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

by William B. Irvine


I stumbled upon this book a few days ago, while reading a post on Derek Sivers website : What if you didn’t need money or attention? Actually he refers to the book within one of the numerous comments below the post itself.

In my opinion, this book is one of the very few life changing books I can count on my hands, that I have read so far, for the following reasons:

  • Very practical: easily applicable to our daily life. Yet the author talks about philosophy of life and stoicism, but the situations exposed are totally realistic like how to deal with insults, old age, death of a close friend/relative;
  • Very well documented: all sources are listed, for anyone who would like to dig further;
  • The author shares his own experiences and insight, thus offers opportunity to reflect on our own life in order to have a more meaningful life

Although I personally chose to skip the first section about the history of stoicism, for now I was looking for the most prosaic day-to-day concerns that the book considers. I will certainly go back into this section later on.

From the Goodreads description: “Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune.”

on amazon
on goodreads


2 thoughts on “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

  1. I appreciate your write up on this…..life changing, huh? The first time I saw this book was on the Mr. Money Mustache website, but now I am seeing it pop up in other places. Will have to see if I can get my hands on a copy. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi missyjeanjohnson, Thanks for stopping by, and also thanks for sharing about Mr Money Mustache, I didn’t know at all, I found his own review about this book, quite interesting so is his entire site and approach.
      What I really liked with Irvine’s analysis is that I could actually put a name on a certain way I see things for years : negative visualization, don’t focus on the past of future for which you have no control… that they are all related to stoicism

      I didn’t buy the book yet, found it at my local library. Buying less is part of my minimalism inner process 😉

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