Meditations is a series of personal reflections by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161–180 CE, written over a series of years in far-flung places as he led the Romans in military campaigns, quashed revolts, and dealt with the other tribulations of governing the Empire. It is best described as a spiritual journal, containing a record of the emperor's philosophical exercises. He covers topics as diverse as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods, and his own emotions, spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation. Aurelius also sets forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy.
"When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they do not know how to tell good from evil. But I... have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own." This and other useful affirmations from the second century Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius have been retranslated for the first time in 35 years by Hays, classics professor at the University of Virginia. He includes an introduction that sketches the life of Aurelius and also summarizes the principles of Stoicism.