100 books like Michel de Montaigne

By Michel de Montaigne, J.M. Cohen (translator),

Here are 100 books that Michel de Montaigne fans have personally recommended if you like Michel de Montaigne. 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 Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations

Wendy Thomas Russell Author Of Relax It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids about Religion When You're Not Religious

From my list on finding your own philosophy of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the intersection of psychology, philosophy and pragmatism — a dynamic that can be found in the books I write, the conversations I enjoy, and the ways I choose to spend my down time. By getting in touch with my personal psychology (influenced by my brain chemistry, temperament and upbringing) and studying various philosophies (from the Stoics to Alain de Botton), I have begun to find my own truth and formulate my own best practices in life. I don’t always nail it — not by a long shot — but that’s why it’s called a practice. There are so many different ways to live a contented life. It can be awfully rewarding to locate your own.

Wendy's book list on finding your own philosophy of life

Wendy Thomas Russell Why did Wendy love this book?

I often joke that Marcus Aurelius is my brother from another mother. Sure, he was a Roman emperor who, if he’d lived, would be 1,900 years old this year, but the things he wrote in Meditations — his book on Stoic philosophy written for himself between 170 and 180 CE — are perfectly on point. I feel like he’s writing from inside my head, struggling with the same challenges I do. Of course, Aurelius is not so much like me as much as he’s like every human on the planet; he just happened to think and express himself in a direct, accessible way. His “epithets” – guiding principles for how he lived his life – inspired me to come up with my own epithets. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

By Marcus Aurelius, David Hicks, C. Scot Hicks

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Emperor's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BEAR IN MIND THAT THE

MEASURE OF A MAN IS THE WORTH OF THE THINGS HE CARES ABOUT.

IF IT IS GOOD TO SAY OR DO

SOMETHING, THEN IT IS

EVEN BETTER TO BE CRITICIZED FOR

HAVING SAID OR DONE IT.

ARE MY GUIDING PRINCIPLES

HEALTHY AND ROBUST? ON THIS HANGS EVERYTHING.

Essayist Matthew Arnold described the man who wrote these words as "the most beautiful figure in history." Possibly so, but he was certainly more than that. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had…


Book cover of Letters from a Stoic

Chuck Chakrapani Author Of Unshakable Freedom: Ancient Stoic Secrets Applied to Modern Life

From my list on Stoicism for beginners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Editor of the free online magazine The Stoic and the author of some twenty books on Stoicism. My day job is President, Leger Analytics, and I am also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University. I am not a professional philosopher. I study and write about Stoicism because it helps us to live better, free of fear, anxiety, worry, or anger.

Chuck's book list on Stoicism for beginners

Chuck Chakrapani Why did Chuck love this book?

Seneca was one of the last of the ancient Stoics who lived during the time of Nero. Towards the end of his life, he wrote several letters to a young prefect, Lucilius. These letters were not just meant to be read by Lucilius but the generations to come as well. Seneca’s letters are well written and cover a wide range of topics as they relate to the art of living. These essays are a ‘how to’ guide to living.

Why this translation? Although there are 124 letters in all, modern translators tend to translate just a selection. Robin Campbell is no exception. I chose this translation because it is as good as any and it is not pricey.

By Lucius Seneca, Robin Campbell (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Letters from a Stoic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It is philosophy that has the duty of protecting us ... without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry'

For several years of his turbulent life, in which he was dogged by ill health, exile and danger, Seneca was the guiding hand of the Roman Empire. This selection of Seneca's letters shows him upholding the ideals of Stoicism - the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to life's setbacks - while valuing friendship and courage, and criticizing the harsh treatment of slaves and the cruelties in the gladiatorial arena. The humanity and wit revealed in…


Book cover of A Guide to Rational Living

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

We all make ourselves. How well we do it is our choice!

This book has had a profound impact on my approach to executive coaching and organizational change, where a key difficulty that compromises performance centers on self-limiting and misguided beliefs. Drs. Ellis and Harper focus on self-management techniques that shift the focus from “them” to “you.” We can change negative emotions and behaviors that stem from our own thinking. It’s our choice as to what we think and emote.

This book, based on clinical research, provides readers with insights and techniques to permanently shift their game.

By Albert Ellis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Guide to Rational Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Direct, get-to-the-heart-of-the-problem methods to teach you what you do to needless upset yourself and make yourself emotionally stronger by the creators of the most popular forms of therapy in the world.

From the foreword by publisher Melvin Powers:
Years ago, after two decades of burning the midnight oil, reading manuscripts which professed to have all the virtues this one actually possesses, I found the original New Guide to Rational Living—a gem that has become a classic in the field of psychology.

Since then, I am delighted to say, I have sold 1.5 million copies of this book in previous editions.…


Book cover of The Consolation of Philosophy

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

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Liam Milburn 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!"

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 The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Nelson Johnson Author Of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

From my list on tell a story previously untold.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nelson Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author (Boardwalk Empire) and has been fascinated with history and Clarence Darrow’s career all his life. From having practiced law many years and presided over 200(+) jury trials as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Nelson is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Darrow’s and his wife Ruby’s worst two years together. Nelson’s first four books have all prepared him to tell this story. It’s a tale that asks the reader to judge Darrow.

Nelson's book list on tell a story previously untold

Nelson Johnson Why did Nelson love this book?

Ferguson’s book “connects a lot of dots” to help make sense of where we are with regards to the influence of social media and the dramatic changes unleashed by the digital revolution as it transforms our society. Ferguson does an excellent job explaining that “networks” have always been with us, but how/why the more complicated/intricate our societal networks become, the more vulnerable we are. He places the role of Facebook into a sorely needed but sobering context. I have re-read many entire portions of this book and have viewed the PBS documentary on this book twice.

By Niall Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller.

A brilliant recasting of the turning points in world history, including the one we're living through, as a collision between old power hierarchies and new social networks.

"Captivating and compelling." -The New York Times

"Niall Ferguson has again written a brilliant book...In 400 pages you will have restocked your mind. Do it." -The Wall Street Journal

"The Square and the Tower, in addition to being provocative history, may prove to be a bellwether work of the Internet Age." -Christian Science Monitor

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers and field marshals.…


Book cover of A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America

Nelson Johnson Author Of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

From my list on tell a story previously untold.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nelson Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author (Boardwalk Empire) and has been fascinated with history and Clarence Darrow’s career all his life. From having practiced law many years and presided over 200(+) jury trials as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Nelson is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Darrow’s and his wife Ruby’s worst two years together. Nelson’s first four books have all prepared him to tell this story. It’s a tale that asks the reader to judge Darrow.

Nelson's book list on tell a story previously untold

Nelson Johnson Why did Nelson love this book?

Shipler’s book is as timely today as when written nearly 25 years ago. Slavery is our nation’s founding sin and was responsible for racism being written into America’s DNA. I spent years researching my book The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City. Shipler’s research was an invaluable aid in understanding where we are today regarding race relations. In everything from pay differentials, education and housing, to healthcare, drug addiction, and death at the hands of police, the chasm between whites and many black Americans is virtually intractable. Shipler does a yeoman’s job of putting race and racism into perspective, making sense of a complex and disturbing issue.

By David K. Shipler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Country of Strangers is a magnificent exploration of the psychological landscape where blacks and whites meet. To tell the story in human rather than abstract terms, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David K. Shipler bypasses both extremists and celebrities and takes us among ordinary Americans as they encounter one another across racial lines.

We learn how blacks and whites see each other, how they interpret each other's behavior, and how certain damaging images and assumptions seep into the actions of even the most unbiased. We penetrate into dimensions of stereotyping and discrimination that are usually invisible, and discover the unseen…


Book cover of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Eran Pichersky Author Of Plants and Human Conflict

From my list on how plants have had a dramatic influence on human history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After serving in the military for several years, I pursued a scientific career as a plant biologist. It was during my military service in a unit that spent most of our time in the wilderness that I discovered plants, and particularly their smells. One cannot help it–if you step or crawl on a plant, you will smell it. As a military history buff, I also learned that many wars were fought over plants, and so I decided to write a book that combines the two–explaining what these plants do, why they are so important to people, and, therefore, how plants basically drive human behavior, often to violence. 

Eran's book list on how plants have had a dramatic influence on human history

Eran Pichersky Why did Eran love this book?

I’ve always thought that the history of humans should be no different from the history of any other living organisms–what in biology is called “natural history."

Humans are a species of animals, and all physical, chemical, and biological rules apply to them. So I was delighted to finally see a history book that follows the history of humans by applying exactly this scientific approach and thus explaining, in deterministic scientific terms, our own history. 

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Guns, Germs, and Steel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, a classic of our time, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond dismantles racist theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for its broadest patterns.

The story begins 13,000 years ago, when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Around that time, the developmental paths of human societies on different continents began to diverge greatly. Early domestication of wild plants and animals in the Fertile Crescent, China,…


Book cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Louis P. Masur Author Of The Sum of Our Dreams: A Concise History of America

From my list on the real history of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Louis P. Masur is a cultural historian who has written on a range of topics in American history, from Abraham Lincoln to Bruce Springsteen, from the first World Series to a photograph that shocked the nation. An award-winning teacher, Masur lectures frequently on various topics in American history. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and Slate. The Sum of Our Dreams emerged out a course he teaches on the American Dream, which, somehow, he still believes in.

Louis' book list on the real history of America

Louis P. Masur Why did Louis love this book?

Loewen’s book, updated since its original publication, explodes some of the many myths and falsehoods contained in textbooks on American history. Whether stories of the first Thanksgiving or America and the Vietnam War, the book challenges interpretations presented as facts and facts that are contested. The result is an indispensable argument for trying to get the facts right when discussing American history.

By James W. Loewen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lies My Teacher Told Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important - and successful - history books of our time. Having sold over two million copies, the book also won an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship and was heralded on the front page of the New York Times in the summer of 2006. For this new edition, Loewen has added a new introduction that shows how inadequate history courses in high school help produce adult Americans who think Donald Trump can solve their problems.


Book cover of Discourses and Selected Writings

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

From my list on Stoicism from a psychiatrist and philosopher.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Epictetus was a slave who won his freedom and started his own successful school of philosophy before retiring into obscurity. Among his many students was the historian Arrian, who wrote up his spoken lectures “word for word” as the Discourses. The Discourses are down to earth, succinct, and forthright, as, for example, when Epictetus says, “And who exactly are these people that you want to be admired by? Aren’t they the same people you are in the habit of calling crazy? And is this your life ambition then—to win the approval of lunatics?” The Discourses were much loved by Marcus Aurelius, a case of a slave inspiring an emperor!

By Epictetus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Discourses/Fragments/Enchiridion

'I must die. But must I die bawling?'

Epictetus, a Greek Stoic and freed slave, ran a thriving philosophy school in Nicopolis in the early second century AD. His animated discussions were celebrated for their rhetorical wizardry and were written down by Arrian, his most famous pupil. The Discourses argue that happiness lies in learning to perceive exactly what is in our power to change and what is not, and in embracing our fate to live in harmony with god and nature. In this personal, practical guide to the ethics of Stoicism and moral self-improvement, Epictetus tackles questions…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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,…


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