Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius
Not what I expected. I’d always thought the Meditations was a set of philosophical aphorisms. Instead, it’s something between a diary and a daily “deep thought”, a recording of a conversation an Emperor of Rome was having with himself.
As such, it’s repetitive and very personal, and yet somehow still relevant, hundreds of years after it was written.
Three things I found useful:
- Try to learn from everyone, even (especially) the ones you disagree with.
- If you know someone’s a jerk, don’t expect them to treat you fairly. And definitely don’t get angry with them for it, since you knew who they were from the start.
- Success and failure happen to everyone, over and over again. So there shouldn’t be pride in the former, or shame in the latter.