The most recommended epicureanism books

Who picked these books? Meet our 9 experts.

9 authors created a book list connected to epicureanism, and here are their favorite epicureanism books.
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Book cover of The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Who am I?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Ma Thanegi Author Of Nor Iron Bars a Cage

From my list on a combination of personalities, travel, and food.

Who am I?

I am a painter and a writer from Myanmar. The former profession is what I chose when I was 15 and began at 21, featured in a group exhibition of modern art and the only woman among several men. Since then I have exhibited in several group shows and have had seven solos. In the early 2000s by chance - and financial need - I became the Contributing Editor for the Myanmar Times weekly and a travel magazine until they closed down. Since then I have written around 20 books on food, culture, and travels and it kept me so busy that my art was put on hoId, but I hope to resume one day soon.

Ma's book list on a combination of personalities, travel, and food

Ma Thanegi Why did Ma love this book?

Among the many genres of literature that I enjoy from Harry Potter to The Brothers Karamazov, I like best those that are about food and people with vibrant personalities. This book hits the jackpot: its all about haute cuisine of mouth-watering fusion of tastes with elegant plating and, the best of it, the glamorous and sexy or quirky or snooty individuals enjoying an excellent. .... or not....meal. The author already has one bombshell of a personality and the many identities she assumed to remain incognito in her job as a food critic for the New York Times all came alive. I wish I could have been right at their table.

By Ruth Reichl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Author of Save Me the Plums Ruth Reichl’s iconic, bestselling memoir of her time as an undercover restaurant critic for The New York Times

"Expansive and funny." —Entertainment Weekly

Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world—a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic…


Book cover of Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Who am I?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Who am I?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

Philosophies of simple living are often addressed primarily to the individuals who is seeking happiness. This is largely true, for instance, of both Epicureanism and Stoicism. How Much Is Enough? shows how the questions raised by such philosophies also bear on the economic policies and political culture of rich, modernized societies. The basic argument of the book is that it is foolish for these societies to strive for endless economic growth. They are already wealthy enough to provide the basic conditions of the good life for all their citizens, including a radical reduction in the hours that people need to work. But this isn't happening because capitalism continually inflames people's misguided desire for more stuff and higher status. So the machine just keeps on pointlessly creating desires while plutocrats keep creaming off the wealth of society which could otherwise be distributed more equitably and more rationally. The book offers a…

By Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Much Is Enough? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative and timely call for a moral approach to economics, drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers, and economists from Aristotle to Marx to Keynes

   What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why
do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These
are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the
financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions
head-on.  
   The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes.
In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income
would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would…


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

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Who am I?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of At Home on the Range

Gina Meyers Author Of From Muggles to Magic: The Complete Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

From my list on cookbooks for kids and parents.

Who am I?

Gina Meyers is well known for her popular culture television trivia and cooking expertise books related to Harry Potter, Twilight, and the iconic television show Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Gina's Love At First Bite, The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook was featured on the NBC hit show, The Office. Gina's goal is to reignite the spark of imagination and creativity in the kitchen, introducing youth, teens, and fans of magical sitcoms to the culinary arts.

Gina's book list on cookbooks for kids and parents

Gina Meyers Why did Gina love this book?

I met well-known author Liz Gilbert at a book signing in San Francisco. She was friends with a fellow cookbook author from Estonia and New York who recommended we meet Elizabeth Gilbert. While Liz was unpacking boxes of old family books, she rediscovered a book called At Home on the Range, written by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. Having only been peripherally aware of the volume, Gilbert dug in with some curiosity, and soon found that she had stumbled upon a book far ahead of its time. Part scholar and part crusader for a more open food conversation, Potter espoused the importance of farmer’s markets and ethnic food (Italian, Jewish, and German), culinary shortcuts, and generally celebrated a devotion to epicurean adventures.

By Margaret Yardley Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home on the Range as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'Ideal for those who like their recipes to come with a back story ... The book is tremendously funny, and her cooking was way ahead of her time' - Sally Hughes, BBC Good Food Magazine 'Hilarious' - English Home _______________ Recently, Elizabeth Gilbert unpacked some boxes of family books that had been sitting in her mother's attic for decades. Among the old, dusty hardbacks was a book called At Home on the Range, written by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. As Gilbert writes in her Foreword: 'I jumped up and dashed through the house to find my husband, so…


Book cover of Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite

Leslie Karst Author Of Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG

From my list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys.

Who am I?

Since childhood, when my best friend and I would experiment together with recipes from the Time-Life Foods of the World cookbook series and then gorge on the delectable results, I’ve been enamored of food and cooking, a love which eventually led me to pursue a degree in culinary arts (while simultaneously spending my days as a research and appellate attorney). In addition to Justice is Served, I also write the Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 

Leslie's book list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys

Leslie Karst Why did Leslie love this book?

Possessing an insatiable appetite even as a toddler, Frank Bruni has long had a complicated relationship with food. Body shame—made all the worse by being a single gay man trying to conform to an impossible standard—drove him from fad diets, to manic exercise, and even bulimia. Nevertheless, in 2004, he accepted the position as restaurant critic for The New York Times. Having spent the better part of my own life acutely conscious of my caloric intake, I found Born Round to be a moving account of the struggle so many of us face regarding body image, and how coming to terms with our own limits and the compromises we need to make can provide a path to self-love and happiness. 

By Frank Bruni,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and always hungry. His relationship with eating was difficult and his struggle with it began early. When named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew he would be performing one of the most watched tasks in the epicurean universe. And with food his friend and enemy both, his jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. A captivating story of his…


Book cover of Shooting at Heaven's Gate

Ellen Gable Author Of Where Angels Pass

From Ellen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Avid reader Experienced editor Amateur genealogist Classic movie fan

Ellen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Ellen Gable Why did Ellen love this book?

This is a compelling story about a series of horrible events from several points of view. As in real life, characters’ lives are sometimes connected in mysterious ways.

The author draws the reader not only into the story but into the hearts and minds of believable and well-developed characters. It’s beautifully written and was a joy to read.

By Kaye Park Hinckley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shooting at Heaven's Gate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Malcolm J. Hawkins, the Head of Psychology at Bethel University in Alabama, feels his position and his credibility threatened by up-and-coming English professor Ginnie Gillan, he decides to use her husband Edmund’s gullibility against her. Feeding Edmund a steady diet of drugs and manipulation, Mal lights the fuse of the greatest tragedy Bethel has ever known.

Eighteen-year-old Alma Broussard, her quirky mother Moline, and her feisty Aunt Pauline run a chicken farm in Bethel. Their lives seem wholly separate from the feuds of academia—but dark secrets lurk in Moline’s past that will bring the people she loves straight into…


Book cover of Hellenistic Philosophy

Gary W. Cross Author Of Exploring the Way of Epictetus: His Destination, Directions, and Strategies

From my list on understanding Stoicism from multiple perspectives.

Who am I?

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?

This book not only provides excellent texts of early Stoicism, but also provides texts of Epicureanism, and Scepticism, the other dominant philosophies at the time, and thus places Stoicism in the context of the time.

By Brad Inwood, Lloyd P. Gerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This new edition of Hellenistic Philosophy --including nearly 100 pages of additional materia--offers the first English translation of the account of Stoic ethics by Arius Didymus, substantial new sources on Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Scepticism, expanded representation of Plutarch and Cicero, and a fuller presentation of papyrological evidence. Inwood and Gerson maintain the standard of consistency and accuracy that distinguished their translations in the first edition, while regrouping some material into larger, more thematically connected passages. This edition is further enhanced by a new, more spacious page design.


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

Firmin Debrabander Author Of Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

From my list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration.

Who am I?

I have always loved the Stoics, from the first time I read Seneca. I appreciate that they seek to speak to a wider audience than most philosophers, on issues that concern many: happiness, anxiety, pain, loss. The Stoics were wonderful writers, whose influence has been manifest throughout western philosophy. And they extended their expertise beyond the academy, and were very involved in politics. Seneca was the advisor to the emperor Nero; Cicero, who dabbled in Stoicism, was perhaps the most famous senator of Rome. Marcus Aurelius was emperor. 

Firmin's book list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration

Firmin Debrabander Why did Firmin love this book?

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.


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…