Friday, February 15, 2019

Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness - The Little Book of Stoicism - Book Review

Every year while making resolution of reading activity, we specifically give % of books/pages to be read for different language/genre than our comfort zone. We also give certain % books/slot assigned to foreign authors as variation/diversity brings new ideas/information for us. Till now we have tried biographies, parenting, memoirs, business cases/concepts, even, and semi herbology, but philosophy is the first time for us. Frankly speaking, I was not aware of the word (subject) in detail when I first saw the cover & title. I did Google to get more idea. Description of the word was related to philosophy so I said yes as with just one book I can tick mark non-fiction and foreign author both. So this is how I landed up to this book.

Book Blurb
“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”

– Epictetus, Stoic philosopher
Where can you find joy? Gain strength? How should we face our fears? Deal with the death of a loved one? And what about those reoccurring depressing thoughts?
While traditional schooling doesn’t address such questions, it’s exactly what ancient schools of philosophy were all about: They taught you how to live. Even though these schools don’t exist anymore, you and I and most people are in as much need of a philosophy that guides us through life as we ever were.
This compelling, highly actionable guide shows you how to deal more effectively with whatever life throws at you and live up to your best self.
A mix of timeless wisdom and empowering advice, The Little Book of Stoicism will point the way to anyone seeking a calm and wise life in a chaotic world.
Another reason why we selected this book was the word "The Little Book" I thought it would be a quick read. But I was proved wrong, just like the time of "Art of War" by Sun Tzu. 

The first part (15-20%) covers the basic idea of what is stoicism. And why one should read this book. Those who are not sure what the book is all about can make a judgment by checking the first chapter. This section covers some ancient (Roman/Greek) preacher (yes because they observed the same values in life). It covers how the concept came into existence and how it evolved and declined during the spread of the Christian religion. Follow by that comes basic concepts explanation of some fundamental stoicism fellowship. Largely divided into two parts, what is good (positive) and bad (negative energy) and how it effect us. The gem of the book is 55 practice of stoicism. I personally liked this part most. Well, I did not agree or cannot observe all these practices, I have listed down few which I liked and would not mind following as well.

  • Accept and love whatever happens
  • Consider everything borrows from nature
  • Negative Visualization - Foreseeing bad stuff. I somehow follow this from a very young age
  • Win at what matters
  • Blame your expectation
  • Othr-ized This is something new I learned from this book
  • What do you have to show for your years?
  • Pity rather than blame the wrongdoer

These practices actually talk about real-world behavior (rather than plan theory). Many of them are situational practices as well. This part covers around 60% and I think its justified. Without them, the book might be plain philosophy 1.0 class reference book. A good point is you may skip practice if you are not comfortable with it (I skipped a few), they can be read in random order. You may skip earlier chapters and directly take these.

Overall, ignoring the slow beginning of the book is a great read. I would give

  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon India & Amazon USA
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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