Meditations (Book Review)

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

Lessons learnt: Our thoughts & opinions shape our world(view). You have the power of your own mind, not outside events. If you look closely enough, there is tremendous strength inside you.

Writing for only himself, Meditations is a personal book that reflects the thought processes of one of Rome’s greatest Emperors. There are a million life-lessons hidden in the text and filler nonsense did not make the cut. Meditations is a non-chronological compilation of Marcus Aurelius‘ life. This book is interesting for everyone interested in philosophy, ethics, or more specifically, stoicism. Get ready to set aside your ego, control your emotions and shape the world around you (by moulding yourself).

It is difficult to review a book like Meditations, the chapters have no names, there is little use of examples and the language is somewhat complex. Each chapter describes another theme, and here is a short description of the one in chapter 3 (according to my interpretation). The third chapter presents you with lessons on how to use your mental capacities. The bottom line states: every day you get closer to your death, so do not waste your (mental) capacities. Do not get lost in the battles of others, do not lie or deceive and do nothing against your own will. Be cheerful and help others, but never lose yourself (Eminem reference?). Be intent and pursue things that are righteous – nothing more, nothing less.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius

I have decided to keep this review very short. Meditations is a book that you should read once, study twice and look back to many more times. Around the web, you can find many quotes taken from Meditations and I reckon that this is one of the best ways to respect and remember his writing. For the Stoics among us (see A Guide to the Good Life) this book gives a good peek into the mind of Marcus Aurelius.

More on Meditations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditations – Wiki on Meditations

https://librivox.org/the-meditations-of-marcus-aurelius/ – Librivox audiobook of Meditations

http://www.philaletheians.co.uk/Study%20notes/Living%20the%20Life/Marcus%20Aurelius’%20Meditations%20-%20tr.%20Casaubon.pdf – .pdf of Meditations