I’m not saying this book is life changing, in fact you could read this book and appreciate what Ryan Holiday wrote and not use any of the information provided in the book, but this book can have a profound effect on your life if you want it to. If I had to make a list of books everyone should read, which I am, this book is in the top 5.
To give you a short overview with minimum spoilers. This book is based on the philosophy of stoicism, but what the author does well is to distil it into everyday easy to read language. There’s no complex translation from old Latin text. He breaks it down into subsections with examples from history that illustrate the point of the chapter. The chapters are clear, not overly elaborate and short. So it’s easy to finish a chapter and you don’t have that moment when you start in the middle of a chapter thinking what have I just read. Then have to recap before you go on reading. This also makes it a nice daily read. I’m a strong believer in strengthening your body and mind daily, reading the right things is a form of strengthening the mind. Having just finished this book, it’s going to take up a spot on my bedside table where I can read a chapter quickly before bed or first thing in the morning. It's filled with great reminders and and reinforces a good mind-set.
The book is divided into 3 parts:
For me they build on each other. The most important thing is to have the right perception of a situation. Once you have control of how you perceive things you can then follow the best course of action. Once you’ve taken action will is there to keep you going through difficulty, challenges and adversity.
Stoicism is a great philosophy for life and I think it has been misinterpreted by many for a long time. This book not only describes it well, but makes it more accessible than ever. Ryan Holiday’s style of writing is easy to read, engaging and stoic. The bottom line is if you are on this website, I’m assuming you’re here to improve yourself. This book gives you the tools to do that. So get the book, read the book, then keep reading it.
Let me leave you with one of my many favourite quotes from this book.
“The great law of nature is that it never stops. There is no end. Just when you think you have successfully navigated one obstacle another emerges.
But that is what keeps life interesting. And as you’re starting to see, that’s what creates opportunities”