Monday, January 3, 2011

Book a Week, #1

I missed posting this weekend due to being extremely busy, but I'm back and have started my book-a-week resolution by (almost) finishing A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine. I intentionally linked to the BoingBoing article where I first heard about this book; the author made a few guest posts on the site later that convinced me to buy it. I assume a quick search will pull up his posts on the site, they're excellent.

The intention of the book is to not only introduce Stoicism, but provide a guide to becoming a practicing Stoic in modern times. Although I disagreed with the author on a few different points, I enjoyed the overall message of the book, and appreciated his effort to illustrate how living without a coherent philosophy of life is detrimental to our pursuit of happiness.

The philosophy focuses on changing yourself and how you handle your own emotions and desires, rather than attempting to find satisfaction in things external to yourself. I've been working to decrease the negativity and anxiety I've spent my life dealing with, and I found a lot of his advice very helpful (and was pleasantly surprised to realize I was already doing most of what he suggested).

After I complete this book, next up will be "Stories", a short fantasy story collection put together by Neil Gaiman and someone else whose name escapes me (links and so on when I start it).

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