In the Introduction to MEDITATIONS ON SELF-DISCIPLINE AND FAILURE: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness, William Ferraiolo asserts that "you may have a very different experience than another reader of the same text." Well-stated and true, I read this 300-paragraph volume of meditations through the lens of a recovering alcoholic and addict.
My own early recovery placed me on the square fuzzily marked 'Cynic' (in the Modern, twisted use of the word cynic, not the classic Cynicism of Ancient Philosophy). My emotional detachment was a direct result of addiction and of hitting bottom, not a part of my essential nature before or after. Years of recovery have helped me to rejoin the human race and brought me to the doorsteps of Stoicism and the Ancient Philosopher Epictetus. The Serenity Prayer, which is part of the last chapter of the last book of MEDITATIONS ON SELF-DISCIPLINE AND FAILURE: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness, is for me a great summary for most of the content of the preceding 29 Books.
Ferraiolo's use of language is polished, the truths exposed, unvarnished. His brilliant use of italics and exclamation points acts to heighten a reader's appreciation of the Narrator's voice. Truly, this book sounds best (My use of italics, pun intended) when read aloud. In fact, it was nearly impossible for me to read from MEDITATIONS... without reading passages aloud to whomever was in earshot!
"Just about anything could (His use of italics, spot on) go wrong" (Book V, Chapter 1) and (Book VI, Chapter 1) "Grow up! Admit that you are no one special" are two short examples of his italics and exclamation point use and brings the Narrator's voice upfront and personal to great effect.
Each reader will find their own quotable clusters of brilliance in MEDITATIONS.... I'll cite "Genuine gratitude is incompatible with arrogance" (Book VI, Chapter 9) and (Book XXI, Chapter 6) "Gratitude must never be far from your mind" as two of my favorite short examples worthy of further Meditation.
This book's prescriptions for a good life, "a life governed by reason," maintain a consistent voice throughout, a string of 300 pearls of wisdom masterfully constructed and delivered with a drumbeat's measured, rhythmic cadence. The Meditations found herein fit snugly into the Self-Help category. As author William Ferraiolo notes, "Stop whining and get to work (Book XXI, Chapter 10)."
Book XXVII, Chapter 6 notes that "Human character has not improved over the ages" and I must insist on adding that this 5***** Star Book is among my favorite reads in a dozen years. I hope that will be YOUR experience, too!
You may also want to read ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO