If you're interested in Stoicism, you're in luck! There are a number of great books on Stoicism that are the perfect reading material for beginners. In this blog post, we'll introduce you to the five best books on Stoicism for beginners. These books will help you better understand the philosophy of the Middle Way and its many teachings. So without further ado, let's get started!
The top five books are:
- Life of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
- The Enchiridion by Epictetus
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Letters of a Stoic by Seneca
- That hardships should be spurned: The Teachings of a Roman Stoic by Musonius Rufus
- On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
We hope you enjoy these books and that they help you on your journey to better understand Stoicism!
1. Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday
Lives of the Stoics is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about the lives of famous Stoics and how they applied Stoicism to their own lives. The book includes biographies of some of the most influential Stoics, including Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus.
You can buy the book here, but we've found that it also sounds good as an audiobook. For about 10USD you can get it (and if you're new to Audible, you can get it for free via this link).
The chapters (and thus 26 philosophers) are:
- ZENO THE PROPHET
- CLEANTHES THE APOSTLE
- ARISTO THE CHALLENGER
- CHRYSIPPUS THE FIGHTER
- ZENO THE MAINTAINER
- DIOGENES THE DIPLOMAT
- ANTIPATER THE ETHICIST
- PANAETIUS THE CONNECTOR
- PUBLIUS RUTILIUS RUFUS THE LAST HONEST MAN
- POSIDONIUS THE GENIUS
- DIOTIMUS THE VICIOUS
- CICERO THE FELLOW TRAVELER
- CATO THE YOUNGER, ROME'S IRON MAN
- PORCIA CATO THE IRON WOMAN
- ATHENODORUS CANANITES THE KINGMAKER
- ARIUS DIDYMUS THE KINGMAKER
- AGRIPPINUS THE DIFFERENT
- SENECA THE STRIVER
- CORNUTUS THE COMMON
- GAIUS RUBELLIUS PLAUTUS THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT BE KING
- THRASEA THE FEARLESS
- HELVIDIUS PRISCUS THE SENATOR
- MUSONIUS RUFUS THE UNBREAKABLE
- EPICTETUS THE FREE MAN
- JUNIUS RUSTICUS THE DUTIFUL
- MARCUS AURELIUS THE PHILOSOPHER KING
There is also a nice timeline and map of the Greco-Roman world.
You see you get a pretty complete overview of Stoic philosophy.
Is Lives of the Stoics worth reading?
This is a beginner-friendly concentrate on the Stoics and Stoicism in general. Reading it was so much fun. It is very engaging to read - especially because it is broken down by each Stoic, it makes it easy to digest.
2. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
The Daily Stoic is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoic philosophy and how to apply it to their own lives. The book contains a selection of daily readings from some of the most influential Stoics, including Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus.
Ryan Holiday talks about how to live by the stoic philosophy.
How to deal with difficult people and situations and many more everyday things we all face.
And that's why it's a valuable book for finding out what's really important in life.
The book is organized as follows:
PART 1: THE DISCIPLINE OF PERCEPTION
- JANUARY: CLARITY
- FEBRUARY: PASSIONS AND EMOTIONS
- MARCH: AWARENESS
- APRIL: UNBIASED THOUGHT
PART 2: THE DISCIPLINE OF ACTION
- MAY: RIGHT
- JUNE: PROBLEM-SOLVING
- JULY: DUTY
- AUGUST: PRAGMATISM
PART 3 THE DISCIPLINE OF WILL
- SEPTEMBER: FORTITUDE AND RESILIENCE
- OCTOBER: VIRTUE AND KINDNESS
- NOVEMBER: ACCEPTANCE: AMORI FATI MOR
- DECEMBER: MEDITATION ON MORTALITY
- STAYING STOIC
- A MODEL OF LATE STOIC PRACTICE AND GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS AND PASSAGES
- A WORD ON THE TRANSLATIONS REFERENCES AND SOURCES
- SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READINGS
Is The Daily Stoic worth reading?
If you are looking for a book that covers the basics of Stoicism AND gives you practical examples of how to apply it, this is the book for you. The Daily Stoic is an excellent introduction to Stoicism and one of the few books on Stoicism that gives you everything you need to practice Stoicism in your daily life.
3. The Enchiridion by Epictetus
The Enchiridion is a classic Stoic text that has been influential for centuries. The book is a manual for the Stoic life and is full of wisdom and practical advice.
Who was Epictetus? Epictetus was one of the early Stoa and therefore what makes this book special is that it was written over 2000 years ago and the advice is still relevant today. If you want to learn more about Stoicism and how you can apply it to your life, this is a good place to start.
The Enchiridion is divided into four parts:
1. what is and what is not about us, and how to deal with external things. Chapters 1-21.
- Chapters 1-2. What we are entitled to and what we are not, and the consequences of choosing either.
- Chapters 3-14. How to deal with external things (keep the reader from them).
- Chapters 15-21. How to use external things properly and without interference.
2. advice for middle school students. Chapters 22-28.
- Chapters 22-25. the problems of middle school students.
- Chapters 26-28. Miscellania: The general ideas, badness and shame.
3. technical advice on the discovery of appropriate actions (kathēkonta). Chapters 30-47.
- Chapters 30-33. appropriate actions toward (a) other people, (b) God, (c) divination, (d) self.
- Chapters 34-47. various commandments for righteousness (right actions).
4. conclusions about the practice of the commandments. Chapters 48-53.
- Chapter 48. The last advice and its classification of the types of people.
- Chapters 49-52. The practice of the commandments.
- Ch 53. quotes to memorize.
Each part contains a series of short chapters that are easy to read and digest. The book is full of Stoic wisdom and is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoic philosophy.
Is The Enchiridion worth reading?
The Enchiridion is a must read for anyone interested in Stoicism. It is a practical guide to the Stoic life and is full of wisdom and advice that you can apply to your life.
4. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The meditations are the most famous work of Marcus Aurelius and one of the most influential works of Stoic philosophy. The book is a collection of Marcus' thoughts and reflections on Stoic philosophy and an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoic thought.
Marcus Aurelius (or Marcus Aurelius) lived in the 2nd century AD and was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He was also a philosopher and is considered the last influential Stoic of recent times. His reign was marked by stability in the Roman Empire. He was also able to enforce improvements in social status for slaves and women.
The meditations are divided into 12 books, each covering different Stoic themes. Some of the topics covered are:
About the pain
About the discourse
About the desire
Is Meditations worth reading?
The Meditations is a must read for anyone interested in Stoicism. It is a collection of Marcus Aurelius' thoughts and reflections on Stoic philosophy and an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoic thought.
Therefore, we recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Marcus Aurelius, Stoicism, or philosophy in general. The book is full of wisdom and insights that you should not miss.
Check out this article: Marcus Aurelius' Most Relevant Quotes for Modern Life
5. Letters of a Stoic by Seneca
Letters of a Stoic is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Stoicism. The book is a collection of Seneca's letters, and each letter deals with a different topic of Stoic philosophy. The letters are short and concise, which makes the book easy to digest, and they are full of wisdom and practical advice.
The book is organized as follows:
SENECA AND PHILOSOPHY
SENECA AND LITERATURE
APPENDIX: Tacitus' report on the death of Seneca
You see, not only do you get the letters themselves, but you also get a whole lot of background on the man who was eventually driven to suicide.
Is Letters of a Stoic worth reading?
Seneca was one of the greatest of Stoicism and is one of the most famous philosophers in the world in general. That alone should prove that this collection is valuable. Depending on the version, however, it can be a bit difficult to read - at least at first. With time, though, it gets easier. And if Stoicism is known for anything, it is virtuous and praiseworthy practice. This book is an opportunity to practice both and is full of wisdom.
Want to learn more about Seneca's views on life? Check out this article: Explained Quotes: Seneca on Multitasking and FOMO
6. That One Should Disdain Hardships: The Teachings of a Roman Stoic by Musonius Rufus
That One Should Disdain Hardships: The Teachings of a Roman Stoic is a series of lectures on Stoic philosophy given by the Roman philosopher Musonius Rufus. The lectures are short and easy to read and are full of wisdom and practical advice.
Here are the chapters for you:
1. That There Is No Need of Giving Many Proofs for One Problem
2. That Man Is Born with an Inclination Toward Virtue
That Women Too Should Study Philosophy
4 Should Daughters Receive the Same Education as Sons?
5 Which Is More Effective, Theory or Practice?
6. On training
7. That One Should Disdain Hardships
8. That Kings Also Should Study Philosophy
9. That Exile Is Not an Evil
10 Will the Philosopher Prosecute Anyone for Personal Injury?
What Means of Livelihood Is Appropriate for a Philosopher?
12 On Sexual Indulgence
13 What Is the Chief End of Marriage?
14 Is Marriage a Handicap for the Pursuit of Philosophy?
15 Should Every Child That Is Born Be Raised
16 Must One Obey One's Parents Under All Circumstances
What Is the Best Viaticum for Old Age?
18. On food
19 On Clothing and Shelter
20 On Furnishings
21 On Cuting the Hair
You can see from the structure that a lot is covered here. Some sections may not be as relevant today, but they too may contain useful things for you.
Is That One Should Disdain Hardships: The Teachings of a Roman Stoic worth reading?
You may have guessed it already: this book is worth reading. And if you're looking for older Stoic works, this one is for you. Maybe it's even more interesting for you than The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday (the second book we talked about in this article), which is a modern book.
7. On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
On the Shortness of Life is a letter written by the Roman philosopher Seneca to his friend Paulinus. In the letter, Seneca talks about the brevity of life and how to make the most of it. The letter is short and is a must read for anyone interested in Stoicism. It is a letter written by the Roman philosopher Seneca to his friend Paulinus. In the letter, Seneca discusses the brevity of life and how to make the most of it. The letter is short and easy to read and is full of interesting lessons that you can apply to your own life - especially if you sometimes feel that life is rushing past you.
How short is this book? The brevity of life has only three chapters and is about a single letter of Seneca. Therefore, it is a very short read.
The chapters are:
- The brevity of life
- Helvia comfort
- About the tranquility of the mind
Is On the Shortness of Life worth reading?
For people interested in the classic Stoic works, this is a must read. If you are looking for a short book that will make you think, this is the book for you. Seneca fans especially should not miss this book.
Check out one of our Seneca articles: Seneca explains: On the right path through life
These are the 7 best books for Stoicism beginners. If you want to learn more about Stoicism, these books are a good place to start.