Epictetus's "Enchiridion" ("The Manual") is a book about living as a stoic. This book was used as a manual for Roman Centurions and has influenced the lives of many ancient and modern people. It teaches you to deal with hardships and the dissappointments that one encounters in daily life. The stoic philosophy from the Enchiridion helped people like VADM James Stockdale deal with years of captivity in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Basically, the idea behind stoicism is that people can achieve virtue and excellence by concentrating their efforts on what they can control and being indifferent to what they cannot. Unlike Epicurianism, stoicism holds that people are supremely reasonable and that happiness is the result of virtue, honor and conformity to the way of the world. This philosophy was respected by early Christians, and emperors like Marcus Aurelius (The old king in the movie "Gladiator" and a stoic philosopher himself). The translation by George Long is second to none. This book is a valuble handbook for life in modern times and with only 43 pages, it is densely packed with simple ideas for being a better person. I have read it over a dozen times and each time I learn something else about myself and about life. It is a particularly valuble philosophy for members of the military because it explains how to gain control despite overwhelming odds and lack of personal authority. I would recommend this small book to every student of Greek Philosphy and anyone who desires to be a virtuous and successful person.
This short book is a gem of Stoic philosophy, whose origin is the ancient Greece, but whose most powerful expression is achieved in the Roman Empire at the time when it was already on the decline. Epictetus gives us terse and to the point Stoicism--a philosophy of unperturbed mind and calm rationality. The book is written aphoristically, yet it is a smooth read. You can also clearly see similarities between the Stoic and Christian world views after you read this book. I highly recommend it.