My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Review: Stoicism Collection: Meditations, On the Shortness of Life, and Enchiridion

Stoicism Collection: Meditations, On the Shortness of Life, and Enchiridion Stoicism Collection: Meditations, On the Shortness of Life, and Enchiridion by Marcus Aurelius
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recognizing that these are reconstructed classics, there really isn’t much to critique outside of organization/structure and delivery … with the primary compliant being the rather useless chapter designations.  Next would be production quality … for which there are occasions of skips, repeats and other errors that should have been caught with a good editorial process.  The work opens with an Introduction (Chapter 2) to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (Chapter 3-14) and a comparison of Stoicism and Christianity … (specifically Meditations vs Imitation of Christ) … using Ye Fancy Olde English Thees and Thous (which comes across as an irritating affectation) although is probably a factor of the translation used (Project Gutenberg 17th century).  Still, it was a good summary of the basics of Stoic Philosophy.  Each book barely has any topical organization, being more a collection of personal musings (think personal diary).  Next up is the essay on the Shortness of Life by Seneca … with each chapter representing a very short paragraph (why can’t these all be in one chapter).  The most interesting to me was the “Handbook” … a collection of maxims and precepts in 52/3 chapters spread across 4 sections.

Chapter 01-15: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (12 Books about 25 mins ea)

Chapter 16-37: On the Shortness of Life by Seneca (20 Chapters)

Chapter 38-90: Enchiridion [Handbook] by Epictetus (53 Chapters)

  • Chapters 39/1–59/21. What is up to us and not, and how to deal with external things
1–2. What is up to us and not, and the consequences of choosing either.
3–14. How to deal with external things (reining the reader in from them)
15–21. How to use external things correctly and without disturbance.
  • Chapters 60/22–66/28. Advice for intermediate students.
22–25. The problems faced by intermediate students.
26–28. Miscellania: the common conceptions, badness, and shame.
  • Chapter 67/29  Discourse on Training
  • Chapters 68/30–85/47. Technical advice for the discovery of appropriate actions (kath─ôkonta).
30–33. Appropriate actions towards (a) other people, (b) God, (c) divination, (d) one's own self.
34–47. Miscellaneous precepts on justice (right actions).
  • Chapters 86/48–90/52. Conclusions on the practice of precepts.
48. Final advice and his division of types of people.
49–52. The practice of precepts.

I was given this free advance listener copy (ALC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#StoicismCollection  #AudibookFree 

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.