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I did enjoy Seneca, but not nearly as much as the other ancient Stoics, Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius. He was a little annoying sometimes, actually--as many teetotalers and vegetarians tend to be. He did have the occasional gem of wisdom, but a lot of this book he just seemed to ramble and rant. He also had a very pietistic, spiritualized sort of Stoicism which looked forward to some kind of heathen heaven, as opposed to the more practical, down-to-earth Stoicism of Marcus Aurelius, which was disappointing. He was clearly thinking more of the sweet by and by than really working to improve the "hic et nunc" (here and now.)
Interesting as a "view from Trump tower", or the equivalent in Rome. But the tutor of Nero and solid member of the political CPAC of richest men in the Empire .... a "stoic"?? Nonetheless his observations tho' not novel are an interesting glimpse of how king-makers thought ... and still think. The ultimate yes-man: committed suicide the third time he was ordered to do so ... and made a botch of it.(Not described in this book, obviously.) A modern biography will serve better our interest.
This is heavily skewed from the original letters from a stoic. The translator did a good job at modernizing the text but so much is lost. The original is Seneca writing down notes and talking about his life his wisdoms and emotions no translator can regurgitate that and get the same point across. The original is harder to read yes but once you understand the wording it’s beautiful and you feel connected to what you’re reading. I don’t feel that way with this translation. When I read it I don’t hear Seneca. Should be advertised as a translation.
Generally I liked this book, because of the variety of topics, but that was also why I didn't like it so much. There are some lessons for living based on stoic beliefs, which I think still apply in our day and age. In fact I was quite amazed that the text that was written so long ago is still relevant today. Seneca writes in a very concise and lucid language, so everything is clear. He doesn't go into philosophical rants that put you to sleep. I just wish that there were more letters or a better selection of letters in the tome so that some topics wouldn't repeat so much
Disappointed in editor/publisher. Absolutely awful job of editing grammar and punctuation. I'm not the worlds biggest grammar Nazi, but at times I found it difficult to focus due to glaring punctuation and grammar issues stealing my focus. My eighth grade english teacher would have ripped me apart for writing like this.