Review – How to Grow Old
Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life
by Marcus Tullius Cicero
Princeton University Press, 2016
Review by Bob Lane, M.A.
May 1st 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 17)
First, this is a beautiful little book. It looks serious but accessible, important but human sized. Second, Freeman presents the reader with Cicero’s “ancient wisdom for the second half of life” in a new and excellent translation with the original facing the English translation.
In a way, I suppose, this is the ultimate “self-help” book, since each of us must and will face our own personal death some day and in some way. The introduction tells us of the time (45 BCE) when Cicero, the famous Roman orator and statesman, was alone and growing old. He had lost his daughter to an early death, and lost his place in the government because he had refused to support the new dictator, Julius Caesar. He left Rome to retreat to his country estate. But, instead of committing suicide or disappearing in a wine jug, he chose to continue his intellectual pursuits by continuing his study of Greek philosophy and literature.