10 books like The Emperor's Handbook

By Marcus Aurelius, David Hicks, C. Scot Hicks

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

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Letters from a Stoic

By Lucius Seneca, Robin Campbell (translator),

Book cover of Letters from a Stoic

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.

Letters from a Stoic

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…


A Guide to Rational Living

By Albert Ellis,

Book cover of A Guide to Rational Living

Does your happiness depend on the opinion and good will of others? Or can you live a happy and fulfilled life even if others disapprove of you? Do events make you happy or sad, or do your emotions arise because of your thinking—whether rational or irrational? These are the central questions that psychologists Albert Ellis and Robert Harper address in this timeless classic of self-growth and self-care. The authors explicitly draw on the Stoic philosophers, including Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, as forerunners of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Of all the books on the subject of living happily, creatively, and meaningfully, this one is near the top of my list.

A Guide to Rational Living

By Albert Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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.…


Michel de Montaigne

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

Book cover of Michel de Montaigne

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.

Michel de Montaigne

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


The Consolation of Philosophy

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

Book cover of The Consolation of Philosophy

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…


Buddhism Plain and Simple

By Steve Hagen,

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

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.

Buddhism Plain and Simple

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…


The Courage to Be Disliked

By Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga,

Book cover of The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness

I really like the book The Courage to be Disliked. The conversation format between a philosopher and a student makes it an interesting read and the authors approach controversial subjects like trauma, the past, and parenting. It has been a useful tool for me in understanding when to intervene and when to let go, in work and home scenarios. It has also given me a different perspective on life, and has been an invaluable asset to me as a leader. With a focus on Adlerian psychology but with elements of Stoicism, it’s a solid foundation for ambitious people looking to make their mark.

The Courage to Be Disliked

By Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga,

Why should I read it?

3 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,…


Crucial Conversations

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

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

This is not a book about meetings per se, but a book about effective conversations. Clearly, conversation is at the heart of meetings. The book provides many tips for improving interpersonal communication. So many of the learnings from this book can be applied to meeting leaders and meeting attendees alike. It is easy to read and definitely a good complement to your more traditional meetings books.

Crucial Conversations

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

Why should I read it?

6 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…


The School of Life

By The School of Life,

Book cover of The School of Life: An Emotional Education

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.

The School of Life

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…


Meditations

By Marcus Aurelius, Robin Waterfield (translator),

Book cover of Meditations: The Annotated Edition

This is the most recent translation of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, at the time of writing but I’m mainly including it because of Robin Waterfield’s very thorough annotations, which are invaluable when it comes to understanding some of the more obscure passages. They provide historical and philosophical context that’s otherwise missing and make it much easier to appreciate what Marcus was trying to say.

Meditations

By Marcus Aurelius, Robin Waterfield (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the sixteenth emperor of Rome -- and by far the most powerful and wealthy man in the world. Yet he was also an intensely private person, with a rich interior life and deep reservoirs of personal insight. He collected his thoughts in notebooks, gems which have come to be called his Meditations. Never intended for publication, the work survived his death and has proved an inexhaustible source of wisdom and one of the most important Stoic texts of all time. In often passionate language, the entries range from essays to one-line aphorisms, and from profundity to…


The Inner Citadel

By Pierre Hadot, Michael Chase (translator),

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

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…


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