Podcast: Stoicism and the Art of Manliness

It was my pleasure to be interviewed recently by Brett McKay for the hugely popular Art of Manliness podcast. Brett asked me some very insightful questions about my latest book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. The Art of Manliness has covered Stoicism in the past, including interviews with Ryan Holiday and William Irvine.

You can listen to the podcast via the Art of Manliness website, and on PlayerFMStitcher, Soundcloud, and Apple Podcasts.

We begin our conversation discussing the history of Stoicism and the overlooked beliefs the Stoics had. We then discuss the end goal of Stoicism and how it differed from other ancient philosophies like Aristotelian virtue ethics. Donald then explains the Stoic approach to emotions and the common misconceptions people have about Stoicism in that regard. We then dig into Stoic practices taken from Marcus Aurelius and discuss how modern cognitive psychology backs them up. Donald shares how the Stoics used language and daily meditations to manage their emotional life, and how they went about the psychology of goal-setting and dealing with success and failure.

Show Highlights

  • The origins of Stoicism — Where did it start? Who were the founders?
  • Comparing Stoicism to Aristotelian ethics
  • How did the Stoic way differentiate between good and bad actions?
  • The connection between Stoicism and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 
  • The Stoic approach to emotions (and misconceptions about it) 
  • How our language can help us manage our emotions 
  • How Stoics view anger and why they use so much space talking about it
  • Marcus Aurelius’ story, including his circuitous route to becoming emperor 
  • On catastrophizing 
  • What does Stoic meditation look like?
  • Was the Apostle Paul a Stoic?
  • What do Stoics say about changing or moderating our desires?
  • What about worry and anxiety?
  • Balancing successful outcomes with successful tactics (and dealing with setbacks)

​Read more on the Art of Manliness website.  Hope you enjoy!  Please feel free to leave comments – I’m always pleased to read your thoughts.

Regards,

Donald Robertson​

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  1. Manliness, really? I’m all in favour of men being encouraged to live with some sort of moral compass, but what about the rest of us?

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