Read: December 2022

Inspiration: Wanted to read more about Stoicism


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Daily Stoic”, published in 2016 by authors and modern Stoics Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, provides a guide to the philosophy of Stoicism and how it can be applied to modern life. The book is organized as a daily devotional, with each chapter offering a quote from a Stoic philosopher and a reflection on how that quote can be used to help readers live a more peaceful and fulfilling life. The book covers a wide range of topics, including happiness, wisdom, resilience, and the importance of living in the present moment. The Daily Stoic is an accessible and practical introduction to the teachings of Stoicism, and is a great resource for anyone looking to incorporate the philosophy into their daily life.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Stoicism not about emotionlessness as many think, Stoicism founded by Zeno in Athens (stoa means porch which is where it was taught), Stoicism asserts virtue is happiness and it is our perception of things which causes trouble (not things themselves), Epictetus teach to rely on reasoned choice—our ability to reason to choose how we categorize, respond and reorient ourselves to external events, Perception Action Will are 3 disciplines of Stoicism which overlap, central element is understand what is under your control, control your perceptions, direct actions properly, willingly accept what is outside control, serenity and stability result from your choices and judgement not your environment, awareness of desires, motivations, judgements is important to understand self, take time daily to reflect at end of the day, take time in the morning for self to ready for the day, a real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent (marcus aurelius), strength lies in a calm mind, reply to someone who is angry “I hope this is making you feel better”, anger does not provide relief to symptoms/cause, do not let emotions get in the way of the simple appropriate actions, harm occurs as a result of our reaction and participation in events—can control how label, self assessment and self awareness hand in hand, think about where mind drifts—control mind’s focus/energy just as control physical body, be aware of those you spend time with—it is true you become like your close friends, Seneca: slavery resides under marble and gold (material pursuits can entrap), become indifferent to things that make others angry—not about not caring just not moved passionately, ego and self deception enemies of learning, when say work frustrating—remember work/boss are external and no access to mind, you cause the reaction of stress/frustration internally, 2 ways to be wealthy—get everything you want or want everything you have (latter achievable), we are what we repeatedly do; therefore excellence is not an act but a habit (aristotle), don’t get upset and do the right thing should guide actions, habits are about momentum—character building step by step (start and keep a streak), the wise person prepares a reverse clause (ie knows curveballs coming but is prepared and remains calm when happens since inevitably will), CEO of charles schwab Walt Bettinger would take candidates to breakfast and have waiter mess up order to see how candidate handles it, every impediment can advance action/virtue in some form with right mindset, receive without pride and let go without attachment, others do not want to do wrong so consider their view, perfection is the enemy of action, easy to say will wait for perfect circumstances to start but won’t come—be adaptable, the goal is not to have an iron will but to have an adaptable will (iron is inflexible, should change with new info/perception), don’t confuse getting better at stuff with being a better person, cool to have building named after you but less cool part is you’ll be dead so at what cost, being a stoic is about reading philosophy and acting on virtue daily—become your character with action, amor fati = love of fate, enjoy what has happened not just accept it, fulfill where you are without constant comparison/future thinking, prison is of the mind—physically may be trapped but mental is up to you, no man steps in the same river twice (constant state of change, fluidity), hope and fear are of the same origin—projections of a future we do not control, remember how old self used to live and be OK with less than have now (very little actually needed for survival but forget this), end of everyone’s story is the same (death) no matter social status, stake your claim (ie don’t rely on quotes of others, trust your experience), no prize at the end of life for spending/consuming more, make words become works—be active soldier not just passive scholar

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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