, and a sense of unity of ourselves with nature. Overall, one gets communicated a sense of profound respect, decency and nobility, and a sense of his feeling of worth for each individual in a cosmic community. I did not always capture the meaning or intent of his words. So great is the sense of nobility and duty that is communicated in this short book, however, that one’s spirits are almost inevitably drawn toward a very positive outlook, and an intellect that is attempting to encompass in this outlook the manifold possibilities of existence, not just his individual, and quite religious perspective. I felt quite uplifted and inspired by reading the meditations, despite the fact that this Stoic perspective is one with deep roots in a different culture and a distant time. Of course, one acknowledges that the quality and integrity of the translation by Martin Hammond is important. On the other hand, however good the translation, we would inevitably face difficulties in relating to this alien culture.

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  58. ZzzzzzzZzzzzzz

    As the title

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  59. Lexie19

    Love this book

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  60. tariv

    This is an excellent work of philosophy. Marcus’ words have really changed my life and have helped me face myself during a time when I was going through a lot of emotional and psychological turmoil/confusion. His words, ideas, and philosophies encouraged me to face myself, understand my insecurities and fears, and learn how to overcome them.The great thing about ‘Meditations’ is that it is written in aphorisms and as a result, is a very easy read for individuals who don’t have very much time to sit down and read for hours on end. I would read Marcus’ words for 5-20 minutes every night before bed and would wake up the next morning feeling more secure and refreshed than the day before. I will be forever grateful to Marcus for empowering me to accept myself and find it within myself to lead an emotionally and psychologically balanced life.My life is forever changed for the better. Hopefully this collection of “books” will have a similar effect on yours as well.

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  61. Rusne

    Love the classic philosophy. A book that everyone should read.

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  62. Josh

    Book came in great condition and arrived faster than expected

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  63. Brian G Smith

    I used to see this book every now and then years ago. I had a chance to buy it when borders bookstore was still around, but didn’t think I would like it. Finally Purchased the book and Audio and I’m glad I did. This book has brought to light things that were troubling me and doubtful about. Will definitely reread this classic again.

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  64. Greg Taylor

    What makes Meditations an important book is that it provides the opportunity to discuss what it is to be human, to have a soul, to live a good life with one of the most remarkable men in history.Before I get to that I want to second a suggestion made by several reviewers. Use two or more translations when you read the Meditations. I like this Penguin Classics edition. The introduction by Diskin Clay is useful, the translation by Martin Hammond is mostly accurate and his explanatory notes are very useful. There are some solid suggestions for further reading and several useful indices (of Names, of Quotations, and a General Index).My one qualm about the translation is that Hammond sometimes makes the book sound a little Christian. Hammond will use “sin” where other translators (like Farquharson or Frances Hutchinson) would use “impiety” or “harm”. This is decidedly not a Christian text. There is nothing in Marcus Aurelius (MA) of final judgment. There is no reward or punishment for our actions in this life. MA suspends judgments on all sorts of issues. It is clear that he believes in gods and occasionally talks about God (see 12.2). But he also mentions many times the alternative belief that all is chance and that death will be followed by oblivion. It is essential to his ethics however that death is not followed by any sort of hell.Also worth thinking about is whether MA is a man whose philosophy is to be rejected (or, at least, radically modified) because it ultimately makes one less human. With MA, everything is to be thought through with the corrosive that is reason. We must not let our attachments cause us to lose sight of the truth.We may kiss our children good night but we must remind ourselves as we are doing so that they could be dead tomorrow (11.34 in Meditations- this bit of choice advice came from Epictetus)!One point about this is that there is a real conflict in MA with his idea that we should accept everything that the gods see fit to visit upon us (an idea expressed too many times to quote a single source) and his desire to not be effected by any of it. I would argue that true acceptance does not seek invulnerability. True confront embraces vulnerability and fully accepts the whole of our humanity. We have a choice about how we respond to our suffering. MA, at his best, is saying that and pointing out that we can not let our suffering control our actions. At his worst, he sometimes seems to be saying that we can chose not to feel our suffering. He is such a compelling writer that I think it is all too easy to read MA in a way that avoids how radical are some of his ideas.The desire of MA for some sort of emotional invulnerability is part and parcel of his rejection of quotidian experience. He does not seem to have liked or admired many of his contemporaries and he does not seem fond of the simple pleasures of life. His descriptions of sexuality are always mingled with tones of disgust.Where the Meditations may be most useful is when we are dealing with some sort of very extreme situation. There are two Naval Academy essays by John Stockdale about how he survived his imprisonment during the Vietnam War using the philosophy of Epictetus that delve into the full complexity of that philosophy. (These essays are referenced in the intro to the Penguin editionof Epictetus’ writings. You can use the Amazon preview of that book to see the reference.)Does all this mean that I think you should not immediately run out and buy a copy of this book? NO, NO, a thousand times, NO. The Meditations is one of those few books that everyone should read for help in working out their own philosophy. We all have to come to grips with how we want to live our own lives, what values we want to honor and MA is one of the writers who will help you work that out. He belongs in the company of St. Augustine, of Montaigne, of Machiavelli, of Plato, and of the Buddha (among many others- this list is mine own).So, yes, read MA in the Hammond translation by all means. Remember that he wrote this book so that he would have constant and personal reminders to live up to his own philosophy. By reading this book, you may come to some understanding of what it would be like to live up to your own philosophy.

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  65. Humphrey Enobakhare

    I love Marcus books

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  66. sonia fox

    Inspiring.

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  67. Oscar Negron

    is 100% addictive, riding this book is not for the fanti heart but is really good an understanding human nature.

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  68. King Nii

    I really enjoyed reading this book, though it was for school i think i would purchase it for myself if i had the option

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  69. Gio

    This book gives you a whole different perspective on life. Seeing things at face value and not letting your anxieties control you. 10/10

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  70. John J Rambo

    Honestly didn’t understand half of the book and found the other half insanely profound. Great book highly recommend.

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  71. MD

    Well put together. Very interesting, enigmatic man. I think there may be as much myth written about him as fact.

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  72. Rehan Dost

    Marcus Aurelius, philosopher-king of Rome for two decades, preserved his experiences not for posterity but likely for himself. A reminder of things past forming a deeply personal philosophy to guide the future. Solidly founded in Stoicism yet borrowing from cynicism, epicureanism and platonic thought the “Meditations” is a unique man’s thoughts and experiences. Hardly original it is nonetheless, potent and applicable.The main themes of the book can be summed up:Experience as much as you can and interpret these experiences as honestly as you can.Do what you can with what you have been given.Do not fret over that which you cannot control..accept it.Some of my favorite quotes:Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too-ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing early succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth.

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  73. YC

    Just buy it, it won’t disappoint

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  74. Jonathan

    This book and Aurelius has been a near and dear constant companion for me for years. I doubt I’ll ever really stop reading quotes by him or exploring his ideas of life on this earth.His prose is excellent and I largely agree with his personal views on Stoicism and believe it has helped me with my own mental ups and downs.

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  75. Ashley

    Very good read. Break it up and focus on what is being said. You may gain something!

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  76. JM Walecki

    incredible, fascinating and challenging wisdom from almost 2000 years ago recommended for anybody who’s interested in looking at his/ her own values and motivations; this is more than an interesting book, it’s a guide to how to live your life.

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  77. Creative ReviewsCreative Reviews

    Synopsis:This is a book that everyone needs to read. This is the personal diary of the most important man in the Roman empire at the time it was written. This is the equivalent of being able to read the personal diary of todays world leaders, or top CEO’s and understand their motivations and philosophies. This book does not take long to read, and you can plow through it in about a week with roughly 30 minutes of reading each day. Due to Marcus’ philosophy, he does not use pretentious language, so the book is consumable by a wide audience. Overall, this book is certainly worth the read and it will change how you look at the world, yourself and your actions.The Book:Marcus was born in 121 AD and died in 180 AD, making his writings ~1,800 years old at the time of this review. Mediate on that for a bit…you’re reading the personal diary from a Roman emperor who died almost 2000 years ago. We are incredibly privileged to be able to read such a historical masterpiece. The introduction from the translator is quite long, to the degree that I skipped it as he was consistently making references to the text, of which, I had not read yet. Mediations makes up the minority of the pages, with the majority being the introduction, then the rest being explanations of each verse. The explanations can be helpful in explaining the historical context.Here’s a few heavily summarized topics discussed in the book as a preview:On Perception:Marcus made it his mission to look at the world objectively and for what it truly is, free of personal opinion or emotion. As long as what you were experiencing was within the bounds of what could be expected within the life of a human, it was your perception that made it pleasurable or painful. You could then change your perception on the issue and improve your life.On Religion:Despite being polytheistic, his philosophy on nature centers heavily on a type of worship of Gaia, coming very close to exalting her above Zeus. This is a very fine line he dances, always placing his trust in the Gods who had his best interest at heart, but also blending his knowledge of the natural world. Another peculiarity is that he frequently uses God in the singular form.On Nature:Nature has everyone and everything performing a specific task which contributes to the whole. To determine if something is good or bad, Marcus asks himself if it would harm the wider society. To illustrate, here is a quote from Marcus, “That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for bees”.On Time:Close to the end of the book, and to Marcus’ death, he begins to reflect on his time spent on the earth. Marcus discusses how events repeat themselves and that 40 years of studying the natural world is enough. This is an extremely profound realization, since the reader can draw many parallels from his life, to our modern lives. He makes the bold claim that things never change, and time has proved him right. Marcus eventually died at 58 years of age.

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  78. ChelsBels

    Truly beautiful words. I’ve never read anything quite like it. Simple and yet profound . I find that when I read it my mind calms and i am completely relaxed. It’s very interesting to see the ways in which philosophy parallels with religion. I guess if you live long enough and reflect and observe life’s truths are relatively universal.

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  79. Kerry Walters

    I reread Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations every five years or so, and each time I do I’m struck by the sheer pathos of the book. Here’s the most powerful man in the world (of his day), the emperor Marcus Aurelius, absolute sovereign of the western world, a ruler who held the power of life and death over millions of subjects, and moreover a man steeped in philosophy and wisdom traditions–who confronts his own mortality and realizes that even he must die. The Meditations is Marcus’ soul-searching, occasionally disingenuous, usually calm but sometimes panicky panicky effort to come to grips with that sobering fact. If life is ephemeral, even for the world’s most powerful man, how should that life be lived?It’s this intensely human need to figure out what life is about before the inevitable night closes in that makes Marcus’ journals so intensely interesting and valuable to the rest of us. His answers, coming from the philosophical tradition of Stoicism, aren’t for everyone. My guess is that readers with a few years on them will find stoicism more attractive than younger readers who are full of oats and hormones. Marcus argues that that a happy life is one lived in accordance with nature; that living in accordance with nature means cultivating a “just” or rational mind and virtuous behavior that accord with the rationality of creation; that humans are interconnected both with nature and one another, such that no person who tries to deny the connection can live happily or healthily; and that human freedom and happiness is proportionate to the cultivation of apatheia or indifference to those matters over which we have no control (very much like the wisdom expressed in the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths).Ultimately, each person must face death alone, as best he or she can. But if Marcus’s Meditations offer much food for thought, not only about the mortality which we all carry but also about the good life for which we all yearn.

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  80. William V.

    Awesome

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  81. Steiner

    Excellent

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  82. David M.

    I bought three translations of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations: Martin Hammond (Penguin Classics), Robin Hard (Oxford World’s Classics), and Gregory Hays (Modern Library). Each has its merits, but I like Hammond’s the best. What I particularly like about the Hammond edition, besides the piquant and muscular translation itself, are his erudite endnotes. These notes serve as a sort of concordance (tracing themes and threads running throughout the meditations) and commentary. Unlike others, Hammond isn’t afraid to take the occasional critical eye toward the emperor: he notes Marcus’ difficulties maintaining compassion and forbearance toward his fellow human beings, his contradictions, his indulgences, his obsessions, his very human hypocrisies and shortcomings. At the same time, Hammond avoid vulgar cynicism and doesn’t shy away from expressing admiration for Marcus’ many moments of poetic beauty, eloquence, and humility.What emerges is not the lionized “philosopher king” (ala Plato’s Republic), the idealized paragon of Stoic virtue he has become in the public imagination (I like to call this reductionist version of Stoicism “Bro-icism”), but rather a human being struggling everyday to apply rigorous philosophical injunctions to his wayward, often frustratingly recalcitrant humanity and to use that philosophy to assuage his anxieties about public life and the inevitability of death. The Meditations are a rare document, thus, because it preserves the candid struggles of a fallible human being to apply a school of philosophy to his life, rather than the perfected rhetoric and polished dialectic of philosophical treatises.Hays’ translation may be more accessible and Hard’s is occasionally more beautiful, but Hammond’s is the one I feel most accurately represents the contents of this unusual artifact of noble ambition, strife, and suffering. It is the most human of the three, in my opinion.

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  83. Audrey LaGar

    This is a great source because it’s actually written by Marcus Aurelius. It seemed like he hadnt expected his writing to be published with adds to the sincerity. For an emperor, Aurelius dosent talk much about politics. This book is mostly his own personal philosophies and reflections. Classics in translations class at Queens College

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  84. Rusne

    Love the classic philosophy. A book that everyone should read.

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  85. Greg Taylor

    What makes Meditations an important book is that it provides the opportunity to discuss what it is to be human, to have a soul, to live a good life with one of the most remarkable men in history.Before I get to that I want to second a suggestion made by several reviewers. Use two or more translations when you read the Meditations. I like this Penguin Classics edition. The introduction by Diskin Clay is useful, the translation by Martin Hammond is mostly accurate and his explanatory notes are very useful. There are some solid suggestions for further reading and several useful indices (of Names, of Quotations, and a General Index).My one qualm about the translation is that Hammond sometimes makes the book sound a little Christian. Hammond will use “sin” where other translators (like Farquharson or Frances Hutchinson) would use “impiety” or “harm”. This is decidedly not a Christian text. There is nothing in Marcus Aurelius (MA) of final judgment. There is no reward or punishment for our actions in this life. MA suspends judgments on all sorts of issues. It is clear that he believes in gods and occasionally talks about God (see 12.2). But he also mentions many times the alternative belief that all is chance and that death will be followed by oblivion. It is essential to his ethics however that death is not followed by any sort of hell.Also worth thinking about is whether MA is a man whose philosophy is to be rejected (or, at least, radically modified) because it ultimately makes one less human. With MA, everything is to be thought through with the corrosive that is reason. We must not let our attachments cause us to lose sight of the truth.We may kiss our children good night but we must remind ourselves as we are doing so that they could be dead tomorrow (11.34 in Meditations- this bit of choice advice came from Epictetus)!One point about this is that there is a real conflict in MA with his idea that we should accept everything that the gods see fit to visit upon us (an idea expressed too many times to quote a single source) and his desire to not be effected by any of it. I would argue that true acceptance does not seek invulnerability. True confront embraces vulnerability and fully accepts the whole of our humanity. We have a choice about how we respond to our suffering. MA, at his best, is saying that and pointing out that we can not let our suffering control our actions. At his worst, he sometimes seems to be saying that we can chose not to feel our suffering. He is such a compelling writer that I think it is all too easy to read MA in a way that avoids how radical are some of his ideas.The desire of MA for some sort of emotional invulnerability is part and parcel of his rejection of quotidian experience. He does not seem to have liked or admired many of his contemporaries and he does not seem fond of the simple pleasures of life. His descriptions of sexuality are always mingled with tones of disgust.Where the Meditations may be most useful is when we are dealing with some sort of very extreme situation. There are two Naval Academy essays by John Stockdale about how he survived his imprisonment during the Vietnam War using the philosophy of Epictetus that delve into the full complexity of that philosophy. (These essays are referenced in the intro to the Penguin editionof Epictetus’ writings. You can use the Amazon preview of that book to see the reference.)Does all this mean that I think you should not immediately run out and buy a copy of this book? NO, NO, a thousand times, NO. The Meditations is one of those few books that everyone should read for help in working out their own philosophy. We all have to come to grips with how we want to live our own lives, what values we want to honor and MA is one of the writers who will help you work that out. He belongs in the company of St. Augustine, of Montaigne, of Machiavelli, of Plato, and of the Buddha (among many others- this list is mine own).So, yes, read MA in the Hammond translation by all means. Remember that he wrote this book so that he would have constant and personal reminders to live up to his own philosophy. By reading this book, you may come to some understanding of what it would be like to live up to your own philosophy.

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  86. Florida Man

    I read this religiously

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  87. Darryl K. Miller

    Read

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  88. Jwo

    This book is very good. I feel that it applies to everyone and anyone can benefit by reading it. The harder part is to put Marcus Aurelius’s wisdom into practice…

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  89. John Schwenker

    This writing presents Emperor Aurelius’ outlook on how to live life. I have learned a great deal already and I’m not even halfway through. I would recommend this book.

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  90. Pauline Langley

    It has SO many insightful and thoughtful sayings; all relevant even for the present day; some even more so! Very inspiring.

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  91. Jordan

    Fantastic book. Deeply healing and like a set of tools for the ailments of the mind. Be sure to thoroughly study this book in it’s entirety, reference the notes while reading and do not skip the introduction.

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  92. It’s nice to hear a story I can relate to. It is a quick read and gets right to the point without a lot of extra unneeded verbiage. Spiritual and inspiring.

    The most important book you ever read

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  93. Kyle Hall

    This is one of the more interesting philisophical reads from the golden age of the Roman Empire. It’s not an easy text to follow without proper contextual knowledge of Marcus Aurelius, but it does showcase his variation of Stoicism extremely well. It is also very well translated.

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  94. Dante Devon Robertson

    It is great to have the literary works of some of the ancient worlds greatest writers, and thinkers to have with us here today.

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  95. Jason

    Greatest book I’ve ever read. More to learn from this wise old emperor than any holy book. It gives humanists and naturalists a moral code and reasons why we should do the things we do.

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  96. David Abrevaya

    If you are seeking wisdom, Marcus Aurelius is man to seek out. Patience, quality of life, and insight are but a piece of what it means to be wise, to seek real answers pick up meditations.

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  97. ahmed208508

    for what it takes to evolve the directing mind, meditations comes in at a priority.

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  98. Geoff Puterbaugh

    This is a classic of Stoic philosophy, and it is quite close to Buddhism in its insistence on renouncing the pleasures and pains of the world. It is interesting reading — up to a point.Just as a thought experiment: if you invited Marcus to a Thanksgiving dinner, would he participate happily in the feast? Or would he confine himself to a few slices of white meat, with a dour expression showing his disapproval of the feasting idiots? How would he conduct himself at a New Year’s Eve party?Consider the idea that renouncing the world amounts to renouncing life, and that this is no solution at all for the mass of men. More than that, the Stoic renunciation brings no obvious reward (other than moral perfection and, perhaps, a reputation as a prig), while the Buddhist renunciation at least offers the hope of Nirvana.For the average man, it seems quite enough to live a good life and enjoy the pleasures of life when they are available. In fact, the Jewish tradition explicitly condemns those people who only eat a few slices of white meat during a Thanksgiving feast.

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  99. rntmm

    This is my first introduction to Stoic philosophy. Even though this written several thousand years ago, it is very good advice that applies to this day and time, too.

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    Meditations (Penguin Classics)
    Meditations (Penguin Classics)

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