Finished this today. Some thoughts:
1. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor who lived from 161-180 A.D.
2. He is also a philosopher.
3. His book, Meditations, is exactly that — a collection of his meditations or thoughts about a variety of mainly philosophical topics.
4. He wrote it for himself or his own benefit. He had no idea it will be read by millions of people throughout history.
5. I only understood around 60-65% of this book. I listened to an audiobook version so I did not get to read it at my own pace and, of course, I did not get to underline or mark the passages that strike me the most.
6. I don’t agree with everything that he said.
7. The parts that I agree with, I truly value.
8. He talked a lot about virtues. This was my favorite part of the book. He painted a picture of what a man (or woman) ought to be — virtuous, of excellent moral character, pure or just in thought, resilient, unperturbed by the opinions and attitudes of other people, untouched by misfortunes, knowledgeable about philosophy and wise in making judgments, and so on. What he discussed sounded a lot like the cardinal virtues in Catholic theology — prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.
As a man, I find his ideas and manner of speaking very “relatable” and even appealing, because he speaks in a very manly, strong, and virtuous manner. He sounds like a very wise uncle or a strong dad who wants to help you become more wise by giving you counsel that are both philosophical and practical.
I would love to get my hands on a paperback and read it again. I highly recommend it.