The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living - book cover
Business Culture
  • Publisher : Portfolio
  • Published : 18 Oct 2016
  • Pages : 416
  • ISBN-10 : 0735211736
  • ISBN-13 : 9780735211735
  • Language : English

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

From the team that brought you The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, a beautiful daily devotional of Stoic meditations-an instant Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestseller.

Why have history's greatest minds-from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson, along with today's top performers from Super Bowl-winning football coaches to CEOs and celebrities-embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise.

The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus, as well as lesser-known luminaries like Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Every day of the year you'll find one of their pithy, powerful quotations, as well as historical anecdotes, provocative commentary, and a helpful glossary of Greek terms.

By following these teachings over the course of a year (and, indeed, for years to come) you'll find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well. 

Editorial Reviews

"The Daily Stoic follows up on the success of [The Obstacle Is The Way] by providing a year of quotations and life lessons drawn from the three great Stoic sages."
-The Wall Street Journal

"Whether you're a lowly cubicle slave or a US Senator, this book will help you find your still center."
-Gregory Hays, translator of The Modern Library's edition of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations

"A generous gift of guidance on modern living culled from a canon of wisdom hatched long ago."
-Maria Popova, editor of Brain Pickings

"A richly rewarding spring of practical wisdom to help you focus on what's in your control, eliminate false and limiting beliefs, and take more effective action. Make The Daily Stoic your guide and you will grow in clarity, effectiveness, and serenity each day!"
-Jack Canfield, co-author of The Success Principles and the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series

"The Daily Stoic is a treasure for managing our choices, overcoming self-deception, and learning to act according to the true worth of things while keeping the common good always in view. Caring for the soul in this way makes not only better people, but a stronger society too."
-Joseph A. Maciariello, Professor Emeritus at The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management; author of The Daily Drucker, The Effective Executive in Action, and A Year with Peter Drucker

"The Daily Stoic offers all who seek a calm, wise life a daily spiritual anchor. This book will keep you strong across dark times and steady and clear no matter what your circumstances happen to be. Keep this treasure close and it will care for you."
-Sharon Lebell, interpreter of The Art of Living by Epictetus

Readers Top Reviews

I’ve had this book for a while now, this is the second copy. Last year I was given an advanced stage 4 cancer diagnosis in November, completely out of the blue after thinking I had a hernia. Not what I was expecting mid 40’s. After the initial shock I picked up the daily stoic again which happened to be acceptance (November) and death (December). Funny how the book seems to know what you need lol! I have to say the daily musings on both, particularly death completely altered the way I was coping (catastophising) and as a result I saw the diagnosis for what it was, got my head in order and accepted whatever was to come along. After almost a year of treatments, including a full gastrectomy, two lots of chemo and radiotherapy I’m still using the book daily and referring back to it whenever I feel the need. Ok this is probably an extreme case for a review but for £8, the price of a few coffees, it’s been invaluable. Whatever is round the corner for me in the future who knows but it’s pointless worrying now about it. Buy it if you want some real world perspective on life and your role in it, you won’t be disappointed.
Mr. Cholmondley Warn
I discovered Stoicism through reading Tom Wolfe's 'A Man in Full'. That's a really good read so I won't go into detail because of spoilers. This book is more self-help than all the other self-help books put together. It's not 'preachy' just practical. The format is a ideal. Each day of the year has a quote from a famous Stoic and brief comment on the quote. It doesn't tell you 'do this and that will happen'. It asks you to ask questions of yourself. Two or three minutes reading in the morning and a whole day of thinking. You will get out of this what you put into it. If you're new to Stoicism the views may surprise you. If you're an old hand Stoic it's a great way to start the day. This book could change your life. To what degree is up to you.
J CRob FrancisMr. Ri
Marcus Aurelius had a spectacular sense of humor about being human. This book strips away the wit and joy and leaves a panache of obligations. It makes Stoicism humorless, which it is not. Read the Meditations instead. Grube has the wittiest translation.
Dawn Casey Rowe
I grew up with my mom’s daily meditation book on an end table in our living room. The spine was broken, pages browned, a tasseled bookmark showed the date as reliably as my iPhone. She still reads it every day. "The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Daily Living" is the meditation book my son will remember, the one I'll read every day. It's now on my end table with a red ribbon marking the season. The Daily Stoic isn’t simply a book to make me think, it’s an action guide, a “prescription for handling ourselves and our actions in the world.” The great Stoics remind me never to be satisfied with learning--I must always be doing. In order to lead a successful life, I must practice cutting through distractions and desires to get to things that matter. That’s the only way to become a better human being. That’s the call to action I’m getting from this book--you will, too. In "The Daily Stoic," Stephen Hanselman and Ryan Holiday have curated works by the great Stoic philosophers--Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, weaving in modern thinkers and situations I can use immediately. Each month has a specific theme such as clarity, right action, duty, awareness, and problem solving. Lessons build on prior themes, creating an easy-to-use teaching tool out of philosophers that can often be overwhelming. I love this book for its excellent translations and applicable life lessons. Each meditation has just enough to challenge me and help me feel I can put the thoughts into action today.
10 Cent TravelerEMCo
It's been almost 6 months of daily reading and this book is still not what I had hoped. The flow is poor and the lessons come off more as being written by someone who just wanted to put together a book. I commend the marketing, but the product is thrash. I won't even pass the book on for fear someone might get a hold of it as their first glimpse of Stoicism and be turned off. I do not recommend this book.

Short Excerpt Teaser

January 1st Control and Choice

"The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . ."

-Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4-5

The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can't. What we have influence over and what we do not. A flight is delayed because of weather-no amount of yelling at an airline representative will end a storm. No amount of wishing will make you taller or shorter or born in a different country. No matter how hard you try, you can't make someone like you. And on top of that, time spent hurling yourself at these immovable objects is time not spent on the things we can change.

The recovery community practices something called the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Addicts cannot change the abuse suffered in childhood. They cannot undo the choices they have made or the hurt they have caused. But they can change the future-through the power they have in the present moment. As Epictetus said, they can control the choices they make right now.

The same is true for us today. If we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle.

January 2nd Education Is Freedom

"What is the fruit of these teachings? Only the most beautiful and proper harvest of the truly educated-tranquility, fearlessness, and freedom. We should not trust the masses who say only the free can be educated, but rather the lovers of wisdom who say that only the educated are free."

-Epictetus, Discourses, 2.1.21-23a

Why did you pick up this book? Why pick up any book? Not to seem smarter, not to pass time on the plane, not to hear what you want to hear-there are plenty of easier choices than reading.

No, you picked up this book because you are learning how to live. Because you want to be freer, fear less, and achieve a state of peace. Education-reading and meditating on the wisdom of great minds-is not to be done for its own sake. It has a purpose.

Remember that imperative on the days you start to feel distracted, when watching television or having a snack seems like a better use of your time than reading or studying philosophy. Knowledge-self-knowledge in particular-is freedom.

January 3rd Be Ruthless to the Things That Don't Matter

"How many have laid waste to your life when you weren't aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements-how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!"

-Seneca, On the Brevity of Life, 3.3b

One of the hardest things to do in life is to say "No." To invitations, to requests, to obligations, to the stuff that everyone else is doing. Even harder is saying no to certain time-consuming emotions: anger, excitement, distraction, obsession, lust. None of these impulses feels like a big deal by itself, but run amok, they become a commitment like anything else.

If you're not careful, these are precisely the impositions that will overwhelm and consume your life. Do you ever wonder how you can get some of your time back, how you can feel less busy? Start by learning the power of "No!"-as in "No, thank you," and "No, I'm not going to get caught up in that," and "No, I just can't right now." It may hurt some feelings. It may turn people off. It may take some hard work.But the more you say no to the things that don't matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do. This will let you live and enjoy your life-the life that you want.

January 4th The Big Three

"All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment;

action for the common good in the present moment;

and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way."

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.6

Perception, Action, Will. Those are the three overlapping but critical disciplines of Stoicism (as well as the organization of this book and yearlong journey you've just begun). There's more to the philosophy certainly-and we could spend all day talking about the unique beliefs of the various Stoics: "This is what Heraclitus thought . . ." "Zeno is from Cit...