On the Porch with New Friends: the Stoics
This week and for the next few weeks, unless for some reason I’m side-tracked, let’s sip some lemonade on the porch with some ancients…who are in fact, quite modern. These guys are the Stoics.
…Got your lemonade? Now get these books and sit awhile with me for some excellent reading and study!
Here are the Stoics we will be considering together:
Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations (translated by Gregory Hays) — LOVE this! I can see why Bill Clinton reads this every year. It’s a joy to read. I am inspired by it! This particular edition flows beautifully. The introduction and notes that Gregory Hays includes in this publication are thorough without being highbrow.
Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic — This is the paperback version of this classic. And wow! Is it amazing! When you want to read the classics, choose the Penguin Classic version. That’s not me selling something, this is really very good. (The Modern Library editions are usually excellent, too.) Here are just a couple of quotes from Seneca to whet the appetite:
“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s [person’s] ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”
“It is not the person who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more.”
Epictetus’s Encheiridion (or simply, The Manual), translated by Thomas W. Higginson — This little book has played a disproportionately large role in the rise of modern attitudes and modern philosophy. And Thomas Higginson’s translation is beautifully rendered for the contemporary audience without losing the ancient’s wisdom and clarity.
Other resources to inspire and intrigue you!
The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living, Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman — The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or 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.
The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness, Epictetus and Sharon Lebell — This is Ms. Lebell’s modern-day interpretation of Epictetus’s Encheiridion. It is a great starting place for someone who doesn’t want to slog through anything remotely ancient. And that’s a bit unfortunate because this text doesn’t need any updating. It’s so thoroughly a classic, it almost transcends time.
We just had the book launch for You Are All That: Creating a Great Life with Affirmations. Reading the Stoics lately reminds me just how critical our perceptions are, as well as our internal workings that interpret our world and emotions. This little book fits perfectly into the mix. I didn’t plan the launch and my recent podcasts to this end, but the timing is perfect. Please pick up copies of this “little book with a lot of impact” and share. Our world will be much brighter for us and our communities if we started with our own positive thinking.