Practical Stoicism

Book Cover: Practical Stoicism After reading a few books early in my studies of Stoicism, I quickly came to the conclusion that this was what I was looking for. Even knowing that, though, I had some struggles figuring out how to turn that into actual practice. One of the reasons I first joined Reddit was to get some pointers in that regard.

The irony was that one of the first posts I saw (the one Google linked to when I entered my question) was someone else asking the same question.

With nothing readily available exactly like what I wanted, a simple collection of specific practices to keep me focused on what I needed to be doing, I set out on a quest to gather up tips on the topic and keep them close to hand. About half-way through the process, it occurred to me that it might be useful to others, as well. That led to me cleaning up the writing a bit and putting it all in reasonably consumable packages. And when people actually starting reading it, it led me to constantly refining and adding to it.

And so I make it available here to anyone else who might need this kind of information. I have released this under the Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). I hope you find it useful

A note on versioning: I use software versioning on this book to reflect its status as an ongoing project. The versioning is in the format of "Major Version.Minor Version.Bug Fix Revision". So, a jump from x.x.0 to x.x.1 means I fixed some typos and can be ignored if you don't really care about that sort of thing. A jump from x.1.x to x.2.x generally means I've added or significantly refactored some content. Grab it if you want it. Finally, going from 1.x.x to 2.x.x means I did a major rewrite.

And I did a fairly major rewrite at version 2.0. So significant that I ended up jettisoning a chunk of content that I felt didn't really belong with the rest of the book. This content was primarily related to suggested practices with no real basis in Stoicism. While I still support the practices, I decided that they didn't go well with the rest of the book. I have heard from some readers that actually liked that content, though, so I have retained a copy of the last version of the book that included it for them. I will keep that version (v1.4.0) here for the foreseeable future, but all new content or any additional changes will only be reflected in the most current version.

Current Version: 2.4.1 (1/31/2023)
Change Log
ePub version (v2.4.1)
PDF version (v2.4.1)
Previous Versions
ePub version (v2.3.2)
PDF version (v2.3.2)
PDF version (v1.4.0)
Other Formats
Those preferring Kindle and Paperback format can find them at Amazon.
Audible (audio-book) versions [US][UK]
Older audio version (v1.2.1) graciously provided by u/ref_21

To get a little idea what this book is about, I've included the Foreword here.


So, how exactly does one actually do this ‘Stoic’ thing?” - Multiple posters on r/stoicism

Much has been written on the topic of what Stoics believe, and why, but that merely sets the table for what truly matters: The actual application of the philosophy. Because it is far too easy to continually educate and ruminate and contemplate without actually doing anything useful, I want to help minimize the gap between thought and action as much as possible by providing a short guide of practical things one can actually do to bring one’s philosophy out of the world of the theoretical into the moment where we actually live.

A note on the presentation: I have broken this book into several small essays of about a page apiece - one per practice. They are collected in two sections: Practices specifically suggested by noted Stoics, and practices that were not specifically suggested, but that some may find helpful.

Each practice begins with a verb. It’s important to understand that these are things you “do”, even if it’s all happening in your head. This is not a dissertation on theory.

This book is not a primer for the new initiate. Consider it more as a companion piece, to be read alongside other works that go further into the reason and logic behind the practices discussed here. Without that component, this becomes a collection of empty ritual. Without this, those might lead you to believe that reading something inspirational is akin to doing something useful (See the “Companion Material” appendix for suggestions.)

Read these pages on random. The book is intended to be consumed in small bites, whenever one is idle or feeling off true, to act as a goad to do the thing that needs to be done. Contemplate a practice and consider if it seems helpful to you. And, if so, how you might integrate it into your life. Then do it. As Bruce says, “Knowing is not enough”.

Now I know a refuge never grows

From a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose

Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose

- Emily Saliers