A philosopher asks how ancient Stoicism can help us flourish today Whenever we worry about what to eat, how to love, or simply how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal is more elusive. In How to Be a Stoic, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci offers Stoicism, the ancient philosophy that inspired the great emperor Marcus Aurelius, as the best way to attain it. Stoicism is a pragmatic philosophy that focuses our attention on what is possible and gives us perspective on what is unimportant. By understanding Stoicism, we can learn to answer crucial questions: Should we get married or divorced? How should we handle our money in a world nearly destroyed by a financial crisis? How can we survive great personal tragedy? Whoever we are, Stoicism has something for us—and How to Be a Stoic is the essential guide.
Massimo Pigliucci is the K. D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. The author or editor of sixteen books, he has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washintgon Post, and Salon, among others. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"Pigliucci’s book does an excellent job writing about each stage of wrestling with a philosophical system, starting with what I’d call the “life hack” stage and progressing through the interrogation stage, the reconciling-of-internal-contradictions (especially between the earlier Greek Stoics and the later Roman Stoics) stage and, finally, into the actual adoption of Stoic exercises, of which he offers a large menu."—Molly Young, The New York Times
"How to Be a Stoic is highly readable, written in clear and accessible prose, and illuminated with anecdotes of both a personal and an historical nature."—Washington Independent Review of Books
“How to Be a Stoic is a very readable book: there’s a lightness to the prose, an enthusiasm that glows from the pages, and a subtle humor sprinkled throughout the stories.”—Philosopher’s Magazine
"One of the best explorations of Stoic philosophy that I've read."—Tim Ferriss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek
"In this thought-provoking book, Massimo Pigliucci shares his journey of discovering the power of Stoic practices in a philosophical dialogue with one of Stoicism's greatest teachers."—Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stillness is the Key
"How to Be a Stoic proves many things: that the ancient school of Stoicism is superbly relevant to our times; that profound wisdom can be delivered in lively, breezy prose; and that Massimo Pigliucci is uniquely gifted at translating philosophy into terms helpful for alleviating and elevating the lives of many."—Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex
"As its title suggests, How to Be a Stoic is a how-to book, but one of a very high order. Yes, Massimo Pigliucci gives his readers advice on how to live a happy and meaningful life. He is careful, though, to put a secure foundation under that advice by explaining who the ancient Stoics were and how they arrived at the conclusions they did. Do you want to avoid wasting the one life you have to live? Read this book!"—William B. Irvine, author of A Guide to the Good Life
"If you want to want to learn the ways of Stoicism, and you're living in the 21st century, this should be one of the first books you read. Massimo has written a fine primer for the aspiring Marcus Aurelius."—Donald J. Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor
"This is a lucid, engaging, and persuasive book about what it means to pursue Stoic ideals in the here and now. Massimo Pigliucci's imaginary conversations with Epictetus carry the reader effortlessly along while grounding the discussion firmly in the ancient Stoic tradition--and in his own life experience. The result is a compelling picture of a Stoic way of life that is consistent with contemporary science and philosophy, and is both eminently ethical and down-to-earth practical. It will be inviting to Stoics and non-Stoics alike who are willing to reason together seriously about how (and why) to be a modern Stoic."—Lawrence C. Becker, author of A New Stoicism