It has become conventional to think of the ethical life as one lived in compliance with abstract and universalistic moral rules. But there is another view represented by the ancient tradition of virtue ethics: that the ethical life is all about cultivating a better self through a commitment to personal excellence and self-overcoming.
‘Just as in the parable of the boiling frog who does not perceive the gradual increase in the temperature of the water and is boiled alive, so we have by steady increments lost much of our liberty without realizing it. The works in this book cannot give that back; what they can do is to raise our consciousness of the many alternative paths we could have taken—and perhaps, if we have nerve enough, still can take.‘
“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.”
“What you hold in your hands is a handbook for living: it is an account of how the greatest minds have spoken to us on how to grow and prosper as flesh-and-blood human beings.”