I believe that everyone should read Seneca’s works. His writings bring me back down to earth and make me realise what is really important in life and to make the most of every single day I am alive.
Although I am more of a fan of Seneca’s “On the Shortness of Life”, “Letters” is a lot longer with many letters between Seneca and Lucilius which took time to work through. There are some great nuggets in there if you take the time to work through it. You will come across the typical stoic philosophy that is Seneca’s brand. For example, living a simple life yet making the most of every single day.
My suggestion when reading the book is to work through each letter and determine whether it is something that resonates; otherwise go to the next one. Given there are letters between two people over two thousand years ago they are sometimes not relevant.
Three key takeaways from the book:
1. We all worry too much about various aspects of life. Seneca says it best … “Some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.”
2. When looking for mentors, do not choose based on what they say, choose based on what they do and how they act
3. “Leisure without study is death; it is a tomb for the living man.” I wholeheartedly agree.