by Marcus Aurelius | Penguin Classics © 2006 · 304 pages

Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor-Philosopher of the Roman Empire and one of the most enlightened leaders ever. Meditations is a collection of journal entries he wrote to himself and in this Note, we'll explore some Big Ideas of his Stoic philosophy—from the importance of never confusing ourselves with visions of a lifetime all at once, to not worrying about what others think of us and living a life of purpose and service.

“Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible.”

~ Marcus Aurelius from Meditations

Not only is Marcus Aurelius one of my heroes, he’s also one of history’s leading Stoic Philosophers. Stoic philosophy. You know, one of the classic Hellenistic philosophies—right there with Epicureanism and Cynicism.


Whether or not you’ve heard of Stoicism, you’ve probably met one of its leading thinkers: Marcus Aurelius—he’s the old emperor in the movie Gladiator. :)

In this Note, we’re going to take a quick look at the historical context in which Aurelius wrote Meditations and the Stoic philosophy that influenced his thinking. From there, we’ll jump into some of my favorite Big Ideas from the classic Emperor-Philosopher’s journals.

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Marcus Aurelius

One of the most important Stoic philosophers.