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Stoicism and the Art of Happiness (Teach Yourself)

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  965 ratings  ·  85 reviews
This new guide to finding a happier way of life draws on the ancient wisdom of the stoics to reveal lasting truths and proven strategies for enhanced wellbeing. By learning what stoicism is, you can revolutionise your life, learning how to - properly - 'seize the day', how to cope in the face of adversity, and how to come to terms with whatever situation you're in.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 30th 2013 by Hodder Education (first published January 1st 2013)
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Michael A
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Much like William Irvine's book, this book, too, is more of a self-help book than a book on the actual philosophy. Some aspects of Stoicism are covered in synopsis form, but a lot of it is simplified and, even so, a lot of the original Stoic principles leave me a bit baffled. Why is rationality to be so prized? Why are virtue and this exalted sense of "happiness" living in accordance to nature so valuable? Why should anyone take a straw-man concept like the Stoic Sage seriously? These are just a ...more
Michael
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Introduction to Stoicism

I found myself highlighting something almost every page. It took me a few years to read. There is much to contemplate and practice, but even as a beginner it has brought increased peace to my life.

"But all excellent things are as difficult as they are rare." (Spinoza, Ethica, 5.42n)
Brett
Aug 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
This book was so hard to read. It is written from the perspective of picking it up and flipping to any section to read in short bursts. Due to this, it is really repetitive.
Shalyn
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The content seemed very repetitive; that was my primary reaction to this book. I also disagree with much of the advice the book provides. The author makes frequent references to psychology's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as if that should lend some credibility to this work, but it is my understanding from a couple of therapists that CBT is not for everyone and can be easily misapplied even by therapists who (theoretically) know what they're doing. Hence, CBT is not something to DIY.

The author ad
...more
Marcus Norberg
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read the three classic Stoic philosophers (Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca) before this book, but I had not really grasped all the Stoic theories and thoughts. This book really got the Stoic message through. It had a lot of quotations from ancient philosophers aswell as modern uses of the philosophy in life and in therapy. It had stuff I really will consider and use in my everyday life.

Although I really enjoyed the book it was kind of repetitive at times, which made for a slow readi
...more
GoodBeer
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kind of redundant; I think the book could have been trimmed down to a 1/4 of its current size. The author says things like "The Stoics believed..." but doesn't necessarily give a logical argument for those beliefs.

Overall a good read besides those two things.
Sabrina
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help, philosophy
Donald Robertson has published an excellent overview of Stoic ethics and interpreted it for the modern reader without losing much authenticity in the process. He not only quotes Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, etc. but new popularisers such as William Irvine, and also describes how the Stoic philosophy relates to CBT. Any myths about stoicism like not being emotional were carefully argued against, and Robertson was moderated in his rhetoric instead of making you feel inadequate like a lot of ...more
Chris Paxton
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great breakdown:

My only complaint is that the book continually pushed CBT and got more into the modern psychological implications of stoicism than how to actually live the stoic ideal. However, that was only a minor nuisance compared to the overall text and the quality job it did in outlining stoic philosophy. I did find the self examination sections at the beginning of each chapter to be excellent lead ins for the reading. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has experience with sto
...more
Zia Okocha
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wanted to give it a 5 but didn’t get the e book and felt a little cheated about Stoic contemplations on death. Still would give this like a 4.5 due to thoroughness and ease of reading. Also gave me a lot more philosophers to read.

I like the connections made between Buddhism and CBT and thing that this is very relevant to today.

Edited-
Updated review to reflect having read the chapter on death. Super useful.
Kyle
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVE. Will reread for sure - 4.5/5
Henry Manampiring
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A systematic and structured introduction to Stoicism.
Edwin Setiadi
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stoicism
Lessons from the 1st Stoa

Modern Stoicism is largely based on the wonderful thinking of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca through their “main 3 books” of Meditations, Discourses, and Letters, respectively. This is because these books are only a handful of surviving bodies of Stoic writings left that are almost fully intact (with only 4 books out of 8 of Discourses survived).

But these 3 wise philosophers were all part of the so-called 3rd Stoa, the 3rd generation of “Late Stoa” in Rome. So wh
...more
Stuart Jennings
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
A complete guide to Stoicism. Very through indeed. If I could only have one modern book on Stoicism it would be this one. I have also bought the paper back to reference back to regularly. Lots of work ahead!
Malcolm O'Neill
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good book on stoicism. It gives some good examples of exercises which can be done to assist in being more stoic. The meditation exercise i found to be very good.
Anthony Lutz
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
So many helpful ideas. Inspired me to start Journaling.
Arthur
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Complete mind opener. Good intro to reading harder books book.
Gladys Lopez
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Actually a 4.5 stars. The beginning slow and basic... but needs for those who doesn’t know anything about stoicism. I put it away because of this for a couple of months. But as a wise said “books come to your life when you exactly need them”, I took it again and loved it. Practical advise on how to detach yourself from the small rumiations of life (that sometimes you are the creator of those with your mind) and see everything under a bigger perspective. Also, wise practices on how to “surf” the ...more
Iram
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal book that can help the reader understand the basis of modern cognitive behavioral therapy. This book serves as an excellent introduction to stoicism and it contrasts this philosophy with primarily Cynicism and Epicureanism. Stoicism as a philosophy seems to adopt an attitude of indifferent humility to most things that are deemed to be valuable in life. It is this attitude that allows Stoics to view tragedy as a temporary moment, allowing one to face it with mental resolutio ...more
Paris Hendry
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book serves as a very good introduction to the concept of Stoic philosophy. While it definitely falls into the category of self-help, it is much more than a feel-good book— as it provides strategies with coping and resilience that can help you become a stronger and better person.

Some readers may think parts are too repetitive. As a philosophy novice, however, I appreciated the bits of repetition and the simple breakdowns within the chapters.
Rihab Harmessi
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Reputation after life is nothing more than oblivion."
This sentence was an answer to so many questions I have been asking myself.

Excellent book overall. It gives you good insights into the ancient philosophy of Stoicism.

Why, then, do you wonder that good men are shaken in order that they may
grow strong? No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails
it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more
securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a s
...more
Euan Semple
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent grounding in the ideas of the Stoics. Lots of clear explanation of their ideas and translated into our modern situation. I have also read William Irvine's "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy", which is also worth reading, but a bit more interpretative of the original texts and less practical than this. I am currently reading a lot about Stoic philosophy, along with translations of the original writing by Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, and finding ...more
Jared Abbott
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book on the basics of Stoic philosophy, with an emphasis on Stoic practices and exercises. It could be read straight through (this is what I did), but it could easily be used a reference because the structure of the book is so strictly outlined and divided into sections according to the outline. The content was clear and concise, and a reader with little or no previous philosophical knowledge should be able to understand it. This book was really indispensable for a new Stoic ...more
Michael
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
After having finished “How to think like a Roman emperor”, my mother gifted me this book for Christmas.

Robertson, along with his editors, manages to craft a clear and relatively concise introduction to fundamental Stoic practices and concepts. Organized in a way that truly helps to enhance learning, this books helps to lay the foundation for anyone interested in interacting with primary Stoic literature going forward.

Thanks again Donald for another great read.
MR DP STORRAR
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent

I suffer from anxiety and stumbled across stoicism. This book had a perfect balance of the stoic philosophy and practical exercises that I am starting to embed in my daily routine.
Tomas
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is super hard to read but it pays off. There are sections I skipped because I do not care that much meditations. etc. But overall message is very interesting. I think I will have to re-read it with more focus on some parts.
Steve
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explains Stoicism in Great Detail

Robertson explains the nuts and bolts of Stoicism without academic jargon. Practical and easy to understand. The reader comes away with tools to apply to their daily lives
Scott
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good explanation if Stoicism

Excellent book. I got this book as an introduction to Stoicism. It has provided a nice modern take on an ancient philosophy.
Lucas
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book about Stoicism! I recommend it for everyone I know as an introduction to Stoicism as well as to get deeper into the subject.
Bijal Choksi
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great Book to ponder how to live.
Vicki Garlick
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another truly life changing read that I would recommend to everybody.
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371 followers
Author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist with a special interest in Stoicism and CBT.

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