5 Best Books About Stoicism Update 05/2022

Even though Zeno of Citium came up with Stoicism almost 2,500 years ago, it seems to be very popular right now. Nuggets of Stoic wisdom that date back to ancient Greco-Roman times are all over the internet and social media. Stoic philosophers Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius are among them. This may be because Stoic wisdom is so useful. Stoicism is very different from other types of philosophy, which are often thought to be outdated or pointless as a whole. It gets right to the heart of how we think and act in the real world, and its core principles can be found in many famous natty aphorisms and quotations.

Marcus Aurelius: For example, think about this:
This means that you can control your mind, but you can’t control things that happen outside of your body. This will give you strength.

He said this, too:
It doesn’t matter what happens to you, but how you react to it that’s the most important thing in life.

Seneca, on the other hand, talks about how short life is. Because we waste a lot of time, we don’t have a short life. Life is long enough, and we’ve been given enough money that we could reach the top if we used it well. Then, when we waste it and spend it on things that don’t benefit us, we have to come to terms with the fact that it’s gone before we even knew it was gone. Because we don’t get a short life, we make it short. We aren’t short-changed but wasteful of what we have. Life is long if you know how to use it. All of these quotes are from the books below. It’s not just that we should stay calm and focus on what we can control, but that Stoicism is a full-fledged, all-encompassing value system that can be used as a philosophy for all of life, not just for the things we can control. If you want to learn more about Stoicism, this list has the best and easiest-to-read books on the subject, as well as the most important primary texts from the great Stoic thinkers. Let’s get in there.

How to Be a Stoic, by Massimo Pigliucci

In 2017, Massimo Pigliucci wrote How to Be a Stoic, which is a great place to start for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoicism. Pigliucci explains Stoicism in clear, concise language, and he leads the reader through its main ideas by having imaginary conversations with Epictetus, one of the most important Stoics of all time, in a way that is very interesting. With this easy-to-read format, Pigliucci brings ancient Stoic wisdom into the 21st century, unlocking practical wisdom for the problems we face today. This makes How to Be a Stoic a good way to start learning about Stoicism.

Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, by Brad Inwood

The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, which was published in 1999, is the place to go if you want a more in-depth critical look at all things Stoicism. In this collection of essays from modern academics, Brad Inwood has put together a look at the history and influence of Stoicism. He also dissects its main ideas in a very thorough way. The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics is a difficult book that has a lot of value, and it should be on the bookshelf of anyone who wants to learn more about Stoicism.

Discourses and Selected Writings, by Epictetus

Turning from introductions to the main Stoic texts, where better to start than with the work of the philosopher who set the groundwork for much of the Stoic philosophy that came after? The Greek Stoic Epictetus ran a school in Nicopolis in the early second century AD. Epictetus’s most famous student, Arrian, was eager to write down the lessons he learned from Epictetus. These recordings have been praised over the years as a great guide to the ethics of Stoicism and moral self-improvement. They address questions about death, fear, illness, family, friendship, love, freedom, and how to live a good life. Epictetus’s Discourses and Selected Writings are still relevant, accessible, and enlightening today as they were 2,000 years ago, making this book a must-have for any student of Stoicism.

Letters from a Stoic, by Seneca

While the Roman statesman and playwright Seneca was a follower of the Stoic philosophy, his life from 4 BC to 65 AD was full of major changes. A political dispute led to Seneca being sent to the island of Corsica in 41 AD. In 49 AD, he was able to return to be Nero’s tutor. When Nero became emperor, Seneca became his friend and adviser. This is how it works: ⁣ Seneca’s influence on Nero went down over time. In 65 AD, Seneca took his own life because he was accused of working with Nero to kill him, which he was likely to be innocent of. Many people think these events are far away, but they can learn a lot from how Seneca dealt with them. Letters from a Stoic, a collection of letters Seneca wrote over the course of his life, is like having access to a deep, beautiful well of profound, practical wisdom that only you can get. If you’re interested in Stoicism, you can’t have a book shelf without Seneca.

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius is the last of the big three Stoic names we talked about in this list of the best books on Stoicism. He is one of the most well-known and important people in the Stoic tradition. Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD. During this time, there were many important military conflicts and the Antonine Plague, a pandemic that killed five million people in the Roman Empire. Aurelius’ philosophy is one of calmness and serenity, even though or maybe because of the bad things that happen. His Meditations, a collection of his own thoughts written without the intention of being published, are an important source of modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by many writers, philosophers, monarchs, and politicians over the centuries since the great man died. Aurelius’s Meditations is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoicism. It has a lot of great advice on how to deal with hardship and live a good life.

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