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Discourses and Selected Writings

The Discourses are a series of 5 books of which only 4 exists today by a student of Epictetus who has written down the teachings and philosophy of Epictetus. Epictetus are one of the most prominent philosophers of stoicism and was born a slave. While being a slave he was permitted to attend lectures which led him to become a stoic. When he was freed he went to Greece and opened a philosophy school.

The Discourses and fragments are incredibly powerful resources to use in your own life. While it is not as readable as Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations or Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic. I do however feel that I gained more from the Discourses than any of the other books. The tone of the Discourses are more academic than either Meditations or Letters from a Stoic but if that does not deter you then it is an excellent read. Each chapter of the four books have their own theme and can be read self-contained. Throughout the book are the Stoic principles outlined and demonstrated such as the use of impressions, how reason is the greatest gift we have, how we must not fear death or generally fear anything outside our own control. The style of the books varies from purely being an explanation of how to live to being arguments on why we should live like a Stoic and is very thought provoking.

The Discourses might drag on in some places but overall it is an excellent book and if you have read Meditations and Letters from a Stoic I would highly recommend that you also read The Discourses.

5 out of 5 stars.