Living, Lifestyle and Philosophy Book Recommendations
Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
This collection of letters from Seneca simply helps you learn how to live. Seneca was an ancient Roman and like anything else from long ago, you might expect that the writing is satisfying, after you concentrate hard and find your way through the difficult prose. But Seneca (and this translation) is nothing of the sort. If you have a highlighter, it will fade quickly as each letter has many lines with statements worth remembering. This is the sort of book that you should be in tatters after awhile, as you go through it again and again. Different letters will resonate with different people and at different times. We recommend that you just dig in and see what you find. You might try reading one letter a day, so you can reflect on it. You might consider listening to the audio version of Seneca's letters in this nice collection that Tim Ferriss put together.
Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis
If you have a tendency to approach life too academically instead of just living it for all its glory, you should read Zorba the Greek. Sometimes it is easy to get struck in your head and forget that life is about living, all the way. This book is about an uneducated man with great wisdom of living that inspires and teaches the narrator, along with all the readers, of course. This book is fiction with a good story, but Zorba the Greek is about a philosophy of living (even though Zorba would likely view reading it as a waste of time).
If our endorsement isn't enough, Zorba the Greek is also on Tim Ferriss' list of top ten fiction books for non-fiction addicts.
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, William B. Irvine
This straightforward, sometimes informal, discussion of living the life of a stoic by William B. Irvine is a good place to start your journey into the practical life of a modern stoic. If you are interested in stoicism, you should, of course, read both Seneca and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, among others. But "A Guide to the Good Life," will take you on a tour of major stoic thinkers and writers, while at the same time offering examples of how you can, in our current times, apply some or even much of the lesson of these ancient stoics. If you are curious about stoicism, we recommend that you put William Irvine's book near the beginning of your study.