THE DAILY STOIC
366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
Imagine the greatest, wisest men being your best friends and advisors.
This is what reading this book feels like.
The Daily Stoic is the one book that is a permanent fixture on my kitchen table. Every morning with my cup of tea, and whenever possible during the day, I open a random page and it tells me exactly what I needed to hear. Incredibly soul soothing. Trust me, so much better than checking your Instagram feed to mask anxiety, fear or lonliness (been there, done that).
The Daily Stoic is an inspiring read that acts as the perfect introduction to Stoic philosophy:
It is actionable and refreshing gems of ancient wisdom.
It is spirituality for people who don’t like fluffy “new-age” thinking.
And it’s the book I recommend to clients who are not necessarily into yoga, meditation or any other form of spiritual practice (The Antidote - Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking by Oliver Burkemann is the other one).
If you are not familiar with Stoic philosophy you could be in for a life-changing treat. Two thousand years ago, Stoicism emerged as a life-affirming platform for being and how to live with peace and contentment. A kind of supervitamin for the soul if you like, fortifying the human spirit against the trials of daily life.
However, this isn’t fortune cookie philosophy and there are some remarkable parallels to Buddhism, which got me interested to dig a little deeper.
At the heart of Stoicism was the idea that the four cardinal virtues of courage, justice, wisdom and self-control are the source for human flourishing, and that all our suffering arises from our perception and interpretation of events, rather than the events themselves. Again, much in common with Buddhism.
When you read this book (or any other book on Stoicism) you might be surprised how many of the troubles and worries we think of as uniquely ours are actually universally human. And that a Roman Emperor (Marcus Aurelius), a former slave (Epictetus) and you (yes YOU) actually share much of the same thoughts, fears, uncertainties and questions in life.
Aimed at businesspeople and action-oriented busy bees (can anyone identify?) this book is intended to introduce you to new ways of thinking and daily rituals that will bring balanced action, insight, effectiveness and serenity.
I love The Daily Stoic for it’s straight-forward, daily portions of timeless knowledge. I tried to tackle the original texts of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius but I just found myself drifting off, I can't do this first thing in the morning. Whereas here the formal language of most modern translations is stripped down, revealing powerful aphorisms that cut straight to the heart of our daily challenges.
You can either read one page per day (everyone has time to read one page. EVERYONE) or devour the whole book in one go. I couldn’t put it down, it’s profoundly deep and sometimes laser sharp. I stopped putting sticky notes onto all the pages that blew my mind as it was close to every single page.