Stoicism is a strange concept. The idea of stoicism is that one will endure hardship and pain without hurt or complaint. They will use their misfortunes to move forward in life and become better people. Stoicism helps people cope with the negativity of others and not let it affect them.
What are the Best Stoicism Books to read?
Stoicism is all about embracing who one is, flaws and all. The greatest stoics are part of history now. Philosphers like Marcus Aurelis, Epictetus, and Seneca have made a huge impact in the world of stoicism. They are long gone, but their legacies live on. Most of these philosphers are mentioned in books about stoicism today. Stoicism, though not often heard of, affects modern life in many ways. These books explain how to manage stoicism, and where it originated.
Best Stoicism Books: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best stoicism books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
Meditation is an important form of relaxation and serenity. It helps us deal with stoicism and the pain that comes with it. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman is full of translations from some of the best stoics: Seneca, Epictetus, and Zeno.
The book is separated into categories that follow movements related to these translations: perception, action, and will. The book encourages readers to have a positive outlook on life. The meditations are short, but effective. They are easy to get done every day. Because there are 366 of them, there is at least one for every day of the year. The book is full of quotes from many philosophers from history. This is a great book for those beginning meditation, and those who don’t have much time for it, but still want to give it a go.
- Authors: Ryan Holiday (Author), Stephen Hanselman (Author)
- Publisher: Portfolio (October 18, 2016)
- Pages: 416 pages
2. Ego Is the Enemy
Everyone knows someone who is so utterly full of themselves, it’s hard to be around them. There is a fine line between confidence and self righteousness. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday draws from some of the most famous minds in history, and explains how they succeeded by fighting their egos. He talks about figures like Eleanor Roosevelt, Howard Hughes, and Katharine Graham. Holiday does admit that many famous minds did have inflated egos, but that even they were impeded by their own self-esteem. He argues that ego stops us from growing in talent, and realizing our faults.
This book has lots of interesting takes on ego and stoicism. This book is interesting, but can be a dull read at times.
- Authors: Ryan Holiday (Author)
- Publisher: Portfolio; 1st Edition (June 14, 2016)
- Pages: 256 pages
3. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B Irvine is full of modern approaches to the history that is stoicism and its effect on early Rome. Irvine uses this book to help address everyone’s greatest fear: “what if there is no purpose to life?” Irvine eases the reader’s mind by applying some of the theories of the greatest philosophers in the world, and applying them to life today.
The book helps readers come to grasps with dissatisfaction in their lives, and how to appease it. He addresses his own studies of stoicism and provides plenty of examples and research. This book helps people reduce stress, and relax in their lives. It helps readers deal with pain, and embrace better lives.
- Authors: William B. Irvine (Author)
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st Edition (November 4, 2008)
- Pages: 336 pages
4. Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)
Letters from a Stoic by Lucius Annaeus Seneca the life of Seneca in the time of the stoic age. The translations in this book are done by Robin Campbell. Seneca’s work is well renowned and was praised by Marcus Aurelis. Seneca wanted to use stoicism to humanize Christianity and make it more relatable to the people. This book shares a deep and fascinating glimpse into history, and all that early day philosophy. Seneca’s book is full of strong, controversial topics like “virtue is learnt,” and “Poverty is no evil unto anyone unless he kicks it.” Seneca is a more underrated stoic compared to Aurelius and Epictetus.
However, he stands his ground with his own theories and ideas. He doesn’t need to be compared to other philosophers, because he is his own individual. His ideas in this book prove his genius.
- Authors: Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Author), Robin Campbell (Translator, Introduction)
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint Edition (July 30, 1969)
- Pages: 254 pages
5. The Little Book of Stoicism
The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas and Nils Salzberger explores the meaning of joy. The authors discuss feelings in times of fear, death, and depression. Stoicism can be difficult to achieve, but it doesn’t mean those people don’t have the same feelings as everyone else.
This book is full of philosophy tips that guides readers through life. It confronts philosophy in everyday challenges. This book does a good job of carrying the readers all the way through. It’s interesting and engaging. This book covers the basics of stoicism, too. It’s easy to understand and great for those who aren’t familiar with the concept of stoicism. The authors can be a bit repetitive, but all in all this book explains stoicism and philosophy in a stimulating way.
- Authors: Jonas Salzgeber (Author), Nils Salzgeber (Editor)
- Publisher: Jonas Salzgeber; Illustrated Edition (January 19, 2019)
- Pages: 285 pages
6. How to Think Like a Roman Emperor
Marcus Aurelis was a stoic emperor who was the last of the Five Good Emperors. How to Think like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelis by Donald J Robertson is a book of all things Marcus Aurelis. This book depicts his life from childhood, to his reign as emperor. Robertson is a cognitive therapist, so he integrates his own scientific theories in with the thoughts of the late Aurelis. With research, Robertson explains the decision making process of Aurelis during his time as a child noble, up until he took power in Rome.
This book includes tips and advice on stoicism that Aurelis would impart if he was around today. This book essentially teaches readers to follow in Aurelis’s footsteps to become great philosophers, and possibly rule their countries one day.
- Authors: Donald Robertson (Author)
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (April 2, 2019)
- Pages: 293 pages
7. The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual
There are so many incredible philosophers in history. It seems impossible to read every one of their books. With The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical Manual by Ward Fansworth, no one has to. The book presents the opinions of various philosophers, side by side, so readers can compare and contrast their thoughts. The lessons in this book are condensed and easy to learn.
The book includes the thoughts of great philosophers in history, but it also includes a modern approach to their theories. The chapters are based on many topics, like “death”, “adversity”, “desire,” and “perspective.” This book is a great introduction into stoicism. This book can be referenced back to for years and years to come. This a well-organized book that is easy to read.
- Authors: Ward Farnsworth (Author)
- Publisher: David R. Godine, Publisher; Third Printing Edition (April 1, 2018)
- Pages: 256 pages
8. How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life
Stoicism is an early theory, but it can still be used in present day life. How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life by Massimo Pigliucci explores the idea that stoicism can help us.
The book helps readers disregard petty worries like fretting about how much food they eat, or if we know how to love. This book helps readers focus on the plausability of their goals and what they can maintain. Pigliucci guides readers through hard-hitting questions and how to find a way to answer them. He can’t answer them for you, but he can help you get there. This book, at the end of the day, is a guide to becoming a stoic. It can help anyone who has trouble reasoning with their emotions and finding the worthiness in themselves and their lives.
- Authors: Massimo Pigliucci (Author)
- Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint Edition (May 8, 2018)
- Pages: 288 pages
9. Stoicism: A Detailed Breakdown of Stoicism Philosophy and Wisdom from the Greats
Stoicism: A Detailed Breakdown of Stoicism Philosophy and Wisdom from the Greats by George Tanner is a straight-foward guide to stoicism.
This book recaps the history of stoicism, some ideas from history’s great philsophers, and how the power of stoicism comes from human experience. Tanner explains how the development of the reader’s life is directly related to stoicism and how it affects us. This is an introductory course to stoicism, but it is full of complicated ideas and theories. Those who read this book should have a decent understanding of stoicism before picking it up. It is a short read, though, so when understood, it goes by quickly.
- Authors: George Tanner (Author)
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition (November 9, 2017)
- Pages: 142 pages
10. A Handbook for New Stoics
A Handbook for New Stoics by Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez contains 52 lessons on stoicism: one for every week. By having a weekly reading, Pigliucci and Lopez encourage readers to follow along and not feel like they have to rush through this book.
This book can be read on the toilet, on the bus, or for a few minutes at breakfast. The book helps readers handle stress no matter the cause. The book has examples, research, and exercises that can be used every day. This book is good for readers from all walks of life because, quite frankly, everyone stresses. The book references ancient philosphy, but also ties it in with the world today. This is a long book, but it’s the perfect length if it’s read how it’s meant to be read: over 52 weeks.
- Authors: Massimo Pigliucci (Author), Gregory Lopez (Author)
- Publisher: The Experiment; Illustrated Edition (May 14, 2019)
- Pages: 336 pages
11. The Beginner’s Guide to Stoicism
Stoicism is a lost concept that few think about today. It has been replaced with psychology, sociology, and everything in between. The Beginner’s Guide to Stoicism by Matthew Van Natta is the book every curious soul needs to read to understand stoicism.
This book has tools for “emotional resilience and positivity.” Stoicism is about embracing the unknown with excitement and an open heart. In this book, Van Natta explains how to use emotions to gain satisfaction and happiness in our lives. He gives the readers tips and tools for acheiving stoicism and being the best version of themselves. This book really is great for beginner’s because it reads easily and like a step by step manual. It helps readers observe the changes necessary in their lives and implement them.
- Authors: Matthew Van Natta (Author)
- Publisher: Althea Press (October 8, 2019)
- Pages: 178 pages
12. Lessons in Stoicism
Lessons in Stoicism by John Sellars is a simple, straight-forward read that has all the best lessons in stoicism. Sellars uses the works of Marcus Aurelis, Seneca, and Epictetus to help readers improve their lives through the three stoic’s ideas.
Sellars showcases the work of these three stoics and the impact their work has had on readers since. The work of these stoics teaches people how to live fulfilling lives that they control. Sellars helps readers interpret this work and how it can help each individual reader in their own way. Stoicism has made a huge comeback in the past few years. This book helps readers navigate this comeback, and what it means for them.
- Authors: John Sellars (Author)
- Publisher: Allen Lane (September 5, 2019)
- Pages: 96 pages
13. Stoicism – Understanding and Practicing the Philosophy of the Stoics
Stoicism is a topic that is easy to overlook. As important as it is, it doesn’t hold a light to some of the more relevant kinds of philosphy like logic and ethics. Stoicism: Understanding and Practicing the Philosphy of the Stoics by Kyle Faber is all about discovering the importance of stoicism. Faber draws on quotes from famous stoics to make his own arguments about stoicism. He explains the theories of the great stoics in the past and how they can be applied to life.
Faber wants readers to “learn how to deal with the curve balls of life.” This book will help readers understand stoicism, and use it to emerge victorious in all aspects of their lives.
- Authors: Kyle Faber (Author)
- Publisher: CAC Publishing LLC (March 28, 2019)
- Pages: 215 pages
14. The Stoic Challenge
Stoicism is all about confronting emotions and staying tough. Stoicism encourages people to fight through the pain and embrace life’s challenges. The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient by William B. Irvine helps readers use lessons from the early stoics and apply them to present day society.
This book explains how to deal with the small setbacks in life and see them as opportunities to grow. Irvin thinks these experiences can make us “tougher, calmer, and more resilient.” This book is a basic guide to using the old approaches to stoicism to fight off the meek problems with face everday, and help us learn from them.
- Authors: William B. Irvine (Author)
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st Edition (September 3, 2019)
- Pages: 192 pages
15. Wisdom from Ancient Greek Philosophy
Wisdom from Ancient Greek Philosophy by George Tanner is a history book for the ages. This book uncovers stoicism and what it means. Through this book, Tanner teaches readers everything they need to know about stoicism and how it relates to the work of Greek philosiphers.
The book explains imporant concepts, such as: “good versus evil,” “virtue and vice,” and “positive and negative externals.” The book is full of fascinating quotes from great philosphers from the past. This book has history, examples, approaches to society today, and so much more. Tanner does a great job of turning an academic lesson into a hard-hitting book that draws readers in. This book was published in 2018, so the history in it is updated, and it includes many modern takes on stoicism and Greek philosophy.
- Authors: George Tanner (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (September 27, 2018)
- Pages: 326 pages
16. Stoicism (Volume 1) (Ancient Philosophies)
Stoicism (Ancient Philosphies) by John Sellars is full of the work of some of the greatest stoics of all time. Sellars includes the history and theories of some of the world’s favorite stoics: Marcus Aurelis, Epictetus, and more.
This book is great for classes studying philosphy and stoicism. The work is written chronologically. The book also has a table of contents and glossary. The book can be boring, but it’s very informative. The book includes summaries of some of the best stoicism works. He also analyzes some of these works and explains how they contribute to modern society. This book builds a great foundation for aspiring stoics. It gives them a good start with some solid base knowledge on all the important stoics and philosphers in history.
- Authors: John Sellars (Author)
- Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition (July 19, 2006)
- Pages: 219 pages
17. The 5-minute Stoicism Journal
The 5 Minute Stoicism Journal by Matthew Van Natta is a journal that also includes inspirational quotes on stoicism. The book has a simple synopsis on what stoicism is and how it is used in life.
Throughout the journals, quotes from well-known stotics and philosphers are used to encourage new ideas and to get the writers to keep writing. The journal is filled with five minute writing activites that are meant to engage the mind. The journal has meditiation to help clear the mind and get the pen flowing. Some of the prompts are a little complicated, and require lots of thinking. Overall, this a great journal for writers who seek motivation and love stoicism.
- Authors: Matthew Van Natta (Author)
- Publisher: Althea Press (November 5, 2019)
- Pages: 198 pages
18. Stoicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Stoicism: A Very Short Introduction by Brad Inwood is actually not all that short of an introduction. Sure, it’s only 152 pages, but that’s still enough pages to cover the meaty and important parts of stoicism. In this book, Inwood describes the history of stoicism and how its legacy has lasted so many years. He compares ancient stoicism with ancient philopshy and explains how the two compare and contrast.
Inwood also incorporates his own finding into this book, one that isn’t often discuess in stoicism books. His finding is related to how stoicism affects western tradition. This is one of many books in the Very Short Introduction series. The book mostly addresses the negativity in everday life. Inwood teaches readers how to reflect on it, and use it to one’s advantage, instead of dwellling on it.
- Authors: Brad Inwood (Author)
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Illustrated Edition (October 1, 2018)
- Pages: 136 pages
19. Stoicism: The Art Of Being Calm And Centred In A Manic World
Stoicism: The Art of Being Calm and Centred in a Manic World by Conrad Miller explores the greek roots and history of stoicism, and how it can help people today. With each passing year, life becomes more and more hectic. While stoicism was discovered years and years ago, it is most prevalent in life today.
This book teaches readers to face this mad world with a calm and collected attitude. Miller explains how some of the worst decisions are rash, and done without thought. They come from a place of panic– a place that could be controlled with stoicism. This book teaches readers how to live in the now, control their emotions, and learn the stoic way through 61 exercises.
- Authors: Conrad Miller (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (April 9, 2019)
- Pages: 76 pages
20. Stoicism: The ultimate guide for beginners to improve self-discipline, mental toughness, leadership, wisdom, resilience, inner peace for living a good life, based on the stoics philosophy
Stoicism: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners by Jonathan Nauvall helps beginner stoics improve their lives by fixing themselves. Nauvall teaches readers how to self-discipline, toughen up, become leaders, and pursue wisdom. He wantss to help people better manage their feelings and make the most of difficult situations.
This book teaches readers about many ideas : the four most important aspects of stoicism, the best stoics in history, the best strategies for introducing stoicism in their lives, coping with grief and the death of a loved one, and much more. This book helps readers control their emotions and understand that being emotional is not synyonymous with being weak. This book gets straight to the point and helps readers understand stoicism in a simple way.
- Authors: Jonathan Nauvall (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (July 26, 2019)
- Pages: 164 pages
Choosing the Best Stoicism Books
Stoicism can help every single person in one way or another. It helps people handle negativity, grief, and spontaneous emotions. Stoicism has a great philospical history that is embedded in each one of these books. Though stoicism can seem strange, and a little redundant, it’s an important concept that has been reintroudced in the last few years. These are only a few books on stoicism that will help reincorpate this concept back into the world.