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How to Think Like a Roman Emperor Summary – July 2022

Author: Donald J. Robertson

Short Summary
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor (2019) is an ancient book that follows the principles of stoicism. Stoicism was developed by Zeno of Citium, a Greek philosopher, and his student Cleanthes. Stoicism is a philosophy based on the idea of leading an ethical life – it teaches people how to be happy in whatever situation they are in.
how to think like a roman emperor
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Detailed Summary

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor summary is written by Donald J. Robertson and part of the Classics for Personal Growth and Spiritual Inspiration. This book is about a Roman emperor – Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was one of the most feared men in the Roman Empire at the time. Yet, he was known for his compassion and his desire to do good for not only those close to him but for everyone that crossed his path.

This book teaches how to live virtuously by applying virtue ethics, which is based on the philosophy of stoic thinking. Stoicism has three disciplines which are Virtue, action, and emotions. If you follow these principles, you can achieve happiness and you can even turn your problems into strengths. Stoicism teaches that one should be able to separate themselves from what they want to obtain.

Stoics also believe that one should work hard towards their goals but they need to stop making unreasonable expectations and learn how to be patient. You will also learn how to be in control of your fear and your anger and you should have the capacity to calm yourself down in any situation. A stoic needs to know the difference between the things that are well within the control of one’s self such as our beliefs, attitudes, desires, and goals, and the things that are not.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor Key Points

Living in agreement with nature will lead to fewer regrets and more happiness

Stoics believe that the best way to live is by nature. But what exactly does this mean? Stoic theory is a bit complex. But by way of simplification, let’s reason together that. Stoicism is an ancient school of thought that existed for over 700 years. The Stoics had a few simple beliefs that we should keep in mind:

  • The only thing that is completely and entirely yours is your virtuous and wise life.
  • You are part of a big universe and everything you do affects the whole.
  • Sometimes you will be faced with painful events and some of your desires will go unsatisfied.
  • The reason why you experience pain is that you have desires which do not get satisfied.
  • During painful events, be calm and rational so you can act accordingly.
  • If you live according to the above principles, you will experience peace of mind.

Stoicism is a very practical philosophy where the most important thing is to live a virtuous and wise life. In common language, we refer to Stoics as individuals who are unperturbed by external events. So when a painful event occurs, they will manage to preserve their calmness and rationality while others are making a big deal out of it. This makes them immune to social pressures, which gives them more autonomy than the rest of us.

Master the virtues to live a happy and wise life

Philosophy has a lot to teach us about how to live a good life, but practicing it can be a bit tricky. The reason why it’s so difficult to master the virtues (Wisdom, morality, courage, and moderation) is that they’re interconnected. To become wise, you first have to learn, which requires effort and patience; if you lack courage, you’ll lack the will to sacrifice your comfort and stick to your goals; and if you do not have moderation, you’ll find it impossible to resist temptations.

The only thing we can do is to try to make some steps forward and deal with the big mistakes, not the little ones. The only way to develop courage is by facing fears every day, and little by little, we will get closer to what we are supposed to be. By facing our fear of rejection, of making mistakes in public, of getting hurt, we will become braver and more confident.

But how can you work on your virtues, and how can you improve them? If you know the virtues and what it takes to master them, it’s easy to see how to go from good to better, from better to best. The Stoics used many exercises to practice their virtues, and since these exercises were so powerful for them back then, modern practitioners often use them to this day as well. After all, the way we can get better at art or athletics is by practicing them.

Rather than trying to sit on pain, you exercise your tolerance through short periods

The most important thing to do when you’re in pain is to stay on top of it, especially if said pain is the result of a chronic condition or illness. However, most people aren’t exactly prepared for dealing with pain regularly. It can be a hard habit to break, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to help improve your pain relief.

After the kind of pain that knocks you off your feet, there is no such thing as enduring it. That’s where meditation can help. Its main use is not to make us feel good, but to make us feel good in the absence of feeling good. The practice is tough-minded: We will get over this—or we won’t.

The Stoics agree that pain can teach us something about ourselves and life, but they disagree about how to respond to pain. The Stoic Seneca advises us to treat adversities with forbearance, saying that “true strength lies in opposing all pain, whether past or present, with equal mental strength.” Epictetus counsels endurance, saying that the sage “will neither avoid nor seek out anything because of its effect on his body or his mind.”

Stoicism was born in a culture of slavery and death, which makes their attitude toward pain all the more impressive. Their greatest challenge was to live with dignity in an age when personal honor depended so much on being able to endure physical torment. Death was a risk they took every time they left their home, but they did not complain when it came.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor Quotes

“What matters, in other words, isn’t what we feel but how we respond to those feelings.” –Donald J. Robertson

“Socrates used to say that death is like some prankster in a scary mask, dressed as a bogeyman to frighten small children. The wise man carefully removes the mask and, looking behind it, he finds nothing worth fearing.” –Donald J. Robertson

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor Review

I find that it is a very good book because it is so relatable – you feel as if you are part of Marcus Aurelius’ world. It’s easy to imagine what he felt and how he reacted to different situations. I would recommend this book to anyone who desires to live a meaningful life, whether or not they play any role in politics or government.

To whom I would recommend How to Think Like a Roman Emperor?

  • Anyone who issued in reading stoic philosophy.
  • Any history student is interested in the lives of Romans.
  • Anyone who wants to live his desired life.

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