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Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:01 am
by Slipstream
Ayn Rand, was my "epictetus".
Yes you bet, Rand writes a great book, and I think the roots of many libertarian thoughts can be traced back to the Stoics, particularly as they relate to personal freedom.

But I'll take the source any day, and I rely on my Epictetus in times of stress as a reliable and insightful guide. When I'm really stressed and challenged by life and by trading I don't find myself wanting to turn to "Atlas Shrugged" despite the pleasure and insight it has given to me in reading it.

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:25 am
by sluggo
I found Seneca's "Letters from a Stoic" uninspiring, self-aggrandizing, and disappointing, and so I haven't taken up other works of stoicism. Is Epictetus a much better read than Seneca?

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:44 pm
by AFJ Garner
Try Marcus Aurelius - the Meditations. Or for a lighter read altogether, Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full"!

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:08 pm
by AFJ Garner
Having said that I often find I get far more from an intelligent introduction than the text itself which, due to antiquity, complex language, a bad translation or a lack of familiarity with the context in which it was written and of the writer can often prove somewhat unintelligible.

Helen Gardner's introduction to an anthology of the Metaphysical Poets is a case in point. In the case of the Analects of Confucius, I gained no satisfaction whatsoever either from the text or the introduction!

Ah well.

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:46 am
by Slipstream
Or for a lighter read altogether, Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full"!
Yes I was going to mention "A Man in Full" but you beat me too it. Really an excellent read.

Re translations of Epictetus: these are a bit of an issue. I actually like Sharon Lebell's "adaptation" which takes some translation liberties but gets the gist right and is much easier to read than the more classical (and stuffy) translations. To get the most out of it of course one should read a couple of different translations and see the differences.

I came to Epictetus when I read James Stockdale's biography and the story of his years in the Hanoi Hilton where as the senior ranking officer he was responsible for establishing a code of ethics for the captive American pilots, and he based this on Epictetus. When I saw that I thought it was worth reading since it had to be a robust and accessible philosophy. I was not disappointed .
The reason Epictetus is useful for traders is his emphasis on personal responsibility, awareness, elimination of illusion, disregard of outside opinion, self reliance, etc... all the things that help a trader's mental state.

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:59 pm
by Chelonia
I didn´t vote for an inflationary monetary model, but while it´s there i might make the best of it by eploiting it systematically...