Learning More about Stoicism

This isn’t a course on the history or theory of Stoic philosophy or a general introduction to the subject.  It assumes no prior knowledge but it focuses on a specific handful of key Stoic practices.  You don’t need to know anything else about Stoicism to take part.  However, it will probably help if you do want to find out more. Although it’s not essential, therefore, doing some additional reading about Stoicism may help you to better understand their philosophy and practices and to get more benefit out of this training.

For example, one of the most common misconceptions about Stoicism is that it requires us to be completely unemotional.  That’s not really what the Stoics meant, though.  Instead, they taught that we should aim to overcome irrational, unhealthy, or excessive fears and desires, etc.  In fact, Marcus Aurelius went so far as to describe the goal of Stoicism as being “free from irrational passions and yet full of love” or natural (philanthropic) affection for the rest of mankind.

[q_question text=”There are many good books available. We’d encourage you to begin with a modern introduction and then read some of the classic texts themselves.”]

  • The Stoic Week 2015 Handbook provides a more details introduction to Stoic practice.
  • Books like William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life or my own Teach Yourself: Stoicism and the Art of Happiness are intended to be easy to read introductions to Stoic theory and practice for non-academics.
  • The most popular Stoic text that survives from ancient times is the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, so you may want to read that before looking at other ancient sources.
  • The Handbook of Epictetus is also a good starting point, as it provides a concise summary of the key sayings of a famous Stoic teacher.

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If you’re able to do so, we’d like you to post a quick review of your favourite book on Stoicism to the comments section below, as soon as you get a chance.  It doesn’t need to be longer than a couple of paragraphs.

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108 replies on “Learning More about Stoicism”

Donald Robertson’s “Stoicism and the Art of Happiness” is my favourite introductory text because it provides a complete and rather faithful review of the stoic system while it remains practical and accessible to non-specialists..
It does not dwell on the logic and physics, but remains a resolutely modern attempt to carry the main ethical ideas into this century, and highlgiht modern equivalents of the initial stoic psychological ideas.
The overall content is practical, and succinct, but also features many important insights to enable deeper understanding of the philosophy and the context in which it developed, as the interested reader might want to know .
Importantly, the book resists the tendency to turn Stocism into some kind of self-help recipe, but remains anchored in the need for practical living that the Stoics themselves advised. Other books which are more theoretical but quite interesting include John Sellars’ “Stoicism” and Brad Inwoods’ “The Stoic life: Emotions, Duties and Fate”. Lawrence Becker’s book, “A New Stoicism” is very rich and interesting but definitely not an introductory text.

Tad Brennan’s A Stoic Life was my introduction to Stoicism, but where it really “hit” me was reading the discourses of Epictetus.

Meditations by Aurelius had a great impact on my life. It has really taught me a lot about dealing with my inner life. Not only is the message profound, the language is also beautiful.

Lebell Sharon on Epictet, William B. Irvine: A guide to the good life (the ancient art of the stoic joy). Books gave me closer view on core of stoicism philosphy and its structure and most important practical instructions how to implement it in everyday life.

William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life has been particularly helpful in increasing my understanding of Stoicism – the experiential techniques such as negative visualisation and self-denial marry up the theory and practice, giving a deeper insight and experience of how stoic philosophy can be helpful in current times.

My first introduction to stoicism was William B. Irvine’s “A Guide to the Good Life”, which I obviously was quite moved by since it made me interested in reading the older sources (as the author suggested).

Of the old sources (I’ve read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Epictetus, and some of Seneca’s work) I liked Epictetus the best. I really liked the “stern teacher” approach, and felt I got something from almost everything except the most religious parts.

Donald Robertson’s “Stoicism and the Art of Happiness” was what made it all come together. After that I read the Letters of Seneca which are just wonderful as well as On Providence, On Anger, and On Tranquillity (Peace) of Mind. Epictetus has his place, and has the pithy sayings we all know if you have been following Stoic Week for a while. I feel Seneca is most contemporary with us. But the hardest part is integrating this into my own life. How can we practice it? How can I get it to work? I found myself failing at times when I get angry or lash out and I tell myself, “look at you, you are reading Plato, Seneca On Anger, and even extol [Stoica Philosophia extollo] Stoicism and tell everyone about it, yet you do this? No one would respect you or even care about what you have read knowing that you can be like this.” I know I have stopped myself times from getting that way, which I attribute to Stoicism. I know I have gotten better for sure. Maybe it is the politics in the USA or something else but I think this course needs to focus on how can we get it integrated more in our lives. I think meditation is the only way to get there.

Meditations of Marcus Aurelius has been on my bedside for over 10 years. I have dipped into it irregularly but found it very helpful. Recognising those same worries, fears and desire to try to do better, to deal with the worries of normal life, are things that even the Emperor of Rome had to deal with. The Mediations are readable, and helpful, without any knowledge of Stoicism, but have gently led to me wanting to know more.

‘Meditations’, Marcus Aurelius. I’ve reread it a few times now and try to keep it with me. I do seem to drift in and out of trying to live according to Stoic principles though. I hope this short course will help

The first Stoic book I’d read was the Enchiridion by Epictetus, though this was before I saw how Stoicism could serve as a viable guide to modern life. Reading through Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations about a year ago is what began to tip the scales for me. Since then, I’ve also found a great deal of value in a number of contemporary works, including “A New Stoicism,” by Lawrence Becker, “Stoicism and the Art of Happiness,” by Donald Robertson, and “A Guide to the Good Life,” by William Irvine, in addition to the various “handbooks” that have been circulated by several members of the online Stoic communities.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but Pierre Hadot’s “The Inner Citadel” is up there. It’s an exegesis of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations”, which is probably my favourite original Stoic text. The commentary on the three Stoic disciplines (assent, desire and action) was particularly helpful to me and the samples of Hadot’s own translations of the Meditations are better than any other I’ve read.

I’ve been reading Stoic literature for about two years now. I have a philosophy background but only became exposed to the Stoics through my uncle, who has read Seneca and Marcus Aurelius for years. Current academic philosophy doesn’t give much attention to the Stoics unfortunately…

Anyway, my favorite readings vary depending on my mood… The best introduction to Stoicism for me was Donald Robertson’s Stoicism and the Art of Happiness–so well done. Comprehensive and accessible yet steeped in the tradition–not over-simplified. Also love the Meditations, especially the Hicks translation. If you haven’t read that version, pick up a copy. I love how blunt Epictetus’ Enchiridion is–shockingly so at times.

I know we’re talking about written resources here, but there are some good audio resources out there as well. Check out the podcast by Matt Vanetta called Good Fortune. See http://immoderatestoic.com/good-fortune/ or get it on iTunes.

I came in contact with stoicism via William Irvine’s “A Guide to the Good Life” and I still enjoy it very much.

The Meditations. The fact that the Emperor of Rome, the most powerful man in the known world, with unimaginable wealth, power and pleasure at his command, chose instead to devote his time to becoming a good man, never ceases to amaze me. And if he could find the time to learn how to be a better human being, then why can’t I?

Iv always leaned toward a stoic mindset on my own,when facing hardships i would always put my problems in perspective in comparison to the bigger scheme of things of how small and insignificant our problems really are, Stoicism really makes sense and is the most logical practice i know. When i first stumbled across stoicism it was through Ryan Holidays material and the rest is history as they say. I have listened to many audio books and have read Meditations and the various works of Seneca and Epictedes. My recommendation would be to start with any translated versions you can find as it can be taxing on a new reader to try and decode the older language ,unless you are geared for ancient English. For me Meditations is a must, i also enjoy Senecas views on living humbly even when you find richness in your life ,the balance of never living in abundance is important to keeping a level eye.

I started reading Marcus Aurelius in 2000. It helped me calm down after my father’s death and I have been reading and re reading it since. I’ve read from earlier teachers and some of the history. And although I don’t know if I’m an actual practicing stoic (I’m open to many different ways of thinking); I do resonate with the words and humanity of the writings

For most of my life I’ve searched for what Irvine describes as a “life philosophy” in his A Guide to the Good Life. As a young man I thought I might find it through Bushido and the martial arts. In college I studied Renaissance and Medieval literature hoping chivalry might provide me with the Western equivalent. Then I took a philosophy course from a wonderful human being who introduced me to Plato’s Cave and challenged me break my chains. And for the last three decades I’ve tried to break those chains on my own. I’ve read some since then and I’ve even felt confident enough in my studies to write curriculum and teach high school English electives in both Philosophy and Literature and Science Fiction and Philosophy. I learned a lot by teaching and I even touched on Stoicism during my teaching. But I considered myself an existentialist by that point and I found my meaning in the universe’s lack of meaning. I didn’t delve deeply into Stoicism then, but in the past couple of years I’ve entered into an “existential recovery” program and I have discovered the depth and practically of the philosophy. So I’m here to learn more.

In addition to the books already mentioned, I found reading Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way to be an excellent study of how we can apply stoicism to modern scenarios and stories.

I’ve started reading Seneca after reading a Nassim Taleb’s book, then Marcus Aurelius and finally Epictetus.

Besides The Enchirion from Epictitus I highly recomend the book Stoicism and the art of happines. Also if you want to learn about stoicism from a different perspective the website traditionalstoicism is a must. Finally one of my favourite resources is YouTube, Gregory B.Sadler’s channel contains a wealth of philosophical knowledge virtuously explained by the professor. Also on YouTube you can find a stoic commedian, the only one that I know of, Michael Connell, check out his channel too.

Have a great day, fate permitting 😉

My first book on Stoicism was William Irvine’s “A Guide to the Good Life.” It was an easy read that gave a good briefing of what Stoicism is all about.

As I delved deeper into the philosophy, I found Keith Seddon’s book, “Stoic Serenity” to be the perfect guide.

And as for my favorite “classical” Stoic writings, Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic” steal the show.

I was introduced to Stoicism through William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life. I have been trying to work through the classical texts, but find them hard to read. Still looking for a translation that works for me. In the mean time I have found Donald Robertson’s Teach Yourself: Stoicism and the Art of Happiness to be a good substitute.

The Gregory Hays translation of Meditations is very easy to read (No thee’s or thou’s…) and straightforward for the most part. It’s such a great book and I highly recommend it!

There appear to be some misconceptions about ancient Stoicism. Solomon & Higgins in ‘A short history of philosophy’ (p.71-72) provide a polarised definition of it as ‘an extreme philosophy’ for ‘difficult and troubled times’, featuring ‘an almost fanatic faith in reason’, & asserting that the Stoics saw emotions as ‘forms of irrational judgment’. This seems quite pejorative, & on that basis no wise person would adopt it or advocate it!
The missing qualification, as above, is that the emotions in question are ‘excessive’; thus Stoicism seeks freedom from an undue or unhealthy emotionalization of issues and events, not from emotions as such – which are healthy to the extent that they are warranted by the situation in question; as a virtuous partner in harmony with reason, not its antagonist.
Whatever Stoicism really proves to be, if it’s framed within dualism, then it will be of no use to those seeking wisdom.
I will seek further reading.

I started with Marcus Aurelius “Meditations” translated by Gregory Hays a number of years ago when I was going through stressful times. I have no idea how I came upon Stoicism, probably scanning the shelves at the bookstore, but it certainly helped me to approach life situation with a different perspective. I found it very similar to “The Tao” which has a similar approach/message. I then read Seneca “Letters from a Stoic” which I enjoyed as much. I think that Stoicism really appeals to me because it fits with my temperament and shows me how I want to “be in the world”.

I have recently read Pierre Hadot’s “Philosophy as a Way of Life”. It is an excellent book as well. It introduces the reader to a broad range of Stoic thinking and ancient philosophy’s perspective of philosophy as a spiritual practise. I highly recommend it!

My first introduction to modern stoicism and stoicism as a philosophy of life was through Oliver Burkeman’s “Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking”. I was intrigued and began researching, which led me to William Irvine’s “A guide to the good life”.
This book really changed the way I was thinking and made me delve deeper into classic stoicism. I have read some Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and I find that I learn most when I combine that with modern interpretation such as “stoicism and the art of happiness” or some of the exercises from earlier courses.

I found Marcus Auelius’ Meditations a few years ago and keep a copy in my purse. I have read it many times and get something new from it each time. I’m pretty sure my mother must have read this when she was younger because she raised us with some of the very same principles that I read in this wonderful book.

I’ve read “Meditations” as well as “A guide to the good life” multiple times. I find both are great to read at different times. Meditations I’ll read snippets from time to time as a reminder; but when I need a quick Stoic refresh I’ll reread “A guide to the good life.” I often read what people are discussing on reddit’s r/Stoicism

I was impacted by Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life. I had enjoyed other works prior, but this one captured my attention due to its writing style. I then went back to explore other writings to see how I had missed so much. Like many, my mind stayed with Plato and Aristotle so much, I neglected the Stoics.

Hi, friends.
Sorry for my poor english, but it’s not my native language.
For the classics, I’ll go with Meditations. It’s like reading directly a stoic mind, and encourages you to do the same kind of written exercise.
For the moderns, the Stoic week handbook is an excellent and practical introduction, and Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life.

Meditations has been on my nightstand for years now. Whenever I’m between books or have a particularly rough day I pick it up and read a few random pages before bed.

I read a fair amount of the book Stoicism by John Stellars. The book goes through the three major sections of the stoic philosophy them being stoic logic, physics and ethics. These all encompass different aspects of the overall stoic philosophy however they all make sense in conjunction to each other. Other than that the last section covers the legacy the stoics left behind and their impact on future philosophers which is an interesting read. Overall the book a very good introductions to stoicism while still going fairly in depth in some sections.

My first introduction to Stoicism came from Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way which was recommended by Tim Ferriss. That book changed the way I look at all the “bad” things in life and now I feel so much mentally stronger. I just finished the Meditations translation by Gregory Hays and it was one of the greatest books I have ever read. It greatly supplemented my way of thinking.

I was first introduced to stoicism by reading Admiral Stockdale’s gripping account of surviving as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. His book, ‘Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior’ got me to read The Enchiridion, and I been re-reading it for the past 10 years.

For me, it has been Robin Hard’s translation of Discourses, Fragments, Handbook by Epictetus. I came to Aurelius and Epictetus through a long circumnavigation of philosophy, religion and Eastern thought. (I’d wager I’m not alone there.) At some point, zen philosophy with a bit of Schopenhauer and Spinoza seemed the most reasonable and productive path a man could take. What exactly would that be? I wondered. Wearing saffron robes and appropriating another culture seemed unpleasant and unwise. Besides, I share as much (or more) with Philip Larkin and E.M. Cioran than the Dalai Lama or the local Soto Zen instructor. Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius seemed the embodiment of the western take on the perennial.

While Aurelius’ Meditations was my first stoic outing, Epictetus, both the Golden Sayings and Discourses, are more powerful to me. He was a man who loved life, who loved God, and was content with what he had.

Don Miguel Ruiz the author of “The Four Agreements” changed my life after I read his mentioned book, I started applying those principals to my everyday life, Aurelius and Epictetus besides some differences in use of language teach the same and even sometimes expound upon the wisdom Ruiz have to us in his classic text.

Unlike the majority of people posting here, I have to say I’m a total novice when it comes to philosophical texts, so my introduction to Stoicism is the George Long translation of “Meditations” which I am currently reading online at The Internet Classics Archive (http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html).

I’m two thirds of the way through “Meditations” at the moment, but Book 4 was uniquely powerful to me, with the third paragraph in particular being particularly striking. A thousand psychology graduate students could write a dissertation on this passage alone:

“For with what art thou discontented? With the badness of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that rational animals exist for one another, and that to endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong involuntarily; and consider how many already, after mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred, and fighting, have been stretched dead, reduced to ashes; and be quiet at last.- But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.- Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.- Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.- See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.”

When I read that this course would provide ways to apply Stoic philosophy to daily life, I didn’t quite anticipate that someone nearly 1,800 years ago was developing the prototype to CBT. I will certainly keep reading.

Met Stoicism trough some blogs about financial lifestyle, wich introduced the book “a guide to the good life. the ancient art of stoic joy: from irwin; it got me so deep, where i found too many aspects in where i was already in some form, a stoic; since then have been reading seneca, epitetus e a whole lot on the net, found a lot of similarities on the books of Nassim Taleb and have to tell u that what it did to my like in the last 6-10 months, has changed it completely, for good.

Hey Carlos, I’ve learned about Stoicism thanks to Tim Ferriss’s blog so we may have common interests 🙂
Stoicism literally changed my life and I love reading small bits of the Meditations on my Kindle on a regular basis.
By the way, Nassim Taleb has a very nice quote about stoicism: “A stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking”.

I have just purchased ‘The Handbook of Epictetus’ in both an Audible and Kindle format for less than $5. I have previously tried to listen to ‘Meditations’ From my current impression the ‘The Handbook of Epictetus’ seems to be more concise for my level of understanding.

Hello,
Here is a quick list and summary of things Stoic that have crossed my path.

I have read William Irvine’s book and can recommend it. It introduces and contextualizes Stoicism very well.

I also recommend Epictetus’ ‘Handbook’. I understand why some would find it terse but I enjoyed it from my first encounter.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to hear the renowned classics scholar A. A. Long give a talk on the Stoic founder, Zeno of Citium. I have since tracked down Mr. Long’s book on Epictetus, ‘Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life’. This is another excellent book but is more scholarly than William Irvine’s ‘A Guide to the Good Life’.

But, what got me interested in Stoicism was an interview I heard with Massimo Piggliucci on the ‘Secular Buddhism’ podcast. Like William Irvine I was interested in Buddhism, and that led me to the ‘Secular Buddhism’ podcast where Massimo was discussing his practice of Stoicism. I was intrigues because my mind races far too much for meditation and Stoicism seems to suit my analytic nature. So here I am.

http://secularbuddhism.org/2015/03/21/episode-220-massimo-pigliucci-secular-buddhism-and-neo-stoicism/

Best of luck to everyone.

Personally I didn’t particularly like Epictetus’ Handbook but I really do like the full Discourses of Epictetus. By far my favorite books are Pierre Hadot’s “The Inner Citadel” and “Philosophy as a way of Life”. These two books more than any others helped me to really begin to feel how powerful the simple recognition of what is up to me and what is due to Nature really is. I know this concept is mentioned everywhere but these two books made the message clear to me in a way other books weren’t able to.

Fair Day!

I am very new to Stoicism, but I am currently reading ‘Stoicism and the Art of Happiness’ and ‘Meditations,’ I read a lot of the content on /r/Stoicism, and I regularly listen through Matt Van Natta’s Good Fortune Podcast, which was my entry point into the Philosophy.

I’ve been practicing stoicism and meditation for a few years (I’ve heard about Stoicism thanks to Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday). It enabled me to become much more happy and calm. My relationships improved a lot. Moreover I am better at regulating my impulses.

By far my favorite stoic books are Aurelius’ Meditations and Seneca’s On the shortness of life.

Reading one or two meditations every day during my commute helps me to prepare myself and to cultivate rational detachment when facing setbacks or silly/mean people.

I reread the shortness of life every couple of months. It gives me a serious kick every single time. Seneca reminds me that life’s too short for bullshit and that everyday I have to absolutely make the most out of it.

Hi All,

It’s very nice to meet everyone here :).

I’m Robert. My family and I live in western North Carolina, USA.

I am prior military, prior law enforcement, and currently an Executive Director of Security for a large hospital system. I share this only to highlight the perspective in which Stoicism has helped me in many practical ways. The nature of many of my assignments has demanded seasoned emotional intelligence, cultivated resiliency, and the ability to deal with serious stressors.

I have found no philosophy more practical and helpful than that given to us from the Stoics. It’s hard to say what my favorite book is. I keep The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius with me always. I am also a huge consumer of the Letters of Seneca. I have those also on an Itunes audiobook (the new set released by Tim Ferris), and so I absorb them in the car wherever I go. I also like a lot the writings of Epictetus. William Irvine’s book is also excellent!

I’m very grateful for this course. Many thanks.

Farewell!

robert

Hello All,

My name is Brad Garrison, and I’ve been researching Stoicism for some time. I was originally attracted to Buddhist practices, but later I found I liked Stoicism not only for its similarities but also because it was grounded in more Western views. I first noticed this group in 2015 and was disappointed that I missed the experiment. I’m excited about this because I’d like to find out more about Stoicism and see how it affects others.

I wish the best for everyone’s goals in this project.


bg

My name is Ted, I live in Santa Fe, NM. I have liked the writings of Henry D. Thoreau, especially “Walden,” which may have been his time to live as a philosopher, notably to “not discover when I came to die, I had not lived.” This quote harmonizes with this course and the values outlined so far. I have participated in Stoic Week and look forward to this slightly deeper approach. Yes, I know that Thoreau is neither ancient nor Stoic, but he is in harmony at many points. I have Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, too.

My first exposure to Stoicism (although I did not know it was Stoicism at the time) was finding the book “A Manual for Living” which is a small little book of Epictetus excerpts. I don’t know where the book came from but it was in the family home and I stumbled upon it when I was back home from University. It’s a very very little book. If it takes longer than an hour to read I would be surprised. I think it’s a great way to dip your toe in the water.

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine was my greatest introduction after a few quotes from Marcus Aurelius on twitter piqued my interest.

I was amazed at how natural the overall philosophy felt to me. Its guiding principles were some of the very few absolute values that I could genuinely call mine, and many of its techniques I had discovered myself over time.

To say the book convinced me is an understatement. It converted me, not only to the doctrine, but to the scholastic approach of ancient philosophy.

Hello,

Kronca here, and I have decided to start on a path of stoic life a couple months back. After going through severe changes in my life over the span of a few months (which could all be perceived as negative events), I turned to stoicism to help evaluate the events that have happened and to find inner peace. I look forward to developing my inner stoic through this course, and to share this journey will all of you.

Kronca

hi,

Wes here. what brought me to stoicism… i can’t recall one specific event. but once i began reading some of the stoic works, the themes being preached really resonated with me. The biggest change stoicism has brought into my life, is realized what is in my control and what is not. also, i would say marcus’ meditations is my favorite work. Anyways, one goal i hope to acheive with this course is to develop a more rational mind and cultivate a more rational thought process. thanks.

I am working on a Ph.D and began to delve more deeply in Stoic philosophy as it affected philosophers and thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment. I love Francis Hutcheson’s notes and translation of The Meditations.

I first read Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life. I found it interesting and it left me wanting to investigate Stoicism more. It is an excellent introduction for someone with essentially zero knowledge. Irvine gives the reader just enough to open up the door for further inquiry.

Greetings,

I am fairly new to Stoicism. My primary study is Gnosticism, and sometimes “Stoic Contemplation” is referenced as a tool to help observe personal reactions, mental space, and quality of clarity in difficult situations. I look forward to incorporating this practical wisdom into my life. Thanks and hope everyone is enjoying the class!
Lindsay

Your book, Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, while not the first book I’ve read on Stoicism, has been the best in my opinion as a practical introduction to the philosophy.

Let’s see….

The book I give to people about Stoicism is “The Art of Living” by Epictetus as translated by Sharon Lebell. Even my now 16 year old son has a copy. He reads it before bed sometimes when he has a lot of anxiety.

As for me, I like the modern translation of Marcus Aurelius called “Meditations: A New Translation.” But I can’t remember who the translator is. I have it on my desk at work. It has a black and red cover and I think it captures the flavor of the writing well. My husband, the classicist, likes that translation too.

And, I also like the Donald Robertson book “Build Your Resilience.” I actually used ideas from the Epictetus book and this resilience book to build a workshop for parents of children with severe autism to help them cope with the difficulties they face daily. It was a great workshop 🙂

The Enchiridion by Epictetus has been my favorite so far.

I love how he discusses both the simple and the complex with the same confidence and pragmatism.

I have a lot of Seneca left to read, I’m looking forward to it.

I enjoy Seneca’s letters. They are urbane, graceful, and non-doctrinaire. Each offers encouragement for the journey toward practical wisdom, a journey Seneca himself knew was full of pitfalls. In length, most are similar to one of today’s op-eds. So they are easy to digest at a sitting.

My personal favorite book on Stoicism is Lawrence Becker’s A New Stoicism. It’s a little dense and not good as an introduction, but it does a very important task: updates the underlying theory of Stoicism for modern times.

This is an important task because, while practice is most important for living well, that practice needs to be informed by a coherent underlying philosophy. Ancient Stoicism did this, but some of its underlying beliefs aren’t tenable for many people’s modern sensibilities. A New Stoicism does a great job of updating the theory. And, if you’re a philosophy nerd, it’s quite an entertaining read.

I gift the “The Art of Living” Epictetus translated by Sharon Lebell, to friends, have given to 12 Step friends who love the book for a day book compliment. My first books were Donald Robertson book Stoicism and the Art of Happiness and William and Irvine’s A slap in the face… I started collecting at our great University book sales, Cierro, Seneca etc. I really enjoy listening to Audible, during the day during my travels around the city, all time favourite Duncan Steen reading Marcus Aurelius “Meditations” William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life, The Enchiridion & Discourses by Epictetus.

Meditations has become a foundational piece of my library. It’s the book that got me interested in becoming a better person, and has lead to so many life changes that bring my worry-prone mind into focus.

My favorite Stoic books are those by Epictetus, including the Discourses and the Handbook. I believe the Handbook perfectly encapsulates the major precepts of Stoicism. Furthermore, Epictetus has the most engaging, convincing, and energetic style of all the Stoic philosophers which comes through especially in the Discourses where you read about his conversations with various students and visitors to his school.

Sharon’s book and Donald’s Art of Happiness for me. Accessible. I want to get a new translation of Marcus as well.

While not specifically Stoic, I enjoyed Julia Annas’ “The Morality of Happiness.” Among the old guys I enjoy Seneca.

I hate to sound like a sycophant, but I found the Philosophy of CBT to be basically life changing as a psychologist in training.

When it comes to stoicism, my life-changing book has been Epictetus’s Handbook, translated, edited and introduced by Pierre Hadot. Hadot’s view of ancient philosophy and his concept of “spiritual exercises” were critical for me, and surely they were one of the major reasons for me to pursue the study of other texts related to stoicism. Almost a year and half after that reading, I have read Marcus Aurelius, most of Seneca, Musonius Rufus, almost all of Epictetus, and other classical and contemporary sources. Donald Robertson’s book has also been very important for me, and I do keep it constantly on top of my shelf so that I can access it for quick references and as a constant reminder.

I really enjoyed Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, I read it over a long time, just a bit every morning and it’s made a profound impact on me. It was the first book on Stoicism I’ve read and I’ve been interested ever since.

Hi there, my favourite book on stoicism Epictitus’ Discourses. I have read it through once without stopping,highlighting parts that are interesting with the intention of going back to grapple with their meaning. In reality, I dip into the book now and then.

I enjoyed the Handbook of Epictitus and Marcus Meditations. They were combined in a program I did last Summer and I found the short pointed paragraphs to be extremely useful.

I’ve never finished it, but Meditations by Marcus Aurelius has always been enjoyable; I especially like all the time he spends voicing his gratitude towards all the people the positively influenced his character.

I loved Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Words it inspires: noble, kind, just, humble, far-reaching, peaceful. Between his extraordinary education, his natural character and intelligence and his station in life, I found Aurelius and his outlook inspiring. Certainly one of my top 3 most valuable books.

Even though it isn’t one hundred percent about Stoicism, Jules Evans book, Philosophy for Life is a great introduction to Stoicism and philosophy in general.

It’s a great starting book to philosophy because it leads you down the rabbit-hole of old and modern Stoic practitioners.

My reading of Stoic texts is very limited, but at the moment, Seneca’s De Ira was a great read and one of the few works of philosophy I’ve read that I’ve applied to my daily life.

I am reading The Discourses by Epictetus. It has short readings on various topics, and I have been thoughtfully making my way through it.

I’m reading the Loeb edition of Seneca’s Letters. Whenever I get to a line that is particularly profound or applies particularly well to me, I copy out the original Latin to use as a maxim.

I have read The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Stoicism by John Sellars, several of Seneca’s works and The Enchiridion by Epictetus. I am currently reading The Inner Citadel by Pierre Hadot. My favorite work so far is The Meditations.

Forgot to mention that the first book I read was William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life. It was very well written and served me as a great introduction to Stoicism.

I have listened to “A Guide to the Good Life” as an audio books several times (usually on repeat while hiking). I have found it to be a perfect compliment for long walks in order to contemplate stoic practice.

I read Meditations when I was a teenager, and it was instrumental in helping me navigate tumultuous waters at home and at school. Thirty years later, I had chosen a different school of thought, but still kept Aurelius on my shelf, and ended up giving it to my firstborn when he started experiencing teenage angst.

Hi, everyone. I’m Leah from the Philippines. I’m looking forward to this course. My favorite books on Stoicism are the Enchiridion (at the MIT Internet Classics Archive) and Gregory Hays’ translation of the Meditations.

I enjoyed “Stoicism and the Art of Happiness”. I especially like the ‘bite-size’ advice from Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, just because I’m more likely to remember it.

I am currently reading M. Aurelius’ Meditations. Not far enough along to review. But, I really appreciate what I have encountered thus far. This work has been calling to me for a long time. I first became aware of it seeing a copy on my graduate school mentor’s shelf. I purchased a copy, and it has sat on my shelf for many years. I am now at a point when I am eager to learn what wisdom it offers.

I read one bullet point from The Enchiridion By Epictetus each day and try to keep it in my head throughout the day to see how it applies to different situations.

Although the ancient texts are most important to me I also have an appreciation of the tom Wolfe novel “A man in Full” and its informed use of Stoicism.

The Meditations and The Enchiridion have become cornerstones of my bedside table. No matter how the day has gone simply opening the book and reading an entry or two of each is enough to calm me down and bring me back to a more mindful state. They are also the kind of books that when you read you immediately know it’s going to take you weeks if not months to really internalize the ideas…

Greetings! My favorite writings on Stoicism are the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the lectures of ADM James B. Stockdale. ADM Stockdale states that the works of Epictetus sustained him during the years he was held captive by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

Epictetus’ Discourses and Handbook (trans. by Robin Hard) continue to be my main wellspring. I have also really enjoyed Marcus Aurelius and Seneca (I own the complete letters, but honestly, the various abridged editions cover everything you need).

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius. Penned from the hand of an emperor, it speaks to master and slave alike, explaining how we each are two fingers on the same hand.

The one I have read cover to cover was ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius and Ryan Holiday’s book, ‘The Obstacle is the Way’.

I read often the Meditations. It’s something amazing: a 1.700 years old text is so actual in our days.
I’m not always agree with MA: sometimes I find him a bit passive. But afterall is not a religious dogma that should be accepted for complete. Following the stoic principles since 8 months, I became more performing on work and in personal relations, I quite smoking and stay concentrated on the moment, always present to myself. Ever I became less agressive and more emphatic. Stoic principles made my life easier and more pealasant.

In ‘A Guide to the Good Life’, I first learned about what was called ‘the dichotomy of control’, and it has been helping me greatly ever since, as I feel empowered and focused on what is chiefly within my own control.

I just have a little tidbit to mention in regard to my favorite stoic literature, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, which has always helped me as I try to practice stoicism. He stresses a lot in his writing the fact that it is very important to temper unproductive emotions stemming from things outside of our control. He uses the anecdote with the dog tied to the cart to express that if life is moving a certain way, outside of your control, it does no good to struggle and fight the inevitable…it’s better to just focus on cultivating peace of mind however you can. However, he also teaches the lesson that if something is unsettling you, and it is within your power to change, then act swiftly and rightly because to continue lamenting and not trying to change anything is to miss an opportunity to practice virtue.

I highly value Irwines book on stoicism, because he makes a good introduction to the ancient time and the different stoic philosophers of these times. Also he points out the major contributors as well as the lesser known (for laymen, that is). Irwines introduction led me to read important texts of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, of which I prefer the latter.

the daily stoic, ryan holiday

daily quotes out of the three main sources of stoicism added with comments and examples of the author. a good way to start and end the day.

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