100 books like Discourses and Selected Writings

By Epictetus,

Here are 100 books that Discourses and Selected Writings fans have personally recommended if you like Discourses and Selected Writings. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Moral Letters to Lucilius

Neel Burton Author Of Stoic Stories: A Heroic Account of Stoicism

From my list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher.

Who am I?

I’m a psychiatrist and philosopher who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. I’ve long held that there is much more to mental health than the mere absence of mental disorder. Mental health is not just about surviving, limping from crisis to crisis, but about thriving, about developing and expressing our highest, fullest potential as human beings. The Stoic attitude is a path not just to sanity but to hypersanity, at a time when more than one in five adults are suffering from some form of depression. Unlike many modern interventions, Stoicism is no sticking plaster, but a total and radical reappraisal of our relationship to ourselves and to the world.

Neel's book list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher

Neel Burton Why did Neel love this book?

Seneca lived through the reigns of all five Julio-Claudian emperors. His writings represent the most important body of primary material for ancient Stoicism. He wrote the Letters to Lucilius in his final years, intending them as his immortal legacy, prior to committing suicide on the order of Nero. The letters are an excellent entry point to Seneca, Stoicism, and philosophy in general. They collectively amount to a course in moral development and become longer and more technical as Lucilius appears to be making philosophical progress. Michel de Montaigne, the “French Seneca”, modelled his Essays upon the Letters, writing in one of them, “I have not devoted myself to any serious work except perhaps Plutarch and Seneca: but upon them, I draw as do the Danaids...”

By Seneca,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moral Letters to Lucilius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Moral Letters to Lucilius is a collection of 124 letters which were written by Seneca the Younger at the end of his life, during his retirement, and written after he had worked for the Emperor Nero for more than ten years. They are addressed to Lucilius, the then procurator of Sicily, although he is known only through Seneca's writings. Regardless of how Seneca and Lucilius actually corresponded, it is clear that Seneca crafted the letters with a broad readership in mind. The letters often begin with an observation on daily life before proceeding to an issue or principle that…


Book cover of Lectures and Fragments

Neel Burton Author Of Stoic Stories: A Heroic Account of Stoicism

From my list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher.

Who am I?

I’m a psychiatrist and philosopher who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. I’ve long held that there is much more to mental health than the mere absence of mental disorder. Mental health is not just about surviving, limping from crisis to crisis, but about thriving, about developing and expressing our highest, fullest potential as human beings. The Stoic attitude is a path not just to sanity but to hypersanity, at a time when more than one in five adults are suffering from some form of depression. Unlike many modern interventions, Stoicism is no sticking plaster, but a total and radical reappraisal of our relationship to ourselves and to the world.

Neel's book list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher

Neel Burton Why did Neel love this book?

Musonius was a celebrated teacher who was thrice banished from Rome. He would often turn would-be students away, explaining to a young Epictetus that “the more one pushes the intelligent person away from the life he was born for, the more he inclines towards it.” His school, he often said, was not some concert hall, where people come to be entertained, but a hospital, where they come, in trepidation, to be treated. Thus, he measured the success of his lectures not by the applause that they received, but by the shock and awe to which they gave rise. The twenty-one lectures preserved in Stobaeus were recorded by one of his students. They are full of practical, everyday advice aimed at instilling virtue, and include a lecture on household furnishings and even one on hair.

By Musonius Rufus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"To relax the mind is to lose it."

Gaius Musonius Rufus (c. AD 30–100) was one of the four great Roman Stoic philosophers, the other three being Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Musonius’s pupil Epictetus. Rufus taught philosophy in Rome during the reign of Nero, as a consequence of which he was sent into exile in 65 AD to Gyaros, a barren island in the Aegean Sea. Because Stoicism was, for Musonius, not merely a philosophy but a guide to daily living, he has been called “The Roman Socrates.” The opinions of Musonius were collected by two of his students, Lucius…


Book cover of The Meditations: An Emperor's Guide to Mastery

Neel Burton Author Of Stoic Stories: A Heroic Account of Stoicism

From my list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher.

Who am I?

I’m a psychiatrist and philosopher who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. I’ve long held that there is much more to mental health than the mere absence of mental disorder. Mental health is not just about surviving, limping from crisis to crisis, but about thriving, about developing and expressing our highest, fullest potential as human beings. The Stoic attitude is a path not just to sanity but to hypersanity, at a time when more than one in five adults are suffering from some form of depression. Unlike many modern interventions, Stoicism is no sticking plaster, but a total and radical reappraisal of our relationship to ourselves and to the world.

Neel's book list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher

Neel Burton Why did Neel love this book?

In the last years of his life, Marcus Aurelius kept a journal, now called the Meditations, which has miraculously come down to us, and through which we might enter the mind of that rarest of things: a philosopher-king. The twelve books that make up the Meditations consist in a variety of disparate reflections that seem to have been written for the author’s own benefit: for strength, for guidance, and for self-improvement—for example, “To speak to the Senate—or anyone—in the right tone, without being overbearing. To choose the right words.” This touching intimacy, and the epigrammatic character of many of his reflections—for example, “Don’t argue what a good man should be. Just be one.”—has ensured the appeal and perennial popularity of the work.

By Marcus Aurelius, Sam Torode, George Long (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How to think clearly, act purposefully, overcome obstacles, and find peace & happiness along the way.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE) was one of the few true philosopher-kings in history.

His father died when Marcus was three. At age fifteen, he was adopted by his aunt's husband, the future Emperor Antoninus Pius, putting him in the line of succession. At forty, he became a reluctant emperor of the Roman Empire.

Marcus was conflicted because the demands of being emperor--on top of the temptations of wealth and power--seemed incompatible with his true ambition: to be a humble student of philosophy.

Over time,…


Book cover of On Duties

Neel Burton Author Of Stoic Stories: A Heroic Account of Stoicism

From my list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher.

Who am I?

I’m a psychiatrist and philosopher who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. I’ve long held that there is much more to mental health than the mere absence of mental disorder. Mental health is not just about surviving, limping from crisis to crisis, but about thriving, about developing and expressing our highest, fullest potential as human beings. The Stoic attitude is a path not just to sanity but to hypersanity, at a time when more than one in five adults are suffering from some form of depression. Unlike many modern interventions, Stoicism is no sticking plaster, but a total and radical reappraisal of our relationship to ourselves and to the world.

Neel's book list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher

Neel Burton Why did Neel love this book?

Was Cicero even a Stoic? The answer, as with all things Cicero, is complicated. But Stoic or not, Cicero is one of our most important sources on ancient Stoicism. His last work, On Duties, on our “duties” (or responsibilities) to one another as human beings, is heavily indebted to the Stoic Panaetius. In it, he argues, among others, that, owing to our common human dignity, there ought to be strict rules for entering and conducting war—an idea which today is enshrined in international law. Following the invention of the printing press, On Duties was the third ever book to be printed. John Locke owned nine editions, and Voltaire praised it to the sky, saying, “no one will ever write anything more wise.”

By Cicero,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This beautifully formatted philosophical treatise by Roman orator Cicero contains an active table of contents for easy travel throughout the eBook. De Officiis (On Duties or On Obligations) is a treatise by Marcus Tullius Cicero divided into three books, in which Cicero expounds his conception of the best way to live, behave, and observe moral obligations.

De Officiis was written in October–November 44 BC, in under four weeks. This was Cicero's last year alive, and he was 62 years of age. Cicero was at this time still active in politics, trying to stop revolutionary forces from taking control of the…


Book cover of The Role Ethics of Epictetus: Stoicism in Ordinary Life

Gregory Lopez Author Of A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control―52 Week-by-Week Lessons

From my list on Stoicism for modern Stoic practitioners.

Who am I?

I learned about Stoicism through its connection to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, whose founder, Albert Ellis, was influenced by Stoic philosophy. Since I had an interest in philosophy, I decided to look more into Stoicism, and—to my surprise—I learned that philosophy could be practical (who knew?!), and that others were trying to put Stoicism into practice today! This led me to try to find other Stoics by founding the New York City Stoics in 2013, followed by co-founding a non-profit—The Stoic Fellowship—to help other people do the same in 2016. I’ve now given talks on Stoicism worldwide in addition to co-writing a book on Stoic practice.

Gregory's book list on Stoicism for modern Stoic practitioners

Gregory Lopez Why did Gregory love this book?

One of the most common types of questions I hear about Stoicism concerns what “the Stoic thing to do” is. In a certain situation, is it more Stoic to do X or Y? Johnson’s book does a masterful job of unearthing Epictetus’s theory of role ethics so that you can answer this question for yourself. By thinking about your roles in life, you can deduce the appropriate action in many circumstances. And what’s appropriate depends on who you are and what your role in the situation is. My personal Stoic practice owes a lot to Johnson’s work—while the book is indeed academic, it contains a lot of helpful information for the modern Stoic practitioner.

By Brian E. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Role Ethics of Epictetus: Stoicism in Ordinary Life offers an original interpretation of Epictetus's ethics and how he bases his ethics on an appeal to our roles in life. Epictetus believes that every individual is the bearer of many roles from sibling to citizen and that individuals are morally good if they fulfill the obligations associated with these roles. To understand Epictetus's account of roles, scholars have often mistakenly looked backwards to Cicero's earlier and more schematic account of roles. However, for Cicero, roles are merely a tool in the service of the virtue of decorum where decorum is…


Book cover of Discourses, Fragments, Handbook

Brian E. Johnson Author Of The Role Ethics of Epictetus: Stoicism in Ordinary Life

From my list on Stoicism through the eyes of a philosophy professor.

Who am I?

I am an associate professor of philosophy at Fordham University. I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago (the same institution where the fictional Indiana Jones is said to have earned his doctorate!). I specialize in Greek and Roman ethics with a particular emphasis on Stoicism.

Brian's book list on Stoicism through the eyes of a philosophy professor

Brian E. Johnson Why did Brian love this book?

Author Elif Batuman wrote of the Stoic Epictetus, he “won me over with his tone, which was that of an enraged athletics coach.” He is feisty, demanding, sarcastic, but he can be surprisingly poignant and occasionally empathetic to his audience. Epictetus himself wrote nothing; what survives was written down by a student. We therefore witness Epictetus live as he works with his own student or even when he talks with magistrates who would came to consult with him at the end of the day. Epictetus had been a slave early in life so it packs quite a wallop when he tells freeborn Romans that they have the worst kind of slavery: enslavement to external goods at the cost of their inner freedom.

By Christopher Gill, Robin Hard (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Discourses, Fragments, Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'About things that are within our power and those that are not.'

Epictetus's Discourses have been the most widely read and influential of all writings of Stoic philosophy, from antiquity onwards. They set out the core ethical principles of Stoicism in a form designed to help people put them into practice and to use them as a basis for leading a good human life. Epictetus was a teacher, and a freed slave, whose discourses have a vivid informality, animated by anecdotes and dialogue. Forceful, direct, and challenging, their central message is that the
basis of happiness is up to us,…


Book cover of Meditations

Gary W. Cross Author Of Exploring the Way of Epictetus: His Destination, Directions, and Strategies

From my list on understanding Stoicism from multiple perspectives.

Who am I?

In my series on Ways of the World, my aim is to let the founder of each way tell us of their way in their words: the destination that they suggest we all seek; the directions that they offer to help us to reach the destination, and the strategies that they offer to help us to successfully follow their directions. I find it marvelous that we can listen to people, such as Epictetus, who lived thousands of years ago; people whose words can help us to improve our ways. You would be right if you have guessed that the books I recommend are primary sources.

Gary's book list on understanding Stoicism from multiple perspectives

Gary W. Cross Why did Gary love this book?

Meditations is a collection of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor (at the other extreme, Epictetus was born a slave). The original title is unknown, and over the years many titles have be used, such as ‘The Book of Marcus’ and ‘Things to one’s self’. I suggest that the latter title, more accurately reflect its contents.

By Marcus Aurelius, A.S.L. Farquharson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A timely book for today's world, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations explores how to endure hardship, how to cope with change and how to find something positive out of adversity.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is translated by A. S. L. Farquharson and features an introduction by John Sellars.

The Meditations are a set of personal reflections by Marcus Aurelius. He writes about the vicissitudes of his own life and explores how…


Book cover of The Epictetus Club

Kevin Vost Author Of The Porch and the Cross: Ancient Stoic Wisdom for Modern Christian Living

From my list on modern books on Stoicism to help translate the ancient to now.

Who am I?

Kevin Vost earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at Adler University with internship and dissertation work at the Southern Illinois University’s Alzheimer Center. He first came to know and love the Stoics in the 1980s through his studies in cognitive psychotherapy. He has taught psychology and gerontology at the University of Illinois at Springfield and Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of twenty books on psychology, philosophy, physical fitness, and theology, with three more books in press, including Memorize the Stoics! The Ancient Art of Memory Meets the Timeless Art of Living.

Kevin's book list on modern books on Stoicism to help translate the ancient to now

Kevin Vost Why did Kevin love this book?

I wanted to include a book of fiction that brings Stoic thought to life in our modern world, and this was a tough decision for me. I’d like to draw attention to a wonderful little 150-page gem that is not nearly as widely known. Traylor’s fascinating little novel is actually “fictionalized,” its characters being crafted from actual people. And who are these people? Neither philosophers nor psychologists captivated by Stoic thought, nor average Joes or Janes out on the street, but the inmates of maximum security prisons Traylor met while working as a counselor. Epictetus is the Stoic who teaches most about personal, internal, moral freedom, and self-control, having once been a slave himself. This book shows how well the ex-slave’s lessons can resonate with and morally transform anyone today who strives for such freedom, even if imprisoned behind steel bars. Please do find an hour or two to read…

By Jeff Traylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Take a fascinating look inside the old Ohio Penitentiary as you follow a group of inmates who meet weekly under the tutelage of a lifer named Zeno in a group called the Epictetus Club. The inmates study the teachings of this Greek philosopher, and with the help of his ancient wisdom they meet the daily challenges of their lives. Learning to think outside the limits of their own literal walls as they struggle to redeem themselves, the club members show us how to think beyond our own self-imposed limitations and comfort zones.


Book cover of Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life

Morgan Wade Author Of The Last Stoic

From my list on Stoicism and ancient Rome.

Who am I?

I received my first introduction to the Stoics when completing a Master’s in Philosophy. It was enough to spark a life-long interest. Later in life I read Stoicism widely, along with classical history, including Gibbon and Durant. What struck me about Gibbon’s work was how the ancient “golden age,” with the enlightened rule of its “five good emperors,” including Marcus Aurelius, closely mirrored the trajectory of the contemporary American empire. Today, pundits sometimes casually refer to the US as a reincarnation of the Roman Empire. They talk of Pax Americana, imperial presidencies, and American exceptionalism. I wondered how far one could take that idea and this led me to begin work on The Last Stoic.

Morgan's book list on Stoicism and ancient Rome

Morgan Wade Why did Morgan love this book?

Another Stoic classic. Written, again, in a highly accessible, conversational style. In fact, the only teachings by Epictetus that we know of today were recorded from his lectures by his disciple Arrian.  This book has given great solace to many people over the years. It is said that Frederick the Great never campaigned without it. And, the war hero Admiral James Stockdale credits Epictetus with helping him endure seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison—including torture—and four years in solitary confinement. “No man is free who is not master of himself.”

By A.A. Long,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Epictetus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The philosophy of Epictetus, a freed slave in the Roman Empire, has been profoundly influential on Western thought: it offers not only stimulating ideas but practical guidance in living one's life. A. A. Long, a leading scholar of later ancient philosophy, gives the definitive presentation of the thought of Epictetus for a broad readership. Long's fresh and vivid translations of a selection of the best of Epictetus' discourses show that his ideas are as valuable and
striking today as they were amost two thousand years ago. The translations are organized thematically within the framework of an authoritative introduction and commentary,…


Book cover of Letters on Ethics: To Lucilius

Kevin Vost Author Of The Porch and the Cross: Ancient Stoic Wisdom for Modern Christian Living

From my list on modern books on Stoicism to help translate the ancient to now.

Who am I?

Kevin Vost earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at Adler University with internship and dissertation work at the Southern Illinois University’s Alzheimer Center. He first came to know and love the Stoics in the 1980s through his studies in cognitive psychotherapy. He has taught psychology and gerontology at the University of Illinois at Springfield and Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of twenty books on psychology, philosophy, physical fitness, and theology, with three more books in press, including Memorize the Stoics! The Ancient Art of Memory Meets the Timeless Art of Living.

Kevin's book list on modern books on Stoicism to help translate the ancient to now

Kevin Vost Why did Kevin love this book?

Perhaps I’m cheating a bit on this one since I promised to recommend the best “modern” books on Stoicism and Seneca wrote his 124 famous letters almost 2,000 years ago, but since my other recommendations are Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus heavy, I wanted to make sure that any person exploring Stoicism for the first time gets a taste of Seneca too. While there are some wonderful books out there on the intriguing character of Seneca the man I’m not aware of a particular one-volume book that examines Seneca’s philosophy with the kind of depth we see in books on Aurelius and Epictetus. Besides, while the letters are ancient, this particular translation is modern and has been done by two highly-respected scholars of Stoic thought of the very first rank. They do a wonderful job (though I must admit, I first met Seneca’s Letters through the Penguin and Loeb editions and…

By A.A. Long, Lucius Seneca, Margaret Graver

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Letters on Ethics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Roman statesman and philosopher Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE) recorded his moral philosophy and reflections on life as a highly original kind of correspondence. Letters on Ethics includes vivid descriptions of town and country life in Nero's Italy, discussions of poetry and oratory, and philosophical training for Seneca's friend Lucilius. This volume, the first complete English translation in nearly a century, makes the Letters more accessible than ever before. Written as much for a general audience as for Lucilius, these engaging letters offer advice on how to deal with everything from nosy neighbors to sickness, pain, and death. Seneca uses…


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