On Becoming a Stoic

Like a lot of people, my introduction to Stoicism was through Ryan Holiday's books. I got introduced to the Roman Stoics—Marcus Aurelius, Seneca the Younger, and Epictetus. Along with casual references to the early Greeks Stoics. Zeno, Chrysippus, and Cleanthes.

The Daily Stoic was a daily reminder to reflect on Stoic principles. The Daily Stoic Journal was an easy introduction to journaling. The Daily Stoic Podcast was (and is) a source of interesting conversations about Stoic ideas.

The problem I ran into, and I see with others, is that if you fall into the Ryan Holiday ecosystem, you start to see Stoicism beginning and ending with Ryan Holiday.

Ryan Holiday's turned Stoicism into a profitable business. I believe he believes in its principles. I don't think he's a bad guy. But he's monopolized the Stoic mindspace. The Daily Stoic has commoditized Stoicism. It's got a bunch of stuff for sale: poppy books, posters, desk calendars, and enough medalliions to sink a trireme.

This web of merchandise encourages you to stay in The Daily Stoic's bubble, whether it intends to trap you or not. Read the source material. Learn Greek and Latin. Immerse yourself in ancient history. Learn about the world that spawned Stoicism.

Reading List