From time to time, I select and organize some of the best (in my mind) essays posted here at howtobeastoic.org and publish them in the form of a freely downloadable pdf booklet. Enjoy, and don’t neglect to contribute to my ongoing explorations of ancient and modern Stoicism by commenting on newly released essays at my new site.
For your convenience, these collections are grouped according to the following general topics:
Practical Stoicism for contemporary life:
Stoic reminders for everyday practice (2017). A collection of pithy phrases to remind yourself, at any suitable occasion, of the basic precepts of Stoicism. They are sourced from all the major historical sources (Cicero, Diogenes Laertius, Epictetus, Hierocles, Marcus Aurelius, Musonius Rufus, and Seneca), using modern translations. Keep the booklet handy, life hands you endless opportunities to put these wise reminders into practice.
The Prokopton Pledge (2017). 13 simple rules to consistently live like a Stoic, supported by sourced quotations from Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. I extracted them from my own personal experience as a Stoic, as well as from extensive readings of the ancient sources. If you wish to live the Stoic life, this is a good place to start.
24 Stoic Spiritual Exercises (2016). A collection of 24 practical exercises to improve your Stoic attitudes, culled from Epictetus’ Enchiridion and Marcus’ Meditations, with brief explanations of each exercise and quotation of the relevant passages. Use it every day as a vademecum for inspiration: practice the examination of your impressions, remind yourself of the impermanence of things, keep in mind the reserve clause, engage in the morning meditation, or ask yourself why and how exactly you are doing what you are doing.
Collections of quotes from the ancients:
Seneca’s Letters of Consolation: 57 Selected Quotes (2017). Some of my favorite selections from the three letters on consolation that Seneca wrote, to his friend Marcia, who was grieving for the death of her son; to his mother Helvia, who was distraught by Seneca’s exile in Corsica; and to his friend Polybius, grieving over his dead brother. Poignant remainders of the humanity of Seneca, as well as of the power of Stoic philosophy in ameliorating even the most tragic aspects of the human condition.
Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius: 356 Selected Quotes (2017). A very extensive selection of quotations from the 124 letters Seneca wrote near the end of his life to his friend Lucilius. These letters represent Seneca’s philosophical testament, and are one of the most comprehensive sources for our understanding of ancient Stoicism. Use the quotes for inspiration and meditation. The pdf is searchable so that you can look for specific keywords, and if you’d like you can come up with your own selection of preferred citations, arranged by topics.
Marcus Aurelius: 184 Selected Quotes (2016). Another of my personal collections of favorite quotes, this one from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, his personal philosophical diary. As usual, use them for inspiration and daily practice. The pdf is searchable so that you can look for specific keywords, and if you’d like you can come up with your own selection of preferred citations, arranged by topics.
Epictetus: 254 Selected Quotes (2016). This is my personal collection of favorite quotes from Epictetus, covering all four extant volumes of the Discourses, the Enchiridion, and the known Fragments. Use them for inspiration and meditation. The pdf is searchable so that you can look for specific keywords, and if you’d like you can come up with your own selection of preferred citations, arranged by topics.
The “Other” Roman Stoics: 80 Selected Quotes from Musonius and Hierocles (2016). My personal collection of favorite quotes from Musonius Rufus, who was Epictetus teacher, and Hierocles, the Stoic who articulated the concept of the contracting circles of cosmopolitan concern. Unfortunately, we have only fragments of both of these authors (many fewer from Hierocles), but they are still worth perusing and meditating upon.
Endure and Renounce (2016). A collection of posts from the blog, including 84 essays covering the period from March through December 2015 (circa 72,000 words). Topics encompass a comparison of ancient and modern ethics, Epictetus on steadfastness, all of Marcus’ Meditations, Diogenes Laertius on Zeno, Stoic epistemology, the difference between apatheia and ataraxia, the dichotomy of control, Neo-Stoicism, and a Stoic approach to Twitter, among others.
Stoicism, a very basic Wiki introduction (2016). This is a Wikipedia-generated booklet about Stoicism, covering its basic tenets and history. It includes a treatment of Stoic physics, logic and ethics, the basic ideas of virtue ethics, and various interpretations of the Logos. The bulk of it is a series of biographies of major figures in Stoicism.
The Cato Chronicles (2017). Seven essays based on my series on Cato the Younger, one of the classic role models of the ancient Stoics. The first six essays look at Cato’s life and his legacy, while the last one is an extensive collection of quotes by Seneca, praising Cato, and making it clear why he was considered such an important figure in antiquity.
Ancient Greece and Rome, a very basic Wiki history (2016). A Wikipedia-generated booklet on the history of both ancient Greece and Rome. It covers politics, society and culture. The section on Rome is comprehensive, from the kingdom to the Republic to the empire, with a discussion of the major dynasties of emperors.