How to think like a Roman Emperor

Donald Robertson

How to think like a Roman Emperor



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How to Think Like a Roman Emperor draws on the life of a leader with undeniable virtues, Marcus Aurelius, to tell the story of Stoic philosophy. Developed centuries before Marcus Aurelius was born, Stoicism is a philosophical tradition that attaches enormous importance to the love of wisdom and the ability to reason. Cognitive psychotherapist and writer, Donald Robertson, shares useful techniques for facing our fears, worries, suffering, and bad habits in a calm and rational way, so as to achieve personal fulfillment, providing the reader with rich examples from the past, and exploring their deep-seated connections with modern cognitive behavioural therapy.

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Analysis and key concepts


From the origins of Stoicism, to Marcus Aurelius and the modern-day: the love of wisdom and rationality


Words have weight: talk to each other objectively so as not to feed fear


Having a wise role model or mentor can help you become who you want to be


Happiness lies in genuine personal fulfillment and in the gestures that bring us closer to our values


Complaining of suffering and disease will not help you to heal sooner


Training to face your fears to find creative solutions to problems


Anger is unnatural: avoid it with kindness and acceptance




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand how Stoic philosophy can help you to overcome your desires, worries, and fears.
  • Learn to accept the inevitability of things, and react to them in a calm and rational manner.
  • Take inspiration from the life of Marcus Aurelius to live your own life more wisely.

Donald Robertson is a psychotherapist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy. He was born in Scotland, then lived in England, before subsequently moving to Canada, where he now lives with his family. He also works as a trainer, and has published several books, including Build Your Resilience and How to think like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. His interest in Stoicism has led him to dedicate several years of his life to the study of this philosophical tradition, as well as contributing, as one of its founding members, to Modern Stoicism, a non-profit organisation which helps people live a better life by using the principles of Stoic philosophy.

Publishing house:

St. Martin's Griffin