The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
From the team that brought you The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, a beautiful daily devotional of Stoic meditations.
Why have history's greatest minds - from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson along with today's top performers, from Super Bowl-winning football coaches to CEOs and celebrities - embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise.
The Daily Stoic offers a daily devotional of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from Emperor Marcus Aurelius, playwright Seneca, and slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus as well as lesser-known luminaries like Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Every day of the year, you'll find one of their pithy, powerful quotations as well as historical anecdotes, provocative commentary, and a helpful glossary of Greek terms. By following these teachings over the course of a year (and, indeed, for years to come), you'll find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 6 minutes|
|Author||Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 18, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,010 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#4 in Greek & Roman Philosophy (Audible Books & Originals)
#8 in Greek & Roman Philosophy (Books)
#34 in Motivational Management & Leadership
Reviewed in the United States on August 14, 2017
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As the title of the book indicates, The Daily Stoic delivers 366 mini-lessons in Stoicism, dated January 1st through December 31st. These daily entries are divided into months, each revolving around a different theme, such as “Passions and Emotions,” “Duty,” “Fortitude and Resilience,” and “Virtue and Kindness.” Each daily lesson begins with a quotation from an ancient Stoic—most commonly Epictetus, Seneca, or Marcus Aurelius, but the authors also include selections from less familiar Stoics like Musonius Rufus, Cleanthes, and Zeno (the latter quoted from Diogenes Laertius’s Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers). Holiday and Hanselman then provide a page or two of elaboration on the quote and how it applies to the problems of modern life.
Overall these daily Stoic meditations are really quite well-written. The authors are adept at taking ancient Stoic concepts and translating them into plain English without dumbing-down the philosophical content. Holiday and Hanselman certainly know their stuff and write about Stoicism knowledgably and intelligently. They often use examples from history or current events to illustrate the points made in the ancient quotes, which keeps the text interesting and relevant to 21st century readers. If you have already looked into Stoicism, chances are you’ve probably already read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius or the Discourses of Epictetus, but this book will help you see those texts in a new way. Occasionally, the lectures sometimes veer into what one might call “self-help shaming,” implying that if you’re not living your life to the fullest, then your life is a waste. Such instances read more like a 21st-century conceit than what the Stoics had in mind when they promised a life of tranquility. Overall, however, I found the book quite insightful and useful.
Though I believe in Stoicism and its benefits for mental and emotional health, I did not diligently stick to the lesson-a-day schedule the book prescribes. Sometimes I got bored with The Daily Stoic and let several days go by without picking it up; sometimes I would enthusiastically devour half a month’s worth of entries in one sitting. This is not the best book I’ve read on Stoicism (William B. Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life is hard to beat), but it is better than most. If you are serious about Stoicism, these daily contemplations on Stoic thought can be a useful tool to augment your studies. Having just finished the book with the end of the calendar year, I’ll probably just go back to the beginning and read it all over again.
Founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in 3rd century BC, this branch of Greek philosophy got big in the Roman Empire, with its principle philosophers of Epictetus, Seneca, and ultimately Marcus Aurelius with his most-quoted memoir “Meditations.” The author of this book, Ryan Holiday, reads and re-reads Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations for 100+ times, which was the main reason why I choose this book as the 1st book I read on Stoicism.
At its core Stoicism gives us clarity on what we can and can’t control. It teaches us that although we can’t control what happen to us, we can control our perceptions about it. It teaches us that even though we can’t control how we feel, we can control how we react to it. It teaches us that all emotions are generated from within ourselves, and what comes out from us can be controlled by us.
As Ryan Holiday sums it up “[t]he three most essential parts of Stoic philosophy worth carrying with you every day, into every decision: Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.” Indeed, focus on the things that we can control, as Holiday elaborate “[i]f we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle.”
And suddenly the things that matter and the things that are insignificant become abundantly obvious. If we spend less/no time on the things that don’t matter and won’t make any difference, we will have more time for the things that we do have an influence over. Getting emotional over an injustice, for example, is being human. But unless we direct our grievances to something that fix or expose the injustice, getting overly emotional about it with no action won’t do any good. Another example is when we get ill. Don’t moan about the illness, but focus on how to cure it: figure out what the illness is, what’s the cure, and focus on the curing process. Dwelling on how ill you are won’t accomplish anything.
This simple but powerful philosophy is what kept Nelson Mandela sane during his 27 years in prison, as he reads and re-reads Marcus Aurelius’ book “Meditations” in Robben Island. Bill Clinton also read “Meditations” once a year, while Thomas Jefferson had a copy of Epictetus’ book “Discourses” on his bedside. Furthermore, Stoicism is also highly popular among Silicon Valley people and dilligently used to set the mental state of numerous pro athletes. And reading Seneca’s “Letters From a Stoic” was what prevented Tim Ferriss from killing himself during his darkest period of time, and turned his life around into becoming a successful author and investor, among others.
Indeed, Stoicism is not a religion, but if it were its 3 main gospels are Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditation”, Epictetus’ “Discourses” and Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic.”
And being the ultimate compilation of Stoic wisdom, if Stoicism is a religion this book would be its book of hadiths, the book that compile the sayings of the prophet(s). It spreads over 366 mini chapters that comprise a year, which makes it easy to digest and can be learned one day at a time. In fact, this is the first time that I re-read a book straight after I finish reading it cover-to-cover, which I digest the 2nd cycle of reading according to the date of the year, one chapter each morning as a part of a new daily routine.
I could not recommend Stoicism enough, and this book is a perfect introduction to it.
Top reviews from other countries
Though they are in English they are firmly aimed at a US audience. They are full of references to Lincoln, Washington and other individuals from the short history of the United States. This is jarring and an annoyance. With a wealth of history to choose from it's a shame that the author was unable to find better common reference points for English speakers.
I have to say the daily musings on both, particularly death completely altered the way I was coping (catastophising) and as a result I saw the diagnosis for what it was, got my head in order and accepted whatever was to come along. After almost a year of treatments, including a full gastrectomy, two lots of chemo and radiotherapy I’m still using the book daily and referring back to it whenever I feel the need.
Ok this is probably an extreme case for a review but for £8, the price of a few coffees, it’s been invaluable. Whatever is round the corner for me in the future who knows but it’s pointless worrying now about it. Buy it if you want some real world perspective on life and your role in it, you won’t be disappointed.
The 366 meditations offer a page a day of stoic wisdom. No complaints so far it's all been good stuff, some has made me think again and been helpful. I think I am going to like stoicism.
The Stoics had the view that life can be very difficult!
Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.
Stoicism doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but with helping us overcome destructive emotions and act on what can be acted upon. It’s built for action, not endless debate.
Stoics take time each day to look inwards and reflect on our shortcomings and review how the day went and see if there is anything we could have done better. Doing this daily helps us to refine our habits towards what we really want to do with our lives, pushes us to do more and see obstacles as something to be overcome.
I havent made a huge study of the stoics yet but what I have discovered has been good and is helping me to give life direction and feel a sense of purpose. I already feel more in control and satisfied because of it.
It's arrogance is also unbridled, within the first 2 paragraphs you are being told that watching tv or eating, thats right, the act of eating, are wastes of your time and that studying "philosophy" should be your utmost focus as studying philosophy is apparently the one and only form of "freedom" in this reality.
Another way in which it is vomit inducingly arrogant is how frequently the "author" blows smoke up his own a to inflate his ego, no more than 5 pages in and you already start reading paragraphs that start by reminding you of the basic principles of stoicism but then drop those matters and say things like "as well as the organization of this book". The book is about stoicism and claims to contain "some of the greatest wisdomn in the history of the world" but this "wisdom" keeps getting interrupted by the author trying to shill a book that you have already bought. Paragraphs are constantly interrupted by the author chirping in to say " hey, yeah stoicism is cool and all and those quotes sure are something but you NEED this book in your days, you need to read what I have organized"
It is also self contradicting a ridiculous amount.First extoling the virtues of accepting the things we cant change and focusing on the things we can and as mentioned outright infers that sitting around reading philosophy is more important than even feeding yourself yet just a couple of pages later we get an entire page dedicated to telling us that we need to have plans and those plans need to be elaborate and everything needs to be planned to the bitter end because we need to have plans so that we can spend every second of the day focusing on those and those alone........so which is it? should I be reading philosophy because that is the one path to "freedom" or should I be out in the real world working myself to the bone for a distant goal because apparently the end is the only thing that matters and there is no time for happines along the way?
Another example of self contradiction: It gives a quote from Marcus Aurelius "A person who doesn't know their purpose in life doesn't know who they are or what the universe is". So even at the early stage in the book where this quote appears we have been told that reading philosophy is more important than feeding ourselves, that we need to have all things planned out because apparently life is smooth sailing and planning every iota is an easy task and we should then spend every waking second of every day fixated on that end target at the expense of ignoring literally everyone and everything else and now it has been reinforced that if we do not have our entire lives already planned out that we posses " no knowledge". Stoicism is not the principle of easy living and having everything laid out for you start to finish, its about virtue, about remaining composed even in trying times, its about using your own perception to live the best life you personally can. If you are 20 years old and dont have the next 50 years of your life planned out down to the last second that doesnt mean you cant embody the principles of stoicism.
This one is more likely to be subjective but I will include it here anyway, perhaps I am not a "stoic" as per this books definition. It talks about accepting not being able to control outside forces and events but controlling our reaction to them, which is largely useless. If someone at work gets promoted you can choose whether to dwell on it and be bitter or be happy for that persons success, there are occasions where you can think one way or the other, but mostly that is not the case. If you hear a news story about a fatal car crash what then? Unless you are an actual psycopath there is no way to spin that in your own mind as being a good event that happened that day and you are now better off for hearing it.
There are numerous pages that open with something along the lines of "the famous such and such once told a story", the author then drops that, doesnt give any information about what said story was or the context but finishes off the page acting as though they have just dropped some mind blowing knowledge that will forever change your perspective of life and of yourself but factually they said literally nothing.
Here is one page in particular that stuck with me after finishing the book and not for good reasons. One page talks about the "circle of control" and reminds us to focus on what we can control and filter what we cant, it goes on to say that the only thing in our circle is our mind, that even our physical bodies are not entirely within our control and gives 2 examples. 1: We could be struck with an illness or impairment, ok fine, that is fair to say.
2: "you coud be travelling in a foregin country and be thrown in jail" One of the dumbest sentences I have read in my entire life. How on earth is commiting a crime big enough to land you in jail not in your control? on top of that how is commiting a felony in any way,shape or form on par with being inflicted with a physical impairment?
It is complete and utter tripe, it is something people want to have on their shelves to act like they are high brow when in reality the substance of the book is about as vapid as a colour by numbers on the back of a childs cereal box.
Stoicism is *not* the discipline of forsaking literally everything else, including the most basic survival instinct (eating) to spend every conceivable hour staring at a book, which is the idealogoyu that this book prattles on about for the better part of 400 pages. You can watch tv, you can have a snack, you can enjoy the lttle things in life, that doesnt mean you are opposing the principle beleifs of stoicism.
It's self contradicting, judgemental, hypocritical and overall just very very dumb. Even if you have the patience to read through the never ending stream of blatant contradictions, self importance, dead end paragraphs and instantly dropped references you will not learn anything from this book. If anyone has read this and somehow truly come away with it feeling in any way better for having read it, good for them but personally I do not get it, it is a very vapid, inconsistent and more often than not incorrect interpretation of stoicism
This book is more self-help than all the other self-help books put together. It's not 'preachy' just practical. The format is a ideal. Each day of the year has a quote from a famous Stoic and brief comment on the quote. It doesn't tell you 'do this and that will happen'. It asks you to ask questions of yourself. Two or three minutes reading in the morning and a whole day of thinking. You will get out of this what you put into it. If you're new to Stoicism the views may surprise you. If you're an old hand Stoic it's a great way to start the day.
This book could change your life. To what degree is up to you.