I get book recommendations from several sources. Some are good, some are less so, and some are just great. When Andy Hendricks recommended “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday, the name put me off. After all, I have never dabbled in stoicism, in fact, I wasn’t even sure what it was! I was told by Andy that I should start the book on January 1st, and that it may take a while, but be patient. I was. And I am glad for it.
What is stoicism? Long ago, a thirty-something philosopher strode up the steps of a porch that happened to be on the north end of the Athenian agora. Zeno was his name. He began talking to any who would listen about how to live the good life. That was the birth of stoicism. Fast forward a few millennia to Ryan Holiday. Ryan is the author of “The Obstacle is the Way”, reviewed in these pages. He also has written a few other books. Along with his writing partner, Stephen Hanselman, he has set out to help us apply stoicism to our times.
The book is a daily dose of stoicism, quotes from Epictetus, Diongenes, Marcus Aurelius and others, followed by Ryan’s thought provoking writings. I bought the book in late December, and as the book starts with January 1, that is where I started. It takes a while before the absolute genius of the book sets in. One of the first things I realized is that the stoics have a lot in common with me and you! They were thinking about the same stuff two thousand years ago that bedevil us today! As I continued, it became clear that I was hitting gold. I referenced the March 31 quote from Marcus Aurelius in my last newsletter, it was that good. The newsletter I wrote for this newsletter used another of Marcus’ quotes.
Is it worth the read? Only if you are a thoughtful, inquisitive person that wants to make life better. Does that describe you?