I came across Ryan Holiday’s work through a short class he taught entitled “Stoic Wisdom for a Modern Life.” I had heard about the stoic philosophers but had the typical idea in mind of stodgy old men who showed little emotion in life. Luckily I listened his short course and was deeply impacted by the wisdom he had to offer and how it applied in my life in a number of endeavors that I have been working on. One of my favorite concepts from his course focuses on the Latin phrase Amor Fati- Love your fate. The Stoic philosophy is not just to accept what comes your way, but to love it, no matter the implications it has in your life. We are surrounded by many who lament their lot in life and every misfortune that comes their way. But rare is the individual who loves every up and every down and sees every situation as an opportunity to grow and become better.

Another of the concepts that Mr. Holiday speaks about in his course, and expands greatly upon in this book, is the importance of seeking out stillness in this life on a daily basis. Never before in this world have we been surrounded by so many distractions immediately available twenty-four hours per day. And those distractions keep us from making meaningful progress towards our most important goals in life. Holiday draws upon a wide range of history’s greatest thinkers to illustrate that stillness is the “doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus” in addition to finding meaning, contentment, and excellence. Each chapter is well thought out and provides meaningful insights into the things that cause us the greatest struggles – conquering anger, choosing virtue, finding enough, acting bravely, and many others. Possibly my favorite book of 2021, I look forward to listening again.

  • Tom Calton
    2 years ago
    Love your comments. Could not agree more that exposure to everything can be toxic. One of my fathers thoughts has always stayed with me. He grew up poor during the depression. “I didn’t know I was poor until I went to junior high”. Tjere he was exposed to those with more means. I think being poor motivated him but it also made a very happy boy quite sad. I’ve thought many times that maybe we ought to share more of our hard times and how we overcame them and what we learned and less of our perfect lives photos. Thanks for your thoughts and book reviews. I’m adding several books to my list.
    • Nate
      2 years ago
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Tom! Appreciate your thoughts :)