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425 Ward Farnsworth: The Practicing Stoic

“The Practicing Stoic” explores the ancient philosophy of Stoicism and provides practical guidance on applying its principles to modern life.



In "The Practicing Stoic," Ward Farnsworth delves into the timeless philosophy of Stoicism, which originated in ancient Greece and Rome. Farnsworth explores the core principles of Stoicism, including understanding what is within our control, embracing virtue, and accepting the impermanence of life. He presents Stoicism as a practical philosophy that can be applied to daily life to cultivate resilience, inner tranquility, and a sense of purpose. Farnsworth draws upon the wisdom of ancient Stoic philosophers, such as Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius, to provide valuable insights and actionable advice for navigating life's challenges. By practicing Stoicism, readers can develop a mindset that enables them to respond to adversity with equanimity and lead a life of virtue and meaning.


  1. Title: "The Practicing Stoic"
  2. Author: Ward Farnsworth
  3. Publishing year: 2018
  4. Publisher: Princeton University Press
  5. Length in hours: 9 hours and 57 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Stoic philosophy and its relevance today: Farnsworth introduces Stoicism as a philosophy of life and highlights its enduring relevance in navigating modern challenges.
  2. The dichotomy of control: The book explores the Stoic concept of focusing on what is within our control, such as our thoughts, actions, and values, and letting go of external circumstances beyond our control.
  3. Virtue as the highest good: Farnsworth emphasizes the importance of cultivating virtue and moral character as the ultimate goal of the Stoic practitioner.
  4. Acceptance of the impermanence of life: The book discusses the Stoic perspective on the transitory nature of life and the importance of accepting and embracing change and impermanence.
  5. Practices for everyday Stoicism: Farnsworth provides practical techniques and exercises inspired by Stoic teachings that readers can apply in their daily lives to cultivate resilience, mindfulness, gratitude, and ethical behavior.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Stoicism: Your ticket to serenity in a chaotic world, without the need for a toga or sandals."
  2. "Imagine Marcus Aurelius giving a TED Talk on 'The Art of Inner Peace.' That's Stoicism in a nutshell."
  3. "Stoic wisdom: It's like a mental spa day, where you emerge refreshed, centered, and ready to face whatever life throws at you."
  4. "Stoicism: The ultimate life hack for maintaining your chill amidst the chaos of daily existence."
  5. "Who needs a life coach when you have the Stoics whispering timeless advice in your ear?"

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Stoicism is not about suppressing emotions but understanding and transforming them into virtuous action."
  2. "The Stoic recognizes that true happiness lies not in external circumstances but in the cultivation of moral character."
  3. "Adversity is not an obstacle; it is an opportunity for growth, resilience, and the development of inner strength."
  4. "Stoicism teaches us to focus on what is within our control, freeing us from the anxiety and frustration of trying to control the uncontrollable."
  5. "The Stoic does not seek to escape from the world but to engage with it virtuously, finding meaning and purpose in every moment."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing self-control and self-expression: How can one practice Stoicism while authentically expressing emotions and individuality?
  2. Determining what is within our control: How do we discern and accept the limits of our control over external circumstances, while still striving for positive change?
  3. Navigating relationships and Stoic principles: How can Stoicism guide our interactions with others, including empathy, forgiveness, and maintaining healthy boundaries?
  4. Embracing uncertainty: How does Stoicism help us find peace and purpose in an unpredictable and ever-changing world?
  5. Ethical decision-making: How can Stoic principles inform and guide our moral choices, particularly in challenging situations where conflicting values may arise?

5 examples

  1. Marcus Aurelius: Farnsworth draws extensively from the writings of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher, to illustrate key Stoic principles and teachings.
  2. Epictetus: The book explores the teachings of Epictetus, a prominent Stoic philosopher whose discourses and Enchiridion offer practical guidance for living a virtuous life.
  3. Seneca: Farnsworth references Seneca, another renowned Stoic philosopher, known for his letters and essays that provide insights into Stoic ethics and practical wisdom.
  4. Nelson Mandela: Farnsworth discusses how Nelson Mandela's ability to maintain resilience and forgiveness during his imprisonment exemplified Stoic virtues in practice.
  5. Theodore Roosevelt: The book references Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, who embodied Stoic principles of courage, self-discipline, and perseverance.

Referenced books

  1. "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius
  2. "Letters from a Stoic" by Seneca
  3. "Discourses" by Epictetus
  4. "The Obstacle Is the Way" by Ryan Holiday
  5. "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy" by William B. Irvine

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"Who needs a life coach when you have the Stoics whispering timeless advice in your ear?"

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