How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life

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How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci is an easy-to-understand introduction to Stoic philosophy. With a witty, engaging writing style, Pigliucci breaks down Stoic philosophy into its constituent parts, discussing each in turn. He makes use of anecdotes both ancient and modern.

After a few chapters of overview and history, the book is broken into three major parts, consisting of several chapters each, delving into one of the three disciplines of Stoicism. Part One looks at the discipline of desire, or things that we should and shouldn’t want, along with the realization that there are only so many things within our power. Part Two presents the discipline of action and covers virtues, morals, and making use of role models. Part Three focuses on the discipline of assent and how we should react to situations, along with how to work with our emotions in a proper and positive way. This last section includes twelve Stoic practices to integrate into your own life. An appendix gives a brief overview of other philosophies.

Much of the book is presented in a jocular manner, easy and friendly, and a good percentage reflects Pigliucci’s inner discourse with the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, whom he regards as a role model. As one who uses personified guides that I can “speak” and debate with, I greatly appreciated both the presentation and the admission. How to be a Stoic takes a weighty subject and makes it more accessible to the masses.

As Pigliucci said, Stoicism isn’t for everyone, but as a practical philosophy, I found it quite interesting. It seems a good fit for me, based on my needs and even just a single reading proved useful in initiating change in my own life. It prompted me to collect more contemporary books on Stoicism to read. This is definitely a book I’ll be rereading and making use of for years to come.

Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Basic Books
Publish Date 2017-May-09
ISBN 9780465097951 Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Philosophy


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