Recommended resources to get started with Stoicism
Stoic Missing Pieces aims to fill some gaps in modern Stoic practice by providing targeted, practical courses on Stoicism. If you’re completely new to Stoic philosophy, these courses may not be a good fit for you right now. Below are some recommended resources to help you build up a solid foundation in Stoic philosophy.
What kind of intro book are you looking for?
Note: all book links are affiliate links through IndieBound. If you purchase through the links below, I’ll earn a small commission and you’ll be supporting your local bookstore by either picking them up or getting them delivered to you through bookshop.org.
Click here to learn more about IndieBound, and click here to learn about bookshop.org, which allows you to get books delivered to your door while still supporting local shops.
Stoicism, by John Sellars
A comprehensive, rigorous introduction to the history and theory of Stoicism. While this is a more theoretically-oriented work compared to the other recommendations here, it is an easy, engaging, and extremely edifying read.
If you’re looking for a strong theoretical overview of Stoicism, this is a great place to start.
How to Be a Stoic, by Massimo Pigliucci
This book uses a practically oriented approach to teach the basics of how a practicing Stoic can actually apply the philosophy in the modern world. The approach mainly introduces Stoicism through the lens of Epicetus’s framework to Stoicism, the Three Disciplines.
If you are curious to learn about how somebody could actually apply Stoicism today, this is the book for you.
Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, by Donald Robertson
This book is written by a cognitive behavioral therapist, an evidence-based psychotherapy which was influenced by Stoic philosophy. The book provides a solid mix of theory, practical exercises, all infused with a touch of sound psychological principles.
If you’re especially interested in Stoicism’s therapeutic aspects for living a happier life, this will provide what you’re looking for.
Being Better, by Kai Whiting and Leonidas Konstantakos
A lot of people are initially attracted to Stoicism because of its focus on building resilience. However, that’s only the first step of Stoicism. This book is a solid introduction to Stoicism that puts much-needed emphasis on the prosocial component of modern Stoic practice.
If you’re interested in how Stoicism can help build a better world through social action, this should be at the top of your reading list.
What kind of course are you looking for?
The College of Stoic Philosophers’ School of Essential Studies
This four-month curriculum will provide you with a solid foundation through a mix of self-study, assignments, and mentorship. You’ll be guided through readings from our main primary sources for Stoicism from the ancient world: Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. It’s also very affordable, especially given the amount of guidance you’ll get.
Take this course if you’re looking for a serious, rigorous introduction to Stoicism with the personal touch of mentorship.
Marcus Aurelius: Life and Stoicism
This four-week course crafted by Donald Robertson provides an introduction to Stoicism through the lens of the life of the Stoic Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. You’ll learn the basics of Stoicism through the example of Marcus as you learn how he dealt with major life challenges throughout his life and worked with emotions like anger, pain, and fear.
I suggest this course if you learn well by example, you’re interested in learning more about Marcus Aurelius, or if you’re intent on exploring Stoic approaches to managing difficulties.
Stoicism: The Basics and Beyond
This seven-week self-guided course by philosopher Massimo Pigliucci provides a broad yet thorough and balanced overview of Stoic theory, practice, and history. You’ll not only learn the basics of Stoicism, but also be introduced to the main historical Stoics along with practical exercises and ideas for further reading. Your knowledge will also be tested with regular quizzes throughout.
Choose this course if you’re looking for a deep yet broad multimedia introduction to Stoicism at a reasonable price.
Basics of Stoic Philosophy and Practice
Philosopher Gregory Sadler provides a quick but solid overview of Stoic theory and practice in this series of 12 audio lectures that last no more than 10 minutes each. This course covers all the basics, from history to theory to practice. The course also helps clarify some of the common misunderstandings of Stoicism that some people may have. You’ll also be given ideas for further reading.
Choose this course if you’re looking for a quick but clear and practicable audio introduction to Stoicism.