Tao of Seneca – Free PDFs

Tao of Seneca - Letters from a Stoic Master

My team and I have been working on this for more than six months, and it’s finally finished!  

The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master is a small thank-you gesture to all of you — three volumes of Stoic writing starring Seneca, complete with original illustrations, profiles of modern Stoic figures, interviews, original Japanese and Chinese calligraphy to match themes, and much more. It’s totally free and you can download the PDFs below. Sharing is encouraged. Kindle versions are coming shortly, but it’s easy to get the PDFs on your Kindle now (instructions below).

I hope you find Seneca’s wisdom as life-changing as I have. I also owe a very special thanks to my entire team and all of the contributors who took part in the project. Thank you!

Tao of Seneca: Volume 1

Tao of Seneca: Volume 2

Tao of Seneca: Volume 3

If interested, I also turned Seneca’s letters into an audiobook series (paid). I often listen to one letter (5-15 minutes each) while walking to coffee in the morning. You can find it here: The Tao of Seneca.

For Those Interested: How to Put a PDF on Your Kindle

Below is a breakdown (directly copied from Amazon with my comments in [brackets]) on how you can easily email a PDF document and upload to your Kindle.

  1. You and your approved contacts can send documents to your registered Kindle devices, free Kindle reading applications, and your Kindle Library in the Amazon Cloud by e-mailing them to your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address ([name]@kindle.com). Your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address is a unique e-mail address assigned to each of your Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications upon registration.
  2. How to send a document to your Kindle:

To find your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address, visit the Manage your Devices page at Manage Your Kindle. [TIM: To skip to the part you need, go to the “Settings” tab and then scroll down to “Personal Document Settings.” That will be true if you click on any of the links in these instructions.]

Documents can only be sent to your Kindle devices or apps from e-mail accounts that you added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List. To add an e-mail account, visit the Personal Document Settings page.

To send a document to your Kindle device or app, simply attach it to an e-mail addressed to your Send-to-Kindle e-mail.

[TIM: Note that the above does NOT work for the Kindle app on Mac desktop. If you want to read a PDF in that app, go to “File” –> “Import PDF…” and you’re off to the races.]

 

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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226 Replies to “Tao of Seneca – Free PDFs”

  1. Awe Fuck!!! this is awesome!!! You are fuckin amazing, Thank you so much for this and everything you do. You have changed my life.

  2. Tim,

    Thank you for your work. You’ve truly changed my life! The fact you’re producing even more content at no charge is awesome and shows that the spirit with which you labor is one of compassion for the human condition.

    Best,

    Wei-Ming

  3. Thank you !! I converted the pdf to work to load onto my kindle, so that I can study this stuff and make notes/flashcards etc 🙂

  4. Thanks Tim. These look beautifully constructed.

    Appreciate the effort you and you team put in to creating them.

    Ali

  5. You’ve done a beautiful job composing & re-crafting Seneca’s work, I am immersing myself in the reading for a part of each day. This and much of your other works and collaborations have re-inspired me to take up an inquiry I’ve been working on for years now and that you have addressed in many of your interviews and writings – that it seems that our central problem, central to our suffering is the condition of solipsism, and the reflexive internal preoccupation with ourselves and what we talk to ourselves about. With inquiry I’ve concluded that this condition does not seem natural, it appears no other animal talks to themselves, and it doesn’t look like talking to ourselves is present at birth, for language is learned and thinking happens in words. So it must be true that this condition is imbedded in our linguistic culture, and as we learn language, we learn to talk to ourselves – as though there is a little self with which to talk, like an entity inside our rib cage, or an ethereal self, or maybe what some call a soul – a soul that has linguistic capacity. But how could this linguistic condition be serving us? We seem to tolerate a constant thread of suffering as a result of this condition. This internally bound voice plays on like a broken record – repeating the same criticisms, likes, dislikes, betrayals, doubts, worries, losses, wins, regrets, desires, embarrassments …. the endless stream of blaming, fault finding, comparisons, envies… the complaints that life has been unfair to us… and on the flip side of all that negativity (be it right or wrong) the way we can position ourselves as all knowing, better than, smarter, special, right and deserving. Its true that we’ve been wronged in our lives, everyone has and will continue to be … but is the constant replaying of these wrongs ever of value, isn’t it long over and done with, isn’t our time precious (as said so eloquently in one of your chapters from Seneca)

    In contrast to this internally bound voice is the relief that we experience when we are out of our heads, enraptured with a favorite hobby, or when we ‘lose ourselves’ in writing, painting, reading, meditating, playing. For some its more extreme – risking life and limb in order to experience that totally in the moment feeling. Those experiences, of being free from ‘ourself’ are beautiful, peaceful, exhilarating – and must be able to be recreated through a shift in our understanding which with commitment and energy may translate to a shift in our behavior and more authoritative restraint on the self centered, egoistic, talking to itself ‘self’.

    So then I think – what IS thinking? What would be the difference between talking to ourselves and thinking? At this moment, I think that talking to ourselves is a reflexive, habitual condition, its already there, requires no real thought or effort. Its there when you wake, already having its say and its almost always in the background of our mind. Thinking then, or at least good thinking, would be done in a more creative manner – we’d bring a subject, a problem, an inquiry to ‘the table’ – and with a pen or keyboard at hand, or a person with which creative dialogue is possible, then we could also reflect – in our own minds, but there would be a subject at hand and the exercise of writing or speaking that would bring this thinking to light and make more apparent to us the flaws as well as the insights and possible resolutions.

    What if our freedom from this internally bound, solipsistic voice can come from a better understanding of who we are and who we are not, a re-learning of this human body as a coalescence of biology, history, language and culture, that the self with which we talk to is a myth – that all there is, is our brain and our body and our intersubjective connection to the environments we find ourselves in. What would we be like if we were always free from this voice, or at least able to temper its weight, fully present to what is right in front of us, free to listen and respond, untethered by our concerns for crafting our image – our concerns for being attractive, smart, competent, our almost obsessive desire to be right.

    I think this will require an unlearning as much as a re-learning. A stopping of the habitual, reflexive, insistent voice inside our heads and a return, over and over again to the task before us, the conversation, the song, the page, the person, the project, the moment of engagement that we are always in. Kind of like being pasted up against life as it is, without the delusional screen of the talking to itself self. A life’s work for sure, but already enormously freeing … as long as I can keep myself away from the idea of some permanently rewarding end, and take joy in the process, the inquiry and the incremental changes we are able to make in the way we behave and therefore in the way we experience living. I struggle with what it takes to be competent in this modern world, to keep a roof over our heads, and at the same time be at peace with our existence, our finitude. But the struggle has been meaningful. Your work gives me a lot of fuel to work with, thank you for all you contribute.

    Living life as an art project, finding what it means to be authentic, generous, joyful and making the effort to give meaning where there may be none.

  6. Thank you Mr F, this was placed on my must purchase list just today and thanks to your fabulous self that’s done and for free.

    Sharn

  7. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for this… there are no words! I have been dying to study Seneca and Stoicism since I started listening to your podcasts. This popped up in my e-mail at a really low point in my life and I am so excited to find healing through the Tao of Seneca! Much love to you, Tim!

  8. Thank you Tim. I had just purchased the Audibles audio edition and it is great to now have a text version to refer back to so I can refresh my thoughts.

  9. This is invaluable! Thanks, Tim.

    BTW, there is an easier way of sending all 3 PDFs to your Kindle if you are an iPhone user, without having to go to Amazon or doing it on your computer.

    On your iPhone, open this page in Chome

    Click on the 1st volume, it will open as PDF

    In Chome browser, click on the Additional settings in the upper right corner (vertical dots)

    Click on a “Share” icon (usually first in the list)

    iPhone will render the default ways of sharing (e.g. social media or emails)

    If you don’t see Kindle icon in the list – click on “More” – last icon

    From the presented list select /enable Kindle

    Once you enable Kindle sharing, repeat the steps above but select “Send to Kindle” when choosing how to share your PDF

    Done!

  10. wow, these are huge volumes and to imagine the effort to put this all together !!

    thank you, I am definitely going to read this

  11. What a wonderful gift for us all.

    Thank you so very much.

    I look forward to the Kindle version, as well as listening to the audio books that you created.

  12. Thank you Tim.

    the calligraphy is awesome, but its origin isn’t from Japanese. (i know you heard it from Japanese tho)

    they are Chinese characters.

    靜 (jin) means quiet, inner peace.

    觀 (quan) means to see, to feel, to observe

    together they mean quietly observe. when it refers to the outer world, it means wait and see, be patient and watch how the situation goes. it can also mean self-reflection, observing your breathing, zen, and reaching inner peace.

    getting a lot of inspiration from you

    congrats and love from Taiwan

  13. Thank you so much for putting these out for free as pdfs, but are you by any chance going to publish these books

  14. Thanks for the inspiration to delve into stoicism; it’s added value to my life. And thanks for the free share of these 3 volumes. I’ll still by the audible versions 🙂

  15. Thanks for this Tim and team. Any idea when the Kindle version will be ready? I loaded the PDFs onto my Kindle, but the font is too small and can’t be adjusted (for PDFs on the Kindle). I also tried Amazon’s “convert” feature to convert it to Kindle format by putting “convert” in the subject line when emailing the PDF to my Kindle – problem with that is it made a mess of the formatting and particularly the table of contents.

    All the best and thanks for all the great content you provide.

  16. Gracias Tim, i am a big fan of your work. I´ve read all your books and listen to every podcast you have published. ToT definitely my life guide. Thanks for sharing this work. It´s awesome- Regards from Mexico.

  17. Love this, Tim! Thanks so much for all that you do. I’ve learned so much from you–from Stoicism, productivity, entrepreneurship, meditation, gratitude, simplifying, being fear{less}, and more! Stay awesome!!!

  18. Hey Tim,

    Thanks so much for your goodwill!

    I find stoicism just great.

    It resonates so much with who I am / want to be.

    I have been searching for complementary methods to find real and lasting happiness, peace and harmony and wanted to share with you one discovery I made recently which is called by the name of Vipassana.

    It’s a meditation technique / mental exercice who’s goal is to achieve total mastery and total purification of the mind to its deepest levels.

    It’s something that has totally changed my life / goals.

    I’d be so happy to hear your opinion / experience about it, because I feel it’s something that you might very much like as it’s in the spirit of perfecting and becoming the best version of oneself.

    It’s taught in a 10-day retreat format and I just come out of my 4th and I am blown away by the sharpness and clarity of my mind. It’s simply just amazing that such a thing exists! I am so grateful to have come into contact with it.

    So much love and joy to you all!

    David

  19. Thanks for this Tim. I stumbled across Seneca a month or so ago and read a book which was more a history of the man and time rather than delving into his writings. What you have provided is exactly what I was after!

  20. Thank you so much for this. I am going to get them as a xmas present for a dear friend struggling currently. Do you know any cost effective places where I can get it turned into a book for him?

  21. Tim, Awesomness, I ended up here while looking for a 5 bullet Friday link and wow, I cant wait to jump in on these 3 volumes! Also just finished listening to the interview with Arianna Huffington—inspiring & brilliant! Thanks big time 🙂

  22. Thanks Tim for more…more…more…, i’m loving your 4-hr Work Week book !!

    ( the audio version) it’s harder to read books while driving, so audio is king!! Is there an audio version of your new book in the pipeline ? That would make it even awesome-er !! Can’t wait to check it out. thanks again, from Texas!

  23. Thank you so much for this generous gift!! I pray many blessing come your way, your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. I will be sharing this with my boyfriend and close friends

  24. Gracias Tim, por este increíble trabajo a lo largo de estos años, realmente eres una inspiración. Las cartas de Seneca un regalo fenomenal para esta navidad. Un abrazo

  25. Hey Tim! Thank you so much. Someone probably already told you this, but I wanted to say that Tao is pronounced “dow,” not “tow.” No biggie, just thought you should know.

  26. Thank you so much for this book Tim. The fact that you and your team are willing to facilitate this timeless wisdom to everyone shows what a great people you are.

  27. Thanks Tim, I really do appreciate the amount of free knowledge I have got from you and continue to get. Your the fucking man!!

  28. Hiya Moderator, I don’t want you to post this please, but I would like to check up on the Tao of Seneca audiobook for getting more than 5 people to sign up to the 5 Bullet Friday list?

    How do I obtain the audiobook?

    Thanks

    Martin

  29. Tim Ferriss,

    You don’t know me, however you have truly helped me to reshape my life this year, I just wanted to thank you for being the human being you are. Someone who shares his experiences and experiments to no end. Truly seeing and hearing about your adventures and learning from the other figures of the world that have made it big is not only inspiring but helpful to get started and break through obstacles I never once thought possible. Thank you for introducing me to stoicism as well, and please keep up your awesome work!

    Billy

  30. I recently bought Tribe of Mentors after listening to the Tim Urban podcast. It was a great taste. Just started my own nutrition counseling business, so I’m currently a receptacle for wisdom. Thanks for this gift, excited to read through it.

  31. I really like this collection and am enjoying the translation, but has there been an official release of the Kindle versions?

    The PDFs are acceptable, but I’m finding the formatting inconsistent on my Kindle. From page to page, the fonts can be totally different sizes. It’s readable, but I’d like an official release.

  32. Tribe book has changed my life. I have given away several copies to friends …wish I had read this book 30 years ago.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    Nick Nassiri

  33. Dude, your books are truly life changing. Thank you for exposing me to so many interesting people… The way that you created this book was simply put , Awesome! I’ve learned how to be more myself, which sounds so weird, and appreciate every guest you brought in.

    1. I met you , when I listen your TED talk.

      I make the exercise fear seting.

      My life change. My family dinamics life change , so thanks for your hard work that make us use it for a happier life.

  34. Thank you for providing the letters of Tao of Seneca. Though they are “heavy” reading, they are worthwhile and meaningful, as is almost anything that requires directed effort.

    All the best.

  35. Thanks Tim.

    Just stumbled upon these and just downloaded them. Only recently discovered the stoics after reading Ryan holidays book.

    I enjoy most of your content, thanks for still pumping it out.

    Adam