The best 22 Stoicism books

The Daily Stoic

The Daily Stoic

Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman
366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living
4.7 (749 ratings)

What's The Daily Stoic about?

The Daily Stoic (2016) is a collection of daily meditations drawn from the wisdom of the Stoic philosophers who lived in the Roman Empire. The writings of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca and slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus all provide thoughtful material for the authors to refashion and refresh. These blinks promote self-reflection, while encouraging the reader to value serenity and life itself.

Who should read The Daily Stoic?

  • Wallflowers lacking self-confidence
  • Exhausted workers looking for new perspectives and a sense of purpose
  • Platonists and students of philosophy



Marcus Aurelius
The stoic thinking of a Philosopher-King
4.2 (711 ratings)

What's Meditations about?

Meditations (170-180 AD) is a journey through the mind of the great Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. These blinks offer philosophical ruminations on the meaning of death and justice, the nature of the world and why things happen the way they do.

Who should read Meditations?

  • Anyone interested in the philosophy of the ancient world
  • People with a fear of death
  • Anybody who has a sneaking suspicion that everything happens for a reason

Stillness Is the Key

Stillness Is the Key

Ryan Holiday
Timeless Stoic and Buddhist philosophy
4.6 (1,671 ratings)

What's Stillness Is the Key about?

Stillness Is the Key (2019) shows us the importance of stillness – the ability to think clearly, avoid distraction, conquer impulses, and find happiness. Drawing on wisdom from history’s greatest philosophers, and on the habits of outstanding athletes, leaders, and artists, these blinks show how achieving stillness is a powerful way to find contentedness and success in life. 

Who should read Stillness Is the Key?

  • Frazzled people seeking to escape the constant distractions of modern life
  • Busy people who need more balance, calm, and focus
  • Fast movers who want to slow down

Lives of the Stoics

Lives of the Stoics

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius
4.4 (1,232 ratings)

What's Lives of the Stoics about?

Lives of the Stoics (2020) explores Stoicism through the lives of its earliest followers. Packed with insights into the leaders, wars, and politics of classical antiquity, these blinks provide a fresh yet historical look at this popular philosophy.

Who should read Lives of the Stoics?

  • Philosophy buffs seeking new insights
  • Strivers looking for inspiration
  • Budding historians looking for a fresh perspective

The Obstacle is the Way

The Obstacle is the Way

Ryan Holiday
The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph
4.5 (567 ratings)

What's The Obstacle is the Way about?

In The Obstacle is the Way (2014), Ryan Holiday brings the age-old wisdom of Stoic philosophy up to date. By examining the struggles of historical figures of inspiring resilience, Holiday shows not only how obstacles couldn’t stop them, but more importantly, how these people thrived precisely because of the obstacles. Holiday shows how we can turn obstacles to our advantage, and how we can transform apparent roadblocks into success, both in our businesses and our personal lives.

Who should read The Obstacle is the Way?

  • Anyone working for a business during tough economic times
  • Anyone working at a start-up facing great challenges to get off the ground
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to better deal with inevitable hardships

Philosophy for Life

Philosophy for Life

Jules Evans
And Other Dangerous Situations
4.6 (342 ratings)

What's Philosophy for Life about?

These blinks will teach you the ancient wisdom that inspired the modern science of well-being. Your teachers are the greatest ancient philosophers, and each lesson reveals questions and techniques that can help you on your path to leading a good life. Philosophy for Life has been published in 19 countries and was selected as a Times book of the year 2013.

Who should read Philosophy for Life?

  • Anyone interested in self-development and living a good life
  • Anyone interested in learning from great thinkers like Aristotle and Plutarch
  • Anyone interested in refreshing their knowledge of philosophy
  • Anyone interested in cognitive behavioral therapy

Great Thinkers

Great Thinkers

The School of Life
Simple Tools from Sixty Great Thinkers to Improve Your Life Today
4.2 (330 ratings)

What's Great Thinkers about?

Great Thinkers (2016) provides a handy guide to some of the most creative and ingenious people who have ever lived. These are thinkers who have changed the way we perceive and think about the world, and their wisdom continues to be highly relevant to people everywhere. By keeping these ideas close at hand and not far from our minds, the great thinkers of the past can continue to help us live better lives today.

Who should read Great Thinkers?

  • Culture vultures
  • Wisdom seekers
  • Students of the humanities

A Handbook for New Stoics

A Handbook for New Stoics

Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez
How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control
4.6 (640 ratings)

What's 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. 

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

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

Donald Robertson
The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius
4.7 (354 ratings)

What's How to Think Like a Roman Emperor about?

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor (2019) describes the guiding principles of Stoicism through the life and writings of Marcus Aurelius. As one of the most esteemed Roman emperors, his most admired characteristics as a leader were informed by the philosophy of the Stoics. We also find out how these practices can be followed by anyone today.

Who should read How to Think Like a Roman Emperor?

  • Amateur and advanced Stoics looking for a fresh perspective
  • People curious about the life of Marcus Aurelius
  • Anyone interested in how ancient philosophy mixes with modern psychology

How to Be a Stoic

How to Be a Stoic

Massimo Pigliucci
Ancient Wisdom For Modern Living
4.6 (385 ratings)

What's How to Be a Stoic about?

In How to Be a Stoic (2018), philosopher Massimo Pigliucci explores how the ancient philosophy of Stoicism can guide us toward a good life. He shows how Stoicism can help us focus on what we can change, come to peace with the prospect of death and deal with frustrations and problems in everyday life.

Who should read How to Be a Stoic?

  • Anyone interested in philosophy
  • People in search of a better way to live their lives
  • Anyone struggling to come to terms with things beyond their control

Letters from a Stoic

Letters from a Stoic

Learn about the good life from a true Roman statesman
4.5 (271 ratings)

What's Letters from a Stoic about?

Written around 65 CE and addressed to a Roman official stationed in Sicily by the name of Lucilius, Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic are an exploration of the good life. Drawing on the rich tradition of stoic philosophical thought, Seneca advocates simple living in harmony with nature, avoidance of temptations and vice and the continuous honing of the mind through the study of philosophy. That, Seneca argued, was the path to true happiness.

Who should read Letters from a Stoic?

  • History buffs with a love of all things Roman
  • Philosophically inclined readers interested in the good life
  • Anyone who’s ever wondered how to conquer their fears

A Guide to the Good Life

A Guide to the Good Life

William B. Irvine
The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
4.6 (247 ratings)

What's A Guide to the Good Life about?

What's most important to you? What goals are worth pursuing? A Guide to the Good Life (2009) tackles these pivotal questions, guiding the reader through the ancient Stoic philosophy of life and offering advice on how to practice it in a modern world. Focused on the goals of virtue and tranquility, this book shows us how to find joy in our lives.

Who should read A Guide to the Good Life?

  • Philosophy students
  • Those who are seeking to curb their negative emotions
  • Anyone wanting a simpler and more tranquil life

A Brief History of Thought

A Brief History of Thought

Luc Ferry
A Philosophical Guide to Living
4.4 (259 ratings)

What's A Brief History of Thought about?

A Brief History of Thought (1996) chronicles the big moments in the history of Western philosophy in a lucid and accessible way – from the Stoicism of classical Greece right through to twentieth-century postmodernism. Not simply a description of abstract ideals, it shows how we can apply the wisdom of the world’s best thinkers to live happier and more meaningful lives.

Who should read A Brief History of Thought?

  • Those who find philosophy cryptic and confusing
  • History students not up to speed with the development of Western thought
  • Introspective humans searching for a meaning to life

The Art of Living

The Art of Living

The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness – A New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell
4.7 (582 ratings)

What's The Art of Living about?

The Art of Living (1995) is a clear and concise introduction to Stoic philosophy. This modern interpretation of Epictetus’s teachings gives timeless insight into living a stable and satisfying life.

Who should read The Art of Living?

  • Modern thinkers curious about ancient philosophy
  • Hectic go-getters needing advice on slowing down
  • Anyone seeking a more Stoic lifestyle

How to Live a Good Life

How to Live a Good Life

ed. Massimo Pigliucci
A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy
4.3 (445 ratings)

What's How to Live a Good Life about?

How to Live a Good Life (2020), edited by Massimo Pigliucci, Skye Cleary, and Daniel Kaufman, is an introduction to 15 philosophies for living our lives. Ranging from ancient ideologies, through the major religions, to contemporary schools of thought, 15 leading scholars enlighten us with the philosophies that guide their lives.

Who should read How to Live a Good Life?

  • Those in search of a new philosophy of life
  • People wanting to do good
  • People interested in learning about philosophy

Aristotle's Way

Aristotle's Way

Edith Hall
How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life
4.5 (189 ratings)

What's Aristotle's Way about?

Aristotle’s Way (2018) is a study of Aristotle, philosopher and polymath of Ancient Greece – but it’s not a scholarly guide to a historical artifact. Aristotle is simply far too alive to be relegated to that category. Friendship, happiness, talking, thinking, and living well were Aristotle’s great concerns. And what he had to say about those topics remains every bit as relevant today as it was when he first started exploring them some 2,500 years ago. 

Who should read Aristotle's Way?

  • Old-school self-helpers 
  • Miserabilists ready for some happiness 
  • Job-hunters struggling with their cover letters

That One Should Disdain Hardships

That One Should Disdain Hardships

Musonius Rufus
The Teachings of a Roman Stoic
4.6 (103 ratings)

What's That One Should Disdain Hardships about?

That One Should Disdain Hardships (2020) is a collection of lectures delivered in imperial Rome in the first century CE by the Stoic Gaius Musonius Rufus. Heralded as the “Roman Socrates,” Musonius’s philosophy is anything but academic. Designed to help listeners lead the best possible lives, his lectures hone in on practical, everyday questions. The result? A doctrine that you really can live by.

Who should read That One Should Disdain Hardships?

  • Philosophers and thinkers
  • History buffs
  • Practical-minded ethicists

Status Anxiety

Status Anxiety

Alain de Botton
How social isolation and meritocracy cause fear of underachievement and how to solve this
4.5 (268 ratings)

What's Status Anxiety about?

Status Anxiety (2005) diagnoses a problem unique to modern Western societies: the fear of being perceived as unsuccessful. While our desire to climb to ever-higher rungs on the social ladder can inspire and motivate us, it can also lead to anxiety and depression. This book examines the causes of our anxiety about status and suggests a few antidotes that might help us face our fears. 

Who should read Status Anxiety?

  • Social climbers who want to reevaluate their motivations
  • People who feel stressed about underachievement
  • Anyone who has ever looked down on someone for being a “nobody”



Derren Brown
Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine
4.4 (172 ratings)

What's Happy about?

Happy (2016) takes a look at the ancient world’s most zen philosophers – the Stoics – and asks what thinkers like Epicurus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius can teach us about happiness. The answer according to Derren Brown? A great deal. Packed with insights into the robust and rational outlooks of these Greek and Roman sages, these blinks illuminate a vital chapter in the history of Western philosophy while showing us how we can lead better, more fulfilling lives today. 

Who should read Happy?

  • Philosophers and thinkers
  • The short-tempered and stressed
  • Happiness-seekers

How Should We Live?

How Should We Live?

Roman Krznaric
Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life
4.5 (45 ratings)

What's How Should We Live? about?

How Should We Live? (2013) gives a wide-lense view of why we Westerners tend to think the way we do. From love to work to death, it explains how our modern-day views evolved, and offers some age-old advice on how we might improve them.

Who should read How Should We Live??

  • People looking for a historical take on lifestyle advice
  • Anyone interested in the roots of our cultural preconceptions
  • General-knowledge buffs after a little extra history



Michael J. Sandel
What's the Right Thing to Do?
4.3 (33 ratings)

What's Justice about?

What is justice? How can we act in a just and morally correct way? Drawing on various examples from everyday life, Michael J. Sandel illustrates how differently the idea of justice can be interpreted, for example, by philosophers like Aristotle and Kant. Over the course of Justice (2009), he urges us to critically question our own convictions and societal conventions.

Who should read Justice?

  • Anyone interested in ethics and philosophy
  • Anyone who wants to find out more about the concept of justice
  • Anyone looking for philosophical answers to questions in life

Plato at the Googleplex

Plato at the Googleplex

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
4.1 (37 ratings)

What's Plato at the Googleplex about?

Plato at the Googleplex examines contemporary issues through the lens of Plato’s philosophical questioning. The book explores the life and times of Plato as well as how his philosophy and thoughts on love, education and ethics can be a model for us today.

Who should read Plato at the Googleplex?

  • Anyone interested in ethical and moral dilemmas
  • Anyone interested in education
  • Anyone interested in philosophy

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