Dozens of self-help volumes and much of Rational Emotive therapy are at least mildly plagiarizing the insights in Epictetus’ The Art of Living . I especially value the book for its clarity, wisdom, and emphasis on treasuring time.
In a few pages it improves your reflection about the meaning of life, the complexity of happiness and, most importantly, the mandate to not allow mass opinion to shape your behavior. Just as Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius packs sparkling advice into tiny packages, Epictetus provides a model for sparse, effective prose.
Almost perversely. I learned a lot from Epictetus because at times he annoyed me so sharply. His Platonism is commonplace and disappointing. His sense of universal truths is pronounced and reminds us that great minds are also sharply flawed minds because they share our humanity.