An old high school friend reached out several weeks ago and asked what books I had been reading that inspired some of my life changes and stoked my mindset. I am a little behind on delivering the list but here are:
Although I gifted this to myself in 2016, it is a daily reader and I have continued to read it consistently in 2017. It honestly take like 3-5 minutes to flip to the day and read the translated Stoic passage and then the commentary. It kicks my day off with something to chew on and gives me perspective. If the current day is dense or doesn’t resonate with me at the time, I usually flip to a favorite.
Here is my absolute favorite:
“To what service is my soul committed? Constantly ask yourself this and thoroughly examine yourself by seeing how you can relate to that part called the ruling principle. whose soul do I have now? Do I have that of a child, a youth…a tyrant, a pet or a wild animal?” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 5.11
I love this book so much I frequently gift it.
Reading this book in a public place is a conversation starter, but don’t let the great catchy title fool you. It is all about encouraging you to give the right fucks. It made some great points that caused a lot of self reflection. Two (of many) that still bubble up in my head consistently are:
- Your problems are not special. The act of complaining of about your problems is a form of narcissism.
- So what if you are wrong. What does it mean (to you) to be wrong? It is ok to be wrong.
I imagine I will read this over and over again for the remainder of my life. In fact, I have to prevent myself from simply reading it over and over again and make myself read other books.
Two mantras I recite from this book damn near daily:
- “There’s no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us.”
- “An amateur is defensive.”
Reading these books caused me to do a lot of reflecting and had a great positive affect on my life. I hope you find them useful as well.