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Quote: Marcus Aurelius - On Happiness

Marcus Aurelius and the Stoic Philosophy

This weeks quote is inspired by the book Meditations. The book is actually a collection of personal writings by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, between 161 and 180 AD. These private notes to himself and ideas on stoic philosophy hold great insight in how we can all lead better, more fulfilling lives.

What is Stoicism?

"Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly." - Stoicism, Wikipedia

Reading Meditations, it is amazing how through the power of writing we could tap into the thoughts of a man who was living nearly 2000 years ago. While certain themes in the book can seem rather depressing (the universal and natural certainty of death) there is a lot of wisdom and encouragement on tackling adversity and developing some grit and perseverance.

In fact the central tenant is around striving to make yourself a better person. Coping with adversity, controlling your emotions, being straightforward and honest in your dealings.

So in this spirit we have gathered our reading suggestions for today:

1. Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library)

2. The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

3. The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User's Manual

Below are links and descriptions from Amazon on the three books. We hope you enjoy them.

Happy reading!


Dive into the thoughts and ideas of this Roman Emperor. A truly enlightening read that will leave its mark on you.

From Amazon:

Never before have Marcus’s insights been so directly and powerfully presented.

With an Introduction that outlines Marcus’s life and career, the essentials of Stoic doctrine, the style and construction of the Meditations, and the work’s ongoing influence, this edition makes it possible to fully rediscover the thoughts of one of the most enlightened and intelligent leaders of any era.

Read more here.


Reading this book while going through a challenging time in my professional life really helped. It allows you to re frame negative challenges in a completely different way. Years after reading this I still find myself using the technique in my every day life. Highly recommended.

From Amazon:

The Stoic philosophy - that what is in the way, is the way - can be applied to any problem: it's a formula invented more than 2,000 years ago, whose effectiveness has been proven in battles and board rooms ever since. From Barack Obama's ability to overcome obstacles in his election races, to the design of the iPhone, the stoic philosophy has helped its users become world-beaters

Read more here.


Sometimes the best way to get into a new area of philosophy is to find a great introductory book to help guide the way.

From Amazon:

The great insights of the Stoics are spread over a wide range of ancient sources. This book brings them all together for the first time. It systematically presents what the various Stoic philosophers said on every important topic, accompanied by an eloquent commentary that is clear and concise. The result is a set of philosophy lessons for everyone - the most valuable wisdom of ages past made available for our times, and for all time.

You can grab a copy here.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures over here.


Thank you for reading!

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