Book Review: Meditations by Emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius
This book is not something I would consider reading a year ago. So why I write review of it right now? For some time I have huge backlog of books, about 100-200 books and it's much beyond what I can comfortably read in a couple of years. For this reason I pay special attention to all kinds of 'best books' lists to prioritize my backlog. Meditations is on many of those lists eg. farnamstreetblog.com so after seeing it so many times I decided to give it a try.
It is interesting book for a number of reasons. You can learn a little bit about Stoicism philosophy, get glimpse of the old Roman Empire believes and culture, but more importantly you can read personal notes of Marcus Aurelius written to himself. They are personal thoughts and struggles of him that probably never were meant to be read by others. In this sense it is not a classical type of book, much more like collected notes.
What strikes me is how similar his thoughts are to mine. Not all of them but many, do seem like coming out of my head. If you think how different our lives are and that he lived nearly two thousand years ago it is astonishing.
One of the interesting things about Stoicism is how important 'change' was. Marcus many times tried to remind himself that change is part of life and there is no point in anger or being sad. All life is change. Best you can do is accept it and deal with it. It reminds me of the best way to deal with obstacles that I read about in Flow. Basically best way to deal with things you cannot change is to accept them and try to use them to your advantage as soon as possible.
Really good read. I would advise to read it for a longer time only a couple of paragraphs per day.
It is pretty old book so you can download it for free from Project Gutenberg.