The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations

  • The Emperor’s Handbook by Marcus Aurelius
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Amazon Price: $22.00 $12.76 You save: $9.24 (42%). (as of March 17, 2018 5:50 am – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

In the tradition of The Art of Living and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations—a practical book of timeless advice from one of the most powerful individuals in history—available for the first time in a highly accessible translation, including several unique features for contemporary readers and users of daily wisdom guides.

Essayist Matthew Arnold described the man who wrote these words as “the most beautiful figure in history.” Possibly so, but he was certainly more than that. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had corrupted many of his predecessors. Marcus knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances, of how to find happiness and peace when surrounded by misery and turmoil, and of how to choose the harder right over the easier wrong without apparent regard for self-interest.

The historian Michael Grant praises Marcus’s book as “the best ever written by a major ruler,” and Josiah Bunting, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, calls it “the essential book on character, leadership, duty.” Never intended for publication, the Meditations contains the practical and inspiring wisdom by which this remarkable emperor lived the life not of a saintly recluse, but of a general, administrator, legislator, spouse, parent, and judge besieged on all sides.

The Emperor’s Handbook offers a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature. It brings Marcus’s words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book belongs on the desk and in the briefcase of every business executive, political leader, and military officer. It speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever exercised authority or faced adversity or believed in a better day.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (November 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743233832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743233835
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces

Customer Reviews

A word of caution

606 people found this helpful.
 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

864 people found this helpful.
 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

328 people found this helpful.
 on May 11, 2014
By Alex
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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

25 people found this helpful.
 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.

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

31 people found this helpful.
 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.

Easy, enjoyable read with practical insights.

6 people found this helpful.
 on January 4, 2018
By College student #1337
The book is a little bit difficult to follow because the text is written as a long series of short statements, which are often rather disparate in their subject matter. Rather than a flowing story or thought, you are provided with an onslaught of often very short sentiments of value, purpose, and wisdom. I enjoyed the book and found the concepts simple and straight forward to apply to every day life. At the risk of perverting or desecrating this great work, I think it would be valuable to have it converted in to one of those “inspirational quote of the day” flip calendars. Someone get on that!

Printed new to fulfill my sale.

7 people found this helpful.
 on January 30, 2018
By Andrew Villain
This translation, by George Long in 1862, although older, is easier to read and comprehend than many newer translations. This includes, in my opinion, the Dover Thrift Edition that is an updated version of this Long translation. It’s a great price to have as your first, primary or supplemental addition of this amazing work.

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

9 people found this helpful.
 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).

Second Sight and Sixth Sense

9 people found this helpful.
 on April 12, 2017
By Kristy Von
This is Marcus Aurelius’, the last of the five great Roman emperors, personal diary which he had written for his eyes only. It is short and easy to read with brilliant insights. Well worth the read. Over the years, I’ve read it three times. Aurelius, such as Aquinas and a Kempis and Augustine, were gifted with second sight and sixth sense in understanding human nature.

One of the best books I have ever read.

2 people found this helpful.
 on December 17, 2017
By PsychoSchematics
“The best antidote for outer turmoil is inner peace.”
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