If you’re an avid reader and enjoy anything related to philosophy, books on stoicism should be found in your collection. We’re in a world of chaos and uncertainty; the search for inner peace has never been more relevant.
The main aim of Stoicism is living a good life, and achieving virtue is one of the goals. One of its numerous principles is that people should focus on what they can control and accept what they cannot with grace. You cannot keep harming yourself by focusing on what you cannot control.
Stoicism also teaches that having this mindset motivates people to develop their moral greatness and inner character, which enables them to live a good life rather than let their actions be dictated by their environment.
So, if you desire to know everything that has to do with ancient philosophy or personal philosophy, let’s dive deeper into the subject. First, what is Stoicism?
What Is Stoicism?
Stoicism is a popular word among lovers of philosophy and philosophers alike. It is a movement that first appeared in ancient Greece in the third century BCE and later gained popularity in ancient Rome.
Zeno of Citium founded Stoicism, and thinkers like Epictetus and Seneca expanded on his beliefs. Stoicism deals with personal virtue, disciplined behavior, and the formation of clear and logical thinking.
It teaches people to control negative emotions like rage, fear, and overwhelming desire, instead by matching their thoughts and deeds with logic and morality. It also encourages those practicing Stoics to seek tranquility and inner harmony and live a good life.
Stoic philosophy urges people to distinguish between what they can control, which are their thoughts, actions, and mindsets, and what they cannot control, such as outside events, other people’s perspectives, and activities.
Now, let’s discuss the best books on stoicism that can help transform your view and how you handle things.
Dying Every Day: Seneca At The Court Of Nero By James Romm
“Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero” is a book on Stoicism written by James Romm and was published in 2014. The Stoic philosopher Seneca’s life experiences were examined when he served as a courtier and adviser to the Roman Emperor Nero.
The book digs into Seneca’s moral subjects, political intrigues, and power battles while a courtier at Nero’s court. It looks at how Seneca dealt with the challenging issues of imperial Rome, where academic goals frequently collided with allegiance and self-preservation.
To shed more insight into Seneca’s internal conflicts and shifting loyalties, Romm’s work analyzes Seneca’s philosophical writings and correspondence. Seneca is characterized as being divided between his Stoic ideals and the harsh reality of the Roman court, where murder, corruption, and drunkenness were commonplace.
With its riveting story of Seneca’s life, “Dying Every Day” helps readers better grasp the social and political forces in ancient Rome during Nero’s rule. It examines issues with authority, morality, and the conflict between maintaining one’s integrity and surviving in a dishonest society.
“Letters From A Stoic” By Seneca
The ancient Roman philosopher Seneca, Seneca the Younger, is the author of the book, Letter From A Stoic. The book was a collection of letters that were written by Seneca, who was a tutor and counselor to the Roman Emperor Nero.
The letters in this collection include those that Seneca wrote to his friend Lucilius, in which he gave him philosophical counsel and direction on various subjects. They discussed multiple topics, such as ethics, morality, virtue, the quest for knowledge, how to gain resilience, and the appropriate method to live a decent life.
The letters of Seneca examine Stoic philosophy, which emphasizes self-control, reason, and willingness to accept circumstances beyond our control. The letter also discusses the definition of friendship, the value of introspection, the fleeting nature of existence, and the certainty of death.
To find true happiness and contentment, he encourages his companion to embrace philosophical insight and nurture integrity. “Letters from a Stoic” explains Stoic philosophy and suggestions for living a purposeful and honorable life.
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” By William B. Irvine
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” is a powerful book on Stoicism that was initially published on 7 October 2008 by William B. Irvine.
The book explores the wisdom of the Stoic school of thought, which was among the most liked and prosperous in ancient Rome, and it also demonstrates how its knowledge and insight are still astonishingly relevant to contemporary lives and has a lot of spiritual exercises and impact.
In “A Guide to the Good Life,” Irvine presents Stoicism in a new way, demonstrating how this old-fashioned way of thinking may still help us live better lives today and enjoy calmness.
Irvine provides a road map for anyone wishing to steer clear of the feelings of constant discontent that many people experience using the psychological understandings and practical methods of the Stoics.
Irvine also taught about different Stoic techniques for achieving stability and showed readers the best ways to use these methods to change our own lives. The author also talked about his experiences with Stoicism and gave firsthand values to everyone who desires a better and more peaceful life—the ancient philosophers. It’s one of the Stoicism books you should read.
“Stoicism and The Art Of Happiness” By Donald Robertson
If you desire to learn the fundamental ideas of Stoicism or you love the idea of becoming a stoic, Donald Robertso’s book, “Stoicism and the Art of Happiness”, should be a must-have in your collection. The author examines the basic concepts of stoicism and demonstrates to readers how to put these ideas into practice in their daily lives.
Donald offers its readers valuable exercises and methods derived from the Stoic philosophy that can assist them in gaining resilience when handling stress, controlling their emotions, and overcoming obstacles in life.
To present a current view on Stoic practices, the book also draws on principles from contemporary psychology, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
To show how both strategies can be used in concert to advance mental health and happiness, Robertson draws attention to the parallels connecting the teachings of the Stoics and CBT.
“Stoicism and The Art of Happiness” provides readers with a valuable and approachable orientation to the Stoic school of thought and its potential advantages for living a better, more satisfying life.
It is a priceless resource for people interested in putting Stoic ideals into practice in their own lives by fusing conventional wisdom with cutting-edge psychological insights.
“How to be a Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living” By Massimo Pigliucci
How to Be a Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living” by Massimo Pigliucci is highly recommended for anyone interested in the practices of Stoicism. The book is a manual guide for every individual who wants to get a head on the traditions of Stoicism and how they can be applied to our modern lives.
The ancient philosophy of stoicism instructs people on how to live moral and fulfilling lives and persevere in the face of difficulty.
This Massimo Pigliucci’s book “How to Be a Stoic” offers a thorough examination of the Stoic philosophy, activities, and suggestions for integrating the philosophy into your daily life. You will have a better knowledge of Stoicism, how to become a Stoic, and how it applies to modern life after reading this book.
“How to Think Like a Roman Emperor” By Donald Robertson
“How To Think Like A Roman Emperor” was written by Donald Robertson and published on April 2, 2019. In this book, Donald Robertson used the life and teachings of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher, to analyze the philosophy of stoicism.
The book encourages people to concentrate on what they have control over and embrace the outcome of what they do not have control over. The author also covers the art of meditation and self-worth, which involves promoting reflective thinking and self-awareness.
We can know more about ourselves and gain more control over how we react to the world by paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
Furthermore, “How to Think Like A Roman Emperor” encourages readers to create their unique code of ethics founded on morality and virtue. It’s a book that is worth every penny and time. The book was based on Marcus Aurelius’ experiences.
“The Obstacle Is The Way” By Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is responsible mainly for modern stoicism. However, he taught a little about ancient philosophy. He also aided an entirely new generation in learning about the benefits of this historical practice through his publication titled “The Obstacle Is The Way.” Ryan did not begin his writing career as a philosophy writer.
Early in his career, Ryan worked in marketing, and his very first book was about that subject. He didn’t start distilling the lessons that guided him to his accomplishment until much later in life after getting a kick out of some measure of success.
Furthermore, this journey gives Ryan Holiday’s perspective a depth that many other authors fail to capture. Because he has embodied so many stoic ideals, his writing about them is far and away the best.
The most enjoyable and approachable approach to stoicism is unquestionably found in this book. Holiday’s books, including “The Obstacle Is The Way,” come highly recommended for a daily Stoic, anyone who wants to learn more about ancient philosophy, personal philosophy, and modern Stoicism.
Frequently Asked Questions On Books On Stoicism
What Are The Best Books On Stoicism To Start With?
If you’re new to the world of philosophy and want to start reading books on Stoicism, below are the best to begin with. They come highly recommended:
- Meditation by Marcus Aurelius
- How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
What Are The First 3 Books I Should Read About Stoicism?
If you’re interested in getting started with reading books on Stoicism, there are so many you could begin with. However, the first three books should be:
- “Letters from a Stoic” by Seneca
- “The Enchiridion” by Epictetus
- “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday
What Are Stoicism Weaknesses?
While stoicism provides many helpful insights and methods for improving oneself and developing resilience, it also has several possible flaws that critics, alongside other individuals, may find challenging, and they include:
- Overemphasis on self-control
- Disregard for social and political activism
- Potential for indifference
- Tendency towards fatalism
- Emotional suppression
What Are The Different Types of Stoicism to Look Out For?
There are numerous types of Stoicism. However, these are the most common types to look out for:
- Existential Stoicism
- Modern Stoicism
- Roman Stoicism
- Classical Stoicism
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Stoicism
Wrapping Up On Best Books On Stoicism
Finally, if you are searching for books on Stoicism to read, there are many of them in various bookshops and online bookstores, and you may get confused about which ones to go for. We’ve given a highlight on some of the best books on Stoicism.
You can learn how to become a Stoic from these books. There is timeless wisdom packed in them that you can’t help but stay glued to the last chapter. If practicing Stoic is your thing, here is a great starting point because they help you learn how to handle the affairs of your everyday life.