The best stoicism books 📚

Browse the best books on stoicism as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Letters from a Stoic

Letters from a Stoic

By Lucius Seneca, Robin Campbell

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books on Stoicism for beginners

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Book cover of Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne

By Michel de Montaigne, J.M. Cohen

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books that connect the dots by weaving together disparate facts to tell a story previously untold

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Book cover of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

By Donald Robertson

Why this book?

Part biography, part self-help book, Donald Robertson draws on his own professional experience as a psychotherapist to draw out of the Meditations a series of practical techniques that people can use today. For readers new to Marcus Aurelius, this book is a great place to start, introducing the man himself, the Stoic philosophy on which he drew, and shows how people might draw on and make use of ideas in the Meditations in their own lives.

From the list:

The best books on Marcus Aurelius and his desire to live a good life

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Book cover of Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius

Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius

By Stephen Hanselman, Ryan Holiday

Why this book?

We learn more through stories than through reading about abstract concepts. Lives of the Stoics is the story of the ancient Stoics. Who were they? How did they think? How did they live? If we want to live a Stoic life, then it helps us to know how other Stoics applied philosophy in their own lives: How did they face adversity? How did they handle betrayal? How did they handle prosperity? How did they deal with the ups and downs of life? The tone of the book is more informal and personal rather than authoritative. Yet this is one of…

From the list:

The best books on Stoicism for beginners

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Book cover of Letters on Ethics: To Lucilius

Letters on Ethics: To Lucilius

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

Why this book?

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…

From the list:

The best modern books on Stoicism to help translate the ancient to now

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Book cover of The Epictetus Club

The Epictetus Club

By Jeff Traylor

Why this book?

I wanted to include a book of fiction that brings Stoic thought to life in our modern world, and this was a tough decision for me. I’d like to draw attention to a wonderful little 150-page gem that is not nearly as widely known. Traylor’s fascinating little novel is actually “fictionalized,” its characters being crafted from actual people. And who are these people? Neither philosophers nor psychologists captivated by Stoic thought, nor average Joes or Janes out on the street, but the inmates of maximum security prisons Traylor met while working as a counselor. Epictetus is the Stoic who teaches…

From the list:

The best modern books on Stoicism to help translate the ancient to now

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