Book Review: Meditations - by Marcus Aurelius


Thoughts from a Roman Emperor on the philosophy of Stoicism. This is a book I like to dip into occasionally, rather than read from cover to cover.

My notes

(Mostly just a few select quotes)

Work intelligently with what is given - not wasting time fantasizing about flawless people and perfect choices.

Even the slightest act should have some end in mind.

Purge your mind of aimless and idle thoughts. Show the world a simple and kindly man, a good neighbor, indifferent to sensual pleasures and luxuries, untouched by jealousy, envy, and mistrust.

Neither popularity, nor wealth, nor power, nor the pleasures of the flesh should compete in your affection for the good that flows from reason and neighborliness.

Change is never bad nor good. Judgement about change is not helpful.

How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened. Bad luck borne nobly is good luck.

Were you born for enjoyment? Look at the plants, ants, spiders and bees, all busy at their work, welding the world. Why should you hesitate to do your part?

Harm comes from persisting in error and clinging to ignorance.

The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others. The happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts.

You always own the option of having no opinion. Things you can’t control are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.

The measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about.

Those who are affected by outward circumstance will always find something to complain about.

When you have done something well and someone else has benefited from it, why do you crave yet a third reward - to be thanked or to be repaid?

If you’re troubled by something outside yourself, it isn’t the thing itself that bothers you, but your opinion of it.

When somebody’s behavior offends you, find fault instead with yourself for failing to anticipate his offensive behavior.

Stop all this theorizing about what a good man should be. Be it!

No situation is better suited for the practice of philosophy than the one you’re in now.

I marvel at how men love themselves more than others, while at the same time caring more about what others think of them than what they think of themselves.

Whatever causes you to be upset has always happened and will always happen, and even now is happening everywhere.