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Stoic Wisdom

Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience

Nancy Sherman


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (7/5/2021)


A deeply informed exploration of what Stoic ideas have to offer us today

Stoicism is the ideal philosophy of life for those seeking calm in times of stress and uncertainty. For many, it has become the new Zen, with meditation techniques that help us face whatever life throws our way. Indeed, the Stoics address a key question of our time: how can we be masters of our fate when the outside world threatens to unmoor our well-being?

In Stoic Wisdom, Georgetown philosophy professor Nancy Sherman, an expert in ancient and modern ethics, shows what a practical modern Stoicism really looks like. Drawing on the wisdom of Stoic thinkers Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and others, Sherman paints a portrait that uncovers the true subtlety and power of Stoic ideas.

That portrait reveals a truth often ignored: that the Stoics never thought self-sufficiency was only about rugged self-reliance and mental discipline. We are at home in the world, they taught, when we are connected to each other in cooperative efforts. While mastery of one's self is essential, we also must draw on our deepest relationships for true strength and resilience.

Bringing these ancient ideas to bear on 21st century environments-from Silicon Valley to first responders in a pandemic, to soldiers on the battlefield-Sherman shows how Stoicism can both prepare us for an uncertain future and help us cope with traumatic events. Stoic Wisdom will appeal to anyone feeling helpless or looking for deeper, meaningful strength and goodness in addressing life's biggest and smallest challenges.

Oxford University Press, USA, 9780197501832, 288pp.

Publication Date: May 11, 2021

About the Author

Nancy Sherman, University Professor at Georgetown University and Guggenheim Fellow (2013-2014) holds a Ph.D. from Harvard in ancient philosophy. An ethicist with research training in psychoanalysis, she lectures worldwide on ethics, the emotions, moral injury, and resilience. The author of Afterwar (OUP, 2015), The Untold War (2010 and New York Times editors' pick), and Stoic Warriors (OUP, 2005), and several other books on ancient and modern ethics, she served as the Inaugural Distinguished Chair of Ethics at the United States Naval Academy. She has written for the New York Times and contributes frequently to many other media outlets.