10 Tremendous Takeaways From Breakfast With Seneca

The shadow of the Roman politician Seneca looms large in Stoic philosophy. His work is among the most well-preserved and quoted Stoic texts throughout history, and countless generations have been influenced by his insights into the human condition.

Perhaps this is best seen in The Letters to Lucilius, where Seneca discusses universal themes with his friend. While the letters contain timeless wisdom, Seneca’s ideas are spread across hundreds of pages, and distilling them down could seem like an intimidating task to some.

Not for David Fideler.

In Breakfast With Seneca: A Stoic Guide To The Art Of Living, Fideler has provided a wonderful overview of Seneca’s ideas, and here are my ten biggest takeaways from the book.

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Luke Burgis’ Wanting Is A Book You’ll Want To Read

We all desire something. More money, more security, more love, more friendship. We all imitate each other. Ideas, perspectives, thoughts, processes. This is mimesis, the fuel that powers a system of desire that’s been around since the earliest days of mankind.

Author Luke Burgis is fascinated with mimesis and he breaks down this universal concept in Wanting: The Power Of Mimetic Desire In Everyday Life. In the book, Burgis explains how to identify mimetic desire, when it’s negative and positive and how to develop tactics for promoting healthy desires.

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Why Be Happy? Review: A Resonant Book That Delves Into The Concept Of Acceptance In Japan

What do we mean by acceptance? Is it the avoidance of conflict? The understanding that some events are simply beyond our control? Is it the resignation that certain things won’t change? These kinds of questions are asked everyday all over the world and every culture has their own take on what acceptance means.

In Japan, ukeireru is a type of acceptance that the Japanese embrace and Scott Haas is interested in peering behind the curtain to see what exactly it means. In Why Be Happy?The Japanese Way of Acceptance, Haas explores the concept of ukeireru, what it truly means to accept something and how the power of acceptance can help to build a happier and healthier life. 

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Constantine Sandis On The Psychology Of Philosophy And Wittgenstenian Ethics

The lines between philosophy and psychology are always blurring, with many psychological practices having their origins in ancient philosophical work. Reconciling both disciplines is an ongoing process and Constantine Sandis has devoted his life to connecting these two worlds together.

Academic and author, Sandis has published a wide range of books and in this interview he talks about how philosophy helped him cope with cancer, the influence of Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and more.

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Seneca: A Life Review: A Nuanced Portrayal Of One Of History’s Most Complex Figures

When it comes to studying the Stoics, Seneca is often cited as one of the most prolific because of the number of works he produced and the sources about his life. A complicated man, Seneca was a proud Stoic who often lived at odds with the philosophy he claimed to love under the corrupt regime of Nero.

Was Seneca a philosopher who sought the simple life? Was he a hypocrite who failed to practice what he preached? Was he a man who found himself in an impossible situation and did the best he could to mitigate the excesses of an emperor? Was he all of these things and more?

Such questions are the topic of Emily Wilson’s Seneca: A Life, which provides a nuanced portrayal of one of antiquity’s most complex figures.

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Exploring Accidental Philosophy And The Motion Of Travel Writing With Eric Weiner

Everyone comes to philosophy in different ways. For famous thinkers like Thoreau and Montaigne it was by accident and author Eric Weiner fell into the same role of an accidental philosopher over the course of his life.

A best-selling New York Times author of books like The Geography Of Bliss and The Socrates Express, Weiner talks about his work as a journalist, grumpy philosophers he has a lot in common and more on Stoic Athenaeum.

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Letters From A Stoic Review: Inside The Mind Of Seneca And Learning Stoic Wisdom

For people with an interest in Stoicism and philosophy, the Roman power broker and politician Seneca looms large. His writing offers great insight into the mind of someone who was attempting to put the philosophy into practice, while also serving as a will and testament of a man who was guilty of falling short of what he preached at times.  

Letters From A Stoic contains all 124 of the letters Seneca wrote to his friend Lucilius. The book would benefit anyone who wants to pick up a bit of wisdom or change their perception of the world.

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Memento Mori: What The Romans Can Tell Us About Old Age & Death Is As Entertaining As It Is Educational

As the old saying goes, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. The latter is something we have a choice of whether to pay or not and face the consequences. The former is inevitable, so we might as well do the best we can while we’re alive and look back on a life well lived. 

All of this ties into the idea of memento mori, a concept the Romans took to heart and it’s the focus of Memento Mori: What The Romans Can Tell Us About Old Age & Death by Peter Jones. 

An informative book filled with quirky and resonant themes about how to accept death with grace, Memento Mori may help change your perspective on life beyond the veil.

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The Fourfold Remedy: Epicurus And The Art Of Happiness Is An Eye-Opening Introduction To Epicureanism

Do you consider yourself an epicurean? Do you enjoy fine food and a pleasurable lifestyle? Being an epicurean is different to being an Epicurean, as in following the teachings of Epicurus. 

The philosophy of Epicureanism is often misunderstood as a hedonistic worldview and I’ll admit to thinking that too when I first came across it. After reading The Fourfold Remedy: Epicurus and the Art of Happiness by John Sellars I was glad to be proven wrong.

A wonderful book on an introduction to Epicureanism, The Fourfold Remedy sets the record straight.

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Delving Into The Life Of A Young Socrates With Dr Armand D’Angour

Socrates is one of history’s greatest philosophers, influencing countless generations that came after him. Many scholars and academics have analysed his life, unearthing new dimensions of the man and Dr Armand D’Angour has provided one of the most vivid depictions of Socrates in recent memory.

The author of Socrates In Love: The Making Of A Philosopher, D’Angour shares his thoughts on a young Socrates, how he brings philosophy into his role as a Professor of Classics and more in this wonderful interview with Stoic Athenaeum.

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