100 books like Epicureanism

By Catherine Wilson,

Here are 100 books that Epicureanism fans have personally recommended if you like Epicureanism. 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 The Art of Happiness

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

Epicurus wrote a series of letters summarizing his philosophy and we also have a couple of sets of short aphorisms that report key ideas. All of these are translated in this volume, along with the ancient biography of Epicurus and a substantial introduction. For any one keen to learn more about Epicureanism, the first thing to reader are his letters, especially the Letter to Menoeceus and the Letter to Herodotus.

By Epicurus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The teachings of Epicurus-about life and death, religion and science, physical sensation, happiness, morality, and friendship-attracted legions of adherents throughout the ancient Mediterranean world and deeply influenced later European thought. Though Epicurus faced hostile opposition for centuries after his death, he counts among his many admirers Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, and Isaac Newton. This volume includes all of his extant writings-his letters, doctrines, and Vatican sayings-alongside parallel passages from the greatest exponent of his philosophy, Lucretius, extracts from Diogenes Laertius' Life of Epicurus, a lucid introductory essay about Epicurean philosophy, and a foreword by Daniel Klein, author of…


Book cover of On the Nature of Things

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

Lucretius’ poem De rerum natura is the longest ancient work we have outlining Epicurean ideas. It’s also a masterpiece in its own right, covering everything from the origins of the cosmos, the rise and fall of civilizations, and the development of human culture to the nature of sensation and how to think about death. There are numerous translations out there; this one is a reliable translation into prose that has the original Latin verse on the facing page, along with helpful notes.

By Lucretius, Martin F. Smith (translator), W.H.D. Rouse (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) lived ca. 99 ca. 55 BCE, but the details of his career are unknown. He is the author of the great didactic poem in hexameters, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). In six books compounded of solid reasoning, brilliant imagination, and noble poetry, he expounds the scientific theories of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, with the aim of dispelling fear of the gods and fear of death and so enabling man to attain peace of mind and happiness.

In Book 1 he establishes the general principles of the atomic system, refutes the views of rival…


Book cover of How to Be Content: An Ancient Poet's Guide for an Age of Excess

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

The Roman poet Horace was influenced by Epicurean ideas and they often feature in his work. This book forms a nice introduction to Horace and his works, with carefully chosen selections in both English and the original Latin. Horace might not be the first place that someone curious about Epicureanism would look, but he’s well worth reading, both in his own right and as a Epicurean author. 

By Horace, Stephen Harrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Be Content as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What the Roman poet Horace can teach us about how to live a life of contentment

What are the secrets to a contented life? One of Rome's greatest and most influential poets, Horace (65-8 BCE) has been cherished by readers for more than two thousand years not only for his wit, style, and reflections on Roman society, but also for his wisdom about how to live a good life-above all else, a life of contentment in a world of materialistic excess and personal pressures. In How to Be Content, Stephen Harrison, a leading authority on the poet, provides fresh, contemporary…


Book cover of The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

In the first century BC an Epicurean community developed in the Bay of Naples area. A key figure in this community was Philodemus, an Epicurean philosopher originally from Jordan who had studied at the Epicurean Garden in Athens. His patron owned a villa near the town of Herculaneum and his library contained numerous works by both Philodemus and Epicurus himself. When Vesuvius erupted in the next century the villa was buried, only to be discovered in the eighteenth century. Since then, scholars have recovered and deciphered the burnt papyri from the villa’s library, discovering a whole host of otherwise lost Epicurean texts. David Sider’s wonderful book tells this story in a detailed by accessible way, all lavishly illustrated.

By David Sider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in A.D. 79 also buried nearby Herculaneum. Over time the location of the small town was forgotten, but shortly after its rediscovery in the 1730s, "excavations" - more properly, treasure hunts - were organized to unearth ancient sculpture. The richest finds were from a villa that came to be called the Villa dei Papiri, because it also yielded upward of a thousand papyrus rolls - the only library ever to have been recovered from the classical world. To the great excitement of contemporaries, the papyri held out the tantalizing possibility of the…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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, Margaret Graver, Lucius Seneca

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…


Book cover of Hellenistic Philosophy

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

From my list on understanding Stoicism from multiple perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

This book not only provides excellent texts of early Stoicism, but also provides texts of Epicureanism, and Scepticism, the other dominant philosophies at the time, and thus places Stoicism in the context of the time.

By Brad Inwood, Lloyd P. Gerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This new edition of Hellenistic Philosophy --including nearly 100 pages of additional materia--offers the first English translation of the account of Stoic ethics by Arius Didymus, substantial new sources on Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Scepticism, expanded representation of Plutarch and Cicero, and a fuller presentation of papyrological evidence. Inwood and Gerson maintain the standard of consistency and accuracy that distinguished their translations in the first edition, while regrouping some material into larger, more thematically connected passages. This edition is further enhanced by a new, more spacious page design.


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

Firmin Debrabander Author Of Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

From my list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Firmin's book list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration

Firmin Debrabander Why did Firmin 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 At Home on the Range

Gina Meyers Author Of From Muggles to Magic: The Complete Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

From my list on cookbooks for kids and parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gina Meyers is well known for her popular culture television trivia and cooking expertise books related to Harry Potter, Twilight, and the iconic television show Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Gina's Love At First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook was featured on the NBC hit show, The Office. Gina's goal is to reignite the spark of imagination and creativity in the kitchen, introducing youth, teens, and fans of magical sitcoms to the culinary arts.

Gina's book list on cookbooks for kids and parents

Gina Meyers Why did Gina love this book?

I met well-known author Liz Gilbert at a book signing in San Francisco. She was friends with a fellow cookbook author from Estonia and New York who recommended we meet Elizabeth Gilbert. While Liz was unpacking boxes of old family books, she rediscovered a book called At Home on the Range, written by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. Having only been peripherally aware of the volume, Gilbert dug in with some curiosity, and soon found that she had stumbled upon a book far ahead of its time. Part scholar and part crusader for a more open food conversation, Potter espoused the importance of farmer’s markets and ethnic food (Italian, Jewish, and German), culinary shortcuts, and generally celebrated a devotion to epicurean adventures.

By Margaret Yardley Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home on the Range as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'Ideal for those who like their recipes to come with a back story ... The book is tremendously funny, and her cooking was way ahead of her time' - Sally Hughes, BBC Good Food Magazine 'Hilarious' - English Home _______________ Recently, Elizabeth Gilbert unpacked some boxes of family books that had been sitting in her mother's attic for decades. Among the old, dusty hardbacks was a book called At Home on the Range, written by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. As Gilbert writes in her Foreword: 'I jumped up and dashed through the house to find my husband, so…


Book cover of First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

David Hanna Author Of History Nation: A Citizen's Guide to the History of the United States

From my list on read if you love Howard Zinn's A People's History Of the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both an author and a teacher, I’ve been using Howard Zinn’s iconic book for over 20 years. I have found it to be an effective counterweight to more orthodox texts, as well as a credible platform for stimulating discussion. In writing my own “guide” to U.S. history, I always kept Zinn in mind. While we may not always agree, the dissonance is something I’m certain Howard Zinn would appreciate. He was unafraid to "engage" with his subject matter and his readers. This is an inspiration.

David's book list on read if you love Howard Zinn's A People's History Of the United States

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

Ricks unpacks the educational origins of the "Founding Generation’s" ideological orientation in this highly readable volume.

The classical underpinnings of American representative democracy and its notions of public virtue in ancient Greece and Rome are examined very carefully. He makes a compelling case for classical rather than English or Enlightenment political influence as the determining factor in our political development. He also implies an unfavorable comparison with the present and the lack of virtue he sees as evident in our public life. The book is a tonic for our political times.

One irritating element, however, is Ricks’s insistence on including the college class of each of the Founding Generation’s members beside their name, which, of course, excludes George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Not to mention Abraham Lincoln in the following century. This gives the book an elitist tint that no doubt would have alienated Zinn.

By Thomas E Ricks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Ricks knocks it out of the park with this jewel of a book. On every page I learned something new. Read it every night if you want to restore your faith in our country." — James Mattis, General, U.S. Marines (ret.) & 26th Secretary of Defense 

Now in paperback, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Ricks offers a revelatory new book about the founding fathers, examining their educations and, in particular, their devotion to the ancient Greek and Roman classics—and how that influence would shape their ideals and the new American nation.

On the…


Book cover of Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite

Leslie Karst Author Of Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG

From my list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, when my best friend and I would experiment together with recipes from the Time-Life Foods of the World cookbook series and then gorge on the delectable results, I’ve been enamored of food and cooking, a love which eventually led me to pursue a degree in culinary arts (while simultaneously spending my days as a research and appellate attorney). In addition to Justice is Served, I also write the Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 

Leslie's book list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys

Leslie Karst Why did Leslie love this book?

Possessing an insatiable appetite even as a toddler, Frank Bruni has long had a complicated relationship with food. Body shame—made all the worse by being a single gay man trying to conform to an impossible standard—drove him from fad diets, to manic exercise, and even bulimia. Nevertheless, in 2004, he accepted the position as restaurant critic for The New York Times. Having spent the better part of my own life acutely conscious of my caloric intake, I found Born Round to be a moving account of the struggle so many of us face regarding body image, and how coming to terms with our own limits and the compromises we need to make can provide a path to self-love and happiness. 

By Frank Bruni,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and always hungry. His relationship with eating was difficult and his struggle with it began early. When named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew he would be performing one of the most watched tasks in the epicurean universe. And with food his friend and enemy both, his jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. A captivating story of his…


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