In this informative article, I would like to record the Best Books On Stoicism, and I have experienced up to now.
Besides the classic three Stoic writers who’ve come down to us (i.e., Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus), I have recorded the most influential modern writers. They are contributing to bringing Stoicism straight back to the public.
This is not a comprehensive list of the best stoicism books on the market. Still, I expect this can help you discover, internalize, and practice a doctrine and college of lifestyle, which can help you live a satisfying lifestyle.
What Is Stoicism?
Stoicism is among the most common practical philosophies at this time. It was not supposed to be utilized in classrooms, but in real life together with our regular problems.
How do you face severe conditions? What is essential in life, and what isn’t? How can we be joyful, and what leads to pleasure? These are the type of questions Stoicism copes with.
It was initially based in Athens by Zeno of Citium but rapidly spread throughout the ancient Roman and Greek worlds. The many known stoic philosophers are:
- Marcus Aurelius, also Roman Empire.
- Seneca, a wealthy and powerful figure who had been the coach of emperor Nero. And
- Epictetus was initially born as a servant, but afterward, he was set free, who based his Stoic school.
Just by taking a look at the three chief philosophers of Stoicism, it’s possible to observe that the diversity is enormous: from the bottom ranks of society to the most active person of this world (at the time).
This just shows that Stoicism could be implemented in any circumstance, and anybody may benefit from its teachings.
There are not any significant concepts in Stoicism, no theoretical talks. It is meant only for training. Therefore, if you would like to be steadfast, less psychological, and more satisfied with your daily life, it is well worth having a peek at the teachings that are overburdened.
Top Rated Best Stoic Books To Read
Today, a lot was written about Stoicism, rather than all of it’s as easy as it is made out to be. Here is a curated stoic reading list. Penn Book hope you like it!
The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Pierre Hadot
Pierre Hadot, among the most prominent scholars of ancient philosophy, has written a remarkable guide to Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. Regardless of being academic and also a translation out of Hadot’s French, this stoicism book is readable and provides unparalleled insights into Marcus, his influences, and Stoicism as a doctrine. Read this book!
Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault by Pierre Hadot
If you end up enjoying Pierre Hadot’s book on Marcus, Philosophy as a Way of Life is a natural next step. While not focusing on Stoicism, this book is an integral text in knowing how doctrine is much more than an academic field isolated from actual life, but something to direct us orient us and most importantly something to be practiced.
In this book, Pierre Hadot does a great introduction to ‘spiritual exercises’ and provides examples from several philosophers. (Following these two, if you prefer Hadot, I would suggest that you check out his book The Current Alone is Our excitement. Due to Ryan Holiday for advocating Hadot’s work.)
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Steve Hanselman
Another one in the books about stoicism list is The Daily Stoic provides 366 times Stoic exercises and insights, including all new translations from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, in Addition to lesser known Stoics such as Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Each page provides a quotation along with a corresponding meditation.
It’s probably the best place to begin for somebody who has zero familiarity with Stoicism. You may start by reading an excerpt in the book that’s available on this site.
Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior by James Stockdale
Avid small business readers are probably knowledgeable about this Stockdale paradox’ in the bestselling book Good to Great. As its writer explained, the paradox captures Stockdale’s resilient mentality that suffered terrible problems and hardship as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
As the writer wrote, “You have to maintain faith you will prevail ultimately, irrespective of the issues. AND at precisely the same time… You should face the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.” The paradox aside is a beautiful short book by Stockdale, which reveals how Stoicism will provide the crucial principles and courage to endure this ordeal.
Dying Every Day: Seneca in the Court of Nero by James Romm
James Romm’s book on Seneca is a fantastic biography about the guy, which may help those pupils of Stoicism conflicted about Seneca.
The thought of becoming a wealthy philosopher who had been a mentor to one of the worst tyrants in history to understand him and dive deeper into the political and societal context of the moment. It’s also a case study of a despot gone insane and the paranoid regime he gave rise to.
Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson
The Stoic community on Reddit highly suggested Donald Robertson’s book. The book has excellent reviews. One writer wrote, “In my view, Robertson is exceptional to Hadot, Long, or some other author on Stoicism due to his Psychotherapy history and his ability to make it to the frequent man.”
It’s the kind of book that you can read in a few months and learn a lot about Stoicism, ancient Stoicism, and your ways of dealing with emotions, adversities, and how to improve.
Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Deadly Enemy of Caesar by Robert Goodman and Jimmy Soni
Cato is probably the closest we have to a fantastic Stoic. As one of those writers, Jimmy SoSonirote, “The Stoics taught Cato, there were no shades of grey. There wasn’t any more or less great, no more or less poor. Whether you’re a foot submerged or even a fathom, you’re drowning. All respects were the same virtue, all vices the same vice.”
This is an unbelievable book that reveals what it means to fully live based on one’s principles, even if that means dying.
A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe
For people searching for a work of fiction that comprises the Stoics, this should be your first stop. Tom Wolfe’s famous book features Epictetus, who has detected Conrad Hensley’s error.
A young guy has none; his wife had given him up, his car has been towed, was outside of work, and was also in prison, in which he received by error a replica of Epictetus’s book.
The book was heralded as a masterpiece’ and back in 1999, the New York Times wrote about Stoicism’s resurrection as a result of the book’s influence.
The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy by Donald Robertson
Another book by Donald Robertson is among the, now exploring the intriguing sources of CBT among the best types of treatment on the market and the way Stoicism has a significant part in its evolution.
To get you started, The Daily Stoic has interviewed Donald, and he supplies a fantastic response about the roots and contrasts between the treatment and the doctrine.
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine
A Guide to the Good Life is probably among the most well known modern introductory texts for novices. The book is exceptionally readable and, just like other books on stoicism, provides a fantastic introduction to the stoicism philosophy for those who want to start their deeper comprehension of Stoicism and advice still has remarkable relevance in modern lives.
This book will give you a solid introduction to the stoic philosophical concepts and pointers on how you can apply them to your own life.
The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
Even though Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way isn’t a book about Stoicism, it’s a book inspired by Stoicism and its crucial principles for thriving under stress.
Historical examples of great people teach us how to conquer adversity and problems, turn barriers upside down, and show us how to appreciate our destiny, regardless of what it may bring.
Stoicism is not dead of practical philosophy. The book is now a cult classic with athletes and coaches alike and has been featured in prominent outlets such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN. It is possible to find a free chapter from the book if you register for The Daily Stoic’s free email course on Stoicism.
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
If Ryan’s prior book Ego is the Enemy is all about confronting outside challenges, this one turns out, to challenge us and invites us to look inward and the way that we’re too often our own worst enemy.
Much like The Obstacle Is your Way, the book draws examples in stoic philosophy, history, and literature, assisting us in suppressing our ego regardless of where we’re on our trajectory aspiring, attaining, or failing.
Ego is The Enemy is a holiday show that our ego is holding us back and setting us up to fail. This is in keeping with the old stoic thinkers who advocated humility to stay humble, focused, and apply yourself to the greater good, not just for yourself.
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton (part on Seneca)
Although this stoicism has just 1 chapter that’s right about Stoicism the one on Seneca I highly suggest this book. It provides wise advice from several philosophers from Schopenhauer to Epicurus to Montaigne.
If you’re trying to find a book to supplement your research on Stoicism with associates program, this is a terrific starting point. You could even see this movie on YouTube out of Alain de Botton and also his trip to Rome and that which Seneca can instruct us about dominating our rage.
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Illness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I was introduced to Stoicism and Seneca at Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan. It’s among my favorite books, but I would tend to urge his Antifragile’s chapter on Seneca that provides among the very best and most concise explanations of this doctrine and how its principles will help us in times of prosperity and moments of difficulty.
Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller
A New York Times Notable Books 2011, James Miller’s Examined Lives explores the lives of twelve famous philosophers Seneca such as searching for Stoic wisdom and advice.
Very similar to Alain de Botton’s book on this record, the chapter on Seneca alone is well worth for any student of Stoicism can gain. They are studying Diogenes, Socrates, Montaigne, and other people to come across useful pieces that lead us to live just a little bit better every day.
How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life by Massimo Pigliucci
Front cover of this book How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life by Massimo Pigliucci
The next introductory book on this listing is that of Massimo Pigliucci, an American Italian philosopher, and ancient stoics. He was able to conduct his favorite blog on stoicism or that the twenty first century (now sadly behind a paywall), also is among the Internet’s most significant resources on ancient stoics in the New York Times from two years ago.
‘In this thought provoking book, Massimo Pigliucci shares his journey of discovering the power of Stoic practices in a philosophical dialogue with one of Stoicism’s greatest teachers.’ – Ryan Holiday
It is no surprise that his introductory book on stoicism was tremendous and could be an ideal place to begin your stoic journey.
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
Another historical text in the Stoics is Seneca’s letters. Out of all the older stoic philosophy books, Seneca is most probably the most readable and most pleasurable Stoic philosopher. He writes directly to the reader, and though the letters are treated to your friend, it is quite apparent that Seneca had posterity in your mind too.
Seneca’s letters touch upon several distinct topics. It is from friendship, death, being wealthy, despair, failure, loss, achievement, and the purpose of happiness and life.
The fundamental topic of all letters, however, is stoic wisdom. Throughout the stories, illustrations, and training’ from the messages, you really can get a better comprehension of precisely what it means to become a stoic in the clinic.
These letters offer a coherent and well-organized description of Stoic philosophy manifested in everyday life.
Stoic Warriors by Nancy Sherman Paperback 256 pages
Another consideration in this best books is Stoic Warriors. Nancy Sherman writes concerning the military head and the soldiers’ civilization from a philosophical perspective and discusses topics like character, mindset, and ethics. It’s an excellent book to read though it tends to be a small bit nostalgic and heavy at certain parts.
Professor Nancy Sherman (1951-) teaches stoic philosophy at Georgetown University, where she writes on military and stoic ethics.
Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Paperback 544 pages
A thick and heavy book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb speaks about uncertainty and risk. Two exceptional topics for any famous pupil of stoic philosophy doctrine. This book is part of the series that began with The Black Swan.
As the name says, Taleb shows that we will need to become fragile, or such as the neoplasm he devised, antifragile, in a universe where disease and chaos are a part of the inherent character of reality. Start Looking for the chapter devoted to Seneca.
Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb (1960-) was formerly a trader and risk writer and has switched his attention to teaching, composing, and data.
Stoicism and Emotion by Margaret Graver
In this book, Margaret Graver asserts the chief need of stoic philosophy ethics isn’t that we ought to curb or deny our emotions, but to perfect our logical thoughts.
A must read book for anybody who would like to understand the relationship between Stoicism and feelings and also to help them create compelling arguments against the widespread misunderstanding the center focus of this doctrine is controlling one’s feelings and emotions.
The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics by Brad Inwood
I discovered this book among the highest recommendations from Massimo Pigliucci and that I will let his powerful endorsement talk for the book:
“This exceptional volume provides an odyssey through the thoughts of the Stoics in three specific ways: first, through the historical trajectory of the faculty itself and its sway; instant, through the retrieval of the background of Stoic thinking; third, through the continuing confrontation with Stoicism, demonstrating how it refines cultural traditions, challenges the creativity, and finally defines the type of life one chooses to direct.”
Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic’s Guide to the Art of Living by Ronald Pies
Ronald Pies, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics and Humanities in S.U.N.Y. This book reveals how Stoicism could be the route to tranquility and joy but the writer also draws out of his case research as a therapist.
Philosophy for Life: And Other Dangerous Situations by Jules Evans
I have been meaning to purchase this book ever since reading Jules Evans’s meeting for Your Daily Stoic. In his interview, Jules highlights how everybody can gain from Stoic techniques; however, he’s critical of this doctrine’s lack of comedy, not emphasizing the significance of friendship and seeing a lot of rule based theory.
As his book investigates numerous different colleges and philosophers, I would be interested to learn what’s also resonated with Jules and where did he find replies that perhaps Stoicism was not capable of providing.
Man’s Search for Meaning
Here is the only book on this record that’s not only a book on Stoicism. Additionally, the only real book on this list that reads like a book.
Man’s Search for Meaning is a 1947 book by the neurologist and psychologist, Victor Frankl. The book details Victor’s experience as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.
Though not a stoic philosophy book, it surely has principles and ideas, which are Stoic.
Have a look at this quote in the book:
“Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing: the final of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”- Viktor E. Frankl
That seems very comfortable to one of those quotations from yesterday’s article:
“We can have no opinion about something rather than to allow it to upset our frame of mind, for matters don’t have any natural ability to shape our conclusions.” – Marcus Aurelius
This book is also the very gifted book of time among the numerous celebrities and entrepreneurs Tim Ferriss has interviewed.
Tao of Seneca
There are several unique variations of the selection of letters, but the Tao of Seneca is a wholly free ebook assembled by Tim Ferriss.
It comes in 3 volumes, each comprising a couple of dozen characters. Each letter takes less than ten minutes to see, based upon your reading speed.
“These amounts are dedicated to those who seek to better themselves and, in doing this, better the entire world.” – Tim Ferriss
The Tao of Seneca is my beloved Stoic text up to now. Since Seneca was a playwright, his writing has a unique creative quality, making reading them very pleasurable.
Because this is an ebook, you may easily place it on your telephone or kindly examine it if you desire. Since Tim Ferriss proposes, should you read one letter each day, it is going to change you.
I can personally attest to this, as I have mentioned previously, it took a few days until I started believing in an identical method to Seneca’s writings.
Marcus Aurelius: A Life by Frank McLynn
This is one of the best Marcus Aurelius books, on Massimo’s list, and he characterizes it as the authoritative biography of this gigantic historical person to date. Before diving into it or Pierre Hadot’s book, I recommend reading Gregory Hays’ excellent introduction to Marcus in Meditations, as well as Ryan Holiday’s one hundred teachings from Marcus Aurelius and this YouTube lecture series.
Stoicism by John Sellars
This is my favorite introduction to Stoic philosophy. This book is easy to read and fun. It teaches the basics of Stoic philosophy and provides insight into the ancient Stoic texts. It is ideal for beginners and students, as well as for those who want to understand Stoic ethics within the wider context of Stoicism.
Meditations: The Annotated Edition, by Robin Waterfield
The most modern translation is the one by Gregory Hays
This annotated edition provides the definitive translation of this beloved classic text. Robin Waterfield, a world renowned expert in classics, provides extensive notes. This book is a great way to learn about the most devoted Stoic and provides a wealth of information for those unfamiliar with it.
Discourses, Fragments, Handbook, by Epictetus
Epictetus was a Greek stoic who ran a Nicropolis philosophy school during the early second century AD. His most famous student, Arrian wrote down his animated discussions because of their rhetorical wizardry.
The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient, by William B. Irvine
The Stoic Challenge is a compelling account of how you can approach life using Stoic wisdom as your guide.
“I can see this book benefitting many people in their daily lives.” –Donald Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor
Lives of the Stoics, by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
This book offers a fresh way to have understanding Stoicism through the lives and experiences of those who practice it. This book contains short biographies of many famous Stoics and lesser known Stoics.
It will explain what it means to live stoically and the lessons learned from their successes and failures. This book is full of valuable insights to help anyone who wants to live a happy life.
How to Keep Your Cool (Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers), by Lucius Annaeus Seneca
This beautiful translation is of critical selections from Seneca’s On Anger. The book is presented with an informative introduction and the original Latin on the facing pages.
This book provides a guideline for managing anger and avoiding it. The book demonstrates why offense is dangerous and how controlling it can benefit society and individuals.
Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life, by Anthony Long
LATER, A. A. Long, a prominent scholar of ancient philosophy, presents the definitive presentation on Epictetus’ thought. Long’s vivid and fresh translations of some of Epictetus’ best discourses prove that his ideas remain as relevant and compelling today as they were two thousand years ago.
These translations are organized thematically, which provide a way to enter this world for people who don’t know it and offer insightful interpretations for those who do.
Other Books Considerations:
- How to Think Like a Roman Emperor – Donald J. Robertson
- The Handbook by the Modern Stoicism Team
Further Resources About Stoicism Online
These books are great for starting to explore this practical philosophy. There are many other resources and books about stoicism. We might even do a follow up to this list.
However, stoicism is also experiencing a revival. New books and insights are being published. Online communities of stoics have been established, and people are becoming more interested in this philosophy.
These are the top online resources:
- Modern Stoicism
- Daily Stoic
- Pigliucci’s blog (now defunct, but the archives are still there)
- Donald Robertson’s blog
- Reddit’s r/stoicism community
The Ancient Sage and the Stoic Emperor have their Twitter accounts. Both provide (new) reflections that are based on ancient philosophies.
For international readers, it is more interesting to note that stoicism has not only been experiencing a revival in English speaking countries. New communities are emerging in Polish, Dutch and Indonesian. There are probably many other languages.
There is much more to learn about stoicism online than in the aforementioned books. This speaks volumes about the practicality of this philosophy.
People all over the globe are finding strength and utility in the writings of the ancient Stoics. These texts and the philosophy were helpful to people 2000 years ago and still help people today.
Suppose you are looking for the best books on stoic philosophy. In that case, you should definitely check out the works of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus.
These three philosophers were some of the most influential Stoics of their time, and their works are still highly respected today. Each of them has a different take on Stoicism. Still, all three of them offer valuable insights into this ancient philosophy.
Thank you for reading!
Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API