This book isn’t for everyone. I guess that’s the most appropriate place to start. Stoicism, stoic philosophy, is definitely not for everyone. But the people who give this book a chance and actually do end up enjoying it, there’s nothing like it. I’m pretty sure I came across this book reading Dan Harris’ 10% Happier and just made a side note to check this book out one day. Not knowing a single thing about it, little did I know what I was about to get myself into. Turns out in the end that this book was pretty rad. Actually this book is a little more than just pretty rad. Marcus Aurelius; may have heard the name before? The emperor of the Roman Empire, full-time thug. Ring a bell? Anyways, one of the ‘fathers’ of Stoicism so to speak, would sit down each day and write in his journal notes on the philosophy of Stoicism. He understood that our time here on earth is very short as well as unpredictable and one needed control of themselves during those moments. One needed to become less reactive to those moments. I will say though that this isn’t the easiest or most enjoyable book to read and if you do decide to read the original, you might have a few choice words for me. However, I know that there’s translations to this book out there that make it easier to digest, but as far as those go I couldn’t recommend what direction to head in since all I’ve read is the original. Translation or no translation I think people should at least give this book a shot. I feel that Marcus Aurelius is the embodiment on how to live a noble life and for me personally, Stoicism shifted my perspective for the better. That’s why I’m always recommending this book to people. If you happen to check it out let me know your thoughts.
Standouts: “Remember how long you have been putting off these things, and how often you have received an opportunity from the gods, and yet do not use it. You must now at last perceive of what universe you are a part, and from what administrator of the universe your existence flows, and that a limit of time is fixed for you, which if you do not use for clearing away the clouds from your mind, it will go and you will go, and it will never return.”
“If you apply yourself to the task before you, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you, but keeping your divine part pure, as if you might be bound to give it back immediately; if you hold to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with your present activities according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which you utter, you will live happily. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.”
Rating: 7/10. Personally I would give this a 10/10 but the enjoyment factor brings it down a few pegs.
Recommended for: Anyone interested in Stoicism. Anyone interested in learning life values from a boss.