When I first came across "The Ten Golden Rules: Ancient wisdom from the Greek philosophers on living the good life," I thought the book would be an interesting self-help book. My assumption was that the book would be used as a guide to living "the good life" with philosophies that could be applied to any person. The concept is to employ the theories of the antiquity on contemporary life in a manner that serves as handbook for self discovery.
Authors Michael A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas begin the book with ten rules adopted from the teachings of ten Greek philosophers. Each successive chapter begins with a case study of a person who life is in opposition to the rule and one whose life illustrates the rule. The first rule, "Examine Life," is inspired by Plato and his classic quote, "The unexamined life isn't worth living." The subsequent pages attempt to explain the foundation of the rule.
In my opinion, the book contains a handful of useful nuggets of wisdom, such "cross examining life is an act of courage," (p.8) and the philosophy of ataraxia (a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity) but are unfortunately surrounded by cliched illustrations. For example, rule three is "Treasure Friendship." The case studies describe two women, one whom lives a life filled with expensive clothes, dinners, and short term romantic relationships, and can name dozens of people as her friends, while the other lives a very "g-rated" life an has only two friends.
While I agree that the acquaintance-ships or "utility friendships," as the authors refer to them, might not enhance one's life, I disagree with their constant preference of living very modestly in terms of finance and friendships, that by living minimally, one's life will be enriched. To be fair, the authors do not advocate living in poverty as a means to genuinely appreciating life, but each case study and its analysis favors living with less in all aspects of life.
Not including the preface and introduction, the book totals one hundred pages. Perhaps if the authors had more thoroughly developed their ideas about Greek philosophy and its application to modern life, I would have a clearer understanding about how to utilize the wisdom of the ancient Greeks. Unfortunately, I feel like the book was published before the final draft was written.
I would not discourage anyone from reading "The Ten Golden Rules: Ancient wisdom from the Greek philosophers on living the good life," but I would advise you to keep your expectations low. Noteworthy is the the most honest rating for "The Ten Golden Rules: Ancient wisdom from the Greek philosophers on living the good life."
For product information...
The Ten Golden Rules: Ancient wisdom from the Greek philosophers on living the good life
Michael A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas
Hampton Roads Publishing
Hardcover- April 10, 2009