A Handbook for New Stoics Book Summary - A Handbook for New Stoics Book explained in key points
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A Handbook for New Stoics summary

Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez

How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control

4.6 (734 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

'A Handbook for New Stoics' by Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez is a practical guide to Stoicism, drawing on ancient philosophy to offer techniques for developing resilience, managing stress, and finding inner calm in everyday life.

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    A Handbook for New Stoics
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    Stoicism offers one of the best bets for happiness.

    No one wants to live an unhappy life, right? In fact, people have been seeking the best ways to avoid unhappiness for a very long time. And in doing so, some of the brightest minds in history have spent lifetimes asking themselves what causes unhappiness and how we can avoid such things.

    While there have been advances in psychotherapy and neuroscience, the philosophy of Stoicism continues to be a popular resource for people who are seeking a reliable system of principles in their lives.

    The key message here is: Stoicism offers one of the best bets for happiness.

    Stoicism can be traced back to 300 BCE. However, one of the reasons it’s still relevant today is that many of the principles in Stoicism can still be found in modern psychiatric practices, like cognitive behavioral therapy. 

    For example, one of the core tenets of Stoicism is about learning how to focus on the things that are truly under your control. Often, our sources of unhappiness are related to things that are completely out of our control. We get hung up on the opinions of others, getting stuck in traffic, bad weather, illnesses, or fluctuations in the economy. 

    What if we could learn to let go of our desires for goals that are unreliable? What if our happiness didn’t depend on things like money and the opinions of others? What if we could train ourselves so that our happiness was only dependent on things that are entirely in our control? This is one of the essential insights of Stoicism.

    If this sounds appealing to you, then let’s take it a step further and quickly break down some of the fundamental Stoic principles.

    For starters, there are three key areas to focus on: ethics, physics, and logic – all of which are interconnected. Ethics is about finding an ideal way to live. In order to do that, we should have an understanding of physics, which, in this case, refers to understanding how nature and humans work. And one of the main things to know about human beings is that we have the capacity for reason and logic, which will play a central role in solving problems and finding our ideal way of life.

    All of this can be summed up by saying that Stoics believe the key to a peaceful existence is to live according to nature. So we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of understanding human nature – which includes recognizing the common habits and tendencies that can stand in the way of our wellbeing.

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    What is A Handbook for New Stoics about?

    A Handbook For New Stoics (2019) is a step-by-step guide to understanding and practicing the philosophy of Stoicism. You’ll find a helpful overview as well as recommended exercises for starting out and gradually becoming an advanced student of the popular philosophy. 

    Best quote from A Handbook for New Stoics

    Stoicisms basic tenets can be distilled into three major topics: live according to nature, three-disciplined practice, and the dichotomy of control.

    —Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez
    example alt text

    Who should read A Handbook for New Stoics?

    • Folks curious about Stoicism
    • Anyone yearning to be more resilient in the face of life’s challenges
    • People who’d like to live a more virtuous life

    About the Author

    Massimo Pigliucci is a professor of philosophy at New York’s City College, as well as a fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a student and practitioner of Stoicism. His writing has appeared in such publications as Philosophy Now, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

    Gregory Lopez is the editor-in-chief of the Examine Research Digest and the lead editor of the Examine.com website. He is also the founder of the New York City Stoics Meetup and, alongside Massimo Pigliucci, he runs the Stoic Camp New York.

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