Skye Cleary in 3:AM Magazine:
3AM: I understand that your book grew out of a New York Times opinion piece by the same name: How to Be a Stoic? Why did you decide to write the book? Or was it more about riding the wave of Fate?
Massimo Pigliucci: In a sense, it was about Fate. But in another sense, it was a very deliberate project. Fate entered into it because The New York Times article went viral, and I immediately started getting calls from a number of publishers, enquiring into whether I intended to write a book. Initially, I didn’t. But then I considered the possibility more carefully. After all, I had started a blog (howtobeastoic.org) with the express purpose of sharing my progress in studying and practicing Stoicism with others, and I am convinced that Stoicism as a philosophy of life can be useful to people. So, a book was indeed the next logical step.
3AM: What are the key differences between ancient Stoicism and your new Stoicism? Why did it need updating?
Massimo Pigliucci: Stoicism is an ancient Greco-Roman philosophy, originating around 300 BCE in Athens. It’s only slightly younger than its Eastern counterpart, Buddhism. But while Buddhism went through two and a half millennia of evolution, Stoicism was interrupted by the rise of Christianity in the West. A lot of things have happened in both philosophy and science in the 18 centuries since there were formal Stoic schools, so some updating is in order.