Stoicism is the most helpful and practical philosophy ever devised. Its intention is to help people find happiness by thinking differently about their lives and their problems. The advice the Stoics provided centuries ago is still the best anyone has offered, and it’s as useful today as it was then—or more. When anyone today says something really wise, the Stoics usually said it first. Today the word “stoicism” is often used to mean suffering without complaint, but the true ideas, and ideals, of the Stoics are far more powerful and interesting. Stoicism means knowing the difference between what we can control and we can’t, and not worrying about the latter. The Stoics were masters of perspective, always taking the long view while remembering that life is short. And they were deep and insightful students of human nature, understanding how we manage to make ourselves miserable as well as how we seek and can find fulfillment. The great insights of the Stoics are spread over a wide range of ancient sources. This book brings them all together for the first time. It systematically presents what the various Stoic philosophers said on every important topic, accompanied by an eloquent commentary that is clear and concise. The result is a set of philosophy lessons for everyone—the most valuable wisdom of ages past made available for our times, and for all time.
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As befits a good Stoic, Farnsworth’s expository prose exhibits both clarity and an unflappable calm… Throughout The Practicing Stoic, Farnsworth beautifully integrates his own observations with scores of quotations from Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne and others. As a result, this isn’t just a book to read—it’s a book to return to, a book that will provide perspective and consolation at times of heartbreak or calamity. — Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
This sturdy and engaging introductory text consists mostly of excerpts from the ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers, especially Seneca (4 BCE–65), Epictetus (c. 55–135) through his student Arrian, and Marcus Aurelius (121–80) as well as that trio’s philosophical confreres, from the earlier Hellenic Stoics and Cicero to such contemporaries as Plutarch to moderns, including Montaigne, Adam Smith, and Schopenhauer… A philosophy to live by, Stoicism may remind many of Buddhism and Quakerism, for it asks of practitioners something very similar to what those disciplines call mindfulness. — Booklist
A charming book, perfect for dipping, in which the calm and settling wisdom of the stoics shines forth with bracing clarity. — The New Criterion
The Practicing Stoic…provides insight, inspiration, and direction by combining ancient wisdom with modern context. That, supplemented with Dean Farnsworth’s own insightful commentary, makes the complex wisdom of these ancient philosophers accessible to everyone. — The American Law Institute