How To Be A Stoic Book Summary By Massimo Pigliucci

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How to Be a Stoic, written by philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, is an exploration into the ancient philosophy of Stoicism and how it can be applied to modern life.

In this book, readers will discover how one can focus on what they can change, come to peace with death, and manage everyday stresses and frustrations.

With insight from prominent writers who have studied and practiced stoic philosophies over the centuries, readers will gain the skills necessary for living a more peaceful and resilient life.

With this book as your guide, you can learn to make Stoicism part of your day-to-day – no matter your current circumstances or beliefs.

How To Be A Stoic Book

Book Name: How to Be a Stoic (Ancient Wisdom For Modern Living)

Author(s): Massimo Pigliucci

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 22 Minutes

Categories: Philosophy

Author Bio

Massimo Pigliucci is an expert in philosophy.

He is a professor at the City College of New York, formerly teaching ecology and evolution.

In addition to his academic work, he was also the co-host of an acclaimed podcast, Rationally Speaking.

Thus, Massimo's credentials as a true stoic philosopher are aptly demonstrated by his accomplishments.

With such a strong background in philosophy, it's no surprise that his book How to Be a Stoic delivers profound insights on living in accordance with the ancient Greek wisdom.

How To Live A Good Life According To Stoic Philosophy


The Stoics were some of the first people to ask how to live a good, virtuous life.

They were interested in the practical aspects of dealing with life’s challenges and conducting ourselves toward others.

So, how can we use the wisdom from ancient philosophers to be better today?

The good news is that Stoic principles remain as relevant today as when they were developed thousands of years ago.

With the right approach, you can learn to prioritize what is important and how to take control of your own decisions and reactions.

You can also take lessons from inspirational role models—whether it’s an historical figure or someone close to you—to guide you on your journey.

Additionally, using wisdom from the Stoics will help you cultivate a healthier attitude towards death, so that you may fully appreciate life while you have it.

By applying these Stoic teachings–including focusing on what matters most and learning to accept things that are out of your control –you can begin leading a meaningful life today!

The Practical Guide To Living A Good Life: The Stoic Philosophy Of Epictetus

Stoicism offers a practical solution to tackling the problems and challenges that life can throw at us.

As one of the most influential philosophies in history, Stoicism is deeply rooted in ancient Athens and Rome.

Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus are some of the famous Stoic thinkers whose discourses focused on practical advice for everyday life, rather than just general theories on how to live a good life.

Their teachings give us an insight into just how effective Stoicism can be as a way of helping us deal with our struggles.

According to their philosophy, there are three main disciplines: desire (what we should and should not strive for), action (how we should behave) and assent (how we should react to situations).

Rather than encouraging passivity or suppressing emotion, Stoicism actually urges us to take positive action in difficult moments, by trying to understand solutions through logical thought.

This means that instead of getting stuck in negative cycles of unhelpful thoughts, we can use our logical mind to come up with strategies for dealing with whatever life throws at us!

How The Stoic Principle Of The Dichotomy Of Control Can Reduce Worry In Your Life

In order to get the most out of life, we must learn a Stoic principle: the dichotomy of control.

Essentially, it is meant to remind us to take action in those situations where we can influence something and accept those things that are totally beyond our control.

One example of this is a nervous flyer.

No matter how hard they plan or imagine all the possible scenarios, they cannot ultimately control what happens while they are in the air.

The only factor that they have any say over is choosing whether their trip is actually necessary and which airline they should fly with.

Or consider someone striving to lose a few extra pounds – trying diets or exercises that might not work as expected or hoping for results that may be impossible given certain genetic factors.

Again, what’s important here is focusing on being able to control things where it works and accepting with equanimity the things that are beyond our power to influence.

We can apply this same logic in even bigger lives situations, like waiting for promotion news at work or wanting something new from life but uncertain about what will happen next.

In both cases, all we can do is limit ourselves to taking action on whatever we can control and then let go by accepting without worry what comes our way after that.

Taking this lesson from Stoics can help reduce much of the unnecessary worry in our lives!

Prioritizing Moral Virtue: Examining How Ancient Philosophers Challenge Us To Live With Integrity


The Stoic philosophy is centered around the idea that, instead of pursuing wealth, health or comfort in life, we should focus on moral virtue.

This has been a core belief for many ancient philosophers, including the Stoics, who were heavily influenced by Socrates.

Socrates famously showed how serious he was about this moral virtue when he refused to escape from death despite his friends pleading with him.

His choice was to accept his fate and maintain his integrity over material benefits like wealth and comfort.

Most Stoic philosophy however is more practical than just sacrificial examples such as these.

They viewed all of these preferred indifferents (such as friends, family, wealth and health) differently; they didn’t view them as bad or something too be avoided but rather as indifferent.

What really matters is striving for a moral and virtuous life despite all those things you may want or need.

The example the author uses is useful to better understand what the Stoic philosophy meant by this; when he went to get cash from an ATM one day he remembered that his bank had done some morally dubious practices before so his desired outcome of getting cash quickly sat in opposition to his own moral values.

In the end he decided to close down his bank account and move it to another responsible one that held closer convictions with his own beliefs.

It’s difficult for any of us to live up to Socrates’ levels of commitment with this philosophy but what we can do is think more regarding our decisions if they are guided by moral virtues first before anything else.

That way our lives can be richer and more meaningful regardless of what we have in terms of possessions.

The Power Of Examples: How Malala Yousafzai Is Inspiring Others To Follow The Stoic Path Of Virtue

The core concepts of virtue have always been extremely important in Stoic philosophy, and these concepts remain relevant even today.

The Stoics identified four aspects of virtue – temperance, courage, justice, and wisdom.

Temperance allows us to control our instinctive desires and keep our emotions in check.

Courage gives us the mental strength to be brave in the face of adversity.

Justice involves treating others with kindness and respect.

Last but not least, wisdom is the “chief good” as it can equip us to bolster our character regardless of any circumstances we encounter in life.

The four Stoic virtues are still revered widely in other philosophical and religious traditions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Taoism who have added additional virtues such as faith, hope and charity (Thomas Aquinas) and humanity (love & kindness).

We need look no further than prominent figures like Malala Yousafzai for proof that Stoic virtues still reign supreme today.

She has shown extraordinary courage in advocating for girls’ education despite her unfortunate brush with a gunman on her school bus at only 11 years old – a reminder of how powerful justice can be when upheld with conviction by anyone.

Truly an inspirational leader whose story speaks volumes about the power of living virtuously according to Stoic philosophy!

The Stoic Way To Inspire Courage In Your Life: Use Role Models

Observing and imitating the behavior of exemplary role models is a great way to lead a good life.

This is something that Stoics philosophical believed in, and used as motivation to practice virtue.

The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote an essay on this subject, using Marcus Cato as an example of an ideal role model.

Cato was a senator in Rome who marched, ate and slept with his men to earn their respect and was unwilling to take advantage of any opportunities for enrichment.

He also courageously fought Julius Caesar’s bid for complete control over the Roman Republic.

In death as in life, Cato exemplified virtue by sacrificing himself to preserve his honor, even tearing out his own bowels if necessary.

Though Cato’s story may seem extreme, it serves as inspiration for us all in our own lives.

Whether it is standing up to a bullying boss or making small steps towards betterment, reflecting on the examples set by people like Cato can help us rise up to our challenges with more courage than before.

Observing and following exemplary role models is an effective method of leading a good life; ultimately helping us become better versions of ourselves.

The Stoic Approach To Death: Appreciating Life In Light Of Impermanence

Appreciating Life

Stoicism can empower your attitude toward death.

This is something that Epictetus and the Stoics realized long ago, and it’s still true today.

In confronting death, they maintained a calm and collected stance which was in sharp contrast to much of society.

Just look at Cato as an example – while others would be fearful, he was willing to face his eventual demise without flinching.

The Stoics believe that, instead of dwelling on our mortality with fear or dread, we should focus on appreciating life more deeply.

As Epictetus noted, the wheat does not fear its harvest.

We can take this same approach by coming to terms with the fact that all things are impermanent – including humans.

By regularly reminding ourselves of this, we won’t become overly attached to people or things and will better accept their passing when it comes.

It may not seem like an easy advice to follow but it’s also quite liberating: understanding death enables you to appreciate a life well lived!

As Epictetus aptly said, “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” With this advice in mind, take some time to reflect on your mortality and make sure you’re living life fully each day because that’s precisely the power of stoicism when approaching death – empowering your outlook one mindful step at a time!

The Power Of Stoicism: Accepting Life’S Misfortunes With Equanimity

Stoicism teaches us a powerful lesson: that we can find ways to better handle life’s provocations and misfortunes.

The key is to pause and reflect, and put yourself in the shoes of others.

At first glance, an insult or an elbow in the back on a crowded subway train may seem harmless.

But how you respond to it can determine if you are actually harmed in any way.

If you react impulsively, your mind might convince you that you have been wronged—and then passion, such as anger or frustration, will follow.

Epictetus suggested taking a moment before reacting to this type of provocation.

So when something insulting happens, take a deep breath and think about what kind of response would be most appropriate.

Going for a quick walk around the block may be one effective solution; it gives you time to assess the situation without lashing out at someone impulsively.

Another way to deal with provocative and unfortunate circumstances is to “other-ize” them—that is, consider your experiences from someone else’s point of view.

For example, if you break a glass that has special meaning for you, take a step back and consider how other people might handle such minor misfortune.

Chances are they wouldn’t even flinch over it and neither should you!

By pausing for reflection during provoking situations and putting ourselves in the shoes of others, we can apply Stoic principles to achieve greater control over our emotions by dispassionately dealing with provocation and misfortune!

The Three Types Of Friendships: Understanding The Stoic Philosophy Of Friendship

Stoic Philosophy

Stoics believe that having meaningful, virtuous friendships is key for a better life.

They encourage us to invest in truly good friendships, as well as conversations that are focused on important topics that help us grow and expand our understanding of the world.

The Ancient Greeks thought there were three types of friendship: ones based on utility (where you receive a benefit from each other), pleasure (where you enjoy spending time together) and the good (where you have an affinity with one another).

The Stoics believed that the only kind of true friendship was the last one – the kind where you find a connection in personalities and feelings, rather than relying on money or mutual hobbies.

Epictetus argued that we should focus less on talking about celebrity news, sports and food, and more on meaningful topics – even if it might be more challenging than what we usually chat about.

Try having deeper conversations with your friends – when you take the time to do this, not only can it be fun but also very rewarding.

Investing in true friendships will ultimately lead to a better life!

Wrap Up

In the end, being a Stoic is all about understanding yourself and your place in the world.

It’s about accepting what we can and cannot control, behaving with virtue, and thoughtfully reflecting on our experiences.

The actionable advice from this book is to reflect on your day before you go to bed.

By taking time for honest reflection every day, you will be able to make better decisions and live a more virtuous life.

As much as it can be difficult at times, it is worth the effort because living virtuously will enable you to reach greater fulfillment from life.

Ultimately, that is what Stoicism hopes to achieve.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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