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Best Books on Stoicism: 18 TOP Books on Living Virtuously

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
5 MINUTE READ

Looking for the best books on stoicism of all time?

You’re in the right place!

Here’s what you’ll find on this page…

Quick Intro: Stoicism 101

In this list of book recommendations, you’ll find 3 core stoic texts and 15 of the best stoic books ever written. But before we jump in, let’s tackle a few common FAQs about stoic philosophy…

What Is Stoicism?

Stoic philosophy teaches that the best way to be happy is to accept and strive to express the most virtuous version of yourself in every moment, no matter what comes your way. Stoic philosophy first flourished for about 600 years (from ~300 BC to ~300 AD) before losing ground to Christianity in the 4th century AD. Since then, it's made several comebacks including a major surge in popularity over the last 15 years.

Where Do I Start Reading Stoicism?

If you're looking for an introduction to stoicism, try Ryan Holiday's excellent The Daily Stoic (#2), The Obstacle Is The Way (#5) or Ego Is The Enemy (#6). After that, you may want to try something from the ancient stoics like Seneca's Letters From A Stoic, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations or Epictetus's Discourses before circling back for more stoic ethics and philosophy from some more best books on stoicism.

What’s the Best Book on Stoicism?

There is no best stoic book. There is only the best stoicism book for you. If you want your stoicism, in short, concentrated doses, try Letters from a Stoic, Meditations or The Daily Stoic (#2). For an introduction to stoicism with more narrative, try The Obstacle Is The Way (#5).

Stoicism is about as practical and accessible as philosophy gets, so don’t let this list overwhelm you. Scan my recommendations, pick a book on Stoic philosophy that excites you and start reading.

And until next time, stay humble, be awesome and go well.

The 3 Ancient Stoic Texts

These three ancient stoic texts contain the most concentrated and practical collection of Stoic wisdom we know of today. There are others but these are the best place to start.

Best Books on Stoicism: Letters from a Stoic
Letters from a StoicSeneca
Letters from a Stoic is a powerful and practical collection of 124 letters on how to become a more devoted stoic in every aspect of life, by stoic philosopher and tutor to emperor Nero, Seneca the Younger.
Published -49 // 256 pages // Rated 4.3 over 18,200 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Stoicism: The Discourses
The DiscoursesEpictetus
Published 108 // 384 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,900 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Stoicism: Meditations
MeditationsMarcus Aurelius (FREE Summary)
Meditations is a deeply humbling and thought-provoking insight into the stoic mindset of one of history’s greatest leaders and thinkers – by Roman emperor, philosopher and example to us all, Marcus Aurelius.
Published 180 // 99 pages // Rated 4.2 over 156,000 reviews on Goodreads

The 15 Best Books on Stoicism

Why these best books on stoicism and not others? The best books on stoicism below are the top picks from my master database, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, the number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The goal is to give a good balance of what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s delivered timelessly relevant advice.

Think something’s missing? Email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so, please, do get in touch!

Books 1-5: The 5 Best Books on Stoicism of All Time

The top 5 best books on stoicism of all time are…

Best Books on Stoicism: Philosophy as a Way of Life
1. Philosophy as a Way of LifePierre Hadot
Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault
Published 1981 // 320 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,000 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Stoicism: The Daily Stoic
2. The Daily StoicRyan Holiday
366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity
Published 2016 // 416 pages // Rated 4.4 over 5,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Stoicism: A Guide to the Good Life
3. A Guide to the Good LifeWilliam B. Irvine
The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
Published 2008 // 326 pages // Rated 4.2 over 19,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Stoicism: Courage Under Fire
4. Courage Under FireJames B. Stockdale
Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior
Published 1993 // 32 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,000 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Stoicism: The Obstacle Is the Way
5. The Obstacle Is the WayRyan Holiday
The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
Published 2014 // 201 pages // Rated 4.1 over 53,000 reviews on Goodreads

Books 6-15: 10 Good Books on Stoicism to Read Next

Here are the next 10 best books on stoicism from my database…

6. Ego Is the EnemyRyan Holiday
Published 2016 // 226 pages // Rated 4.1 over 20,600 reviews on Goodreads
7. Stoicism and the Art of Happiness – Donald J. Robertson
Published 2013 // 256 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
8. The Practicing Stoic – Ward Farnsworth
A Philosophical User’s Manual
Published 2018 // 256 pages // Rated 4.5 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
9. How to Think Like a Roman Emperor – Donald J. Robertson
The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius
Published 2019 // 304 pages // Rated 4.4 over 2,300 reviews on Goodreads
10. Stoicism – John Sellars
Published 2006 // 219 pages // Rated 4.2 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
11. The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Donald J. Robertson
Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Published 2010 // 316 pages // Rated 4.2 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
12. Rome’s Last Citizen – Rob Goodman
The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar
Published 2012 // 384 pages // Rated 4.1 over 900 reviews on Goodreads
13. Dying Every Day – James Romm
Seneca at the Court of Nero
Published 2014 // 290 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,100 reviews on Goodreads
14. How to Be a Stoic – Massimo Pigliucci
Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life
Published 2017 // 288 pages // Rated 4.0 over 4,200 reviews on Goodreads
15. The Little Book of Stoicism – Jonas Salzgeber
Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness
Published 2019 // 287 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads

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Best Books On Stoicism

Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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