Letters To A Stoic is a collection of moral epistles that the famous Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca sent to his friend Lucilius. The book is aimed at helping readers become less emotional, more disciplined, and find the good life.
Seneca emphasizes the importance of being content with “enough” and reducing our desire for pleasure, wealth, and social approval. He also teaches us that if we have the essentials and a strong inner spirit, we can radically accept and endure whatever circumstances the universe throws at us.
The main themes of the book are focused on the inner-life, the joy that comes from wisdom, and the Stoic belief that virtue is the only true good and vice the only true evil. Seneca contemplates the meaning of friendship, how to make it ideal, and emphasizes the importance of being your own friend. He repeatedly refers to the brevity of life and the fleeting nature of time.
Useful takeaways from the book include finding yourself a mentor, not equating your self-worth with material success, not letting your ego rule you, spending time reflecting and teaching others, and remembering that we’re all going to die.
Overall, Letters To A Stoic is an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to live a more fulfilling life by embracing the principles of Stoicism.
What I Liked
I love the casual-ness of this book. It’s incredible that we can still read the private letters of a Roman. I also love how timeless his principles are – and how the book serves as a reminder that every human in every period in history has had problems to deal with.
What I Did Not Like
Parts of the book can be stilted and read like a translation.