Here’s the transcript of an interview I did recently for Wharton business school radio, along with the transcript.
Discussion of Stoicism on the Hidden Why Podcast.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic of antiquity. His personal reflections on applying Stoic philosophy to daily life, The Meditations, begin with a chapter contemplating the virtues of his family members and most cherished tutors, including his mother, Domitia Lucilla.
There’s something unusual about the final chapter of my latest book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. It describes the dying moments of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius from his own, first person, perspective. It was deliberately intended to resemble a guided meditation script, with the knowledge in mind that some people would be listening to it on audiobook. I’m pleased that people have noticed this. Some have said they’ve listened to it repeatedly, maybe five or six times already.
At first my publisher considered using voice actor to record the audiobook but we finally decided that I should record it myself. So I went to Voodoo Highway studios in Toronto. It had to be completed quickly because I was due to fly to Carnuntum in Austria. So we had some long recording sessions, maybe eight or more hours more or less straight at the microphone. On the final day, I brought my suitcase and after we finished I jumped in a taxi straight to the airport.
The audiobook version, available from Audible, has been extremely popular and has already been reviewed by well over a hundred individuals. The overall rating currently stands at 4.8 out of five stars. You can read the reviews online. A lot of people have told me they purchased both the hardback and audiobook versions.
You can also listen to a sample clip from the audiobook using the Soundcloud app below…
I’m trying out Medium so I’ve written a sort of dummy’s guide to Stoicism, which you can read there…
How Think Like a Roman Emperor:
The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian – taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day – through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. Robertson shows how Marcus used philosophical doctrines and therapeutic practices to build emotional resilience and endure tremendous adversity, and guides readers through applying the same methods to their own lives.
Combining remarkable stories from Marcus’s life with insights from modern psychology and the enduring wisdom of his philosophy, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor puts a human face on Stoicism and offers a timeless and essential guide to handling the ethical and psychological challenges we face today.
Donald Robertson is a cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist, trainer, and writer. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and after living in England and working in London for many years, he immigrated to Canada where he now lives in Toronto.
Robertson has been researching Stoicism and applying it in his work for twenty years. He is one of the founding members of the non-profit organization Modern Stoicism.
As he shares fragments from Marcus’ life, Mr. Robertson distills the emperor’s philosophy into useful mental habits… [and] displays a sound knowledge of Marcus’ life and thought. The author’s accessible prose style, well-suited for recounting both philosophical concepts and arcane Roman history, contributes to its appeal.Benjamin Shull, The Wall Street Journal
A fascinating history of Aurelius and his beliefs, and an insightful consideration of how they inform the practice of modern mindfulness.Publishers Weekly
…a wonderful introduction to one of history’s greatest figures: Marcus Aurelius. His life and this book are a clear guide for those facing adversity, seeking tranquility and pursuing excellence.Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of The Obstacle is The Way, and The Daily Stoic
Donald Robertson is one of the leading lights behind the modern Stoicism movement. He’s also a cognitive behavioral therapist with a strong background in ancient philosophy. This book is an unusual combination of biography and self-help. By following Marcus’s life and his own progress in the study and practice of Stoicism, Robertson introduces the reader to the philosophy, the exercises, and how to make both of them relevant to life in the twenty-first century.Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez, A Handbook for New Stoics (2019)
How To Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius
St. Martin’s Press, April 2, 2019
Hardcover | 304 pages | 9781250196620 | $36.50
Follow our Facebook event page for the forthcoming talk and book signing event about How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius at Ben McNally books in Toronto.
To celebrate the birthday of Marcus Aurelius on 26th April, I’m giving away a couple of free copies of my new book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. All you have to do is follow my Amazon author page to enter. (Only residents of the US are eligible, unfortunately, because it’s an Amazon.com offer.) Offer ends 25th April.
Just click the link below now and follow the instructions to enter…
I haven’t really had a chance to announce this properly yet because I’ve been so busy with other work but a few months ago I updated my Patreon page. I now publish an exclusive monthly web comic for my patrons about Socrates, Stoicism, or some related aspect of ancient philosophy, accompanied by my written comments. There’s also a monthly video where I discuss related topics, for subscribers on a higher tier.
If you’re interested you can follow me on Patreon or even become a patron for access to exclusive content posted there:
This is just a sample panel from the start of the most recent web comic. Subscribers can read the rest of the strip on my Patreon page.