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Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  86 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
While few soldiers may have read the works of Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, it is undoubtedly true that the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism guides the actions of many in the military. Soldiers and seamen learn early in their training "to suck it up," to endure, to put aside their feelings and to get on with the mission. Stoic Warriors is the first book to delve deeply ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2005)
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Meditations by Marcus AureliusThe Art of Living by EpictetusDiscourses and Selected Writings by EpictetusLetters from a Stoic by SenecaA Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine
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Eddie Black
Nov 20, 2011 Eddie Black rated it really liked it
Good read. Would like to have a little more in compare and contrast with stoic thought. For example while a stoic attitude is valued within military culture, a stoic behavior is not. The calm tactician is romanticized, the in truth it is the emotional, angry behaviors that get rewarded implicitly everywhere in our culture. Our culture is a 'masculine' culture and masculine attitudes, while against 'emotional displays' have also defined emotional displays as anything other than anger. It isn't ok ...more
Jun 25, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it
Engaging and readable without dumbing down or oversimplifying the philosophy. Though it's advertised as "recommending a moderate Stoicism," I read it more as a simple criticism of orthodox Stoicism's perceived hard edges. Sherman describes a sort of unintentional quasi-Stoic philosophy that is prominent in American (or maybe more generally Western) military culture and recommends some ways in which she believes traditional Stoicism can be revised to better serve servicemembers and help them main ...more
Jul 13, 2015 Kyle rated it really liked it
In the military, soldiers are trained to "keep a stiff upper lip" or "embrace the suck". A stoic demeanor is prized, and seen as necessary for war-fighting. But what, if anything, does this kind of stoicism have to do with the classical philosophy of Stoicism? Sherman presents a brief but comprehensive survey of comparing military to Stoic values and ethics, and provides useful suggestions for when Stoicism can help and when it can limit the mental health and morale of military women and men. I ...more
Ross Cohen
Dec 12, 2015 Ross Cohen rated it really liked it
Sherman's "Stoic Warriors" is a fair assessment of the abilities and limits Stoicism has in shaping a healthy military. Her background as an Aristotelian keeps her from completely praising Stoicism, but occasionally serves as a facile alternative to some of Stoicism's orthodox stances.

Although the book as a whole is excellent, I wonder if its shortness led to over-simplification, which conflates lower-case stoic caricatures with upper-case Stoic philosophic richness.
Dave Clark
Jun 15, 2009 Dave Clark rated it liked it
I suggest this book for all military leaders and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the military mindset and motivation. The book offers some good insight into the military's version of stoicism. It will at times go into deeper, more academic philosophical analysis of stoicism; however, the author warns you before she begins her lengthy caveats.
A great book on both the ancient Greco-Roman philosophy of Stoicism and the thinking of the modern U.S. military, comparing and contrasting the two worldviews. An excellent book that I would highly recommend, but I would warn that this is not light reading - casual readers be warned!
Feb 08, 2016 Emma added it
Thoughtful and interesting, but I may never not be bitter that my professor made us buy her own book and write papers on it for her to grade.
Jun 18, 2009 Alen rated it really liked it
I can't find my book!

*update* - no worries people, found it. It was in my laundry basket.

**update** June1809. Oh god, am I going to finish this book?
Rachel Bayles
Feb 05, 2013 Rachel Bayles rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
It's best to read each chapter as a stand alone, over a period of time. It's too dense to do all at once.
John Castle
Sep 28, 2011 John Castle rated it really liked it
Still reading, will review when I finish.
May 05, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Great book.
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My introduction to the psyche of the soldier, in a sense, goes back to my father and my childhood. My dad was a WW II vet who never talked about “his” war, though he carried his dogtags on his keychain for 65 years. The war never left him; he took it to the grave; and he always felt that his burden was private. I suspect I always felt that the burden ought to be shared, or at least, that I ought t ...more
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