Hey reddit,

My name is Ryan Holiday.

I’ve written nine books over the past 7 years on everything from media manipulation to Peter Thiel’s conspiracy to Destroy Gawker with Hulk Hogan but now I mostly write about an obscure school of ancient philosophy: Stoicism. To pretty much everyone’s surprise--including my own--these books are now in 30+ languages and have sold over 2 million copies.

It’s been a weird ride but over the past few years, I’ve been asked to visit teams like the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Astros, Alabama Crimson Tide, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Texas Rangers and many others. I even spoke at the NFL Owners’ Meeting this year. The books have been read by Senators, billionaires, soldiers, actresses and lots of wonderful, ordinary people. Philosophy is alive and well!

I’m excited to see Stoicism resonate with people because that’s what philosophy is supposed to do--help you live ‘the good life,’ to flourish as a human being and a citizen...it’s not supposed to be about a bunch of big words no one can pronounce. In my opinion, if it’s intimidating, it’s being done wrong.

My most recent book, Stillness Is The Key, is about how philosophy can help you slowdown. See more clearly. Stop being easily triggered. And focus on what matters. I think in an era dominated by ‘hustle porn’, ‘outrage porn,’ and of course regular porn, stillness is something everyone could benefit from.

Outside of writing, I run a creative agency called Brass Check, live on a farm with too many animals, and take care of my two sons.

I’m excited to be here today and answer any questions reddit may have. AMA!

Edit: Proof. My donkey will be helping answer questions https://www.instagram.com/p/B4NZ6p2BbPs/

Comments: 307 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

biolox26 karma

Dude, I love the Daily Stoic email every morning. How do you have time to write those along with everything else you’re writing?

ryan_holiday25 karma

Writing is a daily practice. I get up. I write. I read. I research. I treat writing like a job--one I am very lucky to do, and lucky to feel called to do. And I really do enjoy writing those. I started in 2016 and have done it everyday so I think I am at nearly 1,000 of them (that's like 3-4 full books...for free). But it's my fav.

As far as process goes, I do have a little secret: I write them and they go in a big document and then they get selected by someone on my team to run in the morning. So I am probably 60-70 ahead right now, with 30-40 recorded for the podcast. So there isn't really any pressure. I did 2 this morning and have 2 more for Daily Dad on my to do list for the afternoon.

If anyone wants to check out here they are

dailystoic.com/email (and podcast)
dailydad.com/

whattimeisitgametime10 karma

What is the most important lesson our children need to learn from stoicism?

ryan_holiday44 karma

To me the core of Stoicism is this: You don't control what happens, you only control how you respond. I wish I'd been taught that earlier.

solanamama8 karma

What advice do you have for someone who started “late” in life (28) and is about to graduate from college, yet doesn’t have any concrete idea about what they want to do career-wise?

ryan_holiday56 karma

Can I quote Gary Vee here? "You've got fucking time." You have time. You're not 'late.' What if you'd spent the last 28 years in a war torn country and had just moved to America? Would you be thinking 'I'm getting a late start' or would you be thinking, 'I'm so lucky. This is the beginning of my new life.'? What if you'd just woken up from a coma? There is no late.

Just get started man. There's no way to do it differently starting later or earlier. Explore what you like. Invest in learning. Practice, practice, practice. Meet people who can teach you. Deliver value. Restart. Repeat.

Lord-Limerick7 karma

What is Peter Thiel like in person? Any fun anecdotes?

ryan_holiday13 karma

Well, I did see him get into a wrestling stance with Hulk Hogan once.

He's really a fascinating person. People think he's a contrarian but that's not really it. He just thinks independently. So he ends up coming up with unusual ideas about a lot of things, because he's coming to the issue fresh. In some cases, it's almost like the consensus view never even occurred to him. In a lot of cases that works out great (look at his investments), in other cases not as well.

I think what I've been surprised by with Peter is that he just really likes discussing and exploring ideas. Like for hours on end, in a way that you wouldn't expect from a powerful, influential person. You might think it'd be him holding court or talking about himself (I've been around billionaires like that) but it isn't. He's always trying to learn and poke holes in his own thinking. I think that's rare these days.

blitzed8407 karma

Hey Ryan. I am not a philosophy major, or a business magnate, or a member of a championship team - but I am someone who has been deeply influenced by your writing. I first listened to the Obstacle is the Way audiobook this summer, then quickly acquired Ego is the Enemy and did the same.

I’ve suffered from major depressive disorder for a long time - I’ve been living with, and working on it for my entire adult life. I’ve tried numerous counsellors, and self help books and medication temporarily.. nothing was giving me ‘the answer’ that I felt I was looking for. Nothing that is, until I found your writing.

I don’t believe everyone would have the same results, but for me it wasn’t the answer I thought I wanted - but you provided the framework that I needed. You gave me back a sense of control that I don’t remember ever having in my life. The ability to break things down, to embrace what is in front of me, to live in the present moment, to find joy in problems and obstacles that are in my way.

And now with Stillness, a reminder to embrace those moments of reflection, of appreciation, and of personal development. Making a point of slowing down and tuning in to what really matters and making a point of finding that space as often as possible - in the face of challenge, as well as times of peace.

Thank you. Thank you for your ability to distill thousands of years of knowledge down for us. Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for getting me back to reading, a passion and love I had lost.

I am currently doing the ‘Read to Lead’ challenge. I’ve reread the Alchemist, I’ve started my common place book and have been writing in it daily since I began. My question for you is;

If you could recommend a banned non fiction for myself to read, what would it be?

Thanks again Ryan.

ryan_holiday6 karma

This is so nice of you. Thank you. My banned book suggestion for you is one I try to read each morning: A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy. It was banned by the USSR for many years and only rediscovered in the last few decades.

NickoBicko6 karma

Is your neighbor’s bull still giving you trouble?

ryan_holiday5 karma

Not lately!

cmrizzle5 karma

How do you deal with unpleasant people who have wronged you that you’re forced to interact with every now and then? Asking because you seem to have reasonable answers to most things!

Also saw an interview and you said you typically don’t look at your phone for an hour or so after you wake up and I’ve been trying to do that!

ryan_holiday20 karma

I see them as practice: "I am going to practice dealing with someone I don't like. I am going to practice not getting upset."

1987hog5 karma

Ryan I love the idea of stillness. I also love Jocko Willink's idea of getting after it.

How do you view this balance? Would love to hear a podcast with you and Jocko discussing this.

Thanks!

ryan_holiday14 karma

I don't think the ideas are in conflict at all. That's actually something I say on the flap copy of the book. Stillness is what you need when you're charging ahead. Getting after it is great, but getting after what? Is it the right thing? Are you going after it the right way? What's your plan if you mess up? Or if it turns out to be harder than you thought? Do you think that "getting it" will magically make you happy? Are you operating in control of yourself or are you chaotic and frenzied? Etc

Point is: Stillness is exactly what you need to bring to bear on whatever you're doing, especially the active stuff. This is what you find about great athletes. In the biggest moments, the game is slowest. They are totally still. Calm. Collected. Even as they are operating at extreme speed in extreme stress.

gaeliclegend7 karma

This podcast would be awesome. 10/10

ryan_holiday10 karma

Would do it anytime.

nsarwark4 karma

How would you describe your political beliefs and have they changed over time?

ryan_holiday22 karma

I subscribe to /r/radicalcentrism/. That's how the system is supposed to work in my view. I'd like to think that over time I have become more open minded and less rigid. And also a nicer, kinder person. I think that idea that you should be a liberal, bleeding heart when you're young but a conservative when you're older has it precisely wrong (The joke actually goes back the 1700s that if you aren't a liberal when you're young you have no heart, if you're still one when you're old you have no brain.)

What the Stoics would say is that time will steadily reveal to you that there is such thing as evil. That equality of opportunity will never result in equality of outcome, except at catastrophic cost to all. But if you watch carefully, you should also see something else that time steadily reveals: How much we all have in common. How connected we all are. How being kind and generous to others is the most rewarding thing you can do.

I'd like to think I have both a head and a heart and I'm not ruled by just one or the other.

someriver4 karma

Ryan, I’m a big fan. What do you say to someone who is going through a gradual descent into nihilism?

ryan_holiday14 karma

Turn around man! There are very few happy nihilists. Very few that have done things anyone admires.

MegaBackdoor4 karma

Hello Ryan & Booger - I have the following questions. Answer as many or few as you would like.

  • What does a typical day look like for Mr. Ryan Holiday?
  • How do you find "balance" (it's never truly balanced) in raising two kids, growing your career, maintaining a strong marriage, etc.? What systems do you have in place?
  • From the perspective of someone who had great success early in their career, what advice would you have for someone to be determined, yet patient, yet not get complacent in their career?

Lastly, thank you for your writing :)

ryan_holiday8 karma

Wake up early.

Go for a walk with my son.

Journal.

Breakfast.

Write 2-3 hours.

Lunch.

Email. Phone calls. Etc.

Write a little more.

Workout (swim or run)

Dinner with family.

Family time.

Put the kids to bed.

Hang out with wife.

JoypulpSkate3 karma

Trust me I'm Lying was an eye-opening book when I first started my career. Thank you for writing it. In your best opinion, where would change need to happen for the state of online journalism and news media to start improving in the coming years?

ryan_holiday5 karma

I do think the movement towards subscriptions has been positive, but this has--in the cases of some outlets--been cancelled out by the overt partisanship that the publications have embraced. Overall though it's important to remember that if you're not paying for it and it's ad supported...you're the product.

thelastcordwainer3 karma

I came to the concept of "memento mori" through your writing and the idea has really resonated with me since the unexpected death of a family member a couple years ago (I carry my memento mori coin every day as a reminder to myself). How did you first learn about memento mori as a philosophy and how has it helped you in your personal life?

ryan_holiday7 karma

It would have probably been in the Stoics first. When I read Marcus Aurelius in my early 20s, a lot of that went over my head. But then, as you unfortunately experience and as I have as well, you start losing people. You start understanding how time is passing and you'll never give it back. You start to have some regrets and you think about how you don't want to add to that pile. And for me all those warnings from the Stoics came back. Namely this one from Marcus:

You can leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think."

I do remember I was walking through the Austin airport when I had the idea to do the coin and it's been crazy to see the response since (thank you for buying one!). I was looking for something I could carry with me and I really like the feel of it in my pocket. I think what it's helped with most is not holding on to thing, saying "Sorry" faster, taking responsibility for stuff faster. Why would I let some argument with my wife go on for three days? Who says I get three days? Let's just make up and apologize now.

FadiMazboudi883 karma

Can you tell me what time were you born? For the astrologers out there!

ryan_holiday12 karma

Let me text my mom real quick.

ryan_holiday12 karma

She said between 1 and 2am.

DrLouNoisewater3 karma

As far a personal growth and development, what would the stoic way to continue on after a divorce?

ryan_holiday10 karma

The same way as you would have if you were married or never got married or if your spouse had tragically died. With courage, justice, moderation and wisdom. It's like the Buddhist saying: Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.

JollieMolly3 karma

You live on a farm, run a marketing company, and write books on stoicism (most recently), but also have the human interest piece about the Gawker/Hogan case. Do all of these areas intersect in a central area of specialization for you - the "thing" you enjoy (writing, research, etc)? Or do you have varied interests and are skilled in many of them? To an outside observer, your interest seems scattered, yet you still do them well. So, how do you choose what to focus/ work on next?

ryan_holiday6 karma

I mentioned David Epstein's book Range earlier. I think have a range of interests and skills is really important. I made a case earlier this year for "being a multi-hyphenate" and that's how I see myself. All the areas eventually inform and help each other. Life is too short to only do one thing in my opinion.

_KnowTheLedge_3 karma

LOVED the book, Ryan.

When referring to "stillness", what's your personal opinion for striking a balance of finding inner quiet without completely going off the grid, i.e. (no social media, no phone calls, email, etc.)?

ryan_holiday5 karma

I feel like inner quiet is totally separate than the things you mentioned, which are more external noise. Look, the Unabomber went off the grid, but it turns out that society wasn't the problem. The crazy voices in his head were. So this isn't about running away from the world, it's about finding quiet--interior and exterior--within the world.

cappyncoconut2 karma

Biggest thing that surprised you about running a farm?

ryan_holiday12 karma

Lot of death. Chickens get eaten. Cows get old or have calfs that need to be sent off. People let their dogs run wild and you see them by the side of the road. It took a while to get used to the brutality of it.

nat_lite2 karma

Have you ever spoken to the Saints?

ryan_holiday2 karma

I wish. I did get to speak with Sean Payton and Mrs. Benson for a few minutes when I was at the Owners' Meeting.

linam972 karma

Do you recommend reading your trilogy in order of release or does it not matter which order to read it?

ryan_holiday2 karma

Any order, though chronological has something to it, since I wrote them that way. I think they got better as I went.

Honduran2 karma

Hi Ryan,

I've reached out to you several times and you've always been kind in answering back. Just want to say thanks for that.

My question for you today is: How do you settle on a subject for a book? I know you're constantly reading, but how do you find a main theme to discuss in your writing?

ryan_holiday3 karma

I feel like books choose you, not the other way around. It just happens. You become absorbed by it and then you can't not write it.

c0delift2 karma

Hi Ryan, I’ve read all of your books and Stillness is your best work yet! Clearly from your backstory you found a lot of what society would consider success pretty early in life with your work in corporations. With having a child now, what do you personally consider success at this phase in your life?

ryan_holiday4 karma

My definition of success is "autonomy." Do I have control over my life and time? Yes or no? Making more money but having less freedom would be a step backwards. Selling more books but having to give up more editorial control? Same thing.

chudsuckerproxy2 karma

Hi Ryan,

Big fan of your books and your reading list. Back in 2016 you wrote a really good article about not wanting your dad to vote for Trump but then earlier this year you recommended some books and the website of Dennis Prager who is an unabashed Trump supporter. You've also previously recommended books by Ben Sasse who votes with Trump's agenda 86% of the time and I'd assume based on Conspiracy that you like Peter Thiel as a person. How do you reconcile your dislike of Trump with your fandom of his followers?

ryan_holiday13 karma

I'm not allowed to read someone's book because they support a president I didn't vote for? I've had the opportunity to meet Senator Sasse a couple times, and I am a fan...of him as a person. Which is how we should interact, in my opinion. I still like my dad, after all. Politics is not the central fact of existence and we've allowed it to loom way too large in our culture. Then we wonder why we don't have any common ground in politics!

chasely2 karma

Your house is burning down and firefighters say you have one minute to go into your library to save whatever you can. What books (with their associated marginalia) do you save and why? Assume your family and pets are safe :)

Related: do you have a way of archiving your notes in case of said fire?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Just my commonplace book--since it has all my notes for all my books and the page numbers of stuff I'd need to reference. I do have an assistant scan them every few months just in case!

sa11262 karma

Hi Ryan. My father got me into your books and I am very thankful for for that. Any tips/suggested readings/etc for living below your means and/or being better with money?

ryan_holiday6 karma

Have you read Mr. Money Mustache? Great stuff.

LimeFast2 karma

I know that you hunt and support a company selling meat. This seems to me to go directly against the stoic principle of seeing what is in your control and using that to the fullest to make the world a better place. Could you #NameTheTrait without falling for any logical fallacies?

What trait true of animals (intelligence, speciesm, sentiens etc), if true for humans, would justify treating humans like animals?

ryan_holiday8 karma

You know Seneca was briefly a vegetarian. We don't know much about the phase, but it is interesting. I don't want to get into a whole thing about meat-eating here, as I am unlikely to convince you just as you are unlikely to convince me. But for my part, I live on a farm, I raise my own cows sustainably and humanely. I try to eat well. I hunt within legal and proscribed limits (mostly invasive species like hogs) and I think that helps me contribute positively to a system that is the healthiest and most natural for the planet.

marcus-aureliusss2 karma

Hi Ryan,

First off I’ve read Stillness, Ego (twice and a half), and Obstacle... thank you for these books. I absolutely loved Stillness... thanks for doing this AMA

I take daily ice baths (part of my routine or daily ritual). They have helped me really begin to internalize the concepts you talk about in stillness. And it was a great pairing to your book. They help me feel that foreign concept (for me) of stillness in my body.

My question is: If you have a regret from your past when you weren’t nearly as aware or “woke” or present as you are now, how do you forgive yourself for it

ryan_holiday3 karma

Don't regret it so much as I wish not to repeat it. Ideally, you look back at your life from a position of having gotten better as time has gone by. So when I look back and shake my head at things I've done or mistakes I've made, I also credit myself with being able to do that. It means I am going in the right direction.

Some more thoughts on this here: https://humanparts.medium.com/why-are-we-so-certain-about-our-mistakes-e7f8ee6ab4c2

seriously_kids2 karma

Ryan, I loved the audiobooks for The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy. Your narration sounds like a regular guy reading a book he wrote, not a “performance”.

I listen to one chapter a day while I walk my dogs. When I get to the end of both books I start over at the beginning and do it again.

When you recorded the audiobook for Stillness is the Key did “they” tell you to do it differently? The reading style is noticeably different, especially listening right after the first two books.

ryan_holiday5 karma

Is it really that different? I didn't listen, it would be torture to hear my own voice for that long. I did use a different studio but the process was essentially the same. I have a little bit more practice now having done a lot of audiobooks, I wonder if that makes it feel more polished?

ActionHartlen2 karma

Hey Ryan, thanks for doing this. I studied philosophy in grad school and have been really interested to see the rise of “pop philosophy” in recent years. How can we make philosophy accessible without watering it down?

ryan_holiday11 karma

Oh that's awesome. Who were your guys (and gals)?

I guess I am not that worried about pop philosophy. It seems like of all the things to be worried about people exploring, philosophy is like the least bad one. That's always my reaction to the anti-Silicon Valley articles that seize on how some of the founders like Stoic philosophy. I mean, what would you rather them be studying? It feels like it's good thing that they are researching a philosophy whose core tenets are courage, justice, temperance and wisdom.

My thinking is that we overcorrected for philosophy. We made it too obscure. Too interested in arcane questions like "How do we know if we're living in a computer simulation?" And that ended up ceding the field to a lot of bullshit self-help like the Law of Attraction. I'm happy to meet people where they are, which is busy and stressed and dealing with problems. I want to show them how philosophy and ancient wisdom can help them with that. And at the end of my books I always have a ton of suggestions of primary sources to go to next. I know it works because I've seen the numbers. It's awesome to see people reading Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and Epictetus and I feel like I am paying forward what was done for me.

pexxi761 karma

Shout out from Finland! Loved Stillness is The Key! Listened on Audible. How does it compare to your other books, what is your own opinion?

ryan_holiday2 karma

I love Finland. I've been to Helsinki twice. This one place I ate served bear on the menu, which was surprisingly good.

My aim was for Stillness to be part of a trilogy with Obstacle and Ego

arhsg1 karma

What is your view on laziness?

ryan_holiday2 karma

Against it.

Hawkeye731 karma

How does divorce fit into Stoicism?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Same way everything else does. Sometimes marriages don't work. Not fun, but it's life.

kayzhee1 karma

I just got a LinkedIn invite from someone claiming to be you. I’m assuming that it’s a fake account. Can you verify that you are not on LinkedIn? Or at the very least have a profile picture on you account?

ryan_holiday2 karma

I think I do have a LinkedIn but I haven't gotten hired for a 'job' since 2007 so I don't really use it and definitely didn't send you an invite.

CalmYoTitz1 karma

Hi Ryan,

Personal knowledge management is gaining traction. With all the valuable information we can consume, I believe it's never been more important for knowledge workers to be able to store and organize information. With that being said, do you still recommend the note-card commonplace box?

I know there are apps and tools great for PKM and I'm curious as to know if your methods have changed at all.

_

I really enjoy your writing, thanks.

ryan_holiday2 karma

Analog all the way.

MacaroniAndFleas1 karma

Hi Ryan' love your work! I feel like 'Trust me I'm lying" was a warning about how psychologically damaging our media world was becoming and your recent books lay out a prescription for how to combat that damage. Was that intentional? Was there a personal investment in gaining this knowledge for yourself as a way to recover from getting sucked into the dark side of media manipulation?

ryan_holiday2 karma

That's an interesting observation. I think TMIL I was me saying: I hate this. I don't think it should be this way. Everyone should know how it's working and btw, peace, I'm out. Then the other books were from my perspective of a better way to live and a better set of principles to follow career-wise. That description is probably a bit too clean, retroactively, but it's close.

Human_Evolution1 karma

Can you wear a cowboy hat for your next video?

ryan_holiday2 karma

I don't own one unfortunately.

ashetty531 karma

Hey Ryan, big fan of the Daily Stoic. How would you use the principles of Stoicism to address Impostor Syndrome?

ryan_holiday1 karma

There is a whole chapter about this in Stillness. Start there!

knowstuffsolveprobs1 karma

I'm a new practicing Stoic who came in via CBT. I love your books--I find them them accessible, challenging, and helpful.

  1. How do you respond to criticism I've read in the Stoicism community that your capitalist model of promoting Stoicism and to some degree using Stoicism to advance capitalism is somehow antithetical to the spirit of the discipline?
  2. How do you resolve the "god problem" within Stoicism? How can atheists or agnostics (like me) live according to nature if we maintain that the universe is not guided by an intelligent telos? Does removing god from Stoicism make it less cohesive as a framework?

ryan_holiday3 karma

I'd rather make an honest living selling my books than philosophizing while lived off the labor of slaves like the Romans did. It just does not seem like an argument based in any sort of historical fact whatsoever. The discipline has a long dark history involving rape, plunder, tyranny etc. Writing and selling books (for like $15, btw) does not seem like a particularly corrupt thing to do. We have the best system of all the systems...by a long shot.

jiba31 karma

Edited : Heatly congratulations for reintroducing the practice of Stoicism to this century, but I have a question : Why dont we read "Meditations : Marcus Aurelius " right from the original book itself for better effect? That book is old and is immeasurably contented.

What have you incorporated into your books that separate your work from Marcus's writings? Why should we read your books along with reading Meditations? Is there some good advice for this modern life in your books?

ryan_holiday3 karma

I don't understand the question as there seems to be some typos in it, but it does seem like you implying some sort of mutual exclusivity. Why not read both? And what makes you think that I am opposed to people reading Marcus Aurelius and Seneca? I have probably successful recommended the Stoics--in their original form--more than any other living person. It's not even a brag, I see the Amazon Affiliate receipts.

If someone wants to read my books, wonderful. If they prefer to go to the originals--as I did myself--wonderful. If they want to do both, even better. What I don't understand is this zero-sum mentality that assumes I am trying to replace anyone. It's like if I wrote a book about Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of The Moon, would it make sense to get mad and say, "WHY SHOULDN'T WE JUST LISTEN TO THE ALBUM?" Of course not. Art can be made on top of art. People can write books about ideas they enjoy and have gotten value from...and in so doing, add value. At least, that's what I am trying to do.

alexanderadrian1 karma

I've heard you say you have a temper before. In the moments when it flares up how do you make yourself remember all the philosophy you've read and studied when every fiber of your being is getting emotional and telling you that all of that is stupid and you should act out now? Also, I found myself a very nice girl that's willing to deal with all of my bullshit and also supports me and complements me. She's very understanding but I have a somewhat difficult personality, how do I apologize in the moments I inevitably fuck up without making it worse?

ryan_holiday4 karma

Have you read Seneca's essay Of Anger? It's really, really, really good.

okamyzin1 karma

Nothing to do with the book, because i'll read it next week. But im curious about how do you go about retain more information when reading books? I'm trying a note taking system after each chapter but it is too stressful and make me not being "present" when reading.

Im trying to come up with something efective and simple. Would love to know how someone who reads as much as i think you do go about it.

Thanks for doing an AMA anyways, im a big fan of yours.

ryan_holiday4 karma

Oh! Lots on this, but we just did a whole reading course for Daily Stoic (dailystoic.com/read). Some videos are out there as well but first things first: Take notes AFTER you finish the book. Mark stuff as you're reading, but go back through and do the note taking after. Let it sit for a bit.

skimmeddit1 karma

Are you aware of any filmmakers who publicly identify as stoics?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Oh that's a good question. Yes I've heard from a couple well-known Hollywood directors but I'm not sure how much the philosophy directs their work. I am excited about the new Gladiator movie that is coming.

LimeFast1 karma

In your latest book Stillness is the key you claim that people have free will, something that many modern scientists and philosophers disagree with and make a strong case against. Can you elaborate on your thoughts on the issue? And without the concept of free will, isn't the freedom offered by stoicism ultimately illusory since "we" don't actually independently make the decisions in our lives but are ruled by physical law?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Not sure it's quite as clear cut as you say. In fact there was just a recent experiment that dismantled one of the main arguments scientists have been using against free will. That being said, it's not like the Stoics believed in complete freedom and agency. Their concept of the logos used the metaphor of a dog tied to a cart. We are being pulled around by something we don't control...we can lay down and be dragged, or we can go along cheerfully.

MegaBackdoor1 karma

What is your greatest vice?

ryan_holiday7 karma

My temper probably. I wish I could be more moderate in my eating as well. I tend to have trouble stopping. Like that Louis CK joke about eating until you're full? Nah, it's more like till I hate myself.

pike13021 karma

What's your advice for someone going through the motions of answering the daily stoic questions every morning, but it is becoming monotonous? Maybe some sort of meditation to awaken the mind before journaling?

ryan_holiday1 karma

I do it every morning myself. I just try to cheerful and authentically answer the question. If you need a little warm up, try the One Line a Day Journal. I like doing that each morning as well.

sopsign71 karma

Certain ideas or products can get inadvertently championed by fictional figures. I'd previously sent a message to the Lagavulin distillery to ask them how their sales were impacted by being mentioned as the drink of choice for Parks & Recreation's Ron Swanson played by Nick Offerman. (They claimed they hadn't done any research into the matter, but are also releasing an 11-year Offerman Edition).

Ron Swanson's demeanor on the show frequently trends towards stoicism, and I'm sure there are other great examples of fictional characters that exemplify tenets of stoicism. Could you point towards any increase of interest in stoicism that you would attribute towards the actions of fictional characters? And if so, which fictional characters are frequently listed as being stoics?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Maximus in Gladiator of course. Tom Wolfe also wrote a great novel about Stoicism called A Man in Full.

vonnvon1 karma

At least from the looks of social media, it seems you haven’t traveled internationally much, even prior to kids. Why? I find it curious.

ryan_holiday2 karma

Not quite sure that's true. I love traveling internationally. I've been to every continent except Antartica (and I was supposed to go there two years ago but the trip got cancelled last minute). In November, I'm going to Bucharest and Budapest and then in December to Sao Paulo.

nacquatella1 karma

Hi Ryan, thanks for this AMA. I just learned about your books this year. I retook my passion of reading books against being on Twitter all the time focusing on the news - making myself sick btw...

I was about to start on your books (Ego is the Enemy, and Obstacle is the Way) but then you launched Stillness is the Key - so my question is: are your books to be read in a particular order, are they a series? Would you recommend one to go first, and there the others?

I started instead with The Daily Stoic, with daily pills to gain on Stoicism and your writing, in preparation for your books

Thanks!

ryan_holiday3 karma

Well thank you. I'm glad fate randomly brought us together. There is no real order necessary on the books. I'd either start at the beginning or start with whichever one speaks to a problem you are having right now.

G12AIVIIPS1 karma

If you were given the opportunity to be Trump’s permanent advisor would you do it? Like a modern day Seneca to Nero. Lol

ryan_holiday8 karma

Politely decline? (I wrote about being offered a job in the administration for the NYT a while ago). Whatever you think politically, it doesn't seem like a nice place to work, nor has it worked out super well for many of the people involved. Culture matters.

biglebowshi1 karma

I'll have to check your book out, how has your life changed with its rising popularity?

ryan_holiday7 karma

Being an author is great. Even if you sell a lot of books, most people have no idea who you are and the ones that do don't care that much either. It's really only changed my life for the positive. No complaints.

Izzatzailan1 karma

Favorite Iron Maiden album?

ryan_holiday4 karma

7th Son of a 7th Son, then Number of the Beast, then Brave New World.

Bnemz1 karma

What’s your favourite city to go for a run in?

ryan_holiday4 karma

Oh great question. New Orleans is a great running city (the neutral ground is amazing.) I was just in Minneapolis, which I always enjoy running in. LA is tough unless you're at the beach or in Silver Lake. I used to like to run in New York with Casey Neistat but he moved to the West Coast. Austin is hard to beat though--ten mile, crushed granite trail, on the water, in town.

ICregular1 karma

First of all thank you for everything!

Please share a few of your favorite Iron Maiden tracks if you will.

Also, do you have a audible recommendations?

ryan_holiday4 karma

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Aces High

The Trooper

The Clairvoyant

Paschendale

JasonBourneOO91 karma

Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Not really. I try to live below my means, not collect grab and not be too attached to what I own, but I don't think I qualify. I collect too many books for one.

johnrearden74481 karma

Hi Ryan. Big fan - thanks for all you do. I see a lot of your fitness posts (runs, swims). For either diet or exercise, what’s the one thing you have to do every day, no excuses?

ryan_holiday2 karma

If I am home, go for a walk/bike ride with my son.

ben-dempsey1 karma

Can you talk about your journaling habits, do you use one journal for all things? Personal, professional and exercise or do you break them up?

ryan_holiday4 karma

I use three journals each morning

  • One Line a Day Journal
  • A blank Moleskin or Bullet Journal
  • The Daily Stoic Journal

Takes about 10 minutes to zip through them all. It's kind of my warm up for the writing day. Helps get me centered, calm and loose. Cannot recommend journaling highly enough. And it's something that gets better as you go.

Lord-Limerick1 karma

You wrote a fantastic book called Conspiracy about the Hulk Hogan v. Gawker case.

The book touches upon great conspiracies hundreds of years ago, like Caesar's assassination. What is the greatest conspiracy of the modern day?

ryan_holiday6 karma

The conspiracy in Denmark to smuggle the Jews out of the country and safely into Sweden to escape the Nazis is one of the greatest and most inspiring stories of the 20th century in my opinion. I wish it was more well known. It gives you hope for humanity and aligns with my thesis which is that a conspiracy doesn't have to be a bad thing. Most are, but they don't have to be.

nyyou1 karma

Any advice from all your reading for new parents? I see you mention two of your own

ryan_holiday7 karma

Dailydad.com is my very biased answer. I also liked David Epstein's book Range, which is a secret parenting book.