These books ask and answer some of the big questions in an accessible way.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius is considered to be a prime example of what Plato called a Philosopher King – a noble and self-aware leader. Meditations is less a book than it is a collection of thoughts. Aurelius was a Roman Emperor, the most powerful man in the world, when he penned it. He wanted to record his lessons on how to live a good life. It’s timeless.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
A student of psychology was sent to a concentration camp during the Second World War, and this is the story of his observations. Heartbreaking, infuriating, but always insightful, it’s a fascinating account of human nature and the concept of meaning. Frankl breaks the book into two parts: his experience and his psychological theory. It’s a useful perspective.
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton
De Botton either gets immense credit for making philosophy widely accessible or he gets criticized for oversimplification. We’re of the opinion that to be broadly practical, sometimes, philosophical theory has to be simplified. This book summarizes the work of some of the most influential thinkers in history in an engaging way through the lens of our everyday problems.
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
Seneca was another powerful man in ancient Rome. These letters contain advice on everything from success and failure to grief and poverty. A particular theme with Stoics, like Seneca and Aurelius, was their focus on practicality over theory. And these letters are a reminder that in spite of all that has changed, most of what they knew then still applies today.
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
In the western world, we naturally feel the influence of western philosophy more greatly than eastern philosophy. British thinker Alan Watts sought to change that. This book was published in 1968, but it has arguably more application today. You might agree with it, disagree with it, or sit somewhere in between, but you will come out of it with new thoughts.