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The Book of Life

It makes little difference whether you’re a student, bartender, office worker, captain of industry, entrepreneur, or a new parent, most of us can do with a little inspiration from time to time.

Thanks to happenstance, I recently stumbled across a website that offers that in spades. It’s The Book of Life, and I have been hooked ever since.

It is not, I repeat not, a self-help site (I wouldn’t do that to anyone). As well, it doesn’t presume to tell you “how to think.” Rather, it simply introduces you to how others have thought about income, career, relationships, anxieties, and society as a whole.

Refreshingly unbiased, it discusses people and ideas in a fair and even manner—always concluding that we need to remain open and inspired about each topic, person, idea, and/or theory.

Some of it might come across more like a review of historical figures and topics you may (or may not) have studied in high school or university, but try to look past that. It doesn’t matter if your major was in philosophy or political science, most of us by nature grow quite forgetful. Refreshing what we once knew is a good way to have that stay with us, so that we can evolve and grow.

Recently, philosophy has made a sort of comeback, and it seems to be at the center of a lot of Internet buzz. And it is Stoicism that appears to be at the center of it all.

(Perhaps painfully obvious to all, but I would nonetheless just like to point out that no matter how chaotic and/or difficult times seem in this increasingly hyper-intense world of ours, they are absolutely nothing when compared to what people had to endure in ancient Greece and Rome.)

The Stoics had a very sobering way of dealing with anxiety, anger, pain, and detriment. They encouraged facing it in a more pure and honest way, instead of coddling it with positivity—or, as if often the case now, with prescription medicines. While certainly more difficult, it is also all the more fulfilling on the other side.

If they knew at the time that in the future people would just pop pills to suppress/control their feelings and emotions, the temptation to off themselves (suicide was regularly encouraged) then and there at the very idea of people living without some sort of misery in their life would prove almost too strong to resist.

If you don’t find the Stoics appealing to you or your sensibilities, not to worry as there are numerous introductions to other famous philosophers and thinkers, even Eastern philosophy (below). And for those with little passion (or time) for reading, each section is accompanied by a brief video at the conclusion (like below) of each section.