10 books like The Art of Happiness

By Epicurus,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Art of Happiness. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Moviegoer

By Walker Percy,

Book cover of The Moviegoer

The Moviegoer was the first novel I read which had little plot and a great deal of meaning. Basically, it’s about one man’s search for meaning in a world which values shallowness and consumerism above all else. It’s as relevant today as it was when written and the prose is amazing!

The Moviegoer

By Walker Percy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 1962 National Book Award and one of Time magazine’s 100 Best English-Language Novels, Walker Percy’s debut The Moviegoer is an American masterpiece and a classic of Southern literature. Insightful, romantic, and humorous, it is the story of a young man’s search for meaning amid a shallow consumerist landscape.

Binx Bolling, a young New Orleans stockbroker, fills his days with movies and casual sex. His life offers him nothing worth retaining; what he treasures are scenes from The Third Man or Stagecoach, not the personal experiences he knows other people hold dear. On the cusp of turning thirty,…


About Philosophy

By Robert Wolff,

Book cover of About Philosophy

It’s one of the best and most accessible introductions to philosophy, now in its tenth edition. It’s also by our favorite college teacher.

About Philosophy

By Robert Wolff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Four Decades of Student-Friendly Philosophy



About Philosophy is an introductory text that covers all the major fields of philosophy in an easy-to-read language, interspersed with short selections from the major philosophers. It has been a best-selling leader in the field for more than forty years and it is written by an internationally recognized author of more than twenty books.


Language, Truth and Logic

By Alfred Jules Ayer,

Book cover of Language, Truth and Logic

This is a widely-scorned book whose ideas are no longer in philosophical fashion. But it was the work that first hooked me into philosophy, and I recommend it for its sheer verve and confidence. Freddie Ayer visited Vienna in the 1930s and when he returned to the UK he introduced the ideas of the Vienna Circle into the Anglo-American world. The book argued that propositions that were not testable – for example some assertions about God, or about ethics or aesthetics – were meaningless because they were not verifiable. Amazing claims!

Language, Truth and Logic

By Alfred Jules Ayer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A delightful book … I should like to have written it myself." — Bertrand Russell
First published in 1936, this first full-length presentation in English of the Logical Positivism of Carnap, Neurath, and others has gone through many printings to become a classic of thought and communication. It not only surveys one of the most important areas of modern thought; it also shows the confusion that arises from imperfect understanding of the uses of language. A first-rate antidote for fuzzy thought and muddled writing, this remarkable book has helped philosophers, writers, speakers, teachers, students, and general readers alike.
Mr. Ayers…


The Concept of Anxiety

By Søren Kierkegaard, Alastair Hannay,

Book cover of The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Oriented Deliberation in View of the Dogmatic Problem of Hereditary Sin

The acknowledged father of existentialism actually makes anxiety interesting (if you’re into that sort of thing.) Not for sissies.

The Concept of Anxiety

By Søren Kierkegaard, Alastair Hannay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1844, Soren Kierkegaard's concise treatise identified-long before Freud-anxiety as a profound human condition, portraying human existence largely as a constant struggle with our own spiritual identities.


On the Nature of Things

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

Book cover of On the Nature of Things

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.

On the Nature of Things

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


Epicureanism

By Catherine Wilson,

Book cover of Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction

Wilson’s Very Short Introduction is a great overview of the central themes in Epicurean philosophy. If you want to learn more about Epicurean atomism, knowledge, the nature of the mind, politics, and ethics, then this book will give you a solid foundation and references to further academic reading.

Epicureanism

By Catherine Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Epicureanism is commonly associated with a carefree view of life and the pursuit of pleasures, particularly the pleasures of the table. However it was a complex and distinctive system of philosophy that emphasized simplicity and moderation, and considered nature to consist of atoms and the void. Epicureanism is a school of thought whose legacy continues to reverberate today.

In this Very Short Introduction, Catherine Wilson explains the key ideas of the School, comparing them with those of the rival Stoics and with Kantian ethics, and tracing their influence on the development of scientific and political thought from Locke, Newton, and…


How to Be Content

By Horace, Stephen Harrison,

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

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. 

How to Be Content

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…


The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

By David Sider,

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

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.

The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

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…


The Therapy of Desire

By Martha C. Nussbaum,

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

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.


The Therapy of Desire

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…


Letters on Ethics

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

Book cover of Letters on Ethics: To Lucilius

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…

Letters on Ethics

By Margaret Graver, A.A. Long, 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…


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