• Breakfast with Seneca

  • A Stoic Guide to the Art of Living
  • By: David Fideler
  • Narrated by: Paul Heitsch
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Breakfast with Seneca

By: David Fideler
Narrated by: Paul Heitsch
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Publisher's Summary

The first clear and faithful guide to the timeless, practical teachings of the Stoic philosopher Seneca.

Stoicism, the most influential philosophy of the Roman Empire, offers refreshingly modern ways to strengthen our inner character in the face of an unpredictable world. Widely recognized as the most talented and humane writer of the Stoic tradition, Seneca teaches us to live with freedom and purpose. His most enduring work, over a hundred "Letters from a Stoic" written to a close friend, explains how to handle adversity; overcome grief, anxiety, and anger; transform setbacks into opportunities for growth; and recognize the true nature of friendship.

In Breakfast with Seneca, philosopher David Fideler mines Seneca's classic works in a series of focused chapters, clearly explaining Seneca's ideas without oversimplifying them. Best enjoyed as a daily ritual, like an energizing cup of coffee, Seneca's wisdom provides us with a steady stream of time-tested advice about the human condition - which, as it turns out, hasn't changed much over the past 2,000 years.

©2022 David Fideler (P)2021 Ascent Audio

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A Philosophical Breakfast

Breakfast with Seneca

I’ve been grappling with stoic philosophy for a few years now, and as much as I appreciate modern Stoicism in general, I have started feeling like there were too many books that tread the same territory using different words and editing The cohesiveness of stoic philosophy to suit they’re particular taste. And while that can be useful for some, it irritated me.

This is one of two books I don’t really feel is guilty of that. This paints a pretty holistic picture of the way Seneca thought of his philosophy, as well as maintaining his pension toward philosophical eclecticism. This is another “stoicism for beginners” book. But what his book does differently, is what I think makes it more valuable than a lot of others. It dives into Seneca specifically, only using other sources incidentally where it helps elucidate Seneca’s points.

The other thing is that it doesn’t shy away from the Roman conception of Stoic cosmopolitanism, reducing the philosophy to a series of life hacks, nor does it shy away from the stoic conception of the logos, fate, the gods, etc.

Personally, I found my way back to philosophy in general, and Stoicism more specifically after spending a year in therapy, specifically engaged in cognitive behavioral therapy. And I found that while the therapeutic protocol itself was very helpful, after I “graduated“ I wondered where all of these techniques, clinically glorified versions of the life hack version of stoic philosophy, fit into a larger framework. So I began to study. I begin to rebuild who I was into who I wanted to be.

If I had had this book from the beginning, that process would’ve gone far more smoothly. I have always found Seneca to be the most approachable of the big three, by himself, and this book makes him all the more approachable. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in stoic philosophy, or in the way Seneca sees it. This is definitely a great way to start the day! This is one of two of the best introductions to it that I have found, the other being “how to think like a Roman emperor“ by Donald Robertson.

3 people found this helpful

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Very dry

There is no substance in this book. It feels like the author cut and pasted cliches from here and there

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Buy the actual book

This is a great book. However, the narrator was like listening to someone scratching a chalk board. I think I will simply buy a copy and read it on my own.

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Makes Seneca New Again

I read this after reading all the original Stoic writers I could find, as well as most of the modern authors up to 2022. This author provides a fresh perspective on Seneca’s writings, which gave me renewed appreciation for the insight and wisdom of all the ancient Stoics. The narrator was perfectly suited for the book, which often uses stories from the author’s personal life to get its point across. Until the credits at the end, I had assumed the author narrated it himself.

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Very cool book

The narrator was very calming and the material is very calming as well. I highly recommend this to all

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Great book!

It made me look in the little things we have and do I’m life. Gratitude is not only a word, it is a feeling and that should be used for our greater good.

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Virtue is the path to peace

Long been a fan of Zeno,Seneca ,Epictetus and the Stoics,Greek and Roman.This is a wonderful review of Seneca’s wisdom and teaching spiritually and practically applied.Each of the chapters is 35-45 minutes long.My grandson and I will be listening each day we are together this Summer.This is great family listening.Well written and wonderfully read.Thank you

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Good distillation of stoicism philosophy

While sometimes dry, this work gives a good summary of Seneca and his extensive writings. It's amazing to think they're is so much to learn form over two millennia ago.

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Not a Deep Dive

This is a good primer, but not great for someone who is already conversant in the subject. The narration is not great; sounds like a kindergarten class reading.