100 books like Stoic Spiritual Exercises

By Elen Buzaré,

Here are 100 books that Stoic Spiritual Exercises fans have personally recommended if you like Stoic Spiritual Exercises. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Field Guide to a Happy Life: 53 Brief Lessons for Living

Matthew Van Natta Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Stoicism: Tools for Emotional Resilience and Positivity

From my list on practicing Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Matthew J. Van Natta is an author and podcaster who has been guiding people to Stoicism for over a decade. His focus is on the daily application of Stoic philosophy within the modern world. He writes fiction, drinks coffee, beer, and whiskey, and contemplates the human condition. His writings have been featured on SpiritualNaturalistSociety.org and Modern Stoicism.

Matthew's book list on practicing Stoicism

Matthew Van Natta Why did Matthew love this book?

A Field Guide to a Happy Life is an outstanding example of what a modern Stoic book can and should be. Pigliucci has taken the famous Handbook (Enchiridion) of the Roman Stoic teacher, Epictetus, and reworked it to reflect a more modern approach to the philosophy. As such, this field guide is a portable, practical guide to applying Stoic wisdom in your day to day life.

What I most appreciate about A Field Guide to a Happy Life is that the author’s update of the philosophy is clearly described in a later section of the book. This allows the reader to compare and contrast the ancient with the modern. What does it mean to adopt and adapt a two thousand year old philosophy? This unique book is both a practical philosophical guide, and a jumping off point to deeper study.

By Massimo Pigliucci,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Field Guide to a Happy Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Bursting with practical wisdom and engaging stories ... a Stoicism 2.0 for twenty-first century happiness' Skye Cleary

'A bold, contemporary updating of Stoicism for the present day' John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism

Learn how to survive life's hardships and enjoy its pleasures with the modern stoic mindset.

In this enlightening book, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci offers a thoughtful and modern reinterpretation of Epictetus's 53 lessons for living a good life. Drawing on the ancient wisdom of the Stoics, this is a comforting guide that will help you reclaim the power of your emotional response and let go of the…


Book cover of Being Better: Stoicism for a World Worth Living In

Matthew Van Natta Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Stoicism: Tools for Emotional Resilience and Positivity

From my list on practicing Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Matthew J. Van Natta is an author and podcaster who has been guiding people to Stoicism for over a decade. His focus is on the daily application of Stoic philosophy within the modern world. He writes fiction, drinks coffee, beer, and whiskey, and contemplates the human condition. His writings have been featured on SpiritualNaturalistSociety.org and Modern Stoicism.

Matthew's book list on practicing Stoicism

Matthew Van Natta Why did Matthew love this book?

Being Better is the best expression of the heart of Stoic philosophy that I have found in print. This is not a how-to book in the style of so many beginner’s manuals (including my own), but instead it is a meditation on the core principles of Stoicism. The authors challenge us to apply those principles in our own lives, so that we can join together in making the world a better place. Each chapter unveils a facet of the philosophy using the experiences of real people, both ancient and modern, as examples of how to apply Stoic thinking to hard problems such as the climate crisis, social justice issues, and economic excess. Being Better moves past simple life hacks to show us how Stoicism can function as a full philosophy of life.

By Kai Whiting, Leonidas Konstantakos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Practical answers to the urgent moral questions of our time from the ancient philosophy of Stoicism

Twenty-three centuries ago, in a marketplace in Athens, Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, built his philosophy on powerful ideas that still resonate today: all human beings can become citizens of the world, regardless of their nationality, gender, or social class; happiness comes from living in harmony with nature; and, most important, humans always have the freedom to choose their attitude, even when they cannot control external circumstances. In our age of political polarization and environmental destruction, Stoicism’s empowering message has taken on…


Book cover of The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User's Manual

Matthew Van Natta Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Stoicism: Tools for Emotional Resilience and Positivity

From my list on practicing Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Matthew J. Van Natta is an author and podcaster who has been guiding people to Stoicism for over a decade. His focus is on the daily application of Stoic philosophy within the modern world. He writes fiction, drinks coffee, beer, and whiskey, and contemplates the human condition. His writings have been featured on SpiritualNaturalistSociety.org and Modern Stoicism.

Matthew's book list on practicing Stoicism

Matthew Van Natta Why did Matthew love this book?

In The Practicing Stoic, Ward Farnsworth has collected a wide range of Stoic and Stoicism-adjacent quotes into one place, each categorized by subject, and in so doing he has given every seeker of wisdom a true gift. Need advice concerning emotional health, overcoming adversity, dealing with wealth, or even the topic of death? The Practicing Stoic contains practical, timeless wisdom on every page. On my first reading, it felt like I was moving through years of my own journals, notebooks, and highlighted pages, except everything was conveniently organized rather than frustratingly scattered about. Farnsworth also lends us his own insights in this collection, as he expounds on the Stoic worldview while weaving together the many excerpts he has collected for us. The Practicing Stoic is a book I often find reason to return to, and it’s worth having on your shelf.

By Ward Farnsworth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Farnsworth beautifully integrates his own observations with scores of quotations from Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne and others. This isn't just a book to read-it's a book to return to, a book that will provide perspective and consolation at times of heartbreak or calamity."-The Washington Post

See more clearly, live more wisely, and bear the burdens of this life with greater ease-here are the greatest insights of the Stoics, in their own words. Presented in twelve lessons, Ward Farnsworth systematically presents the heart of Stoic philosophy accompanied by commentary that is clear and concise.

A foundational idea to Stoicism is…


Book cover of Stoicism: A Very Short Introduction

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?

If you read the three books mentioned above, you will get a very good idea about Stoicism and how it can help you to lead a better life. But these books do not give a comprehensive overall picture of Stoic philosophy. They tend to ignore many aspects of Stoicism. If you want to have a good overall understanding of Stoic philosophy without having to spend a lot of time or money, get this book. In just 152 pages, Brad Inwood, a distinguished Stoic scholar, gives a clear account of what Stoicism is all about. If you are serious about Stoicism, at some point you need to have a reasonable understanding of what Stoicism actually was and is. You can find no better introduction to Stoicism than this.

This book is so concise, comprehensive, and clear, there’s no other book that directly competes with this one.

By Brad Inwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stoicism is two things: a long past philosophical school of ancient Greece and Rome, and an enduring philosophical movement that still inspires people in the twenty-first century to re-think and re-organize their lives in order to achieve personal satisfaction. What is the connection between them?

This Very Short Introduction provides an introductory account of Stoic philosophy, and tells the story of how ancient Stoicism survived and evolved into the movement we see today. Exploring the roots of the school in the philosophy of fourth century BCE Greece, Brad Inwood examines its basic history and doctrines and its relationship to the…


Book cover of Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening

Patrick Ussher Author Of Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life

From my list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long been interested in what different traditions have to say about how to live our best lives. While a graduate student, I naturally drifted towards studying both Stoicism and Buddhism and wrote my MA dissertation on a comparison of both (which ultimately, much later, became the basis for my book). During my time as a Ph.D. student, I was actively involved in the Modern Stoicism project. As well as running the blog for the project, I was also involved, along with a team of academics and psychotherapists, in creating adaptations of that ancient philosophy for the modern world. I also draw on both philosophies in coping with chronic illness.

Patrick's book list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism

Patrick Ussher Why did Patrick love this book?

By my nature, I really enjoy polemical writings and controversial thinkers who challenge the status quo. Rightly or wrongly, I wouldn’t typically associate such works with the Buddhist tradition. While it does contain its heretics and firebrands, it is also naturally a tradition that encourages respect for the transmission of teachings from generation to generation.

Batchelor is a Buddhist polemicist and a highly controversial one, at that. In this book, I loved how he really took on many aspects of Buddhism that could be seen as ‘unnecessary ossified relics’ and attempted to present the essential aspects of Buddhism, stripped of any ancient metaphysical worldview.

In my opinion, Buddhism can benefit from more rigorous debate and criticism of itself, and, for me, Batchelor does precisely that. This book is highly thought-provoking stuff.

By Stephen Batchelor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Buddhism Without Beliefs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Demystifies Buddhism by explaining, without jargon or obscure terminology, what awakening is and how to practise it.


Book cover of Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Volume IV

Patrick Ussher Author Of Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life

From my list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long been interested in what different traditions have to say about how to live our best lives. While a graduate student, I naturally drifted towards studying both Stoicism and Buddhism and wrote my MA dissertation on a comparison of both (which ultimately, much later, became the basis for my book). During my time as a Ph.D. student, I was actively involved in the Modern Stoicism project. As well as running the blog for the project, I was also involved, along with a team of academics and psychotherapists, in creating adaptations of that ancient philosophy for the modern world. I also draw on both philosophies in coping with chronic illness.

Patrick's book list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism

Patrick Ussher Why did Patrick love this book?

I think this is probably one of the most interesting, albeit lesser-known, books about the modern Stoic revival. Modern Stoicism is a dynamic movement that comprises many different voices and potential applications of the philosophy.

I love how this varied collection of essays, under the skillful editorial eyes of Greg Sadler and Leah Goldrick, has us thinking one minute about how Stoicism and mindfulness can intertwine and the next about what a Stoic would make of Jordan Peterson, all the while never losing sight of the power of the philosophy for personal transformation.

I highly recommend this book, a comprehensive ‘snapshot’ of all the different ways Stoicism can enrich our personal and collective lives. 

Book cover of More Than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Sceptical Age

Jonas Salzgeber Author Of The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness

From my list on modern books about Stoicism (even if they don't appear to be at first glance).

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonas Salzgeber is the bestselling author of The Little Book of Stoicism. His interest in the mystery of life has sculped him into a mindful reader & learner for almost a decade now. Together with his brother Nils they write at NJlifehacks.com and share what they find most valuable.

Jonas' book list on modern books about Stoicism (even if they don't appear to be at first glance)

Jonas Salzgeber Why did Jonas love this book?

This informative book looks at the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Stoicism. It provides a philosophical framework for those practicing mindfulness and interested in dealing more effectively with life’s challenges. Antonia Macaro has packed this book with wisdom and actionable steps to put it into practice right now. This lesser known book has definitely not yet received the attention it deserves.

By Antonia Macaro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This groundbreaking study provides a much-needed philosophical framework for those practising mindfulness as well as a call to recover the pragmatic and therapeutic dimensions of philosophy.' - Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism and Secular Buddhism

Modern readers tend to think of Buddhism as spending time alone meditating, searching for serenity. Stoicism calls to mind repressing our emotions in order to help us soldier on through adversity. But how accurate are our popular understandings of these traditions? And what can we learn from them without either buying in wholeheartedly to their radical ideals or else transmuting them into simple self-improvement…


Book cover of The Making of Buddhist Modernism

Patrick Ussher Author Of Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life

From my list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long been interested in what different traditions have to say about how to live our best lives. While a graduate student, I naturally drifted towards studying both Stoicism and Buddhism and wrote my MA dissertation on a comparison of both (which ultimately, much later, became the basis for my book). During my time as a Ph.D. student, I was actively involved in the Modern Stoicism project. As well as running the blog for the project, I was also involved, along with a team of academics and psychotherapists, in creating adaptations of that ancient philosophy for the modern world. I also draw on both philosophies in coping with chronic illness.

Patrick's book list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism

Patrick Ussher Why did Patrick love this book?

McMahon’s book was a real opener for me as a practising Buddhist in my early 20s.

I’d always naturally assumed that the Buddhism I practised was essentially the same as the Buddhism of any other time and place. McMahon’s penetrating analysis of the differences between ancient and ‘Western’ Buddhism shattered that illusion, showing me that the Buddhism I followed was mainly the product of Buddhism’s encounter with the modern, Western world.

I deeply valued the doors McMahon opened for me: suddenly, I could take a much larger view of the Buddhist tradition, and I also came to realize how the various manifestations of philosophies and religions are interesting not just for what they teach but also because of what they can reveal about the societies that practise them.

By David L. McMahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this book, David McMahan offers the first comprehensive attempt to chart the development of "modern Buddhism." His position is critical but empathetic: while he presents modern Buddhism as a construction of numerous parties with varying interests, he does not reduce it to a mistake, a misrepresentation, or a fabrication. Rather, he presents modern Buddhism as a complex historical process constituted by a variety of responses - sometimes trivial, often profound - to some of the most important concerns of the modern era.


Book cover of Tsongkhapa: A Buddha in the Land of Snows

Patrick Ussher Author Of Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life

From my list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long been interested in what different traditions have to say about how to live our best lives. While a graduate student, I naturally drifted towards studying both Stoicism and Buddhism and wrote my MA dissertation on a comparison of both (which ultimately, much later, became the basis for my book). During my time as a Ph.D. student, I was actively involved in the Modern Stoicism project. As well as running the blog for the project, I was also involved, along with a team of academics and psychotherapists, in creating adaptations of that ancient philosophy for the modern world. I also draw on both philosophies in coping with chronic illness.

Patrick's book list on modern-day adaptations of Buddhism and Stoicism

Patrick Ussher Why did Patrick love this book?

This, the biography of a 14th-century Tibetan Buddhist master, might seem out of place for a list that is about modern-day adaptations of ancient philosophies. However, I wanted to include it as a reminder that while philosophical reform can be all well and good, sometimes the masters of yesteryear are those from whom we still have the most to learn.

I find this book magical: its lucid descriptions of the rich intellectual and spiritual tradition of 14th-century Tibetan culture, its monastic curriculum and debates, and the evident commitment to enlightenment among its many protagonists, all of these things have much to teach us moderns who might just have a tendency to get a little cute when we think that we know best.  

By Thupten Jinpa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The new standard work and definitive biography of Tsongkhapa, one of the principle founders of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism--the school of the Dalai Lamas.

In this groundbreaking addition to the Lives of the Masters series, Thupten Jinpa, a scholar-practitioner and long-time translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, offers the most comprehensive portrait available of Jé Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), one of the greatest Buddhist teachers in history. A devout monastic, Tsongkhapa took on the difficult task of locating and studying all of the Indian Buddhist classics available in Tibet in his day. He went on to synthesize this knowledge…


Book cover of The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds--Not Crushes--Your Soul

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

From my list on why meditation is worth your time and effort.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

Nita Sweeney Why did Nita love this book?

I found Brad Stulberg’s latest book when I was researching my book and immediately toned down my prose to meet the challenge of distilling practices nearly impossible to explain in simple terms anyone can understand. Sound impossible? Brad makes it look effortless. There’s just enough science balanced by personal experience and other anecdotes that what could have been a PhD dissertation (was it?) reads with ease. The power and simplicity make it elegant and ever so useful.

By Brad Stulberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Join thousands of readers and learn about the foundations of sustainable excellence and concrete habits for peak performance and a more genuine kind of success.
 
"A thoughtful, actionable book for pursuing more excellence with less angst." --Adam Grant, author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
 
"Ambitious, far-reaching, and impactful" -- David Epstein, author of Range

"This book taps into something that so many of us feel but can't articulate." --Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
 
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From the bestselling author of Peak Performance comes a powerful antidote to heroic individualism and the ensuing epidemic of…


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