The real work of Epicureanism, then, is cataloguing, organizing, and minding the store of our desires. Remember that Epicurus doesn’t think happiness results from mere subtraction of corrosive desires. We must keep the store stocked with necessary items, which means devoting the time and energy we once expended in corrosive arenas to cultivating the prudence, habits of mind, knowledge, virtuous dispositions, and close relationships with like-minded people that make tranquility possible for creatures like us.
— Emily A. Austin, Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life
I must admit, my ataraxia had been chronically ruffled by my inability to find a pleasurable book about Epicurus to read. I was being deprived of the literary companionship of one of my closest philosophical friends, you might say, and we know how much value Epicurus places on friendship. Thankfully, Austin’s book came along to calm my troubled waters and serve as a corrective to Catherine Wilson’s book of a few years ago. Austin is conversational without oversharing, funny without forcing it, and thankfully, her attempts to make Epicurean perspectives relevant to current issues are only lightly applied, so we are blessedly spared from hearing what “Epicurus” would have thought of Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter, Greta Thunberg, or Elon Musk’s stewardship of Twitter. This is one of those rare books about philosophy which I eagerly looked forward to picking up again each night.