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  • Meditations Dover Thrift Editions
  • Meditations Dover Thrift Editions
  • Meditations Dover Thrift Editions
  • Meditations Dover Thrift Editions
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  • Meditations Dover Thrift Editions
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One of the world's most famous and influential books, Meditations, by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121–180), incorporates the stoic precepts he used to cope with his life as a warrior and administrator of an empire. Ascending to the imperial throne in A.D. 161, Aurelius found his reign beset by natural disasters and war. In the wake of these challenges, he set down a series of private reflections, outlining a philosophy of commitment to virtue above pleasure and tranquility above happiness.
Reflecting the emperor's own noble and self-sacrificing code of conduct, this eloquent and moving work draws and enriches the tradition of Stoicism, which stressed the search for inner peace and ethical certainty in an apparently chaotic world. Serenity was to be achieved by emulating in one's personal conduct the underlying orderliness and lawfulness of nature. And in the face of inevitable pain, loss, and death — the suffering at the core of life — Aurelius counsels stoic detachment from the things that are beyond one's control and a focus on one's own will and perception.
Presented here in a specially modernized version of the classic George Long translation, this updated and revised edition is easily accessible to contemporary readers. It not only provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind and personality of a highly principled Roman of the second century but also offers today's readers a practical and inspirational guide to the challenges of everyday life.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048629823X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486298238
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

A word of caution

286 people found this helpful.
 on July 23, 2016
By Nom de Bloom
Amazon lumps different translations together as merely variations on how the book is delivered. In this case, the Hays translation is the hardcover, while the authors who translated the paperback and Kindle versions aren’t specified. So use the tools available (look inside, free sample) to get an idea of the language used by the author and see if it’s something you’d like to read, or if a different translation suits you better.

It’s worth trying different translations

576 people found this helpful.
 on September 25, 2013
By davidhmorgan
I don’t know who did the translation for this one but I found it very difficult to follow. This prompted me to look around and I found another translation by George Long (Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 1862). Even though it’s not a recent translation, Long’s version is often easier to understand. Compare the translations of the first paragraph for example:

Meditations – 5stars

163 people found this helpful.
 on May 11, 2014
By Alex
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations is without a doubt a must read for anyone …

 on September 28, 2017
By john134
Meditations is without a doubt a must read for anyone interested in human behavior and the Stoic school of philosophy. While parts may be difficult to understand the book taken in whole provides marvelous insight into human behavior. Marcus has given us a way to see life, our role in our lives, and our role in other people’s lives.

As someone who’s engaged in a similar journaling practice for …

 on October 15, 2017
By Todd X
As someone who’s engaged in a similar journaling practice for 15-years, I partly read it to sniff for similarities….as far as could possibly exist between myself and a Roman emperor! I was surprised to find quite a few. Beyond that, this is of course a classic that’s full of timeless self-awareness and wisdom. Sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind that these were written as a journal; when he says “you”, he was speaking of himself. I periodically found myself having to check and adjust the perspective.

New Translation

8 people found this helpful.
 on May 3, 2011
By Marshall Crutcher
The Meditations was the first philosophy book I randomly pulled of my parents’ shelves when I was a boy of 12. It was a marvel for me, with the short paragraphs of advice and humble insights from a Roman emperor writing by lamplight in his campaign tent. It seemed penned directly to me from over 2000 years ago. Magic. The irony of my adolescent romance with a stoic has amused me since, but there is some logic to it, as I was then starting to manage my own thinking and hormones at the same time while looking for form and guidance from the word outside my immediate family. The paragraphs were short, and I was inspired that I had discovered this dusty old book, so I could excavate my youthful way through the older, stiffer translation.

This is a classic for a reason.

One person found this helpful.
 on February 24, 2017
By Billy Rubin
This is a classic for a reason. I didn’t like it at first because I blew through it. Later I picked it up again and read it slowly to give it time to sink in. I’m glad I did.

Indispensable after 2000 years

 on March 12, 2017
By VeryBadChessPlayer
This book is in my view indispensable to anyone’s development of political and social philosophy. It is translated in a manner in which it is easy to understand but it’s simple phrasing doesn’t detract from the power of the ideas being propagated. It comes across as merely a soliloquy on Aurelius’s findings during his life, but everyone can learn something powerful from his ideas.

A timeless book

One person found this helpful.
 on July 27, 2015
By R. Foshee
While I’ve not read any other translations of Meditations, I think that the Hays translation will be the easiest one for most people to read and understand, these days. It’s definitely written in a much more modern language that, while it’s not 100% the same thing that Aurelius wrote, Hays gets the point across effectively. You MUST read the lengthy introduction by Hays to help understand these types of linguistic liberties taken, and to also understand why there are particular omissions in the text itself.

One of the best, most useful books I’ve ever written.

One person found this helpful.
 on January 28, 2017
By Lucas Weismann
Worth taking his recommendations to heart and changing your life to make it fit. An atheist might see it as all of the good stuff from Buddhism without all the woo-woo stuff.