An immense dose of Epictetus would do us all a great deal of good, and I am grateful (beyond irony) to Tom Wolfe for reviving Epictetus - Harold Bloom. So what makes the writings of this former slave so powerful today? Epictetus observed that although everyday life is fraught with difficulty, a life of virtue is within reach. He dedicated his life to outlining the simple way to happiness, fulfillment, and tranquility. By putting into practice the 93 witty, wise, and razor-sharp instructions that make up The Art of Living , readers learn to gracefully meet the challenges of everyday life as well as life's inevitable major losses and disappointments.
Epictetus (circa 55-135 ce) taught in Rome until the year 94 ce, when Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from the city. In exile, he established a school of philosophy where his distinguished students included Marcus Aurelius, author of Meditations. Some 1,863 years after Epictetus's death, Tom Wolfe revived his philosophy in the bestselling novel A Man in Full. Sharon Lebell is a philosophical writer and musician who lives in Northern California. She also produced Epictetus's A Manual for Living.