Chris Lakin


This page was heavily revised in October.

A few years ago I stumbled across Stoicism via A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, as measured by real-life impact. The philosophy has done me a lot of good, so I’d like to share it.

(I’ll cover only this single book because I’ve had no reason to read anything else about Stoicism.)

This page consists of notes from the book and related things that come to mind.


Stoicism as a philosophy is not at all described by the word “Stoic” as used in modern English; Stoicism has no disposition against joy. Instead, Stoicism is about avoiding negative emotion in the cases when negative emotion is unhelpful.

Crucially, Stoicism starts its reasoning from the worst that things could possibly be and then builds up from there.

I’ll provide a quick summary of its tenants before going into more detail.

Stoicism mostly reduces to two elements: Focus, and Expectations.

Longer reflection

Categories: “Negative visualization”, Appreciation, Focus, Comfort, On Living, Interacting with others, Criticism, Anger, Impulses, Randomness, Miscellaneous, and Reflect on your Stoicism.

“Negative visualization”


Focus on what you can control

Don’t get too comfortable

On Living

Interacting with others — protecting your tranquility






Occasionally reflect on your Stoicism


I’ve tried my best to distill Stoicism here to be more accessible.

And, congratulations, you just took philosophical advice from an 18 year old! Hehehe…

Related Essays

As to not distract the reader from this longer essay, I chose not to link some other essays of mine that I think are relevant. Here they are now:

If you would like to read the book complete with stories, further explanations, and Stoicism’s history, click the cover.

This is an Amazon affiliate link so I’m required to say, “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”


Posted 2020 July 2020, revised 2020 October 23, last updated 2020 November 24.