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Classical Thoughts for Modern Minds

If you are looking for our books on cycling, just go here.

Welcome to our other passion, the great books. We're publishing Kindle eBooks and audiobooks of the world's most important books. Each comes with an original explanatory introduction. We're starting with Greek and Roman classics.

Please join us as we spend time with the greatest thinkers and writers of all time.

Plato: Apology | Crito | Phaedo

Epictetus: The Golden Sayings

Marcus Aurelius: Meditations

What's the Big Idea? Plato's Apology

Plato's ApologyKindle ebook: $1.99
Audiobook: $3.95

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What’s the big idea? To Socrates, living according to his values was more important than life itself.

Plato’s Apology is in three parts: Socrates’ personal defense in his trial for impiety and corrupting the young, his plea before being sentenced, and his address to the jurors after he was condemned to death.

This book includes an introduction, telling who Socrates was and how he came to be on trial for his life before his fellow Athenians. 

What's the Big Idea? Plato's Crito

Plato's CritoKindle ebook: $0.99
Audiobbok: $3.95

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What's the big idea? To Socrates, an act of injustice cannot be answered with another unjust act.

Plato's Crito is a dialogue between an imprisoned Socrates and Crito, a wealthy Athenian who has formulated and financed a plan for Socrates to escape and live in exile. 

Socrates had been put on trial and was convicted of impiety and corrupting youth, resulting in a sentence of death. That famous trial was the subject of Plato's Apology, which is also available as a What's the Big Idea Kindle and audiobook. In this dialogue Crito visits Socrates in prison and explains why Socrates must escape with him to freedom. Socrates answers each of Crito's arguments, telling him why he has to remain in prison and await his fate.

What's the Big Idea? Plato's Phaedo

Plato's phaedoKindle ebook: $1.99
Audiobook: $6.95

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What's the Big Idea? Socrates argues that there are reasons to believe the soul is immortal and will live on after the body’s death.

This dialogue tells us how Socrates spent the last day of his life with several friends, and how he met his end. Though soon to take a fatal drink of poison, Socrates insisted on discussing the soul and tried to prove its immortality.

This dialogue may well be one of the most beautiful and profound works in the western canon.

What's the Big Idea: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus

Kindle ebook: $1.99

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EpictetusWhat’s the big idea? Former slave Epictetus argues that since we cannot control the external world, true freedom comes from the reasoned control of one’s own desires and passions.

This is the core of stoic thought that Epictetus taught in Western Greece about 100 AD. Stoicism became the dominant moral philosophy of the Hellenistic and Roman world and Epictetus became its dominant and most respected teacher.

Though Epictetus wrote nothing that has survived, writer Arrian attended his lectures and took those notes that preserved Epictetus’ teachings. Besides Arrian, Epictetus had another notable listener, the young Publius Aelius Hadrianus, who would go on to become Roman Emperor Hadrian, reigning from 117 AD to 138.

Stoic philosophy echoed down the centuries, starting with St. Paul, whose Acts is shot through with Stoic thought. St. Ambrose and Tertullian show Stoic influence in their writings.

In the modern world, stoicism remains important. Prussian emperor Frederick the Great, essayist Montaigne and even George Washington were inspired by the Stoics. Perhaps the most prominent modern writer influenced by the stoics is American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. His Man the Reformer and Self Reliance are almost modern stoic handbooks.

I have revised and modernized the popular Hastings Crossley translation. I think you will find it a truly inspiring work and you will see why it has been read and enjoyed for thousands of years.

What's the Big Idea: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Kindle eBook: $1.99

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Meditations by Marcus AureliusWhat’s the big idea? Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius believed that in a palace or a soldiers’ camp one can live a life free of envy and desire, neither pursuing pleasure nor fearing pain as one performs the duties life has assigned.

Meditations is shot through with Stoic thought. Stoicism was the dominant philosophy of the era, not perhaps how we see philosophy today, an academic inquiry into life and the world. Instead, the ancients looked upon philosophy and therefore Stoicism as guide to living life correctly.

The core tenet of Stoicism is that happiness is found by accepting each moment as it presents itself. One should not pursue pleasure nor fear pain. One should try to understand the world and nature’s plan and try to live according to that understanding.

But Meditations is a wider-ranging work, touching on among other things, the existence of God or gods, the persistence of evil and injustice, and the value of knowledge. He wonders about the birth and growth of a child from a little seed.

I have worked to make the book as understandable as possible, not worrying about the literalness of the translation so much as clarifying the meaning of a given passage. By the end of the book the emperor’s philosophy will be crystal clear.

So please travel back almost two thousand years ago and join Marcus Aurelius as sits in his camp in the evening meditating on life.