The New York Times

Self-Help, Ancient Greek Style

ARISTOTLE OFFERS A WAY FORWARD TO A WELL-BALANCED AND HAPPY LIFE.

“Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life”

By Edith Hall

254 pages. Penguin Press. $27.

Three years ago, New Year’s came and I promised to eat only organic. I lasted two weeks. A year ago, I resolved to run before dawn and take a cold shower every morning. That lasted two days. This year, I don’t have a resolution. Instead I read Edith Hall’s “Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life,” and concluded I probably didn’t have to undergo some painful — and therefore temporary — transformation to remake my life. I just had to put some sustained effort into being properly happy.

There is a pernicious, but widely held, belief

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