A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Author: William B. Irvine
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by goodroot   2018-01-15
> Knight, who favors the shouty, super-caffeinated tone of a spin-class instructor, calls herself a “bestselling anti-guru.” She is particularly proud of the best-selling part, and it’s easy to see why her approach appeals. The phrase there is nothing wrong with you takes up two full pages of her first chapter.

...

> Then the book became a best-selling sensation. Brinkmann now lives the life of a successful European public intellectual, appearing on TV and radio and travelling the world to lecture “on the big questions of modern life.”

...

I agree with the sentiment of the article. I find it interesting from a meta-analytical perspective, too. As the above quotations demonstrate, even when aware of the sinister, deep nature of the hamster wheel, the author perpetuates their own forebodings. The pattern is being unable to see value or usefulness without highlighting the material end; do we want to stoke the fires to encourage more of the same under a different brand?

There's some reference to the Stoics, aye. That's a good place to start. I'd suggest this book: The Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (https://www.amazon.ca/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/01953...)

One of the secrets the Stoics have uncovered, I believe, is to practice will-power so that we can identify and resist craving. Simply saying "stop it", or "re-think the system" undermines the reality that billions upon billions of dollars and our smartest minds are, at this very second, applying our most advanced technologies to further expand this soul-less, insatiable machine which we've created.

by evo_9   2017-12-01
A good summary of my go-to Stoicism book:

http://becomingeden.com/summary-of-a-guide-to-the-good-life/

The book they are summarizing: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195374614/ref=as_li_ss_tl...

by FabHK   2017-08-20
Here some great contemporary introductions to Stoicism:

1. William B. Irvine, "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy", https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/0195...

This is an introduction to Stoic thought as it applies today by a professor in philosophy, very clearly written. Great for first exposure. It (sensibly) skips some of the more arcane stuff, such as Stoic metaphysics (historically relevant, but really obsolete).

2. Donald Robertson, "Stoicism and the Art of Happiness", https://www.amazon.com/Stoicism-Art-Happiness-Teach-Yourself...

This is a touch more academic and historic on one hand, and very practical and text-book-like on the other hand, in that it has self-assessments, key points, exercises for every section. Excellent second book. The author also has a course, blog and FAQ at http://donaldrobertson.name

3. Epictetus' Enchiridion is available on Project Gutenberg, btw. It's very short, and many things are not really relevant today anymore, yet surprisingly many sections still "speak to us".

4. Note also that Tom Wolfe's huge novel "A Man in Full" is suffused with Stoic themes.

I find Stoicism quite wise, and still substantial enough when you subtract all the obsolete superstition (which cannot be said of, for example, Abrahamic religions). Certainly good for tranquility and empathy. Sometimes hard to translate into positive action, though, I find.

by jotux   2017-08-20
I think of Meditations like a daily journal or notebook. It's one of the few books I keep around my desk and occasionally just flip to a random page and read. Individual passages have a lot of meaning so often I'll isolate one and really think about it or talk to my wife about it for a while.

In general, though, I agree it's not very organized or easy to read. If you're looking for a better entry into stoicism I'd suggest A Guide to a Good Life[1]. It's a structured overview of stoicism with straight forward advice on actually using stoic ideas in your own life.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/0195...

by DanielBMarkham   2017-08-19
"A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195374614?ie=UTF8&tag=...

It taught me (reminded me mostly) what kinds of attitudes I have when I am happiest and kicking ass with my projects. Over time I had somehow lost myself. This book helped me get back to the person I liked the most. I think it's also helping me do a lot better on my current startup, so it's not just a touch-feely book, it is having a lot of real, immediate, positive impact, at least to me.

by jotux   2017-08-19
I've never thought of Meditations as religious or non-religious. It's all about really appreciating what you have and understanding the way you feel is derived from your perception of the world. I think that's pretty universal.

If anyone is interested in a more modern introduction to stoicism A Guide to the Good Life is a worthwhile read: https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/0195...

by incision   2017-08-19
Given the criteria, this would come closest:

* A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy -

Honorable Mention:

* Anything You Want -

* On Intelligence -

* Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow -

Related:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6901046

by PrimaxAUS   2017-08-19

I haven't read it but I hear a lot of good things about 'The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy' .

I mainly read the classics by guys like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, but I'm sure there are easier digestible stuff out now.

Maybe ask in /r/stoicism.

by lgastako   2017-08-19

In the philosophical direction I would recommend A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy , which really helped me think about things in a way that made it easier to control my emotions.

by yayfall   2017-08-19

> I'm reading "The Obstacle is the Way" and it's pretty good

I started reading that book a month ago but had to put it down half-way through because of all the repetition and ridiculous CEO worship. I'm currently reading A Guide to the Good Life which is a book on stoicism written by a philosophy professor, and it's much more intelligent and enjoyable to read.

Edit: Just noticed that it's also the book shown in the MMM link you gave.