23 Of The Best Philosophy Books You Must Read

Whatever problems you’re facing, reading the best philosophy books can help. You can learn from emperors, slaves, philosophers and more.

We all face problems daily, and everyone has their own way of dealing with them. Whatever your problem is, someone in the past likely had the same issue and found ways of dealing with it effectively.

Reading a philosophy book can make your life a thousand times easier. Ancient philosophers dealt with the same problems we’re facing, but they never had phones, the Internet and television to distract themselves. They could read and write about their issues and then find solutions.

Thoreau expressed the same thought by saying, “To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school … it is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.”

Whatever problems you’re facing, by reading philosophy books, you’re looking back at history and learning from emperors and even slaves. These perspectives allow you to deal with and solve your problems. Let’s look at a reading list that’ll give you the knowledge to deal with your problems more effectively.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks For Philosophy Books
Marcus Aurelius's Meditations
  • A great choice for reading
  • Provides simple solutions to huge problems we face every day
  • Nice option for book lovers
The Daily Stoic
Ryan Holiday'sThe Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
  • Contains 366 different philosophical texts
  • Hardcover book
  • You can find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need
A New History of Western Philosophy
Anthony Kenny's A New History of Western Philosophy
  • A must-read for anyone interested in western philosophy
  • Easy to read
  • Ideas are explained intelligently and in detail
The Republic
Plato's Republic
  • Countless opinions of others about how an ideal republic should be governed
  • Discussion about true justice
  • Provides a unique world view on how philosophers debate justice issue and recommend their own versions of justice
The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1
Aleksandr's The Gulag Archipelago
  • Gives readers different perspective of the world
  • Eye-opening book
  • Based on the testimony of survivors
Letters from a Stoic
Lucius Annaeus Seneca'sLetters From A Stoic
  • Contains countless great experiences, lessons and theories
  • Teaches several ideas to use in everyday lives
  • Teaches us to focus on one thing at a time
Discourses and Selected Writings
Epictetus's Discourses of Epictetus
  • Epictetus came from the opposite end of the spectrum
  • A gateway into the life and mind of a great intellectual
  • Collection of informal lectures
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching
  • Eastern philosophy book
  • Jargon-free but still faithful to the poetic beauty of the original work
  • Presents Lao Tzu’s time-honored and astonishingly powerful philosophy like never before
Man’s Search for Meaning
Viktor Frankl's Man’s Searching for Meaning
  • Documents Viktor Frankl’s experiences in Auschwitz
  • Great product
  • A book for finding strength and purpose in times of great despair
Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged
  • Compares socialism to capitalism
  • Gives us a deeper understanding of the two philosophies than what we’d get from reading a textbook
  • Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read


Here Are The Best Philosophy Books Ranked

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is the first book I read about stoic philosophy after finding out about stoicism on the Internet. Everyone should read this book since it provides simple solutions to the huge problems we face every day. The three biggest lessons I learned from reading Meditations are:

  • Managing your expectations saves you from a lot of unnecessary headaches.
  • Always focus on the internal and ignore the external.
  • Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinions about you.

Manage Your Expectations

If you were to rent a house for $1,000 per month, and your landlord told you that in exactly one year, he would increase your rent to $1,100 then after one year you wouldn’t be angry. Why? Because you expected him to raise your rent.

If he had not told you beforehand, and then suddenly increased your rent, you would be furious. 

That’s the power of expectation. Aurelius teaches us how to use expectation to our advantage in our daily lives when putting effort into something and expecting a certain result. The practice can be useful in marriage, business, relationships or fitness goals.

Instead of having high expectations, expect the worst possible result. This might seem scary initially, but it can do wonders for your long-term happiness.

For example, if you started a business with the expectation of making money only after a year, and you make money after six months, you’d be ecstatic. But if you set high expectations, like making $1 million after one year, then even if you made $200,000, you’d still be disappointed since you never set proper expectations.

Focus Only on The Internal and Ignore The External 

Internal forces are fully in your control while external forces are random. You set yourself up for a miserable life when you base your happiness on something out of your control.

An example of something internal is the hard work you put in at the gym. Only you can determine the number of reps and sets you can complete in one session and how many sessions you can get in every week. If you focus on improving your lifting form, your diet and the amount of weight you lift, you’ll be far happier than the guy or girl who focuses on the external and looks at someone else, aiming to reach that person’s fitness level.

In this philosophy book, Aurelius speaks about ignoring everything that’s not in your control and focusing on what you can control.

Don’t Worry About Other People’s Opinions

A rule of thumb I like to follow is that if I don’t take advice from someone, I won’t take criticism from them.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The only people who’re criticizing others are those who are unsuccessful and unhappy with their own lives. Why would you even value their opinion? 

In Aurelius’s lifetime, he faced a lot of criticism but he never cared about them since he knew those people were unhappy.

Can you imagine Elon Musk or Bill Gates criticizing someone over the Internet? No! They don’t have time for that. The only people with time to offer unsolicited criticism are unfulfilled and unsuccessful. 

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius
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11/26/2023 09:35 pm GMT

2. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday

The Daily Stoic contains 366 different philosophical texts, each explained further by author and philosopher Ryan Holiday. He also gives practical advice on how you can implement these meditations into your daily life.

I suggest starting slow and reading only a few philosophical texts per day. The two biggest principles I got out of this book are:

  • Amor Fati
  • Remember your mortality.

Amor Fati

Amor Fati is a famous Latin term that directly translates to “love of fate.” A perfect example of someone displaying Amor Fati is Thomas Edison. In the nineteenth century, Edison discovered that his factory had burned down, and all the work he put in went up in flames. He told his son who stood next to him, “Go get your mother and all her friends. They’ll never see a fire like this again.”

He realized he had no control over that fire. Instead of getting angry about it, he embraced it. He loved his fate. That’s what Amor Fati is. When something bad happens that you have no control over, why get angry or depressed? Instead, accept it, and you’ll have an easier time loving your fate.

Remember Your Mortality

At any given time in the future, all this will be gone. All your problems, dreams, desires and fears will be a thing of the past, so instead of being scared of your death, embrace it. Remember, Amor Fati.

When you realize your whole life can be over in a split second, you start appreciating the gift life is, and you focus only on things that are important to you. You ignore everything else. 

I like comparing life and death to a vacation. When you first go on vacation, you don’t get depressed that it’ll be over in a few weeks. You know your vacation is limited, so you must make the most of it while it lasts. Practice the same attitude toward life.

“What we desire makes us vulnerable.”

Ryan Holiday
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11/26/2023 09:28 pm GMT

3. A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny

This philosophy book is a must-read for anyone interested in Western philosophy. It’s similar to the book A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, but it’s far easier to read. Kenny explains his ideas intelligently and in detail. He also defends his opinions by sharing his reasoning.

Kenny starts by telling the history of philosophy in Ancient Greece then moves through the Middle Ages and into the Enlightenment. Last, he writes about 20th-century philosophy and introduces us to great thinkers like Ockham, Aquinas and Augustine.

Instead of teaching about a specific modern philosophy and how it’ll benefit our lives, Kenny explains common Western philosophy, who follows it and why it’s so effective in dealing with everyday problems. This makes the book uniquely interesting.

“Virtue is indeed teachable,”

Anthony Kenny
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11/26/2023 09:28 pm GMT

4. Republic by Plato


This book focuses on Plato and his ideas of the “perfect republic.” He tells stories about himself and writes a lot about the nature of justice and how he and his men aimed to enforce this justice.

Plato includes countless opinions of others about how an ideal republic should be governed. One of the first issues they discussed was true justice. Some said justice is returning favors to those who helped you while being a good person.

Plato provides a unique world view on how philosophers debate this issue and recommend their own versions of justice. Plato concludes that justice isn’t just mere strength but using that strength to do good. Everyone should benefit from justice, not just the strong.

Another compelling topic this book considers is Plato’s top five regimes. His order from best to worst was:

  1. Aristocracy
  2. Timocracy
  3. Oligarchy
  4. Democracy
  5. Tyranny

Interestingly, he put aristocracy first and democracy just above tyranny; however, many people today will agree that democracy is by far the best system of government.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

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11/26/2023 09:28 pm GMT

5. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

After reading The Gulag Archipelago, you’ll look at the world through a different lens. In the modern world, many of us live comfortably and safely in our homes. Although we might have problems like not making enough money, feeling depressed and suffering from social anxiety, our discomfort is nowhere near the amount of pain and suffering people in the past experienced.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote this book when he was forced to work in the Gulag, a labor camp in the Soviet Union.

In the Gulags, Solzhenitsyn and his peers experience a world of pain and suffering we can’t even imagine. This is an eye-opening book but it’s difficult to read since you’ll see firsthand how evil people can really become. The two biggest lessons I took from reading this book are:

  • Evil people don’t know they’re doing evil deeds.
  • Ideologies own people.

People Who Do Evil Aren’t Evil

The soldiers who arrested and killed innocent people for trying to make a living didn’t think they were doing anything evil in carrying out orders. They thought those they arrested were evil capitalists. 

After you realize this, you realize that anyone can be manipulated into doing evil since they think they’re doing something noble. But this doesn’t make them evil people.

Ideologies Own People

Ideologies can destroy, separate and own people, and that causes many conflicts. Stalin decided to send people to the Gulag because he thought his ideology was best. Further, he thought anyone who disagreed with him was wrong and should be punished. 

The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to understand why other people have different ideas and their reasoning of those ideas. Making an effort to understand prevents you from being closed-minded and looking down on people who don’t share your ideals.

“If you live in a graveyard, you can’t weep for everyone.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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11/26/2023 09:27 pm GMT

6. Letters From A Stoic by Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The philosopher Seneca wrote this book, and anyone who’s practicing stoicism must read it because it contains countless great experiences, lessons and theories.

Letters From a Stoic teaches us several ideas we can use in our everyday lives to get more things done, live with less stress and make better decisions. My biggest takeaway, however, was to focus on one thing at a time.

Our world is filled with distractions like phones, television, video games and the Internet. Although stoic philosophers like Seneca, Kant and Aristotle never had these distractions, they knew the importance of focusing on one thing.

When you’re working and focusing on your goals, avoid preventable distractions. As motivation, you can always enjoy your phone, TV and video games as a reward when you’re finished.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

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11/26/2023 09:27 pm GMT

7. Discourses of Epictetus

Most ancient stoic philosophers like Aristotle, Kant and Socrates came from the top of society; however, one of the most important stoics came from the opposite end of the spectrum. 

Epictetus was born into poverty as a slave. In 68 CE, Emperor Nero passed away and Epictetus was awarded his freedom. He devoted his life to philosophy, lectured to thousands of people in Rome, and opened a school in Greece. Students of Epictetus like Arrian studied his work extensively, and his writings about ancient philosophy still exist.

The biggest lesson for me in this book is about focusing on what you can and cannot control. It’s similar to Meditations, but it goes into far more detail about what is and is not in your control.

I found that by simply ignoring factors you don’t control, you eliminate almost all stress, anxiety and problems from your life.

Epictetus uses an extreme example of a man who was sentenced to death. Because his death wasn’t in his control, he never wasted time worrying about it. What he had control over was if he was going to die miserable or with a smile on his face.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

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11/26/2023 09:27 pm GMT

8. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu

Tao Te Ching is an Eastern philosophy book, which prompted me to start meditating. Lao Tzu believes everyone should meditate since it has countless benefits for your mental and emotional health. Tzu doesn’t call the practice meditation. He calls it solitude, but the principles are the same.

You sit in a quiet place with no distractions and focus on your breath. You’ll find that it’s impossible to not think of anything else since your mind will think about the past and future. This is a good thing because if you’re struggling with a problem, your subconscious will look for solutions to these problems.

After meditating only a few times, you won’t see benefits. Stick with it for a few weeks, and you’ll start opening the floodgates of inspiration that are a crucial tool for a writer.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu
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11/26/2023 09:46 pm GMT

9. Man’s Searching for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl

Man’s Searching For Meaning is similar to The Gulag Archipelago, as it documents Viktor Frankl’s experiences in Auschwitz, an infamous Nazi concentration camp.

He was tortured, beaten and worked to the brink of death every day for three years. His captors gave him little food and no clothes or shoes, leading to frostbitten toes and a laundry list of diseases. Death was a daily occurrence since inmates were starved, beaten and executed for no reason.

To top that all off, his mother, father, brother and wife were killed in the space of a few years.

With all those horrible things in mind, how did Frankl find life worth living? He found meaning in suffering by developing a strong why. He always envisioned himself standing on stage and talking to people about his experiences. That’s what allowed him to overcome any obstacle.

Frankl suggests that everybody develops a strong why, and if your why is strong enough, it can overcome any how.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Viktor Frankl
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11/27/2023 04:31 am GMT

10. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

Although Atlas Shrugged is a controversial political philosophy book because it compares socialism to capitalism, it deserves a read because author Ayn Rand lived in both socialist and capitalist states. Atlas Shrugged gives us a deeper understanding of the two philosophies than what we’d get from reading a textbook.

The book is massive. It’s well over 1,000 pages and has tiny words you can barely see. Opt for a mini version if you don’t feel like reading all those pages. You can buy one on Amazon, and it covers all the important topics without you having to read so many pages.

My biggest takeaway from this book is that you receive based on what you deserve, not your needs. And this doesn’t apply only to money. It could be respect or love.

Rand also writes about objectivism and individualism, and will cause you to question your morals and principles. For example, if someone secretly returned all the taxes you’ve paid throughout your lifetime, would you take it, or would you refuse because it’s “stealing”?

Another theory deeply discussed in this book is Rand’s view on government regulation. Rand lived in two countries that were on different ends of the spectrum. In the Soviet Union, everything was owned and controlled by the government. In the United States, however, citizens have the freedom to start a business with minimal regulation.

She compares the two political philosophies and shares her opinion on which is better.

“The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence.”

Ayn Rand
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11/26/2023 09:45 pm GMT

11. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant

The Critique of Pure Reason is quite challenging to read, but it’s a book that greatly benefited my life. In this book, Kant responds to David Hume’s arguments regarding knowledge, making it a good starting point for beginners looking to learn about Kant’s philosophy.

According to Kant, we can’t directly experience anything. He argues that our perception of reality results from a combined interaction of objects in the internal structures of our minds.

Just like a person wearing green glasses sees everything with a green tint, so do our minds filter objects through time, space, and causality. This leads Kant to conclude that it’s impossible to have knowledge of things in themselves.

Whether you agree with Kant’s beliefs, it’s an exciting read that’ll give you a different perspective of the world.

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”

Immanuel Kant
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11/26/2023 09:46 pm GMT

12. Beyond Good And Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Written by Friedrich Nietzsche in 1886, Beyond Good and Evil combines and expands upon all his previous ideas, like the genealogy of morals. In this book, Nietzsche argues that most philosophers lack critical thinking skills and primarily follow existing ideals.

He criticizes them for founding systems that say a good man is the opposite of evil. However, Nietzsche states that rather than thinking of them as opposites, think of good and evil as an expression of the same basic impulses.

“To recognize untruth as a condition of life: that, to be sure, means to resist customary value-sentiments in a dangerous fashion; and a philosophy which ventures to do so places itself, by that act alone, beyond good and evil.”

Friedrich Nietzsche
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11/26/2023 09:45 pm GMT

13. Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre

Published in 1938, Nausea is a story of a French writer named Antoine Roquentin, who’s horrified by his existence. This book dialogues his emotions and feelings about himself and the people around him.

Jean-Paul Sarthe documents Roquentin’s struggle with loneliness, addiction, and human desire, and I find that this story relates to many of our modern struggles.

“All is full, existence everywhere, dense, heavy and sweet. But beyond all this sweetness, inaccessible, near and so far, young, merciless and serene, there is this… this rigour.”

Jean-Paul Sartre
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11/26/2023 09:46 pm GMT

14. Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle


In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states that the ultimate human goal is happiness, which is why we work hard and build relationships and friendships. However, he argues that joy doesn’t come directly after we achieve our goal but rather on our journey towards it.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

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11/26/2023 09:45 pm GMT

15. The Stranger by Albert Camus

Albert Camus

The Stranger is a 1942 novel by Albert Camus about a man who’s drawn into a murder on an Algerian beach. In this book, Camus communicates to the audience that life is absurd and rarely makes sense.

Camus tells his story through the protagonist, Meursault, who lives his life with the belief that there’s no order. This translates well into real life because most people don’t have everything figured out, and we often come up with solutions as problems arise.

“Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter.”

Albert Camus
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11/26/2023 09:46 pm GMT

16. The Analects

The Analects is one of the most popular philosophy books in China, and for the last 2,000 years, intellectuals have been reading it and implementing its ideas into their lives.

The Analects is a collection of sayings and phrases that are attributed to several ancient Chinese philosophers like Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Sun Tzu. My favorite saying is, “Respect yourself, and others will respect you.” This is because I’ve learned that people don’t treat you like you treat them, but rather like you treat yourself.

So if you’re looking for some inspiration and wisdom that withstood thousands of years, consider reading a few quotes every day.

“As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances.”

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11/27/2023 05:01 pm GMT

17. Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre

Written by Jean-Paul Sarthe, Being and Nothingness is another intimidating read that can benefit your life if you understand its meaning and implement its ideas into your life. 

Like many must-read philosophy books, it’s a study of the consciousness of living and is interesting if you love learning about free will and human consciousness. However, I recommend watching online video summaries while reading the book chapter by chapter because Sarthe bombards you grammatically, which turns many readers away.

“Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being – like a worm.”

Jean-Paul Sartre
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11/26/2023 09:46 pm GMT

18. At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell
Sarah Bakewell

This novel tells the story of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Raymond Aron, who meet for cocktails in a cafe to discuss a new framework called phenomenology. Aron says, “If you are a phenomenologist, you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!”

This single phrase kickstarts a movement based around radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism, and this philosophy rapidly spreads throughout Europe in the coming years.

This novel is a compelling read if you’re a fan of learning about how philosophies spread worldwide and what led to their growth.

“You should make your choices as though you were choosing on behalf of the whole of humanity,”

Sarah Bakewell
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11/27/2023 03:15 pm GMT

19. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli

What I like about this book is that Niccolo Machiavelli uses small words and easy-to-understand language, so you won’t have to read a sentence several times to understand it. This makes it one of the best philosophy books for beginners.

In the 16th century, Machiavelli wrote a detailed guide for new royalty to follow to allow them to stay in power. 

After years as an Italian diplomat and political theorist, Machiavelli understands the reality of leadership and human nature; his principles are based on real-world experience, not ideals.

As a consequence of this real-life experience, he advocated sacrificing certain principles to achieve prosperity as a nation. This makes The Prince an excellent book if you’re interested in how philosophy and politics mix.

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

Niccolo Machiavelli
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11/26/2023 09:46 pm GMT

20. The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh

Many modern-day philosophers believe this book should be taught in all schools because it encourages readers to look within themselves and develop compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh also tells many personal stories and mistakes he made that can help us live a more present life filled with satisfaction and engagement. 

This makes The Art of Living a must-read if you’re new to philosophy and trying to understand yourself. Thich Nhat Hanh brings up topics that force you to ask tough questions about life, relationships, and purpose, and although this might be uncomfortable, it boosts self-reflection.

“I don’t exercise to get fit or be healthier; I do it to enjoy being alive.”

Thich Nhat Hanh
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11/26/2023 09:45 pm GMT

21. The Meaning Of Life by Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton
Terry Eagleton

This book shows the reader how the most extraordinary minds like Shakespeare, Schopenhauer, Sartre, and Beckett tackled the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?” The first thing you’ll notice is that everyone has a different answer and view, and by exposing yourself to all these answers, you gain a better understanding of how to live.

But Terry Eagleton proposes that the question has only been problematic in modern times and that most turn to social media and other forms of escapism instead of tackling it head-on. 

Eagleton argues that the meaning of life isn’t a solution to a problem but rather a particular way of living. So everyone will have different meanings to life. If you’re struggling to find your life purpose, give this thought-provoking book a shot.

“Culture was now largely a matter of how to keep people harmlessly distracted when they were not working.”

Terry Eagleton
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11/26/2023 09:45 pm GMT

22. A Guide to the Good Life by William Irvine

William Irvine is a noted professor of philosophy at Wright State University in Ohio. He’s also written several books and many essays about philosophy and the practice of stoicism. This particular book serves as a good introduction to the practice. 

He unpacks the writings of other philosophers like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius and relates many of their teachings to the modern world. I particularly enjoyed his musings about rowing a boat in miserable weather! This book is also a nice compliment to a course he gives on Stoicism on the Waking Up app, with Sam Harris. That app is also a helpful introduction to many of the topics covered in the philosophy books in this post.

“Who, then, should give Stoicism a try? Someone who, to begin with, seeks tranquility; it is, after all, the thing Stoicism promises to deliver. Someone who thinks something is more valuable than tranquility would therefore be foolish to practice Stoicism.”

William Irvine
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11/26/2023 07:21 pm GMT

23. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu

The Art of War is a classic Chinese military treatise written sometime in the fifth century BC. A part of modern pop culture, this book is a good read for anyone interested in leadership, conflict, and teamwork. It’s also surprisingly accessible, assuming you pick up a good translation. I recommend getting the Canterbury Classics edition, which includes some of the other philosophy books in this round-up. That edition also includes versions with and without commentary.

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

Sun Tzu
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11/27/2023 10:41 am GMT

Why Should I Read Philosophy Books?

From a distance, philosophy may seem like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Before I started religiously reading philosophy books, I considered the topic irrelevant, boring and weird. But after further inspection, I realized philosophy offers the answers to many modern-day problems.

Tinkers, writers and philosophers from times past wrestled with many problems, experiencing a fear of death. Ancient Greek philosophers wrote down their problems and found solutions. Why not learn from other people’s successes and failures and how they overcame or accepted their problems?

If you don’t know which philosophers to follow, start with:

  • Michel de Montaigne
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Unlike other philosophers, these three write in a way that’s easy to understand. You aren’t bombarded with big words and hard-to-understand philosophy, which is perfect when starting out.

Final Word On Best Philosophy Books

We all have a certain number of years left on this Earth, and it’s best to make the most of our lives. One of the best ways to do this is to learn about other philosophies and ideologies and challenge our own. By simply reading a few pages of these books every day. Finally, if you like these recommendations, check out our list of the best life-changing books to read.

How I Chose the Best Philosophy Books

I kicked off my search on Goodreads, diving deep into top-rated philosophy titles and soaking up reader insights. Then, I scanned bestseller lists to discern which philosophical works had left a significant mark on the wider reading community. Wanting a comprehensive understanding, I connected with philosophy professors, students, and avid philosophy readers to get their must-read recommendations

It was crucial to find books that spanned various philosophical traditions, thinkers, and historical periods. Equally vital was identifying works that were both timeless in their wisdom and relevant to modern discourse. While the depth and clarity of each philosophical argument were paramount, I also considered sales figures to gauge which books had the broadest appeal. Merging all these perspectives, I’ve curated a list that, I believe, offers the best in philosophical thought.

Must Read Philosophy Books FAQs

Does stoicism mean emotionless?

Stoicism encourages you to be full of emotion because it’s what makes you a human being and gives you good ethics. Stoics behave indifferently to circumstances and make decisions rationally, which might appear emotionless.

Which are the best ancient stoic philosophers to read about?

Aristotle, Kant and Socrates are some of the greatest philosophers who wrote countless books that are easy to understand and allow you to improve your life and ethics. With the understanding you take from the Stoics, you can become a happier and more fulfilled person.

However, if you’re looking to read about less well-known philosophers, consider Rene Descrartes, David Hume, Baruch Spinoza, Jostein Gaarder, and Rene Descartes.

Is it good to read philosophy books?

Reading philosophy books is an excellent way of learning from philosophers, leaders and everyday people from history who’ve reasoned about and explored many of life’s problems. These books will improve your reasoning and critical thinking skills and give you insight into past times.

What books do philosophy majors read?

Do philosophy majors read books like What is Philosophy For? By Mary Midgley, Meditations by Rene Descartes and Enquiries by D Hume. They also read classical Romand and Greek texts by Seneca and Plato. 

Do philosophy books sell?

Philosophy books are more challenging to sell than genre fiction books as the audience is more niche. If a modern philosophy book sells more than 1,000 copies in its first year, it’s an outlier. The most popular best-selling philosophy books are by authors long-dead like Seneca. Exceptions include works by modern philosophy authors Ryan Holiday and William Irvine.

Where can I find philosophy books online?

You can find the best philosophy books online on Project Gutenberg. As these books are usually out of copyright, they’re available for free. Dedicated philosophy bookstores like Cambridge Books Online and the Wiley Online Library sell these titles. You can also buy updated translations of these books with commentary on bookstores like Amazon.

Does Audible have philosophy books?

Audible sells lots of great classic and contemporary philosophy books. You may enjoy Plato’s Republic, Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday and also A Guide to the Good Life by William Irvine. 

Which is the greatest philosophy?

Each philosophy has its own unique ideas and perspectives that appeal to different individuals based on their beliefs, values, and experiences. It is up to individuals to explore and discover which philosophy resonates with them the most.

Which philosopher should I read first?

Choosing the first philosopher to read depends on your interests, but some influential philosophers and their notable works include Plato (“The Republic”), Aristotle (“Nicomachean Ethics”), René Descartes (“Meditations on First Philosophy”), Immanuel Kant (“Critique of Pure Reason”), Friedrich Nietzsche (“Thus Spoke Zarathustra”), Jean-Paul Sartre (“Being and Nothingness”), Michel Foucault (“Discipline and Punish”), and Simone de Beauvoir (“The Second Sex”). Explore their works to delve into various branches of philosophy such as ethics, metaphysics, existentialism, and feminism.

What branch of philosophy is good or bad?

Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that deals with concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, justice, virtue, and moral duty.

Why Aristotle is the best philosopher?

Aristotle’s vast contributions across various philosophical domains and his grounding in empirical observation and reasoning contribute to his status as one of the most influential philosophers. His impact on Western philosophy, influence in diverse fields, and enduring discussions on his ideas about ethics and politics further solidified his significance.

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  • Yaseen is a personal trainer turned professional writer and he’s obsessed with everything health, fitness, and business-related. If he isn’t at the gym, you can find him playing video games or spending time with friends and family.