100 books like The Emperor's Handbook

By Marcus Aurelius, David Hicks, C. Scot Hicks

Here are 100 books that The Emperor's Handbook fans have personally recommended if you like The Emperor's Handbook. 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 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 Michel de Montaigne

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?

For me, Montaigne’s thoughts on life and human foibles compare favorably with those of St. Augustine. His insights on the human condition are valuable to anyone inclined to self-reflection on one’s own frailties. Montaigne’s advice on coping with one’s mortality is worth heeding. He counsels that in order to deny death its sting, “…let us deprive death of its strangeness; let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more in our mind than death.” Yet our mortality is only one of many issues he discusses. Montaigne offers up wisdom on everything from fear, prayer and solitude, to the virtues of social intercourse, avoiding unwanted relationships, and educating children.

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

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback


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 Buddhism Plain and Simple: The Practice of Being Aware Right Now, Every Day

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?

This was the first book I ever read that changed my life. It came along at a time when I felt I was missing something. I didn’t know a lot about Buddhism at the time, and therefore didn’t recognize that what I was feeling was a universal phenomenon and that the Noble Eightfold Path was a secular template for contentment. I have read many other Buddhist books since then, but none of them have spoken to me like this one did. I have a notebook that contains entire passages of Buddhism Plain and Simple, and regularly refer back to those passages today.

By Steve Hagen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"This is the clearest and most precise exposition of Buddhism I have ever read. If you're looking for enlightenment rather than just scholarly knowledge, you'd better read this."
-Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

In Buddhism Plain and Simple, Zen priest and longtime teacher Steve Hagen presents the heart of Buddhist teachings, pared down to its essence and explained in simple, everyday language. This best-selling book is the perfect guide to Buddhism for beginners; the text has served international readers at all levels of study and practice since it was originally published over a decade…


Book cover of The Courage to Be Disliked

Joe Contrera Author Of Extraordinary Results for Life: Discover Your Path to Be UN-ordinary

From my list on transforming your business and your life!.

Why am I passionate about this?

For nearly 40 years, I have studied and written about blending the business world and the spiritual side of life together. By spiritual, I mean everything to do with our purpose and why we exist. I refer to this as being ALIVE @ WORK ®. We spend countless hours at work doing a j-o-b, when what we want most is knowing that we are making a difference in our lives and the lives of others. The key is taking 100% responsibility for our lives, knowing we have the power to change them in an instant. You will find this thread woven through all of my books and those I recommend.

Joe's book list on transforming your business and your life!

Joe Contrera Why did Joe love this book?

In the vein of many business books written in the novel format, this book follows a conversation between an older philosopher and a young man. The teacher helps the younger man realize how to break free from the chains that keep him stuck in his old thought patterns.

It introduces concepts rooted in Adlerian Psychology that are incredible eye-openers and introduces them in a story-like format instead of a hard-to-digest clinical manner. At the core of this book is helping its readers understand the power within each of us to create a path to real happiness and real success. A book everyone, especially the younger generations, should read!   

By Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Courage to Be Disliked as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Japanese phenomenon that teaches us the simple yet profound lessons required to liberate our real selves and find lasting happiness.

The Courage to be Disliked shows you how to unlock the power within yourself to become your best and truest self, change your future and find lasting happiness. Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of 19th century psychology alongside Freud and Jung, the authors explain how we are all free to determine our own future free of the shackles of past experiences, doubts and the expectations of others. It's a philosophy that's profoundly liberating,…


Book cover of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Maryanne O'Brien Author Of The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work

From my list on communication and building trusted relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a work in progress, on my way to becoming a conscious communicator and an even better human being. I believe that intentional communication and (the) quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives, careers, and societies. I’ve spent decades guiding people and cultures to foster open communication, cultivate self-understanding, and deepen trust, from large Fortune 500 to small businesses. Building communication skills is a practice that leads to self-transformation and finding meaning, and happiness. Each of these books will help you to better understand yourself and others, and learn to communicate at the level of trust.

Maryanne's book list on communication and building trusted relationships

Maryanne O'Brien Why did Maryanne love this book?

If you’ve been avoiding having a difficult conversation, this book is for you.

It provides a step-by-step guide for preparing to have difficult conversations and navigating the waters once you’re in them, both personally and professionally. You’ll learn to see your own defensive barriers to communicating well (defensiveness to silence) and how to apply strategies for overcoming these obstacles and creating a safe and productive environment.

It’s a valuable resource you’ll come back to again and again, because people are complex, and communication is the bridge to building trust. 

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan , Al Switzler

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Crucial Conversations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that changed the way millions communicate

"[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time."
-from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here's how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations."
-Mark Victor Hansen, cocreator of the #1…


Book cover of The School of Life: An Emotional Education

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?

Since discovering Religion for Atheists, while researching my first book, I have loved me some Alain de Botton, but I recommend this one because I think it offers the most in terms of practical wisdom across a host of categories. Alain has spent his life doing for others what I spend a lot of time doing for myself: Trying to discover universal truths that lead to a greater enjoyment of life without having to resort to religious dogma or magical thinking. He explains plainly how to love life for what it offers, wholly accept what it does not, and understand that we all, truly, are in this together.

By The School of Life,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover everything you were never taught at school about how to lead a better life...

'Amazing. He talk about sophisticated things in simple but not simplistic ways. A beautiful book that you should have in your home' Chris Evans

By the bestselling author of The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Course of Love

'Alain de Botton likes to take big, complex subjects and write about them with thoughtful and deceptive innocence' Observer

As heard on Elizabeth Day's How to Fail podcast

We spend years in school learning facts and figures but the one thing we're never…


Book cover of Meditations

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?

Meditations is a collection of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor (at the other extreme, Epictetus was born a slave). The original title is unknown, and over the years many titles have be used, such as ‘The Book of Marcus’ and ‘Things to one’s self’. I suggest that the latter title, more accurately reflect its contents.

By Marcus Aurelius, A.S.L. Farquharson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A timely book for today's world, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations explores how to endure hardship, how to cope with change and how to find something positive out of adversity.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is translated by A. S. L. Farquharson and features an introduction by John Sellars.

The Meditations are a set of personal reflections by Marcus Aurelius. He writes about the vicissitudes of his own life and explores how…


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

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

From my list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Donald J. Robertson 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. 

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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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