The Practicality of Pessimism: Stoicism as a Productivity System


This is a recent 5-minute presentation I gave at Google I/O Ignite called “The Practicality of Pessimism: Stoicism as a Productivity System.” In it, I discuss the two most effective productivity techniques I’ve found since 2004, both borrowed from Stoicism. I include personal usage examples, as well as several from Seneca and Cato. The audio […]

Stoicism Resources and Recommendations

Stoicism 101 Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs On The Shortness of Life: An Introduction to Seneca Stoicism for Modern Stresses: 5 Lessons from Cato The Practicality of Pessimism: Stoicism as a Productivity System General Philosophy How to Use Philosophy as a Personal Operating System: From Seneca to Musashi Looking to the Dietary Gods: Eating Well According to the Ancients […]

The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master + On Groundless Fears (Letter 13) (#134)


“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 […]

Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs


Stoicism was born on the porch of Zeno, but it can be used in the concrete jungle. (Photo: Blue Cinderella) “There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.” -Seneca Few of us would consider ourselves philosophers. Most of us can recall at least one turtleneck-wearing […]

How to Practice Poverty and Reduce Fear (#137)


“Establish business relations with poverty.” – Seneca These 10-15 minutes are gold. I revisit this letter of Seneca at least once a quarter, and I hope you find this episode equally powerful. The careful listener will find an extremely practical blueprint (and exercises) for optimizing performance in high-stress situations. If you only have 60 seconds for […]

Stoicism for Modern Stresses: 5 Lessons from Cato


The philosophical school of Stoicism is, I believe, the perfect operating system for thriving in high-stress environments. For entrepreneurs, it’s a godsend. Both Seneca and Marcus Aurelius have been extensively written about elsewhere (For my favorite resource, check out The Tao of Seneca). But what of Cato, about whom Dante said, “And what earthly man […]

Accelerated Learning and Mentors – My Personal Story (#240)


This episode is by request. You have asked me many times for an episode on education, accelerated learning, and my mentors. It will all be covered in the following conversation with Charles Best (@charlesbest), the founder and CEO of, a non-profit website that enables anyone to help a classroom in need. It is one […]

The Tim Ferriss Podcast: Ryan Holiday (#4)


“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” — Marcus Aurelius This post includes: – Sponsor intro (please visit them) – Episode description – Quick favor – Show notes and tons of useful links, including mentioned books and documentaries This episode of The Tim Ferriss Show is sponsored by HipDial, […]

The Obstacle Is The Way — The Tim Ferriss Book Club, Book #4


This post is about the fourth book in the Tim Ferriss Book Club, which is limited to books that have dramatically impacted my life. All previous selections can be found here. Enjoy! “Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself.” — PUBLILIUS SYRUS The last two weeks have been disaster after disaster for me: A dear […]