ryan-holiday

How To Deal With Your Problems With Stoicism | Ryan Holiday on The James Altucher Show

Check out The James Altucher Show Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • In every society, there will be people who unknowingly head towards the wrong direction on a decision and nothing you can say will convince them otherwise
    • “If you take it upon yourself to like forcely convert each one of them, not only are you going to be unhappy, but you’re never going to succeed either.” Ryan Holiday
  • One of the virtues of the stoics was moderation and the idea of the midpoint of two extremes being the best place to be 
    • However in today’s world, if you’re in the middle, you’re hated by the alt right and the alt left 
      • “Instead of admiring people who can effectively stand in the middle, we’re almost mad at them for not taking sides” – Ryan Holiday
  • One main takeaway from Ryan’s book: It’s easy to talk about stoicism, but can you live it?
    • “It’s really to talk about these philosophical ideas but what counts is are you able to live them and does your life reflect these ideals?”Ryan Holiday
  • Don’t just say what’s right in private, share it publicly:
    • “I think the things that people should definitely write and say, are the things that people are saying in private but refusing to say publicly” Ryan Holiday
  • “I think it’s important to see wisdom not as a thing you possess, but as an ideal you’re approaching”Ryan Holiday
    • The stoics were constantly learning. Even when Marcus Aurelius was in his 50s, he attended philosophy lectures because he knew there was more to learn.
      • “For the stoics, learning was this ongoing process that you were never exempted from, that was possible for anyone but was the obligation of everyone” 

Intro

Books Mentioned

Politics & Holding Different Views

  • In every society, there will be people who unknowingly head towards the wrong direction on a decision and nothing you can say will convince them otherwise
    • “If you take it upon yourself to like forcibly convert each one of them, not only are you going to be unhappy, but you’re never going to succeed either.” Ryan Holiday
      • Ex: The people that don’t think masks prevent the spread of COVID
  • Ryan recently recommended the book Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump: An Intervention by David Shields, in his monthly book review newsletter
    • Ryan received a lot of emails from subscribers saying he shouldn’t be sharing his political views. Ryan responded by saying that his newsletter is literally about sharing his opinions of books, even political books.
      • “We’ve come to a place where we can’t accept that people have different views and that’s a weird breakdown of society”Ryan Holiday
  • It’s important to be open to hearing different views because there’s always a chance you may be on the wrong side
    • “For as long as people have been people and living in close enough groups for there to be a culture, we’ve been sort of suspiciously eyeing and judging and questioning the motives of people that we don’t understand or disagree with” – Ryan Holiday

Ryan’s New Book

  • Ryan’s newest book is Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius. It shares details about the lives of the most famous Stoic philosophers, how they discovered stoicism and more.  
  • While researching his new book, Ryan learned that Marcus Aurelius wrote almost the entirety of Meditations during the Antonine plague
    • He also lost 7 children that didn’t reach adulthood
      • “Imagine losing 7 children, just how profoundly that would affect you” – Ryan Holiday
  • Zeno, the founder of stoicism, was on a voyage when his ship sank and he lost all his cargo. He ended up making his way to a bookstore where he encountered books about famous philosophers which influenced him and led him to develop the thinking and principles that we now know as Stoicism.
  • Stoicism is all about knowing what you can and cannot control
  • One main takeaway from Ryan’s book: It’s easy to talk about stoicism, but can you live it?
    • “It’s really to talk about these philosophical ideas but what counts is are you able to live them and does your life reflect these ideals?”Ryan Holiday
      • “I don’t just want to be a writer about these things, I want to prove that I believe these things” 

It’s OKAY To Be In The Middle

  • One of the virtues of the stoics was moderation and the idea of the midpoint of two extremes being the best place to be 
    • However in today’s world, if you’re in the middle, you’re hated by the alt-right and the alt-left 
      • “Instead of admiring people who can effectively stand in the middle, we’re almost mad at them for not taking sides” – Ryan Holiday
  • “On both ends of the extremes there is cancel culture and it’s a real problem” – Ryan Holiday
  • “You have to do the unpopular, difficult thing. You have to resist the pull of the mob” – Ryan Holiday

Say & Do What’s Right

  • Too many politicians are afraid to speak the truth or say what they think because they’re worried about the consequences. The stoics were the opposite:
    • “What you get from the stoics is like that they shoot from the hip, they say what they think, they do what they think is right, and they don’t give a shit what the consequences are because they have some confidence in themselves that they’ll be able to survive it” – Ryan Holiday
  • Similarly, many people don’t agree with cancel culture, but stay quiet about it for fear of repercussions:
    • “The people who are trying to cancel people are a problem, but then, the people who are intimidated by cancel culture are also the problem. And you have to be willing to say what you think and if you don’t say what you think, how do you not see that as cowardice?” – Ryan Holiday 
  • Don’t just say what’s right in private, share it publicly:
    • “I think the things that people should definitely write and say, are the things that people are saying in private but refusing to say publicly” Ryan Holiday
      • That’s why James wrote an article about New York City being dead. James loves New York so he wrote about all the problems that needed to be addressed in the city. He received a lot of hate for it, but someone needed to talk about the issues in the city.  

There’s Always More To Learn

  • “I think it’s important to see wisdom not as a thing you possess, but as an ideal you’re approaching”Ryan Holiday
    • The stoics were constantly learning. Even when Marcus Aurelius was in his 50s, he attended philosophy lectures because he knew there was more to learn.
      • “For the stoics, learning was this ongoing process that you were never exempted from, that was possible for anyone but was the obligation of everyone” 

Additional Notes

  • Don’t trust the Forbes most wealthy list, it’s not as accurate as you think. It’s quite easy for someone to exaggerate their net worth.
    • “It’s just entertainment” – Ryan Holiday
      • However, you’d be surprised how many billionaires care about this list because it is an ego boost and dopamine rush to move up the ranks
        • Similarly, people care too much and judge others by their social media followers’ count rather than their character and actions

James Altucher Show : , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks