Book review - The Daily Stoic

The Daily Stoic is a book that presents the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers known as the Stoics. The Stoics were a school of philosophy that originated in the 3rd century BC and was founded by the philosopher Zeno of Citium. The Stoics were concerned with living a virtuous life and finding inner peace and happiness through wisdom, reason, and self-control.

One of the core principles of Stoicism is the idea that we should focus on what we can control and let go of what we cannot. The Stoics believed that external events, such as success or failure, are not within our control and that it is futile to worry about them. Instead, they focused on developing their character and virtues, such as integrity, honesty, and compassion, which they believed were within their control.

This emphasis on focusing on what we can control can be seen in the Stoic concept of "apatheia," which refers to a state of being free from negative emotions such as anger, fear, and anxiety. The Stoics believed that these negative emotions were caused by our attachment to things that were not within our control and that by letting go of this attachment, we could find inner peace.

Another essential concept in Stoicism is the idea of "negative visualization," which involves imagining the worst-case scenario to appreciate what one has and prepare for potential challenges. This practice helps one to maintain a sense of perspective and not take things for granted. The Stoics believed that this practice could also help to reduce anxiety and fear, as it helps us to realize that we can cope with difficult situations if they arise.

The Stoics also emphasized the importance of living in the present moment and not getting caught up in regrets about the past or worries about the future. They believed that the present moment is all that truly exists and that the past and future are just mental constructs. One can live a more mindful and fulfilling life by focusing on the present.

In addition to focusing on the present, the Stoics believed in the power of reason and self-discipline. They thought that by using logic to understand the world and our place, we could make better decisions and lead a more virtuous life. Self-discipline, or the ability to control one's desires and emotions, was also essential for living a good life. The Stoics believed that by cultivating self-discipline, we could become masters of our fate and find inner peace and happiness.

One of the key figures in Stoicism was the philosopher Epictetus, who was born into slavery in ancient Rome but later gained his freedom and became a philosophy teacher. Epictetus taught that we should not let external events determine our happiness but rather that we should find happiness within ourselves through the practice of wisdom and self-control. He also emphasized the importance of living a virtuous life and serving others.

Another important figure in Stoicism was the philosopher Marcus Aurelius, who was the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. Marcus Aurelius was a firm believer in the Stoic philosophy and wrote extensively about it in his journal, which was later compiled into a book called "Meditations." In "Meditations," Marcus Aurelius wrote about the importance of living a virtuous life, practising self-discipline, and finding inner peace through cultivating wisdom and reason.