Day 196 — Book Resource How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life

New book out this year, How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life is not a read I thought would be particularly engaging (maybe I’m more of a hedonist!) — so it’s great to be pleasantly surprised. Stoicism comes from an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium, where its followers see virtue based on knowledge and hold an indifference to pleasure and pain. While the world is unpredictable and life is short, self-control and focusing on logic and overcoming emotional turmoil allows one to live with restraint, humility and compassion.

Massimo Pigliucci’s book is a journey with one of the famous Stoics, Epictetus, a conversation on the disciplines of desire, action and assent, working through the virtues with use of Ancient Greek and modern accounts of how the philosophical attitudes are relevant and useful. It’s a lively investigation, unpacking the early philosophers’ ideas and in many ways reminded me of the psychological locus of control notion of self-monitoring and awareness, rather than allowing oneself to be manipulated and distressed. The conclusion of the book involves exercises to help you master the Stoic virtues — Speak without Judging and Remind Yourself of the Impermanence of Things, for example.

Like some of the other books I’ve discussed this year, it is tending towards pop philosophy and certainly encourages an interest in studying further — by coincidence, there’s a free stoicism course online this week as well.

Further Resources:

Mindfulness and Stoicism — free stoicism course

Book site and author site