The Philosophy of Happiness: 10 Priceless Lessons From Socrates on Leading a Life of Joy and Wisdom

One of the greatest philosophers of the Western tradition, Socrates has remained unparalleled in his examination of love, wisdom, and happiness. His teachings — transcribed by his disciple and philosopher Plato — have stayed relevant for over 2000 years.

Here’s our pick of his 10 timeless teachings, in quotes.


1. Wisdom lies in knowing that you don’t know enough yet.

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

2. Change begins with you.

“Let him that would move the world first move himself.”

3. Grow by learning from others.

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall gain easily what others have laboured hard for.”

4. Be happy with what you have.

“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”

5. Live by your principles.

“The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles.”

6. Is your busy life making a difference?

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

7. Speak the truth.

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”

8. Be curious to know.

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

9. Accept change.

“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

10. Introspect.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

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