366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living

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Every year, I begin a new calendar with a list of goals and a firm promise not to buy myself one more book until at least the summer. Then not long after making this promise, I usually find myself wandering around town, strolling into a bookshop and before I know it standing at the counter! This was the book that broke my early 2017 resolve…

I found this book on a ‘book of the month’ table and immediately recognised Ryan Holiday’s name. I had just about avoided purchasing ‘Ego Is The Enemy‘ on a Kindle sale over the holidays. When I saw what this book was about, I just couldn’t resist.

‘Long the secret weapon of history’s great figures, from emperors to artists and activists to fighter pilots, the principles of Stoicism have shone brightly through the centuries as a philosophy for doers. Tested in the laboratory of human experience over the last two thousand years, this timeless knowledge is essential to navigating the complexities of modern life.’

The Daily Stoic is packed full of wise words from some of the great philosophers of Ancient Greece and Rome. The thoughts and musings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus and many more are perfectly complemented by the insights of Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. Each entry is short and very readable despite the thought-provoking content.

What I liked most about the book was the layout which is cleverly organised into three parts:

  • The Discipline of Perception
  • The Discipline of Action
  • The Discipline of Will

and with  each month focusing on a particular area:

  • January: Clarity
  • February: Passions and Emotions
  • March: Awareness
  • April: Unbiased Thought
  • May: Right Action
  • June: Problem Solving
  • July: Duty
  • August: Pragmatism
  • September: Fortitude and Resilience
  • October: Virtue and Kindness
  • November: Acceptance/Amor Fati
  • December: Meditation on Mortality

It would have been very easy to produce a book like this that rambled about in no particular direction but this work is very much linear and easy to follow. This is a credit to both authors as they clearly put a lot of thought and effort into organising the collective wisdom of many different writers.

So far as I have read through January, I have begin to build a solid foundation of ideas about how to see the world in a Stoic light. Each day offers a new piece to the puzzle and the more I read the more a clear picture begins to emerge.

Already I have decided that this is a book that I will be buying multiple copies of for friends this Christmas. It really does offer timeless wisdom from the ages and I already know that I will cherish reading it again and again over the coming years.

‘Who then is invncible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.’ ~Epictetus, DISCOURSES