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This book has 10 recommendations

Ryan Holiday (Founder/Brass Check)

To me, this is not only one of greatest books ever written but perhaps the only book of its kind. Just imagine: the private thoughts of the most powerful man in the world, admonishing himself on how to be better, more just, more immune to temptation, wiser. It is the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength. If you read it and aren’t profoundly changed by it, it’s probably because as Aurelius says “what doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness”.

Elizabeth Holmes (CEO/Theranos)

According to Holmes, this was one book she read over and over again before she even launched her business.

David Heinemeier Hansson (Co-Founder/Basecamp)

Marcus Aurelius is probably my favorite Stoic philosopher, with Seneca as a close second. And in Stoic philosophy I’ve found kindred thought for mental coping mechanisms I had employed since childhood. It refined them further and cemented their place as the guiding philosophy of life for me.

Mike Benkovich (Founder/Anatomonics)

Honourable Mentions: Four Hour Work Week, The Happiness Hypothesis, Meditations, Catch 22, A Guide To The Good Life.

Scott Perry (Author, Stoic Guitarist)

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius is one that I’ve read annually since I was in the 7th Grade. It’s the personal journal of the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. Meditations delivers wisdom in short reflections and reminders on a variety of topics such as the importance of gratitude, dealing with difficult people, duty, and the individual’s place in society and the cosmos. [...] I first read Marcus Aurelius while translating his maxims in Latin class. They resonated so deeply that I asked for extra quotes to translate as homework!

My teacher loaned me his copy of Meditations and I read it through in one sitting. What struck me was that Marcus spoke to himself in the same way that I did, always reminding himself to cultivate his virtue and the content of his character. I borrowed my teacher’s copy of Meditations so often that he gifted it to me when I graduated. It’s been a constant companion ever since, but I didn’t associate it with Stoic philosophy until I was approaching my 50th birthday. We had moved and my copy of Meditations had gone missing, so I purchased a new copy. It was the Gregory Hays translation, which has an excellent overview Stoicism.

Marvin Liao (Partner/500 Startups)

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).

Chris Oliver (Founder/GoRails)

I also want to re-read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius again as well. I love reading the stoics.

Matthieu David-Experton (CEO & Founder/Daxue Consulting)

My favorite book is Meditations by Marcus-Aurelius. First, it is very universal as questions and thinking and it can reflect a lot of what one can go through in their life. Secondly, it is a book about responsibility and exercising your responsibility in the world when you have to care about people under you. I have read it several times since I was a teenager.

Stephane Grand (Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory)

When a look back at my career path, it is the one of an entrepreneur. I have built various businesses, from accounting and financial advisory firms to tech and security businesses. I have also spent most of my adult life in China, a country that is quite hostile to foreigners and very unfair. I have accepted to suffer the hardships of building my business without any investment from anybody, and stick very firmly to my values. I would recommend young people to read about adventure, hardships, and moral choices. Of course, it would be important to also read about the drivers of our humanity, hence the motley list below:


  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Santiago Basulto (Co-Founder/

Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) was one of them, and probably one of the most profound impact. Made me get into stoicism and fall in love with roman history.

Amazon description

One of the world's most famous and influential books, Meditations, by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121–180), incorporates the stoic precepts he used to cope with his life as a warrior and administrator of an empire. Ascending to the imperial throne in A.D. 161, Aurelius found his reign beset by natural disasters and war. In the wake of these challenges, he set down a series of private reflections, outlining a philosophy of commitment to virtue above pleasure and tranquility above happiness.

Reflecting the emperor's own noble and self-sacrificing code of conduct, this eloquent and moving work draws and enriches the tradition of Stoicism, which stressed the search for inner peace and ethical certainty in an apparently chaotic world. Serenity was to be achieved by emulating in one's personal conduct the underlying orderliness and lawfulness of nature. And in the face of inevitable pain, loss, and death — the suffering at the core of life — Aurelius counsels stoic detachment from the things that are beyond one's control and a focus on one's own will and perception.

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See more books recommended by

Ryan Holiday, Elizabeth Holmes, David Heinemeier Hansson, Mike Benkovich, Scott Perry, Marvin Liao, Chris Oliver, Matthieu David-Experton, Stephane Grand, Santiago Basulto

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Marcus Aurelius


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