How to Be a Stoic

Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life
by Massimo Pigliucci | 288 pages

Massimo Pigliucci is a Professor of Philosophy at City College of New York. He has three PhDs—one in genetics, another in evolutionary biology and a third in philosophy. And, most importantly for our purposes, he’s a practicing Stoic philosopher. In this book, Professor Pigliucci teaches us how to be a Stoic via an imaginary dialogue with Epictetus, one of the leading Stoic teachers of the ancient world. It’s a wonderfully written, super-smart look at how we can use “ancient philosophy to live a modern life.” Big Ideas we explore include an introduction to our guide Epictetus, Rule #1 of Stoicism (some things are in our power, others are not), the cardinal virtues (of Stoicism + Science + Optimize), the power of role models (and the Stoic Paradox), and the ultimate how to be a Stoic practice question: How can I use virtue here and now?


“So let us explore Stoicism together in a running conversation with Epictetus via his discourses. We will talk about subjects as varied as God, cosmopolitanism in an increasingly fractured world, taking care of our families, the relevance of our own character, managing anger and disability, the morality (or not) of suicide, and a lot more. Other Stoic authors, both ancient and modern, will occasionally supplement what we learn from Epictetus, and sometimes I will gently push back against some of our guide’s notions, bringing up advances in philosophy and science over the intervening centuries and debating what a modern take on Stoicism might look like. The goal is to learn something about how to answer that most fundamental question: How ought we to live our lives?”

~ Massimo Pigliucci from How to Be a Stoic

Massimo Pigliucci is a Professor of Philosophy at City College of New York. He has three PhDs—one in genetics, another in evolutionary biology and a third in philosophy.

And, most importantly for our purposes, he’s a practicing Stoic philosopher. (Kinda like another Professor of Philosophy/practitioner of Stoic philosophy we recently covered: William B. Irvine. Check out our Notes on his great books: A Guide to the Good Life and The Stoic Challenge.)

In this book, Professor Pigliucci teaches us how to be a Stoic via an imaginary dialogue with Epictetus, one of the leading Stoic teachers of the ancient world.

It’s a wonderfully written, super-smart look at how we can use “ancient philosophy to live a modern life.”

Tim Ferriss says it’s One of the best explorations of Stoic philosophy that I’ve read. <- I agree. Get a copy of the book here.

It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to explore some of my favorite Ideas we can apply to our lives TODAY so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Massimo Pigliucci

Prof. of Philosophy at City College, evolutionary biologist, student of Stoicism. Author of A Handbook for New Stoics.