Great Book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine – A 15 min Summary

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy Book Cover A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
William B. Irvine
Philosophy, Stoic philosophy
Oxford University Press
November 4, 2008
Kindle
Part Two: Stoic Psychological Techniques
Negative Visualization: What's the Worst That Can Happen?
Anyone interested in philosophy and/or living a good life
Meditations (Marcus Aurelius), The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph (Ryan Holiday), Ego Is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday)

“Irvine excels at giving a “walking tour” of the many schools of Stoic philosophy, from Greek to Roman traditions, identifying individual Stoic thinkers (many more than Seneca) and their principles and techniques, which Irvine argues are even more relevant in modern times than their own.”
–Philosophical Practice

“Well-written and so compelling, this is a rare example of a book that actually will make a difference in the lives of its readers. Whether it’s coping with grief or arriving at lasting happiness, Irvine shows, with care and verve, ancient Stoic wisdom to be ever relevant and very, very helpful.”
–Gary Klein, author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions

“Bill Irvine has given us a great gift: the most accessible and inviting description of modern Stoicism available. Read this book and be prepared to change your life!”
–Sharon Lebell, author of Epictetus’s The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

Continue reading “Great Book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine – A 15 min Summary”

Stoic History

Mainly based on info from “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” – William B. Irvine

The First Stoics

  • Zeno – (333-261 BC) = the first Stoic

  • started as a Cynic
    • “same” as today’s homeless
    • Antisthenes
      • pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes
    • the Cynics were renowned for their wit and wisdom
    • Diogenes (pupil of Antithenes) – the most famous Cynic
      • Bad man obey their lusts as servants obey their masters.
      • because they cannot control their desires, they can never find contentment
    • lived on the streets of Athens.. same as Sokrates
    • constantly pushing their philosophy on other people
  • found to be more interested in theory than the cynics.. hence .. a combination & lifestyle & theory
    • as Socrates had done
  • Continue reading “Stoic History”

Marcus Aurelius

From Wikipedia:

Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD), was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, but the threat of the Germanic tribes began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately.

Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

 

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …

Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.

“People try to get away from it all-to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it any time you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions-than your own soul.”