Books that changed my life: “a guide to the good life: the ancient art of stoic joy” by William B Irvine

“A Guide to the Good Life” was to me exactly that, the philosophy which some of the most practical men in the history of the world followed to live the good life. It introduces the notion of a philosophy of life (which is really just a guide to living) and the particular strategies which the many extremely clever people employed in the Stoic answer to the question “How can one best live?”.

The book is largely free of all the bullshit you see in other happiness-related books and is completely drenched in really logical ideas. I enjoyed reading this a lot. The big take away was the importance of a “guide to living” which everyone has their own version of, it’s just not necessarily written down or… particularly effective (i.e: if I become famous my life will suddenly be amazing therefore i should subconsciously pursue fame). And the book inspired me to really think about what my actual approach to life and it’s various areas are and critique and improve upon it.

Things this book helped me understand:

– What a philosophy of life is.

– Why should everyone have a philosophy of life.
– What you should focus on in life to reduce frustration.

– – How you should think about goals.

– – The concept of a locus of control.

– What techniques you can use to make yourself happier.

– – How and when to use negative visualisation to make yourself more grateful.

– What techniques you can use to manage your anger, or react to an insult or respond to grief.

– How to prepare for adversity.

– Why dreams of fame and fortune are a folly.

Where in your journey this book fits:
Before you go off trying to make your life better by achieving this specific goal or that, it’s perhaps best to take a moment to consider what your overall strategy for living is in the first place. Is the way you’re subconsciously living going to lead to a better life for you? It’s in this book that you take that moment to stop and reflect on the big picture of your life. After you consider and critique and create your own guide to living, then go off and achieve those specifics.

The style of the book: The author doesn’t shove the virtue of Stoicism down your throat, it’s more of a gentle encouragement. The book is also fairly practical in that it provides specifics and realistic actions you can take to practice stoic principles and stuff.Similar books to read: Meditations – Marcus Aurelius (Thoughts of the revered Roman Emperor)
Letters from a stoic – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Another famour Stoic)

Links to buy from:

So if this book is in fitting with your current journey and if the things it helped me realise are useful to you too, I would recommend at least downloading the sample.

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