Nearly two thousand years after it was written, Meditations remains profoundly relevant for anyone seeking to lead a meaningful life.
Few ancient works have been as influential as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and emperor of Rome (A.D. 161–180). A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance,…
Why read it?
6 authors picked Meditations as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
I've never been overly interested in philosophy. I poked around in it while in college and even took an advanced philosophy class. But it never seemed to be anything more than a cursory, occasional interest for me. However, I must say that I found Meditations to be an immersive and profound read.
The Penguin Classics edition is a beautiful translation with a lengthy introduction by Diskin Clay and a plethora of notes, providing beneficial biographical, literary, and historical context.
Aurelius' words drew me in, particularly how he wrote the book, not as a treatise or framework prescribed for the world…
Written nearly 2k years ago, Meditations was never intended for public consumption.
However Marcus’ profound understanding of human behavior, the importance of operating selflessly within a bigger context, and the importance of supporting others makes this an important read for just about everyone.
Marcus Aurelius was a successful Roman Emperor, living from c 120-180AD.
Meditations were meant to be his private musings on how to cope with life, so they are very revealing about him and his times.
Meditations is also very revealing about human nature, because it shows that most things have not changed in thousands of years and do not change whether you are an emperor or a social media influencer: anger, sorrow, hope, fear are all eternal and universal challenges we face.
His recipe for dealing with life follows the Stoic school of philosophy. This means his solutions are a…
Once you have some idea of what Stoicism is by reading the Handbook, you will want to read Meditations, probably the most widely read and the most beloved of Stoic classics and deservedly so. It was a journal kept by the philosopher-king Marcus Aurelius while he was in battlefields. Meditations was a personal journal of Marcus, never intended to be read by anyone else. Yet centuries later, it became one of the most widely read books on Stoicism. It is filled with practical wisdom and offers a way out of our daily predicaments and shows us how to live our…
I chronicled my lifelong relationship with the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius in an article I was commissioned to write for the Modern Stoicism blog. Creative On Purpose began as a project intended to share the virtues of ancient Stoic philosophy as it applied to creative enterprises. Marcus' reminders to himself about gratitude, legacy, character, fate, service, and mortality are gems I tap into daily in my efforts to cultivate joy through worthwhile endeavors.
In this fundamental work of Stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius discusses not so much the meaning of life, as much as he offers a practical guide for engaging with it. Meditations, as well as Stoicism in general, emphasizes that life isn’t just something that needs to be pondered or engaged with intellectually, it also needs to be lived practically. And for that, Aurelius offers, in beautiful writing (personally, I recommend the George Long translation which in my opinion best preserves the books poetic qualities) useful and easily applicable tips for managing yourself in day to day life.
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