Book Review & Discussion :A Guide to the Good Life

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The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

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In this event, you’ll learn

Where Stoicism comes from historically and why it’s not an extreme practice, as some people think

Why you should seek voluntary discomfort and how you can practice poverty without living on the street

What to remember when you have to deal with stupid people

The reason impostors deserve money they didn’t earn

How to deal with death, both of others and your own

The one thing to keep in mind when starting to become a Stoic

About the Author

William B. Irvine is professor of philosophy at Wright State University. The author of seven books, including The Stoic Challenge and A Guide to the Good Life, he has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Salon, Time, and the BBC. He lives in Dayton, Ohio.

James Patrick Cronin is an accomplished audiobook narrator with over 100 titles to his credit. A classically trained stage actor with an MFA from the University of Louisville, he has performed as an actor and a comedian on stages all over the world.


This book is written for those seeking a philosophy of life. The Stoic philosophy principles may be old, but they merit the attention of any modern individual who wishes to have a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling – who wishes, that is, to have a good life.

This is how I’ve been trying to live my life for the past two years, and I’ve never been happier. To the contrary, I just seem to get happier over time, because the more I learn, implement and embrace Stoic qualities in my life, the less adversity affects me.

Since adopting a more Stoic mindset, I feel much less distracted, I can always make room for the truly important things in life, I almost never get angry, especially not at things outside of my control, and I’m incredibly grateful for every single day I get to spend here on this beautiful earth.

The Five Big Ideas

If you lack a grand goal in living, you lack a coherent philosophy in life. Without one, there is a danger you will mislive and you will end up living a bad life.

While enjoying the companionship of loved ones, then, we should periodically stop to reflect on the possibility that this enjoyment will come to an end. By consciously thinking about the loss of what we have, we can regain our appreciation of it, and with this regained appreciation we can revitalize our capacity for joy.

Our most important choices in life, according to Epictetus, is whether to concern ourselves with things external to us or things internal.

Suppose you find out that someone has been saying bad things about you. Epictetus advises you to respond not by behaving defensively but by questioning his competence as an insulter.

To help us advance our practice of Stoicism, Seneca advises that we periodically meditate on the events of daily living, how we responded to these events, and how, in accordance with Stoic principles, we should have responded to them.

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