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Publisher's Summary

Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting this moment as it presents itself, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly. 

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that "virtue is the only good" for human beings, and that external things - such as health, wealth, and pleasure - are not good or bad in themselves, but have value as "material for virtue to act upon". Alongside Aristotelian ethics, the Stoic tradition forms one of the major founding approaches to Western virtue ethics. The Stoics also held that certain destructive emotions resulted from errors of judgment, and they believed people should aim to maintain a will that is "in accord with nature". They thought the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said, but how a person behaved. To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they taught everything was rooted in nature. 

Many Stoics, such as Seneca and Epictetus, emphasized that because "virtue is sufficient for happiness", a sage would be emotionally resilient to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase "stoic calm", though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious. From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular during the Roman Empire and its adherents included the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

©2018 Dean Cohen (P)2018 Dean Cohen

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    5 out of 5 stars

Best overview I’ve seen yet.

It is nice when an overview/introduction to a philosophical system can be enjoyable and informative to someone who is skeptical. I am skeptical and this is he third or fourth intro to stoicism that I have gone through. This is my favorite. Th content is well organized and the narrator was perfect. This is a great place to start.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • EP
  • Walnut Creek, CA United States
  • 07-21-18

Good Overview of Stoicism

This brief audiobook provides a great overview of the basic tenets of "Stoicism", a philosophy that emerged in the 3rd century BC and became popular throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics based on logic and man's place in the natural world. Adherents of Stoicism included Cato, Cleanthes, Epictetus, Epicurus, Seneca, Zeno, and of course, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

According to Stoicism, the path to happiness can be found in accepting each moment as it presents itself. Stoics value the development of self-control and acceptance as a means of overcoming destructive emotions that arise from such things as a desire for pleasure or a fear of pain. Stoics seek to use their minds to understand the world around them, regarding conditions such as illness, death and what seems like "mistreatment", with equanimity. Stoics regard such conditions as parts of nature, and the ability to live "in accord with nature" is an important aspiration of Stoicism. The pursuit of virtue is also an important part of Stoicism. Thus, Stoics seek to be free from anger, envy and jealousy, and to treat everyone fairly and justly, because all men alike are "products of nature."

The narration of this audiobook was good; the narrator spoke clearly and had a pleasant voice.

I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.


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perfect quick introduction

A perfect quick introduction to stoicism. Well laid out and easy to understand. I enjoyed the narration, perfect for this book.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Seems to be quite comprehensive

This book reads like a true college level text and it seems like a fantastic intro to the concept of stoicism. To be fair, I’m no expert on the subject matter, but this particular book comes across as far more comprehensive than many of the works of nonfiction/subject introductory books that I’ve reviewed on Audible (via audiobook.com). The narrator is quite good as well. Essentially you could just turn this audio book on, close your eyes, and easily imagine that you’re sitting in a college level lecture on stoicism. It may even be useful for test/quiz prep but be sure to check with your teacher on that one first. The book's title is not 100% accurate; it's hard to imagine that you'll "cultivate perseverance and become unflappable" just by reading this Stoicism for Beginners. However, you will certainly "gain (some) wisdom". Thank you to the author, the narrator, and audiobook boom for the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.

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  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 05-18-18

Best overview of stoicism I have read

Dean Cohen's Stoicism for Beginners is a very good overview of stoicism and its history. He breaks it down very well, explaining what stoicism is, what it's practices and beliefs are, and also the history of stoicism from across the centuries, outlining the different 'ages'/'types'. It was well organised and had a good flow to the writing and the structure.

I found the book to be more of an 'about' book, rather than a 'how to' book, which is something I appreciated, but it will depend what you are looking for.

Narrator Kevin Theis is overly energetic in his reading. Excitable. Every sentence is strong and forceful, which means if everything is forceful, then nothing is. Otherwise he was fine - well paced, clear and fairly easy to listen to.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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Listening to a Research Paper

While the information is detailed and seems solid, the structure was a bit odd, almost like the chapters were taken from a larger work. This gives the chapters a bit of disconnected feel instead of building upon one another. Despite being described as "For Beginners" there is an assumption that you are familiar with other contemporaneous philosophical movements and the historical context.

Kevin Theis narrates clearly, but his delivery is fairly dry and a bit loud. The narration and the writing style a very reminiscent of listening to someone present a research paper.


I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful