The Leadership Secrets of Marcus Aurelius | Ryan Holiday on The Daily Stoic

Check out The Daily Stoic Episode Page 

Key Takeaways

  • Marcus would often envision what could go wrong and create a plan for it in advance
  • Marcus broke the mold of governance and filled his staff with talented people instead of aristocrats or sycophants. And he listened to the advice of his counsel.
  • Marcus would consistently find people who were experts in their fields and put them in positions to lead:
    • When the Antonine Plague started, Marcus hired Galen, the smartest medical mind in his time to lead the fight again the plague 
  • Marcus would take ownership of his mistakes instead of blaming his counsel or events outside his control
    • “Marcus’s rule was blame yourself or blame no one” – Ryan Holiday
  • Marcus would carve out time to reflect and journal of what was going well in life and what he needed to work on
  • Marcus lived his life in accordance with the 4 stoic virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance, and prudence
  • As a leader, Marcus cared about the consequences of his actions, followers, and making a difference

Intro

Power Corrupts People

  • The phrase power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is pretty much universally true
    • However, Marcus Aurelius is a rare example of someone who had absolute power (he was a Roman emperor) but didn’t allow power to corrupt him
      •  Additionally, Marcus Aurelius became emperor at a very young age so you’d think it would be even easier for him to fall under the spell of corruption
        • “Here’s a guy who’s given all the power and responsibility in the world and yet he proves himself worthy of it” – Ryan Holiday

Marcus’s Leadership Training

  • Marcus Aurelius wasn’t a natural born leader, he was bookish and reclusive by nature
    • So how did he become such a great leader?
      • Marcus was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius who mentored him for 23 years
        • One of the best ways to learn is by following the examples of others and Marcus studied how Antoninus ruled for over two decades

Leadership Secrets

  • Marcus would often envision what could go wrong and create a plan for it in advance
  • Marcus broke the mold of governance and filled his staff with talented people instead of aristocrats or sycophants. And he listened to the advice of his counsel.
  • Marcus would consistently find people who were experts in their fields and put them in positions to lead:
    • When the Antonine Plague started, Marcus hired Galen, the smartest medical mind in his time to lead the fight again the plague 
  • Marcus would take ownership of his mistakes instead of blaming his counsel or events outside his control
    • “Marcus’s rule was blame yourself or blame no one” – Ryan Holiday
  • Marcus would carve out time to reflect and journal of what was going well in life and what he needed to work on
  • Marcus lived his life in accordance with the 4 stoic virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance, and prudence
  • As a leader, Marcus cared about the consequences of his actions, followers, and making a difference
The Daily Stoic : , , , ,
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