During the pandemic, and in my own personal quest for self-improvement and continuous growth, I stumbled upon a book called The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. This book has quickly become my go-to every morning for inspiration, and it sets the tone for my day. It has taught me the power of resilience, and of focusing on the right things. It’s been the catalyst for a whole lot of subsequent changes that followed in my life, and I’m very grateful I found this excellent book when I did.
But why do I love it so much? What makes it such a good book?
Or rather, I should say that every chapter is short. Each day’s entry is only one page long — never longer! It takes about 5 minutes to read and understand that day’s page, and longer if you want to sit and reflect upon what you’ve read (I often do).
The time commitment is thus minimal, and very reasonable and fair — and entirely do-able in our modern, hectic world. Everybody can make time for 5-10 minutes in the morning to set their day on the correct course. Yes, even you.
Let’s be honest, the ancient philosophers of antiquity sometimes wrote in language that was (ahem) less than simple. Those older translations take forever to tease out the meaning. Thankfully, all the quotes at the beginning of each page in The Daily Stoic are newer translations — meaning they use real, human language which is relatively simple and easy to understand. (And sometimes with hilarious results.)
What’s more, you’re not left on your own to wrap your head around what wisdom the quote was trying to impart — you have author Ryan Holiday to help you understand. Even with the modern translations, sometimes the meaning of these quotes is a little obscured behind metaphor and clever construct. Holiday does a tremendous job in breaking it down into concepts that are more straightforward and clear. He also ties the wisdom to historical events, and to situations you’re likely to encounter in your everyday life — instant application!
It’s for life
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Worry only about what you can control” then you’ve gotten the pop culture introduction to stoicism. Thankfully, it goes much deeper than that.
This isn’t the type of book that you read and think “Oh that was fun” or “oh hmmm, cute”. This is serious business, and it’s going to change your life — for the better. Stoic philosophy is the foundation for a calmer, happier, more peaceful existence. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start realizing the benefits.
Sure, you might put it on your coffee table, but this isn’t a ‘coffee table book’. It’s not a trifling thing — stoicism is for life, and it will change your life.
I hope you will let it change yours, like it has changed mine.