Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

Every year I review a handful of concepts, books, articles, and talks as part of my yearly goal-setting and planning practice. These pieces, and this practice, serve as periodic checkpoints to ensure I don’t stray far from the path I’ve set for myself on the way to being the best person I can be. In some cases, they’re great reminders for living a better and happier life. In other cases, cues for the causes and principles I want to always have front and center in my mind.

Revisiting these concepts regularly is my way of systematizing the inherently disorganized process of adopting and integrating concepts, techniques, processes, and values into my day-to-day life.

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share some of those articles and talks here.

If these pieces resonate with you, I encourage you to bookmark them under a folder on your web browser titled “annual/quarterly reads.” Add to the list as you see fit to. Set calendar reminders quarterly, biannually, or annually to take a look.


Next on my list of annual reads is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Written by Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, Meditations is a compilation of journal entries never meant for public consumption. In addition to years of studying Stoicism, this fact allowed Aurelius to write knowledgeably and honestly about the world around him. He journaled about his thoughts, his experience in trying to live virtuously, and his shortcomings, among other topics.

The result is a collection of maxims that read as if they could have been written today. Aurelius wrestles with the real world and writes about his struggle to live up to the stoic ideal. No small feat.

Pro tip: read Meditations slowly, dog-earring and highlighting the passages that resonate most. When you return to this book the next year, read only those passages. You’ll become more familiar with the most resonant writings over time and find yourself easily internalizing Stoicism.