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Ancient Stoic insights combined with modern psychological research help us overcome—and even benefit from—everyday obstacles.
Some people bounce back in response to setbacks; others break. We often think that these responses are hardwired but this is not the case. William B. Irvine combines key lessons from the ancient Stoics with modern psychological techniques to develop a simple strategy for dealing with life’s unpleasant surprises. These include minor setbacks like being caught in a traffic jam or having a flight cancelled, as well as major setbacks, like those experienced by Stephen Hawking or Bethany Hamilton.
By using the updated Stoic strategy, life’s setbacks can be transformed into opportunities to become calmer, tougher and more resilient. The Stoic Challenge is a practical guide to using centuries-old wisdom to help us better-cope with the stresses of modern living.
“Irvine is a warm and friendly Stoic, and one of the great guides through the subject. His congenial writing offers strategies for the anxiety-free, supple kind of sturdiness with which we should all be greeting ourselves and the world.” — Derren Brown, mentalist, illusionist, and author of Happy
“At this point, it’s helpful to turn to philosophy, which can fill the gap in tough times for people who are not religiously inclined... Recent and helpful books include... William Irvine’s The Stoic Challenge; all draw on original materials such as the Discourses of Epictetus and Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. One of the simple but powerful threads running through them is the need to separate what you can control from what you can’t control, and focus all your thoughts and efforts on the former.” — Ceri Radford, What to read to stay sane during the coronavirus pandemic, The Independent