“It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence.” – Seneca the Younger
After 10+ years of fantasizing about it, I have turned my favorite writing of all time (Seneca’s letters) into an audiobook series! The title of the series is The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master.
This podcast episode gives you a sample, one of my favorites: On Groundless Fears (Letter 13). I listen to it at least once a quarter. Here it is:
And here’s a description of the full audiobook series:
The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master is an introduction to Stoic philosophy through the words of Seneca.
Thought leaders in Silicon Valley tout the benefits of Stoicism, and NFL management, coaches, and players (Patriots, Seahawks, etc.) alike have embraced it because the principles make them better competitors. If you study Seneca, you’ll be in good company. He was popular with the educated elite of the Greco-Roman Empire, but Thomas Jefferson also had Seneca on his bedside table. This philosophy is a no-nonsense system designed to produce dramatic real-world effects. Think of it as an ideal operating system for thriving in high-stress environments.
The Tao of Seneca is your guide.
My suggestion: get Volume One, listen to my Preface (the origin story is fun), then skip to one of my favorite letters, several of which I list off in the first 10 minutes.
I love listening to one letter per day — they average 10-20 minutes in length — as I walk to get coffee or go to the subway. It’s the perfect way to prime yourself for better results with less stress each morning. Warning: the first “On the Shortness of Life” version is an essay and LONG (1-1.5 hours); I suggest skipping that and sampling the shorter letters to get hooked.
These letters have repeatedly changed my life, and I wish the same for you.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast related to Stoicism? — Listen to my conversation with Ryan Holiday. In this episode, we discuss the “big three” stoics, how Stoicism applies to the modern world, and how to improve your decision-making when stakes are high (stream below or right-click here to download):
This podcast is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “if you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so. Get 50% off your order at Athletic Greens.com/Tim.
This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.
I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What philosophy or philosopher has had the biggest impact on your life or business? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- The Tim Ferriss Experiment (now available globally!)
- The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Serenity Prayer
- The Porch of Zeno (where the term “Stoicism” originated)
- Why do some of us have negative associations with philosophy? [07:32]
- What is Stoicism, and why are thought leaders in Silicon Valley and the world of sports suddenly interested in it? [08:27]
- What is the benefit of rehearsing worst-case scenarios in times of “immunity from care?” [09:48]
- With so many choices, why is Seneca Tim’s go-to philosopher? [11:36]
- How can you make time to apply Seneca’s wisdom to your own life? [13:26]
- How is Stoicism like cognitive behavioral therapy? [13:55]
- What are Tim’s three favorite selections from Volume One? [14:40]
- How did John A. Robinson become the voice of The Tao of Seneca? [15:32]
- Letter 13: On Groundless Fears [16:32]
- Seneca the Younger
- Lucilius Junior
- John A. Robinson
- Thomas Jefferson
- Michel de Montaigne
- Bill Clinton
- Marcus Aurelius
- John Stuart Mill
- Tom Wolfe
- Emperor Nero
- Zeno of Citium
- Cato the Younger
Posted on: January 22, 2016.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.