When I started this reading list email 12 years ago, I thought maybe—maybe—I might be able to one day tell all of you about a book that I myself had written. To be able to do that more than once? To think that I would be emailing you today to tell you about what I believe is my 12th (and best!) book, Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave? It would have been utterly inconceivable to me.
It has been an incredible honor now to have sent more than 150 editions of the Reading List Email to all of you. If you've gotten anything out of them (or come to trust my recommendations at all), I do hope you'll check out my new book, Courage is Calling, which is actually the first in a four book series on the 4 Virtues of Stoicism.
We all know that courage is important. We all admire it. But why is it so rare? We know that fear holds us back. We know that "I was afraid" is not an excuse that ages well. So why do we listen to that voice so often? We know that everything good in this life requires, demands, courage. So why aren't we more actively cultivating it? That’s what I wanted to know—personally, historically, culturally.
C.S. Lewis said that courage wasn't just a virtue but all the virtues at their testing point. You can't do the right thing without courage. You can’t acquire wisdom without courage. You can't be self-disciplined in a world of excess and temptation without courage. That's why I started with this book first.
The last year and half was tough for me as it was for all of us. One thing that helped me? Studying the lives of the people who make up the backbone of this book. Florence Nightingale struggling to answer "the call" that she got when she was 16 years old...the 16 year battle she faced against sexism, her parents expectations, bureaucracy and bad science to revolutionize the field of nursing in the 19th century. Charles De Gaulle standing alone against the Nazi's—putting France on his back and willing her to fight on. The 300 Spartans who went willingly against impossible odds to buy their allies time to prepare. I studied Martin Luther King Jr, Frederick Douglass, Pericles, Frank Serpico, Malala Yousafzai, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and of course, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus.
"The lives of great men all remind us," Wordsworth wrote, "that we can make our lives sublime." Studying, thinking about, writing about, living with these characters was immensely reassuring and inspiring when it felt like the world was caving in...or tearing itself about. It clarified to me what I ought to be doing, how I ought to live—not just in a pandemic but always and forever. I think the stories I've assembled here will do the same for you.
Which is why I am so excited to tell you that Courage is Calling is available for preorder right now (and being released in less than a month on 9/28.) It's already gotten some rave reviews. Academy Award Winning Actor Matthew McConaghey called the book an “urgent call to arms for each and all of us.” General Jim Mattis called it “a superb handbook for crafting a purposeful life." And Classics Professor Shadi Bartsch was nice enough to say it’s a a heartfelt and passionate book.”
So if you want to take their word for it, or if you can trust my book recommendation advice, I would really appreciate it if you could help me by pre-ordering Courage is Calling. We have a ton of awesome bonuses, including signed pages from the drafts of the book as I wrote them, as well as a dinner with me. Pre-ordering makes a huge difference for authors (and bookstores) as they try to get a book off the ground. The number of orders that comes in determines how many copies a publisher prints, how many stores order, and whether the book lands on a bestseller list.
All of which is to say: It'd mean so much to me if you could pre-order now...and I'll make it worth your while with these bonuses.
If you pre-order from the Daily Stoic landing page I linked to above, your order will be fulfilled by us at The Painted Porch Bookstore. And you do not have to do anything to redeem the bonuses. But the bonuses do apply to purchases of Courage Is Calling in any format from any retailer in any country. If you pre-order copies from anywhere other than the Daily Stoic or The Painted Porch, just send your receipts to email@example.com , and we’ll make sure you get the bonuses!
P.S. we'll be back to our regularly scheduled Reading List Email later this month!