Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

Here’s a guy that lived for a mere 59 years on Earth, managing to become the emperor of Rome, and writing a journal that remains one of the most heavily recommended books of all time.

Why is Meditations so good? I’d assume the reason might be his relatable perspective of self, and the briskness and focus of his messages. The Hays translation also brightens up the conversational nature of Aurelius’ passages.

This guy understood the relative insignificance of his own existence when measured against all of eternity, but within that humility he found a razor sharp perspective on what to value in life.

It might sound silly to say that the emperor of Rome could teach the plebeians about perspective. But then again, reading this book written around 150 A.D. still feels as relevant as ever in today’s world.

That’s really saying something.

The chapters are brief, sometimes single sentences. Each numbered for easy reference.

The underlying message includes a heartening approval of fate driving life’s events, but where participation is still required. It includes a healthy dose of humility to temper one’s perception of self and the individual’s impact on the world. All helpful messages to digest in today’s high-strung hyperconnected existence.

Aurelius also often reminds the readers to include themselves in the category of nature. Something often segregated from our perception of self these days.

This book helped me understand how I approached adversity, and how I should. It helped rewrite some misperceptions I had about the world around me, and how I functioned within it. In short, by helping me comprehend my own humility, I’ve become happier.