The author, Annie Lawson, uses ancient wisdom from the Stoics to reflect on modern workplaces in her book, Stoic at Work : Ancient Wisdom to Make Your Job a Bit Less Annoying.

Lawson quotes from Marcus Aurelius a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He wrote what we would describe as a journal which has been published as a book called, Meditations. He records personal insights and thoughts on Stoic philosophy.

Lawson uses examples from her experiences at various workplaces. Some of her unfortunate experiences are caused by her irresponsibility. However, she writes about how Stoic thinking can help navigate difficult people and situations. She uses humour, mostly hyperbole, and writes in an easy to read style.

The insight that had the most profound effect on Lawson, was differentiating between what we can change and what we cannot, and realising that time spent worrying about things we cannot change is pointless. One practical application is to become indifferent to other people’s opinions of ourselves, given that their thoughts are outside our control.

Lawson has come up with 49 rules for the modern workplace, starting with: Accept that people are annoying and even bosses can be annoying. She progresses through some more light hearted rules like double check emails before sending and some more serious ones, such as don’t be upset by constructive criticism.

Overall an interesting and entertaining book on modern life.

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