I love reading books on philosophy, psychology (especially moral), mindset, decision-making, and habit change. What about you? Are you open to them?
Throughout human history, countless books have been written, exploring some curious questions: why are we here? What is the meaning of life? How do we live a good life?
I’ve read a few (probably over 100), some great, some I could have done without. I won’t admit that I have internalized all of the lessons, or are well-versed in their teachings, or was able to understand everything without a third re-reading, or practice what they preached. I won’t even admit that I enjoyed all books on the aforementioned topics. Honestly, I’m not astute enough to differentiate between a good philosophy book from another. What I do enjoying doing, though, is learning how much of the human condition has been explored.
I think it’s fascinating how some of the authors — ancient and modern — can create doctrines exploring how humans think, act, and behave under various situations. Some of these leaders were emperors, full-time philosophers, business owners, politicians, professors, etc. While they may have been part of varying disciplines, I believe one thread connects them all – they were curious about how they, and other humans, acted, and wanted to study the nature of life.
From senators who were imprisoned unjustly (Boethius) to the world’s most powerful person (Marcus Aurelius), these ‘philosophers’ wanted to understand what made a life virtuous, meaningful, and worthy.
Why do we act the way we do? How do we change the way we act? How do we all fit into the grand scheme of things?
It might be strange to ask yourself these questions or to consider philosophy, but I think you should. After all, you want to live a good life (through fitness), and philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. Taken further, the study of how to live a good life.
Here are some books you can start with:
- The Practicing Stoic by Ward Farnsworth (2018)
- Consolations of Philosophy by Boethius (6th century AD)
- The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
- Elevate by Joseph Deitch
- The Emperor’s Handbook (Modern Translation of Meditations) by Marcus Aurelius
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
- Springboard by G. Richard Shell
- The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
- Recovery by Russell Brand
- Why Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Emotional Education by School of Life (Alain de Botton)
- Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
- Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday
This is just a short list. There are plenty of great books that I didn’t list.
Some of these books are easier to read than others. Some use more colorful language and are more verbose. Some hit you straight in the gut, others lightly stroke your back. I hope all of them can have some sort of impact on you, like they did with me. I can’t say that I understand the meaning of life, but I can say I understand better what it means to live a better one.
Until next time, read on.
Yours in strength,