The best books on stoic themes, influence and inspiration

Who am I?

I have always loved the Stoics, from the first time I read Seneca. I appreciate that they seek to speak to a wider audience than most philosophers, on issues that concern many: happiness, anxiety, pain, loss. The Stoics were wonderful writers, whose influence has been manifest throughout western philosophy. And they extended their expertise beyond the academy, and were very involved in politics. Seneca was the advisor to the emperor Nero; Cicero, who dabbled in Stoicism, was perhaps the most famous senator of Rome. Marcus Aurelius was emperor. 


I wrote...

Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

By Firmin Debrabander,

Book cover of Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

What is my book about?

Privacy is gravely endangered in the digital age, and we, the digital citizens, are its principal threat, willingly surrendering it to avail ourselves of new technology, and granting the government and corporations immense power over us. In this highly original work, Firmin DeBrabander begins with this premise and asks how we can ensure and protect our freedom in the absence of privacy. Can--and should--we rally anew to support this institution? Is privacy so important to political liberty after all? DeBrabander makes the case that privacy is a poor foundation for democracy, that it is a relatively new value that has been rarely enjoyed throughout history--but constantly persecuted--and politically and philosophically suspect. The vitality of the public realm, he argues, is far more significant to the health of our democracy, but is equally endangered--and often overlooked--in the digital age.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics

Firmin Debrabander Why did I love this book?

Each chapter in this book wrestles with central themes of Hellenistic Philosophy, which includes Stoicism, but also Epicureanism and Skepticism. The essays are wonderfully written, and deal with pressing eternal problems, such as the political significance of anger, and the nature and pitfalls of physical pleasure. Dr. Nussbaum relates the Stoics and other Hellenistic philosophers to pressing contemporary issues and concerns.


By Martha C. Nussbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Therapy of Desire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics practiced philosophy not as a detached intellectual discipline but as a worldly art of grappling with issues of daily and urgent human significance. In this classic work, Martha Nussbaum maintains that these Hellenistic schools have been unjustly neglected in recent philosophic accounts of what the classical "tradition" has to offer. By examining texts of philosophers such as Epicurus, Lucretius, and Seneca, she recovers a valuable source for current moral and political thought and encourages us to reconsider philosophical argument as a technique through which to improve lives. Written for general readers and specialists, The Therapy…


Book cover of Black Mass

Firmin Debrabander Why did I love this book?

John Gray is an exceptional writer. In that respect alone, he is already reminiscent of the Stoics, who are some of the best writers among philosophers. Black Mass deals with the pitfalls of anger and ideology, when it comes to politics. The Stoics were famously skeptical of both, and urge practitioners to resist becoming too impassioned in political affairs—which reliably roil the soul.

By John Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Mass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prophetic warning against the foolishness of crusades, John Gray's Black Mass challenges our belief in human progress.

Our conventional view of history is wrong. It is founded on a pernicious myth of an achievable utopia that in the last century alone caused the murder of tens of millions.

In Black Mass John Gray tears down the religious, political and secular beliefs that we insist are fundamental to the human project, examines the interaction of terrorism, declining world resources, environmental change, human myths of redemption and a flawed belief in Western democracy, and shows us how a misplaced faith in…


Book cover of The Human Condition

Firmin Debrabander Why did I love this book?

This book is not about the Stoics per se, but addresses the distinction between the public and private sphere, as it was understood by the ancient Greeks. In this respect, Arendt is addressing political concerns deep at the heart of Stoic philosophy: what does it mean to be a citizen? When and where am I a citizen? How essential is politics to the life of a human being?

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Human Condition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the political thinker Hannah Arendt, "the theorist of beginnings," whose work probes the logics underlying unexpected transformations-from totalitarianism to revolution.

A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then-diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are…


Book cover of St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate

Firmin Debrabander Why did I love this book?

Karen Armstrong’s book on St Paul –her second—is wonderful. It takes into account recent scholarship on the historical Paul, and in accessible fashion, explains what was controversial about his agenda, and what was likely omitted or edited out of his work. Paul’s mission was influenced in no small part by the prevalent Stoic thinking—above all, cosmopolitanism: Paul was a cosmopolitan, literally, a citizen of no place—but of the universe itself. And central to his understanding of Jesus’ teaching, Paul wished to wash away the parochial distinctions that divide us. Hence the baptismal cry he advised: no more Greek or Jew, man or woman, master or slave!

By Karen Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked St. Paul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

St Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history.

It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for…


Book cover of The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments

Firmin Debrabander Why did I love this book?

The Stoics were expansive philosophers, in that they were concerned about many diverse aspects of our existence: politics, ethics, epistemology, therapy, cosmology. The Stoics also aimed for their philosophy to be practical; hence, they wrote in accessible, readable fashion, so their teachings could reach many. The New York Times philosophers’ column, “The Stone,” shares Stoic concerns in applying philosophical thinking to a wide variety of topics, in a manner accessible to many. The Stone Reader is an anthology of some of the most popular essays from the New York Times column; the essays touch on many subjects, such as violence, anxiety, happiness, faith, and political power.

By Peter Catapano, Simon Critchley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Stone Reader as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once solely the province of ivory tower professors and university classrooms, contemporary philosophy was emancipated from its academic closet in 2010, when The Stone was launched in The New York Times. First appearing online, the column has attracted millions of readers through its accessible examination of topics like the nature of science, consciousness and morality, while also probing more contemporary issues such as the morality of drones, gun control and the gender divide.

Collected for the first time, The Stone Reader presents 133 influential pieces, placing nearly the entirety of modern philosophical discourse at a reader's grasp. With an introduction…


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From Side Hustle to Main Hustle to Millionaire: 13 Lessons to Turn Your Passion Into a Passive Paycheck

By Ryan Scribner,

Book cover of From Side Hustle to Main Hustle to Millionaire: 13 Lessons to Turn Your Passion Into a Passive Paycheck

Ryan Scribner Author Of From Side Hustle to Main Hustle to Millionaire: 13 Lessons to Turn Your Passion Into a Passive Paycheck

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’ve been trying to make money on the internet since I was 12. While it took me many failed attempts to eventually figure out how, I succeeded with this goal in 2016. I launched a YouTube channel related to one of my lifelong passions; personal finance. From there, I broadened my horizons by creating multiple standalone affiliate blogs unrelated to my YouTube channel. Every one of my successes and failures has taught me valuable lessons about the side hustle journey.

Ryan's book list on how to get a side hustle started

What is my book about?

It's time to quit your day job. Anyone with the desire can start a side hustle, and there are more opportunities now than ever before. YouTube personality and personal finance guru Ryan Scribner went from a dead-end job to the limitless potential of self-employment by harnessing the power of the side hustle.

In this guide to gaining financial freedom, Ryan shares his lessons for success—and shares common pitfalls to avoid. Learn how to build a successful side business that you can grow into your main source of income over time.

From Side Hustle to Main Hustle to Millionaire: 13 Lessons to Turn Your Passion Into a Passive Paycheck

By Ryan Scribner,

What is this book about?

Your side hustle is waiting-get started!

Anyone with the desire can start a side hustle, and there are more opportunities now than ever before. In 2017, YouTube personality and personal finance guru Ryan Scribner quit his day job to focus exclusively on his side hustle. By 2021, at the age of 26, he had become a millionaire. From Side Hustle to Main Hustle to Millionaire tells Ryan's story of transitioning from the 9-to-5 grind to a liberating and lucrative career as a self-employed business owner-and gives you the tools to launch a side hustle too.

In 13 simple lessons, Ryan…


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