by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
The Daily Stoic is a collection of quotes and stories of the ancient stoics with context given for each of them. The book is split into the three core tenets of stoic philosophy – perception, action and will. On top of that, every month has a general theme to it. Every day provides the reader with a short quote fitting the theme of the current month. To set the quote in context by providing background information or elaborating on it through a short story, the authors invoke a thought process to reflect on your own life. The whole book serves as a reminder of the fragility of our own path to the stoic virtues.
Until now, I have read two other books on stoicism where one served as an intro to the philosophy in a modern context, and the other as a raw, but fundamental, depiction of stoicism as every day practice. The introductory book is “A Guide to the Good Life” by William B. Irvine. The other is “The Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, translated by Gregory Hay. You can find my review of Marcus Aurelius’ text on stoicism here. I absolutely recommend both books and I think William B. Irvin did fantastic work on introducing stoicism in a modern context.
interesting thoughts / quotes
“How you do anything is how you do everything.” It’s true. How you handle today is how you’ll handle every day.”May 18th
“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it — for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (April 25th)
“If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled — have you no shame in that?”EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION (March 8th)
Having a daily reminder at hand to keep working on a better self is very helpful throughout the year. On top of that, the text expanding on the quotes is kept very short an as such reading it is unobtrusive. Meaning, it can be read in the morning, on your daily commute, or any other time of the day because it does not consume a lot of time. This seems like a rather minor point, but it turns out that this is, at least to me, important. Not spending a lot of time on reading the daily entry, I could easily incorporate this process into my daily routine. Therefore, after a few weeks reminding myself about the stoic way, has become a habit.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who either wants a daily reminder on following stoic virtues, or who struggles to stay on the path forward they set for themselves.
Generally there is not much to dislike about the book. My only critique would be that December is a little dark and gloomy. However, its topic is on mortality, and as such this is to be expected.
Thank you, your comment successfully submitted
your comment has been submited, it might take a while to be moderated.