24 Aug How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius | Donald Robertson
2020: Book #23
“As a young man, Marcus Aurelius frequently became very angry, often struggling to avoid losing his temper. Later in life he would thank the gods that he had been able to restrain himself from doing something in those moments that he might otherwise have regretted. He’d send the damaged caused by Hadrian’s temper. During one infamous tantrum, the emperor had poked out the eye of some poor slave with the point of an iron stylus, presumably to the horror of onlookers. Once he’d come back to his senses, Hadrian apologetically asked the man if there was anything he could do to make it up to him. “All I want is my eye back,” came the reply.” (pg.83)
“There’s no point in speaking plainly to people if it doesn’t benefit them.”
“Marcus makes it clear that we must train ourselves to discriminate good advice from bad and learn not to preoccupy ourselves with the opinions of foolish people.”
Those are three quotes from the book, “How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius” by Donald Robertson.
How shall I describe this book?
The book revolves around the life of the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius and his approach to life.
Aurelius was a stoic.
The author, Donald Robertson, applies this stoic philosophy to therapeutic methods on how to approach and cope with life.
There are helpful methods in this book.
Beginning with the end in mind.
Controlling one’s emotions.
Understanding the role of death.
But there’s something terrifying as well about this book.
It’s absent of Christ.
For the stoic, the fulfillment of life is enduring great trials and gaining wisdom from that experience.
If that’s all there is, then life is in vain.
I realize this book isn’t meant to point me to the hope we have in Christ, but it did.
While there might be some coping methods, there is no hope in these pages.
Yes, I want to examine my life and make sure I’m doing my best.
But I also don’t want to rely on my own efforts to be right with God.
That’s where my hope in Christ resides.
For the believer in Jesus, read as a skeptic and keep one eye focused on the cross.
I give it 4 stars out of a possible 5.
That’s book #23 for 2020.
29 more to go.
Leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.