Recommended Books & Reviews
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
"Nothing happens to man which he is not fitted by nature to bear." This book has officially become that go-to that I read through as often as possible. This personal-journal turned staple of stoic philosophy will thwart your perceptions and equip with you with the mindset necessary to endure all that life gives you with an unshakeable inner peace. What's amazing about Marcus Aurelius' thoughts is their profound simplicity. Throughout the book you will sit back several times and say, "Wow. That's exactly right. How much trouble/frustration would it save me if I actually just applied that?" In short, Meditations is a game-changer. It requires an existing level of intellectual maturity to really be engaged in the transformative concepts that comprise stoicism; start this book if you're ready for that journey.
The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
The Obstacle Is the Way is a modern iteration of the unparalleled work that is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Though not a replacement for the staple of stoic philosophy, Ryan Holiday gives us necessary insights into how real, modern-day individuals can apply stoicism and thrive. Holiday provides examples of key contributors throughout human history who were relentless in the face of trials and setbacks. The stories he tells are resonant and pointed, showcasing the fact that it was the fundamental elements of stoicism that allowed significant people to persist, and thus, make an impact. It's an easy read that will compel you to take things in stride and see the benefit in all things.
The Greatest Minds And Ideas of All Time by Will Durant
Will Durant delivered a fascinatingly enlightening piece on the milestone accomplishments of society thus far, and the minds that achieved them. It's packed with well-developed insights into each development (concepts, tools, etc.) that changed history as we know it, while still being a relatively quick read. If you want a refresher on just why and how the world got to where it is today, this book is essential.
Letters From A Stoic by Seneca
In short, stoic philosopher Seneca offers us a refreshingly and intriguingly unique perspective on stoicism. He humanizes it to the point of making you believe that the employment of stoic maxims is indeed the way to be the best version of yourself. If Marcus Aurelius gives us the words for reflective contemplation and introspection, Seneca offers us the materialization. Read this if you are ready for that materialization.
Civilization And Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
Controversial as he may be, psychologist Sigmund Freud gives us one of his best works with this book. A timeless commentary on the nature of man's desires, frustrations, Freud shows not only how ceaseless man's search for happiness has always been, but why. It's short and should be required reading for every human.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
All I'll say about this book is that if you want to understand, at an in-depth, actionable level, both the concept of flow and how to engage in it in every sphere (from the mundane to the innately enjoyable), read this. It is thorough and enlightening, with just the right balance of psychological facts and inspiring insights.
“See a man who is skilled and diligent in what he does, he will stand before kings and not before ordinary men," Seneca said. Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You might very-well epitomize this quote. Newport offers us a deep, practical dive into why skill-development is the overlooked yet essential key to building a fulfilling career. So Good They Can't Ignore You is as pragmatic as it is engaging, featuring stories of real people who created careers they're proud of by acquiring, building on, and deliberately practicing their skills—a quality the Stoics would admonish.