"This book is a wonderful introduction to one of history's greatest figures: Marcus Aurelius. His life and this book are a clear guide for those facing adversity, seeking tranquility and pursuing excellence." —Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of The Obstacle is the Way and The Daily Stoic
The life-changing principles of Stoicism taught through the story of its most famous proponent.
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian—taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day—through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. Robertson shows how Marcus used philosophical doctrines and therapeutic practices to build emotional resilience and endure tremendous adversity, and guides readers through applying the same methods to their own lives.
Combining remarkable stories from Marcus’s life with insights from modern psychology and the enduring wisdom of his philosophy, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor puts a human face on Stoicism and offers a timeless and essential guide to handling the ethical and psychological challenges we face today.
This look at Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 180) and his reign provides an illuminating study of the principles of Stoic philosophy, to which Aurelius was an adherent, within the framework of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Robertson (Stoicism and the Art of Happiness), a cognitive behavioral therapist, sees in classical Stoicism particularly in its cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, fortitude, and temperance a self-help/self-improvement methodology still relevant today. Each chapter begins with a brief account of an incident or phase from Aurelius's life, followed by an explanation of how it relates to the ideals that informed his famous Meditations for instance, a comparison of Aurelius's temperate leadership to his brother Lucius Verus's indulgent dissipations illustrates how the former behaved as an exemplar of Stoic self-discipline. Robertson writes accessibly on his potentially esoteric topic, drawing the reader into a discussion of cognitive distancing, for instance, by arguing that "as an aspiring Stoic, you should begin by practicing this: deliberately describing events objectively and in less emotional terms." His book is a fascinating history of Aurelius and his beliefs, and an insightful consideration of how they inform the practice of modern mindfulness.