How to Drink Like a Roman Emperor: Stoicism as The Serenity Prayer on Steroids

Every so often I receive emails from people who have struggled to cope with their own alcoholism or that of their loved ones. They tell me how they’ve found great support and consolation in the writings of ancient Stoic philosophers, such as The Meditations of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The ones who have experience of the Twelve Step Program know that The Serenity Prayer, made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous, neatly encapsulates one of the most characteristic doctrines of Stoic philosophy.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus taught his students the same thing:

What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally happens. — Discourses, 1.1

Read the rest of this article on Medium.

🎧 Listen to “Decoding the Mind of a Stoic Emperor”

I just recorded a new podcast on Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism for the High Existence website.

Listen to Decoding the Mind of a Stoic Emperor

The Stoics can teach you how to find a sense of purpose in life, how to face adversity, how to conquer anger within yourself, moderate your desires, experience healthy sources of joy, endure pain and illness patiently and with dignity, exhibit courage in the face of your anxieties, cope with loss, and perhaps even confront your own mortality while remaining as unperturbed as Socrates.

Save 35% off How to Think Like a Roman Emperor on Amazon US

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

Save 35% off the list price if you order the best selling hardback now from Amazon US. Also available in audiobook and ebook formats.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius was a #1 best seller in philosophy, has been nominated for two literary awards, and has received an average five star rating from reviewers on Amazon, leading it to be listed as one of their “top-rated” ancient philosophy titles by Amazon. The audiobook edition also became a best seller on Audible.

Robertson distills the emperor’s philosophy into useful mental habits… displays a sound knowledge of Marcus’ life and thought… accessible prose style contributes to its appeal… a convincing case for the continuing relevance of an archetypal philosopher-king.

The Wall Street Journal

You can now preview the Kindle version via the link below:

Series of Talks on Stoicism at Toronto Public Libraries

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to deliver a series of talks at several of the public libraries in my home city of Toronto. Follow the links below for more information…

  1. Fort York Library, Tuesday 9th July, 6.30-8pm
  2. Toronto Reference Library, Thursday 22nd August, 2-3.30pm
  3. Lillian H. Smith Library, Wednesday 11th September, 6.30-8pm

I’ll be adding more information closer to the events.

Stoicon-x Toronto

Save the date! The Toronto Stoics are hosting Stoicon-X on September 8th.

Toronto is at the heart of the Stoicism movement, with the world’s largest actively philosophizing Stoic group. Stoicon-X events are annual conferences organized around the world. The theme for this year’s conference in Toronto is PRACTICE. Stoicism is a highly practical philosophy. It is meant to be put into action and it is not designed for those who prefer to stay on the armchair. However, since the majority of the ancient texts are missing, we are uncertain of how the Stoics actually practiced.

The Modern Stoic movement has found itself and is now in the process of discovering and developing ways to practice both individually and collectively. This year’s conference is meant to continue this discussion.



  • “How to Be a Stoic When You Don’t Know How” presented by Chuck Chakrapani
  • “The View from Above: A Transformation of Perspectival and Participatory Knowing” presented by John Vervaeke
  • “How to Practice like a Roman Emperor” presented by Donald Robertson
  • “How to Thrive in a World out of Your Control, One Practical Exercise at a Time” presented by Massimo Pigliucci


9:00AM – 9:30AM – Registration

9:30AM – 12:00PM – Morning sessions/presentations

12:00PM – 1:15PM – Lunch (on your own)

1:15PM – 4:00PM – Afternoon sessions/presentations plus StoicTalks

4:00PM and Beyond – The Afterparty AKA “The Drunken Symposium”

First 300 Reviews of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, my sixth book, came out in April. It’s now been rated/reviewed over 300 times on Goodreads. It has also been reviewed in several publications, including The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Robertson […] 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. As an introduction to Stoic philosophy, it’s hard to beat the “Meditations,” which deserve to be read ahead of any commentary on them. That said, Mr. Robertson’s book succeeds on its own terms, presenting a convincing case for the continuing relevance of an archetypal philosopher-king.

You can read some of the latest Goodreads reviews below…