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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

 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

 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

 on May 11, 2014
By Alex
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

and Socrates is my great uncle and Thales is my grand father

 on March 7, 2017
By The M4chin3
I am sincerely pissed that I was not provided a copy of this as a kid growing up. I have devised a work around to the whole “Not growing up with a father figure” issue. I have decided that Marcus Aurealis is my actual father, and Socrates is my great uncle and Thales is my grand father. I realize this sounds nutty to read but I honestly feel more in common with these thinkers then the absent XY chromosome donor.

Excellent Edition of the Greatest Text Ever Written

 on July 9, 2016
By Chauncey
First, do we all recognize that the author of this text, Marcus Aurelius, was a Roman Emperor? If so, why have I not been forced to read this from a young age? This is quite possibly the most insightful, existential book I’ve ever read. Emperor Aurelius has given us wisdom in its purest form. This should be a manual for every human’s life. Every sentence is mind-numbingly profound. This book is so good, that I might just have the entire text tattooed on my body. I cannot stress enough that the sagacity of this book is beyond what I have ever read. Definitely a must-read and a must-live-by.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read about anything

 on May 27, 2016
By Stoic in Training
You could go your whole life reading the Meditations and Seneca’s letters and still not understand Stoicism the way Hadot can teach you in 300 pages. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read about anything; it is a true masterpiece and a shame that so few people will ever read it. Do yourself a favor and dive in.

This is a book everybody ought to read. And reread. But there are problems…..

 on October 9, 2015
By chucksville
There are a lot of translations of the Meditations out there and most of them are very difficult to read. This is because the translators are doing their best to provide the reader with a translation that is faithful to the original language, which was, I believe, Ancient Greek (which seems kind of odd, considering he was a Roman).

He speaks to us all

 on March 2, 2017
By R S
This is a book you don’t read in 4-5 hours cover to cover and move on. It’s a philosophy. I reread passages, and am on chapter/book 3 right now. Learn and apply. Tame yourself and conquer the world. Excellent book, timeless. He speaks to us all.

One of the Greatest Stoic Philosophers

 on August 23, 2017
By Jose
A hard read, though it is only 93 pages (the Meditations themselves, excluding introduction and notes). Do not however, concern yourself with the stylistic choices of the translation, though at times it may be confusing or simply bland. You cannot blame the translator for translating the Meditations, and you cannot blame Marcus for writing his journal his way, without ever believing anyone else would read it, for that does not matter. I have no criticism, simply I point out this book is not a light read.

Might as well enjoy life

 on July 17, 2017
By tavodu
There are many self-help books, but this is more about (what SHOULD be) common sense and little things to remember throughout your days.