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I bought this because I really liked Ryan Holiday's other books ("The Obstacle is the Way" and "Trust Me, I'm Lying" are both awesome), and because Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" made a huge impact on me. But I gave up after a few pages because I found it patronising. There's a pace for each day of the year. Each page contains a quote from a Stoic philosopher, with a paragraph or two underneath, to explain the quote and give advice to the reader. The thing is, the quotes from the Stoics stand on their own: the Stoics' language is clear and easy for the modern reader to understand; the ideas are straightforward (though this doesn't make them any less profound). The explanations from Ryan Holliday and his co-author are completely redundant and unnecessary, and I felt this book was talking down to me. It would make an excellent gift for a teenager or young person (up to the age of 25), or for someone who hasn't done a lot of self-reflection. Anyone else, I would recommend reading the source material instead. Or, if you really want to open your mind and (re)awaken your sense of purpose, read Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago". I still love Ryan Holliday's work, but this isn't one of his best.
These comments are based on my experience of following the daily readings in this book for a period of about five weeks. It has been quite disappointing.
I had expected tha a book of 366 meditations would help broaden my knowledge of the stoics by including quotations from writers other than the three "greats" (Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius). In fact there seem to be very few of these in the book (none at all in the period I have been following it). This may not be entirely the fault of the compilers; it is possible that there are very few surviving texts by other writers.
The daily quotations are stated to be newly translated. "New" does not necessarily mean "better". In one case I found myself consulting other translations in order to clarify the meaning of the quoted text.
My main problem is with the commentaries on the quoted texts. In some cases these seem to me to be merely repetitive of the quotation, or slightly beside the point, or self-contradictory. The style is quite didactic - more exhortation to follow the "stoic programme" than basis for meditation/reflection. For me, a better basis for meditation is simply to read slowly and reflect on short passages from the other readily available translations of the stoic philosophers.
My copy of this book will probably go to the charity shop, where it may find a reader who can gain more from it than I have been able to.
This give a quote for each day of the year, mostly from Seneca, Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius but occasionally from another fragmentary Stoic source. They are divided into three four month groups under the headings Perception, Action and Will, corresponding to well known Stoic precepts and stages of development, then each subdivided divided into four months with its own focus. It could be argued that such an arrangement works best if actually starting on 1st Jan rather than at a random point in the year, but on the other hand it could be argued that someone is likely to read this book year upon year anyway. It does mean that quotes several days in a row tend to revolve around a similar idea, but it's intended to be a book of progression rather than variety.
As to the selected quotes (newly translated by the authors), sometimes I feel that they are taken a bit out of context. The additional commentaries sometimes feel a bit random in not always obviously relating directly to the quote, and I agree with another reviewer here that they're not always well written and often fall into a cheerleading "Whoo! Yeah! You can do it if you really try!" mode rather than being genuinely Stoic. (I have seen similar criticism of Holiday's previous books - which I should stress I haven't read - that is to say that they seem more about success in business than Stoicism and the practice of virtue.)
It's OK as a basic introduction to Stoic thought. It will do its job if it piques the interest of the reader into deeper exploration of the original sources rather than being relied on as a self-contained text.
This book attempts to be an Amateur Stoic Philosopher Almanach, Just like the Farmer Almanachs of yore were. The format is a Thought for the Day and not surprisingly contains 366 quםtations (thoughtfully taking into account leap years!), mostly of Epictetus, Markus Aurelius, and Seneca, with a sprinkling of lesser stoic luminaries. This part is perfectly OK, and although I do not think one can really apportion twelve different philosophical areas for the twelve months of the year, I do respect the author's freedom to do so. What I do have problem with is the author's commentary appended to each quotation. While the musings of Marcus Aurelius are sometimes interesting, Epictetus's prescriptions for the daily stoic really insightful and charming, and Seneca's letters beautiful and forceful, the commentaries supplied by Mr. Holiday are trite, sententious, often sanctimonious, and overall tiresome. His examples from daily life and the contemporary greats are quite nauseating and more often than not miss the point. When Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus talk about forgoing desires, they do not mean food addiction or cigarettes. After reading through some sixty, I continued reading just the quotations. On the other hand, the inroduction is good and informative. One more thought though. Although the stoics preached abstinence and disregarding ambitions and pleasures, the most well known practitioners (e.g. Marcus Aurelius or Frederic the Great) were people of action, ambition, and almost unmitigated power. Their deeds were therefore justified by their belief in doing the right thing (in their own opinion of course), like the Marcus Aurelius unrelenting persecution of the Christians (who did preach humility!). So the best example of the contemporary stoic maybe a Buddhist monk or a health worker in Africa, rather than Theodore Roosevelt or "Mad Dog" Mattis. If you settle for introduction and the quotes, the book is a modest reasonable compedium to peruse from time to time.
Wanted something akin to "Daily Reflections" but more based in logic and reasoning, not religion. This is closer to what I was looking for and I have enjoyed it so far, but unfortunately there is still plenty of thinly veiled "trust god" type reading in here.