This week, I finished Donald Robertson’s new book How To Think Like a Roman Emperor. And, what a remarkable book it is.
It succeeds in being a practical introduction to Stoicism whilst combining biography, history, psychotherapy and philosophy. Each chapter uses a period in Marcus’s life to illustrate an issue, for example, conquering desire or relinquishing fear. It describes Marcus’s situation, then demonstrates Stoic exercises that deal with the topic in question.
The result is both engaging and practical. It takes you beyond a “words to live by” approach and towards a Stoic routine and practice.
The first rule is, to keep an untroubled spirit; for all things must bow to Nature’s law, and soon enough you must vanish into nothingness, like Hadrian and Augustus.
The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are, remembering that it is your duty to be a good man. Do without flinching what man’s nature demands; say what seems to you most just – though with courtesy, modesty and sincerity.
In your power at all times and places there lies a pious acceptance of the day’s happenings, a just dealing towards the day’s associates, and a scrupulous attention to the day’s impressions, lest any of them gain an entrance unverified.
Stoic, cognitive psychotherapist, trainer and writer Donald Robertson has a new book out in April. If you took part in the recent Stoic Week event, you’ll recognise him and his voice from the introductory webinar and recorded exercises.