10 books like Meditations

By Marcus Aurelius, Robin Waterfield (translator),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Meditations. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Consolation of Philosophy

By Ancius Boethius, V.E. Watts (translator),

Book cover of The Consolation of Philosophy

Liam Milburn Author Of A Stoic breviary: Classical wisdom in daily practice

From the list on for building self-awareness that you might not expect.

Who am I?

Building upon many years of privately shared thoughts on the real benefits of Stoic Philosophy, Liam Milburn eventually published a selection of Stoic passages that had helped him to live well. They were accompanied by some of his own personal reflections.

Liam's book list on for building self-awareness that you might not expect

Discover why each book is one of Liam's favorite books.

Why did Liam love this book?

This was a fellow who tried to do everything right, and yet, in the end, his whole worldly life seemed to go wrong. A senator, a scholar, and an advisor to a king, he found himself trapped in the usual sort of political machinations, and so was sentenced to death. He wrote this book while awaiting his execution. Lady Philosophy speaks to him, and he learns how his character matters more than his circumstances. 

“By Love are peoples too kept bound together by a treaty which they may not break. Love binds with pure affection the sacred ties of wedlock, and speaks its bidding to all trusty friends. O happy race of mortals, if your hearts are ruled as is the Universe, by Love!"

The Consolation of Philosophy

By Ancius Boethius, V.E. Watts (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Boethius was an eminent public figure under the Gothic emperor Theodoric, and an exceptional Greek scholar. When he became involved in a conspiracy and was imprisoned in Pavia, it was to the Greek philosophers that he turned. THE CONSOLATION was written in the period leading up to his brutal execution. It is a dialogue of alternating prose and verse between the ailing prisoner and his 'nurse' Philosophy. Her instruction on the nature of fortune and happiness, good and evil, fate and free will, restore his health and bring him to enlightenment. THE CONSOLATION was extremely popular throughout medieval Europe and…


Book cover of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

Vitaliy Katsenelson Author Of Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life

From the list on that bring meaning to your life.

Who am I?

I am an investor who happens to love writing, music, and simply life in general. I was born in Murmansk, Russia, where I spent my first 18 years. My family moved to Denver in 1991, and I have lived there since. I’m CEO of IMA, a value investing firm where I have creative freedom to focus on things I love. I was so fortunate to stumble into writing; it has completely rewired my mind by providing a daily two-hour refuge for focused thinking. I am constantly on the lookout for new stories and fresh insights. Writing is what keeps me in student-of-life mode, and there is so much to learn!

Vitaliy's book list on that bring meaning to your life

Discover why each book is one of Vitaliy's favorite books.

Why did Vitaliy love this book?

While William Irvine’s book introduced me to Stoic philosophy, Donald took me further into the incredible life of Roman emperor and Stoic Marcus Aurelius. This book takes you deeper into Stoic philosophy. I get asked whom I’d want to have lunch with, dead or alive, and I answer Marcus Aurelius. During his reign he was the most powerful person in the Western hemisphere. History is littered with examples that prove Lord Acton’s quip “Power corrupts; absolutely power corrupts absolutely.” Marcus is a rare exception.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

By Donald Robertson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked How to Think Like a Roman Emperor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This book is a wonderful introduction to one of history's greatest figures: Marcus Aurelius. His life and this book are a clear guide for those facing adversity, seeking tranquility and pursuing excellence." --Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of The Obstacle is the Way and The Daily Stoic

The life-changing principles of Stoicism taught through the story of its most famous proponent.

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the final famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think…


The Inner Citadel

By Pierre Hadot, Michael Chase (translator),

Book cover of The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Donald J. Robertson Author Of Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

From the list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius.

Who am I?

I am an author and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist. I am one of the founders of the Modern Stoicism nonprofit organisation and the president and founder of the Plato’s Academy Centre in Athens, Greece. I’ve published six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, mostly focusing on the Stoic philosophy and its relationship with modern psychology and evidence-based psychotherapy.

Donald's book list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius

Discover why each book is one of Donald's favorite books.

Why did Donald love this book?

The French philosopher and historian, Pierre Hadot, was the first modern author to systematically describe the “spiritual exercises” found in ancient Greek and Roman philosophical texts. This book is the most popular scholarly analysis of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius available. It provides essential information on the underlying structure of Marcus’ writing and how it fits into the broader system of Stoic philosophy. Although an academic work, most nonacademics find Hadot very readable. 

The Inner Citadel

By Pierre Hadot, Michael Chase (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Inner Citadel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are treasured today--as they have been over the centuries--as an inexhaustible source of wisdom. And as one of the three most important expressions of Stoicism, this is an essential text for everyone interested in ancient religion and philosophy. Yet the clarity and ease of the work's style are deceptive. Pierre Hadot, eminent historian of ancient thought, uncovers new levels of meaning and expands our understanding of its underlying philosophy.

Written by the Roman emperor for his own private guidance and self-admonition, the Meditations set forth principles for living a good and just life. Hadot probes…


Marcus Aurelius

By Anthony Birley,

Book cover of Marcus Aurelius: A Biography

Donald J. Robertson Author Of Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

From the list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius.

Who am I?

I am an author and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist. I am one of the founders of the Modern Stoicism nonprofit organisation and the president and founder of the Plato’s Academy Centre in Athens, Greece. I’ve published six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, mostly focusing on the Stoic philosophy and its relationship with modern psychology and evidence-based psychotherapy.

Donald's book list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius

Discover why each book is one of Donald's favorite books.

Why did Donald love this book?

Although some people assume we don’t know much about Marcus Aurelius, the truth is that we probably know more about him than most other ancient philosophers, and certainly, there are several modern biographies of Marcus Aurelius but the best is this one by the British historian, Anthony Birley. Birley adopts a scholarly approach but he also keeps quite a tight focus on the events of Marcus’ life. (Frank McLynn’s biography is more widely-read but ranges more freely over topics such as the Roman empire’s economy.)  

Marcus Aurelius

By Anthony Birley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor who ruled the Roman Empire between AD 161 and 180, is one of the best recorded individuals from antiquity. Even his face became more than usually familiar: the imperial coinage displayed his portrait for over 40 years, from the clean-shaven young heir of Antonius to the war-weary, heavily bearded ruler who died at his post in his late fifties.
His correspondence with his tutor Fronto, and even more the private notebook he kept for his last ten years, the Meditations, provides a unique series of vivid and revealing glimpses into the character and peoccupations of this…


Marcus Aurelius

By John Sellars,

Book cover of Marcus Aurelius

Donald J. Robertson Author Of Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

From the list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius.

Who am I?

I am an author and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist. I am one of the founders of the Modern Stoicism nonprofit organisation and the president and founder of the Plato’s Academy Centre in Athens, Greece. I’ve published six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, mostly focusing on the Stoic philosophy and its relationship with modern psychology and evidence-based psychotherapy.

Donald's book list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius

Discover why each book is one of Donald's favorite books.

Why did Donald love this book?

John Sellars is a British academic philosopher and one of the leading modern scholars of Stoicism but he’s also a great communicator and his writings are easily accessible to nonacademics. Many readers assume, at first glance, that the Meditations consist of “random musings.” However, this recent work on the philosophy underlying Marcus Aurelius’ thought helps to expose the systematic nature of his reasoning. 

Marcus Aurelius

By John Sellars,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this new study, John Sellars offers a fresh examination of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations as a work of philosophy by placing it against the background of the tradition of Stoic philosophy to which Marcus was committed.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is a perennial bestseller, attracting countless readers drawn to its unique mix of philosophical reflection and practical advice. The emperor is usually placed alongside Seneca and Epictetus as one of three great Roman Stoic authors, but he wears his philosophy lightly, not feeling the need to state explicitly the ideas standing behind the reflections that he was writing for…


A Companion to Marcus Aurelius

By Marcel van Ackeren,

Book cover of A Companion to Marcus Aurelius

John Sellars Author Of Marcus Aurelius

From the list on Marcus Aurelius and his desire to live a good life.

Who am I?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on Stoicism. 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 Marcus Aurelius and his desire to live a good life

Discover why each book is one of John's favorite books.

Why did John love this book?

This is a large and expensive academic book containing over thirty chapters by different authors (disclaimer: two of them are by me). It’s perhaps not the sort of thing that a typical general reader is likely to buy. But taken together these chapters constitute the fullest discussion of Marcus Aurelius available in English and most questions that people are likely to have about Marcus or his philosophy are probably answered somewhere in its five hundred plus pages.

A Companion to Marcus Aurelius

By Marcel van Ackeren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Companion to Marcus Aurelius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Companion to Marcus Aurelius presents the first comprehensive collection of essays to explore all essential facets relating to contemporary Marcus Aurelius studies. First collection of its kind to commission new state-of-the-art scholarship on Marcus Aurelius Features readings that cover all aspects of Marcus Aurelius, including source material, biographical information, and writings Contributions from an international cast of top Aurelius scholars Addresses evolving aspects of the reception of the Meditations


Marcus Aurelius in Love

By Marcus Aurelius, Amy Richlin,

Book cover of Marcus Aurelius in Love

John Sellars Author Of Marcus Aurelius

From the list on Marcus Aurelius and his desire to live a good life.

Who am I?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on Stoicism. 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 Marcus Aurelius and his desire to live a good life

Discover why each book is one of John's favorite books.

Why did John love this book?

This book contains a selection of letters from the correspondence between Marcus Aurelius and his rhetoric teacher Fronto. Most of these letters date from Marcus’s youth and show a quite different side to his character. Richlin argues – controversially – that some of these letters give evidence of a homosexual relationship between Marcus and Fronto. Although I’m not convinced by that claim, this volume remains a really helpful way to access these letters in a modern translation with helpful notes. The youthful Marcus we meet is a nice counterpoint to the older Marcus of the Meditations.

Marcus Aurelius in Love

By Marcus Aurelius, Amy Richlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marcus Aurelius in Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1815 a manuscript containing one of the long-lost treasures of antiquity was discovered-the letters of Marcus Cornelius Fronto, reputed to have been one of the greatest Roman orators. But this find disappointed many nineteenth-century readers, who had hoped for the letters to convey all of the political drama of Cicero's. That the collection included passionate love letters between Fronto and the future emperor Marcus Aurelius was politely ignored-or concealed. And for almost two hundred years these letters have lain hidden in plain sight.

Marcus Aurelius in Love rescues these letters from obscurity and returns them to the public eye.…


Pensées

By Blaise Pascal, A.J. Krailsheimer,

Book cover of Pensées

Liam Milburn Author Of A Stoic breviary: Classical wisdom in daily practice

From the list on for building self-awareness that you might not expect.

Who am I?

Building upon many years of privately shared thoughts on the real benefits of Stoic Philosophy, Liam Milburn eventually published a selection of Stoic passages that had helped him to live well. They were accompanied by some of his own personal reflections.

Liam's book list on for building self-awareness that you might not expect

Discover why each book is one of Liam's favorite books.

Why did Liam love this book?

I am cheating a bit here since this was never a complete work, but a set of notes that Pascal was using for a far greater text. It confuses some people to hear that one of the greatest scientific and mathematical minds of his age was also a devout Christian, but that should not trouble someone with an open mind and an open heart. His intention was to show that there is a gaping hole inside of all of us, and that no diversion can ever fill it, except for a desire to know and to love what is Absolute. 

“All of humanity's problems stem from a man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Pensées

By Blaise Pascal, A.J. Krailsheimer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A passionate defence of religious faith by the great seventeenth-century philosopher, mathematician and physicist

Blaise Pascal was the precociously brilliant contemporary of Descartes, but it is his unfinished apologia for the Christian religion upon which his reputation now rests. The Pensees is a collection of philosophical fragments, notes and essays in which he explores the contradictions of human nature in psychological, social, metaphysical and, above all, theological terms. Humankind emerges from Pascal's analysis as a wretched and desolate creature within an impersonal universe, but also as a being whose existence can be transformed through faith in God's grace.

Translated with…


Dubliners

By James Joyce,

Book cover of Dubliners

David W. Berner Author Of The Islander

From the list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions.

Who am I?

Dugan was my grandmother’s maiden name. Her family was from County Wexford, Ireland near Rosslare on the island’s east coast. In recent years I have extensively studied my Irish heritage and have discovered much about my family, and about the DNA running through my own Irish blood. The inquiry has revealed much about my love of storytelling, good conversation, and generally about the way I move through the world. As a writer of several books of personal narrative and fiction, I have tried to write books that capture a certain emotion, and now through my own ancestral discoveries, I understand how those emotions and familial ties are so tightly linked. 

David's book list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

What can one say about this classic? It is the quintessential story of old Dublin.

Published in 1914, the collection of fifteen short stories takes the reader on a journey through middle-class Ireland, touching on Irish nationalism and country pride, but also on the forces that were slowing changing Ireland at the time. The stories move chronologically from boyhood to manhood and culminate with what some critics say is the finest short story ever written, “The Dead.”

This story, like many others in Dubliners is both a meditation on everyday urban life and a study of human relationships, including how we live with our memories, our heritage, and how we find ways to manifest our personal emotions.

Dubliners

By James Joyce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A definitive edition of perhaps the greatest short story collection in the English language

James Joyce's Dubliners is a vivid and unflinching portrait of "dear dirty Dublin" at the turn of the twentieth century. These fifteen stories, including such unforgettable ones as "Araby," "Grace," and "The Dead," delve into the heart of the city of Joyce's birth, capturing the cadences of Dubliners' speech and portraying with an almost brute realism their outer and inner lives. Dubliners is Joyce at his most accessible and most profound, and this edition is the definitive text, authorized by the Joyce estate and collated from…


The Complete Stories

By Flannery O'Connor,

Book cover of The Complete Stories

Thersa Matsuura Author Of The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales

From the list on a mix of wry humor and real horror.

Who am I?

I can’t remember a time I haven’t been drawn to and fascinated by the link between absurdity/humor and horror. Both genres involve setups and payoffs. The tension built up needs to be released in either a gasp or a laugh. In my own writing, I try to make myself giggle in joy at the ridiculousness of a situation and then recoil at the underlying horror that anchors it to the real world. It’s a balance I constantly try to reach and that I personally find is a joy to read.

Thersa's book list on a mix of wry humor and real horror

Discover why each book is one of Thersa's favorite books.

Why did Thersa love this book?

Southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor is an incredible storyteller with characters often described as grotesque and morally flawed. Having been raised in the South, I find her characters so real it is as if I know them or have met them personally.

I know she disliked any of her stories being labeled ‘horror’ and instead called them ‘hard’. But you have to admit that a lot that happens naturally in life is indeed ‘horror’, so I use the term as a high compliment to her. But that alone would be too much, so she tempers it with her sardonic wit and has me chuckling at all the characters in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” but the story itself hits in a very different way.

The Complete Stories

By Flannery O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Complete Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the National Book Award

The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction.

There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O'Connor put together in her short lifetime--Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.

O'Connor published her first story, "The Geranium," in 1946, while she was working on her master's degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, "Judgement Day"--sent to her publisher shortly before her death―is a…


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