AUTHOR: Marcus Aurelius
PUBLISHED: Unknown, likely before 850
Quote: “Soon you'll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most—and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, trivial.”
Overview: Meditations is Marcus Aurelius’ personal writings and private notes to himself serving as a guide for self-improvement. His writings, though likely meant only for his own use, espouses the tenets of Stoicism and his views on Stoic philosophy. Meditations is split up into 12 books written over the time period between 161-180 AD. Though he was a Roman Emperor, this piece of literature is applicable to not only the “common person,” but also applies as much today as it did two thousand years ago. Meditations is not a long read but packs a hard punch with no sentence wasted.
Analysis: Meditations should be required reading for everyone. It is essentially the first self-help book ever created. Marcus Aurelius’ focus is on Stoicism and how its proper use and implementation can help you live a life of freedom and a life that is not hampered by trivialities that you cannot control or change. Meditations is filled with common sense advice that applies to personal life, professional life, relationships, friendships, mental well-being and so on. If you’re looking for balance, that extra edge or a different way to view the world, definitely read this book. At the least, you’ll come away with some great tools that will prove useful on a daily basis.
Conclusion: This is one of those books everyone should read.