Stoicism Books

Stoicism Books

Here are some of the Stoicism books I’ve read, and indeed the ones that someone seeking more information will likely encounter first.

For a more extensive list, check out the one curated by Massimo Pigliucci here.

Modern Publications

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B. Irvine
 In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life.

How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life, by Massimo Pigliucci
‘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

A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control, by Massimo Pigliucci
In A Handbook for New Stoics, renowned philosopher Massimo Pigliucci and seasoned practitioner Gregory Lopez provide 52 week-by-week lessons to help us apply timeless Stoic teachings to modern life.

Whether you’re already familiar with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, or you’re entirely new to Stoicism, this handbook will help you embrace challenges, thrive under pressure, and discover the good life!

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, by Donald Robertson
In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.

The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday
The Daily Stoic offers a daily devotional of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, and the slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus, as well as diamonds like Zeno, Cleanthes and Musonius Rufus.

Ego Is The Enemy, by Ryan Holiday
In Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday shows us how and why ego is such a powerful internal opponent to be guarded against at all stages of our careers and lives, and that we can only create our best work when we identify, acknowledge and disarm its dangers.

The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday
The Stoic philosophy – that what is in the way, is the way – can be applied to any problem: it’s a formula invented more than 2,000 years ago, whose effectiveness has been proven in battles and board rooms ever since. From Barack Obama’s ability to overcome obstacles in his election races, to the design of the iPhone, the stoic philosophy has helped its users become world-beaters.

Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar, by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni
Cato’s life is a gripping tale rich with resonances for our own turbulent politics. Cato grappled with home-grown terrorists, a public and private debt crisis, a yawning gap between rich and poor, and a fractious ruling class whose lives took on the dimensions of soap opera. He relentlessly opposed the rise of Julius Caesar, but his stubbornness led to the eventual fall of the Roman Republic. This is the story of this uncompromising man’s formation in a time of crisis and his lifelong battle to save the Republic.

The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual, by Ward Farnsworth
The great insights of the Stoics are spread over a wide range of ancient sources. This book brings them all together for the first time. It systematically presents what the various Stoic philosophers said on every important topic, accompanied by an eloquent commentary that is clear and concise. The result is a set of philosophy lessons for everyone – the most valuable wisdom of ages past made available for our times, and for all time.

Stoic Warriors, by Nancy Sherman
While few soldiers may have read the works of Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, it is undoubtedly true that the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism guides the actions of many in the military. Soldiers and seamen learn early in their training “to suck it up,” to endure, to put aside their feelings and to get on with the mission.
Stoic Warriors is the first book to delve deeply into the ancient legacy of this relationship, exploring what the Stoic philosophy actually is, the role it plays in the character of the military (both ancient and modern), and its powerful value as a philosophy of life.

Writings by Stoics

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius
Originally written only for his personal consumption, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations has become a key text in the understanding of Roman Stoic philosophy. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with notes by Martin Hammond and an introduction by Diskin Clay.

Discourses, Fragments, Handbook, by Epictetus
Epictetus, a Greek stoic and freed slave, ran a thriving philosophy school in Nicropolis in the early second century AD. His animated discussions were celebrated for their rhetorical wizardry and were written down by Arrian, his most famous pupil.

Letters on Ethics: To Lucilius, by Seneca
(Free PDFs courtesy of Tim Ferriss can be found here)
Selected from the Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic are a set of ‘essays in disguise’ from one of the most insightful philosophers of the Silver Age of Roman literature. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Latin with an introduction by Robin Campbell.

Musonius Rufus: Lectures and Sayings, by Cynthia King
Musonius Rufus (c. AD 30–100) was one of the four great Roman Stoic philosophers, the other three being Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Musonius’ pupil Epictetus. During his life, Musonius’ Stoicism was put to the test, most notably during an exile to Gyaros, a barren island in the Aegean Sea. Because Stoicism was, for Musonius, not merely a philosophy but a prescription for daily living, he has been called “the Roman Socrates.”